Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Movie Night Going UP On A Tuesday

*I was compensated by 3ChickenConsulting to attend a screening but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*

According to my teen, occasionally, I’m a semi fun mom, and sometimes that fun happens when I get to take Sweet Pea with me to cool work events. Sometimes these events happen in the middle of the week. Which is no big deal in the summertime but once school starts, I’m sort of stringent about our evening routines. School, homework, dinner, chill and then bed. She has to get up wayyyy to early to be staying up too late on a weeknight. However, when I got invited to a screening for Kevin Smith’s new movie Yoga Hosers and watched the trailer; I knew I wanted to take her with me.
Being that she’s just started high school and is a bit overwhelmed by it all, I thought I’d take the opportunity to chill out with her and my niece and check in to see how they’re adjusting to school. Whenever we get the opportunity to hang out, I try not to pry too much into their lives and just drive and listen to them talk and catch up while giggling about memes on their phones. It reminds me of when I was that age and there was nothing in the world but me and my friends.  

About the movie: Yoga Hosers is the tale of two girls both named Colleen who save their town (and the world) from these Bratzi’s (tiny natzi’s made from Bratwurst- which were hilariously absurd) using their wicked yoga skills.
I kind of loved the idea of two otherwise basic teenage girls, so basic they have the same name, being these unwitting saviors.  Also – Canada. Trust when I say Sweet Pea and I will be saying “aboot” to everyone while cracking up in the process. It’s fun to have these times to hang with her and my niece with inside jokes and shared new experiences. Movies are kind of our thang and it’s always fun to check in when it’s over and see what they thought.

Similar to the girls in the movie (and teenagers the world over), Sweet Pea and my niece pretty much stay with their faces in their phones while being SO over everyone and everything. Their inability to can is epic. But the fact that things that they get ragged on for were the very things that saved them in the end? Talk about sweet justice.
Can I also just tell y’all how freaking funny Kevin Smith is off the cuff? He told the story of how Yoga Hosers came to be and at one point it seemed he was rabbit trailing a bit, but then he honed on a very key point: he made a movie his daughter would want to see where the girls were the ones who saved the day and then got the brilliant idea to cast his own daughter and her bestie (who just happens to be Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis’s offspring Lily Rose, NBD) to star in the movie. Which might make you side him because nepotism in Hollywood? Noooo?  But here's the trip part - the girls were actually really good and...for lack of a better word, natural. Like it didn't seem forced or like they were acting. I would have never known this was Lily Rose's first full length film.It's crazy that she looks familiar but then at the same time like a fresh faced ingenue. I fully believe she does yoga as well. At the end of the film the girls sing O'Canada and were surprisingly good. I spied my teens rocking out a bit as the credits rolled. 

And then he had a little 9 year-old girl come up to him and say how much she liked the movie and her FAVORITE part was when the girls were “……like hitting them with like, stick things….” That was dope.

As a mother of girl I am always on the lookout for movies that show girls doing more than being mean, chasing after a boy or falling apart over nothing and this movie did just that.
There were a lot of good one liners in there that I just KNOW Sweet Pea will be using on her friends and I am here for it. On the way home she randomly thanked me for taking her to the screening. A rarity for her. #bloggerkidproblems
I asked if she liked it and she said she thought it was interesting and funny. And she’d most definitely watch it again as she thinks her other friends would like it too.
And just like that I got a fabulous idea for a backyard evening screening once it’s released digitally.

So if you appreciate comedy, a little random weirdness, a WHOLE lot of Canadian jokes, and seeing girls win, go see Yoga Hosers ‘eh?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Because School Means Sickness At Some Point

* I was compensated by the CHPA's Educational Foundation, KnowYourOTCs, but all opinions are my own.  

No sooner than I start seeing Back to School signs do I hear/see parents complain about the shopping they must do for the dreaded ‘class list’. When your kid is in elementary (particularly if they attend public school) you as a parent are tasked with supplying not only your kid but the entire class with the basics. Tissue, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes are the biggest concerns and requests. I don’t get it. I happily supply those items because I don’t MY kid coming home with the back to school seasonal cooties. Kids have the most virulent germs and what takes them a few days to have hit and recover will take us over a week. It’s awful. So, yeah, no thanks. This is why shortly after, the “Back to school” shopping, photos and general hub-ub die down you start seeing mama’s all over the web posting; “Mom down!” messages and inquiring about symptoms for some peculiar strain of virus that their child has brought into their home.
A return to school means an increase in being indoors and decrease of their immune systems as Brad who they haven’t seen all summer long brings back his virulent germs from his summer travels. Yay. Thanks Brad.

But not to worry because I’m #MomAF and have been doing this keeping a human alive thing for 14 years so I’ve got a whole arsenal at my disposal right?


Until we had Baby Ninja we never really thought twice about the Drug Facts label on most of the OTC’s we’d purchased over the years to ease whatever ailment Sweet Pea, or even ourselves, might have had.
But then when he was about a year-old Baby Ninja came down with a wicked cold/ fever. So I asked D to run out and get a fever reducer. I assumed he was going to pick up acetaminophen because that’s what I would have grabbed and is a generally KNOWN fever reducer, particularly among young children, but he didn’t. He grabbed ibuprofen. And while I was using the restroom he gave him some, and he promptly began to break out and seem to have trouble breathing. My mama heart fully stopped for a bit and I had a hard time not breaking out into a full on panic.
Apparently he has a slight allergy to ibuprofen. Who knew? Not us for sure, as the only pain/fever relief OTC I’d purchased for the kids had always been of the acetaminophen variety or something prescribed by their doctors. It was a #realmommoment for sure and one that I’ll never forget. As the daughter of medical professionals I’ve always thought I was well versed in the different ingredients of my “standard” OTC’s but I never thought about if my husband was or not.


When Sweet Pea took a Safe Sitter class with our city one of the things they required was that they know and were aware to ask about any potential allergies the child they were watching might have as well as medication they might be on.  Trust when I say I never, thought to ask that when I babysit.

And don’t get me started on what to take when you / they have multiple symptoms. I have been known to park myself on the floor of many a medicine aisle trying to find just the right thing to treat my family but not cause them undue harm (via an allergic reaction or worse).  WHYYYY are there so many different ingredients? 
We were truly lucky that Baby Ninja only had a mild reaction and we reacted quickly, but have been vigilant about what OTC’s we keep in the house and how we use them ever since.  I also make sure to keep all meds up high and out of reach and eyesight of the toddler set, because you know if it looks any kind of interesting, they’ll be all up in it.

Pro tip: If you are ever concerned that a child has gotten into an OTC medication accidentally, call poison control immediately: 1-800-222-1222


So mama’s and caretakers of young people, I implore y’all to take a gander at the Drug Facts label on any OTC’s you or your family might be taking. Because you never know how certain ingredients will affect you and you don’t want that late night dose of cough medicine to counteract with a mid-morning pain reliever. It could make things a little bit awkward during drop-off.

Just saying