Sunday, June 5, 2016

One Night Only




Last night was a little bit like magic. It was the first time in a LONG time that all of my husband's best friends were out to celebrate their other friend. Are you confused yet?
D has 3 best friends. They've known each other since junior high and have somehow managed to maintain their friendships. It's a beautiful thing. And this past week, one of them, my Gemini twin, turned 40. His annual white party is always a hot ticket and basically our one night out a year where we TURN UP, well as much as our 30-something bodies will let us. It's always a good time and y'all know how I feel about breaking out my dancing shoes so I was down. AND my birthday is in a few days (4 to be exact)? I am hella down. 
For as long as we've been together we've gone to this annual party and the cast of characters has changed over the years as relationships come and go. I think the only year I missed was right after I had Baby Ninja because tired. 
But last night, last night something magical happened. The entire crew came out. Well not the entire famdamily, that is hard to pull off. But I mean the core four. 


We ended up picking up the birthday boy's wife and our other friends met us there. When I saw who was in that car I got really excited. The gang's all here. For real. 
I've known my husband for almost 20 years so I've watched these men grow into who they are today and it's both inspiring and hilarious. I love them all so much and I really like watching them together. They have their own language and are basically brothers. It's hella dope to watch black men support each other the way they do. 
Back to last night though - we all walked in the club together and it was like a scene from a movie as the crowd moved aside as we danced our way through the club to the VIP.  Can I just say I love being older and being able to sit my tired butt down on a cushioned bench when I don't know the song or my feet hurt? It is a perk of both knowing the party promoter and being older. Cuz yeah, no.
If you follow me on SnapChat (and if you're not, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?) then you already know what the view was like.  The DJ and emcee were old friends so it was a mix of new school (WTF is this?) and HELLA old school ( "Is this 'Freak Hoes'???) and the hubs and I cut a rug for hot one and then took our old asses up to VIP to people watch. 



As always, I grabbed a moment with the birthday boy and we both cheesed out at the fact that everyone was there. Us. The family we created, we were all there for one night, rocking to the beat. No matter that some had a plane to catch this morning - we made it happen for our boy. It was a moment.

 

Yeah, last night was magic. My whole body hurts and Baby Ninja woke up ready to partay before 8am but I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. 






Wednesday, June 1, 2016

When Keeping It Real Goes Right


“This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions are my own.” 





I don't know about y'all, but lately I've been more into the social media channels that show the real side of people than anything else.  Platforms like SnapChat and FB live or Periscope are fun ways to really get to know the personality behind the brand of some of my favorite online peeps. Myself included. It's hella fun to see people with their kids or do face swaps with their husbands or just put a rando filter on them. I love it all so much. Real is where it's at. 

And we were all reminded of that not two weeks ago when Candace Payne (Chewbacca Mom) went live from her car in the parking lot at Kohl's. That was the most viewed live video on Facebook EVER. All because she was willing to put it all out there and just be her authentic self. The mask alone was funny, but her pure joy and full belly laugh stole the show. Within hours the mask sold out everywhere and jumped in price about about 100% on Ebay. Crazytown. 
But it got people talking again about authenticity and it's importance in this digital age. Having a space that represents you and your brand in a clear and memorable. And having .ME domain name is the perfect step! I've already said how it easy it was for me to create a media kit with their template that was a direct reflection of Carpools to Cocktails and having a .ME domain name would just be icing on the cake.  One of the things I dig about it is that .ME offers premium domain names, which naturally resonate with readers due to their memorability and meaning. 







This year is all about re-birth of sorts for me, well for this blog really. I neglected it quite a bit last year and while it was for a good reason, I missed it and am working hard to get back to where I was. In the meantime, I'm making sure my site matches up with my personality and represents C2C in a true light. My tribe is all about keeping it real and I love that they show that in all forms.




They share the real and the messy as well as the picture perfect that we all still like to look at. I dig that. Being able to show all sides is so important in what we do. For those that are starting out and ask how they can be true to themselves while still being able to work in the wild west that is the internet. I  encourage them to start with a space that makes them feel like them and go from there. Share what you feel comfortable with and take pride in knowing that messy is just as good as "pretty perfect" if not better any day of the week. 


How do you show your TRUE self on the internet? Is there one platform you prefer over another? 


Monday, May 30, 2016

Rose` All Day ( you can actually afford)





I can't front, I wasn't that into Rose` for quite some time. It just wasn't my thing. And like most varieties of libations, it had to grow on me. And grow it did. Thanks to a family fully supportive of my love of libations and tickets to wine festivals and tastings my sommelier status is low-key legit. 

I truly enjoy all varietals of wine and have come to appreciate the  subtle differences over the years. And oddly, when I look back on it, my first real sip of anything was of the rose` genre in my mom's White Zinfandel all those years ago. Everything old is new again, go figure. It's also fun, because it's something my mom and I can share and any time we can find commonality we relish it.










But since Ricky Rozay and others have put rose` back on the map and thusly on the radar of all the hip millennials, the price has gone up. And my pockets are not that deep. I'm guessing y'all's aren't either. So I thought I'd do us ALL a favor and compile a list of brands that are all under $25 and can either be bought in bulk (looking at YOU Summer Water) or just kept on hand for your next soiree.


10_rose_affordable



I try to keep a bottle on chill at all times because you never know when a friend will stop by, because kids or not, it's still Rose` All Day on mine. 





What's your favorite way to enjoy it? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Real Life vs. Reel Life

“This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions are my own.” 


coffee_late-nights_momlife
Mornings be like...

Over the weekend a former (?) “mommy blogger” wrote what she’d I’m sure like to think is a scathing piece about the mommy blogging industry and the lack of authenticity. It was more than ironic coming from someone whos’ most recent blog and Instagram posts were of the sponsored variety. That of course got the blogging comminuyt as a whole talking about authenticity and what it really means. Some people thought her argument had merit (I sort of side eye those people because what are you if not authentic, in your writing?) and while there ARE bloggers out there who are just shilling whatever for a check, that’s on them. For some reason this woman felt compelled to come down on a whole niche of an industry because of …… well we don’t know really. Let’s chalk it up to Mercury retrograde shall we? However, it got everyone talking among themselves and in various groups about who is really real and who is not.
And while some people claim extreme levels of authenticity one has to wonder, are they REALLY? I mean, if you have team that helps you pull off all of your fabulous content? Say it! Own it! Simply state, I have a photographer who takes my photos but I edit them, and someone else helps me w/ flatlays and other static content for sponsored Social Media and then I have a videographer and friend who’s a stylist and pulls things on occasion etc….
THAT is being authentic. There are so many out there “doin’ it for the ‘gram” that it can be hard to discern what’s real and what’s not.  We live in a world saturated w/ celebs doin the most and even people we used to know Facebook flexin’ just because they can. I even had friends I don’t see regularly question how much time / money I spend shopping simply because they saw me post photos of something I loved or maybe tried on and said I wanted. News flash people, I don’t BUY ALL THE THINGS every time. We’d be homeless and broke if I did.

C2C_sweetpea_mamalife


After that, I made it a point to keep things “one hunnid” in my social media life.
But at the same time I had to laugh, my home girl and I have been talking about this very thing for over a year – people are going to get tired of the cookie-cutter, everything is great and life is fine posts. And even the ones where everything isn’t “great!” but the photo is still beautiful, and filtered with perfectly ‘staged’ clutter.  That’s how people show they’re “authentic” these days. Sure you might get a bare faced selfie every now and again but please believe they are in the best lighting and that’s 1 of at least 100 shots taken.  But practice what you preach right?




please note my dirty bathroom mirror and child in pajama top & sweats.

So, do I show the really REAL side of me on social media? I’d like to think so. Do I tell EVERYTHING? No. Absolutely not. Everything is not for everybody. But do I share when I’m having a shitty day? Yup. Am I honest about my kitchen successes and fails? For sure.  I own the days I’m in workout gear all day, and haven’t worked not nary a muscle other than my Twitter fingers. I share when my kids are off the chain and we haven’t had a date night in months. Because that’s real life.

amber_mom2_dancing
Doesn't get more "authentic" than this. Mid rap, no cares.

After we got back the photos from Mom 2.0 Summit, I cringed a bit as I saw how REAL I got on the dance floor, but then I shrugged it off. That’s me. If you follow my SnapChat you know I am all about the car dance and this was just next level captured in hi-res. And that got me thinking about Domain.ME ( a domain name provider that allows anyone (personal and/or business) to create a unique, safe identity online with a domain ending in .ME. ) and how to really brand oneself in an authentic manner, that is the way to go to create a site that is truly a direct representation of .ME . Literally. They also helped me to create a media kit that was creative, distinct and allowed me to fully represent what Carpools to Cocktails is all about. 

_amber_carpools2cocktails_california_love



I am a hot mess on a good day and whatever is beyond that on my worst. From Carpools to Cocktails is actually what my day to day life is and I make it a point to be as true to that always, in all ways.  I hope that if we've ever met ( or do meet) y'all feel like you have sense of who I am and what I'm about. 

How do you stay to true to who you REALLY are while still giving the world your "best"? 

Are you are your true authentic self online or do you only share the good? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Runnin Through The Ritz With My Woes







Whew, y'all, I am not ashamed to admit I am whipped.
I am still recovering from Mom 2.o as well as some kind of sinus infection situation for the last few days. I've gotten my email life together but I am so behind over here. As always, that makes me feel like a "bad blogger". 
Which is lame because, even though I may not always be writing over here, I'm all over social media and can also be found writing on MODE a couple times a month too. 


As always, the conference was well done and gave me all the feels and inspiration. I basically walked away with my tribe feeling like I have (even more) fire in my finger tips and we are about to set the world ablaze. If you've seen Mommyfriend and I's FB Live show, you know we touched a bit on how great it is to be able to go to this event once a year. To step away from the computer, out of our homes and get to know the people behind the keyboard that we fall in love with over and over again. 

carpools_to_cocktails_champagne


Mom 2 is amazing. Not just because of the quality of the conference. The keynotes and panels are always cutting edge and helpful. The marketplace is packed with brands eager to work with women in the parenting space and the location is always breathtaking. This year it was at The Ritz Carlton in Dana Point and even though it was overcast, the view could not be beat. I'm from California and grew up by the beach and it still stuns me every time. 
No, Mom 2 is special because of the people. The connections I've made and friendships that have blossomed because of it have been invaluable. I really can't put a price / feeling on what it means to me.  
Once a year I get to go be a hot mess with my girlfriends and colleagues. We're able to squeeze each other in person instead of just virtually. 


We congratulate and celebrate wins as well as work through losses. These women support me throughout the year so to be able to be with them for 2 days uninterupted (no kids) is akin to heaven. 
A lot of these women I met at the tail end of last year's conference and then became friends with on Facebook (so you know it's real) and it was magic. The connections I made have been invaluable. For real. We talk a lot about ROI in my house (D is in banking) and hands down Mom 2 is a great return on my investment. I made my money back from last year's conference tenfold so there's that. But it's not just about the cost. Well at least not for me anyway. But the really the relationships I get out of it. That's a whole other post but really, again, it's magic. 

momspark_carpools2cocktails

So there we were, squealing,hugging and crying happy tears as we caught up with our friends we only see once a year. Some of them are even local within the state but it's still hard for us to get our shit together at the same time and meet up. It was a grand reunion and it all went by so fast. As much as we also want to lock ourselves away in a room and just laugh together, we're also there to take care of business. So in between meetings with brands and marketers we snagged a few moments of magic in the hallways. 

black_bloggers_mom2

It was more than a pleasure to catch up with my blogging boo's. It had been far too long since we'd last been in each other's presence. 

ladies_black_bloggers_mom2

To cap things off, there are the IRIS Awards, in which we are able to nominate our peers in various categories throughout the parenting blogging space. There is a red carpet situation and I don't know how to behave.

iris_awards_redcarpet

It's a glorious night and we laugh and cry and celebrate each other........and then the music comes on, the heels come off and we. get. down.
Well, at least I do.
It's no secret I love to dance so I make it a point to boogie with my boo's before we pack up and head back home to our families.
I'm #blessed to be able to be in a room with these women and call them friends. 


mom2_bloggerboos_blackgirls




We've got one night only. So we make it count. 


california_love_mom2





You can check out more of my post-awards shenanigans over on the Facebook page.


How do you celebrate or spend time with your friends? 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Sweet Pea's Teenage Dream




Not too long ago my oldest entered the world of teendom. And while we held out on the full blown "oh WOW she's a TEENager" type stuff for awhile, it's officially official as Sweet Pea recently turned 14. 
Fourteen. I can't even believe it. D and I asked what she wanted to do for her birthday and her main request was to have a sleepover with her friends.
Oh yay. 




I mean, sure we had the space for 9 or so girls but did we really want to do this? I mean, I am a sleepover professional. I KNOW how it goes down. But, I also want my kid to feel comfortable in her house w/ her homegirls so yeah, I let it happen.
Being the somewhat apathetic teenager she is, getting her to pin down a theme or idea behind the sleepover was harder than I thought. Because I cruise Pinterest often I'm constantly seeing party ideas but she's not about that life yet so my struggle was real. Add to that teenage sass and well, yeah. 


However, we did agree that she just wanted it to be chill and settled on a pizza+ popcorn bar + movie night "theme" and purple + blue color scheme. We had fun shopping for all the toppings they could add to their popcorn. 

movienight_toppings
While I have memories of certain friends mothers making pancakes for us the next day, I am not about that life so we decided milk+ cereal + donuts would be the move for the morning.


morning_breakfast_cereal


Basically I hopped them up on sugar and sent them home. As any good sleepover mama would do.   




I also made them drop their phones in a basket when they first got there to encourage them to interact in real time and make sure they weren't engaged in random online activity. Once upon a time I was a tween / teenager and went to my share of sleepovers, I know how it goes down and I am not trying to get a phone call from anyone's mother about questionable photos posted while at my home. No thanks. Also, I'd rather them actually engage with one another instead of sharing jokes, photos from their phones and not interacting. 



Although, they were NOT excited about an evening without their phones, all the parents were thrilled with the idea. And it turned out to be awesome. They actually talked to each other and told stories and watched ridiculous movies. 




I pretty much left them alone except to check-in every so often and make sure they weren't ruining my rug and snag some pizza. And of course, I had to snag a donut in the morning for my coffee. 
I posted a bit of the evening on my SnapChat ( you can always find me there for behind the scenes of C2C) And had several friends check-in the next morning to see if I survived and got any sleep. The truth, is not really, but the girls had a blast and Sweet Pea got to be with her people in her element and that made my heart happy. 

What do you to celebrate birthdays? What was your most memorable birthday to date? 

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails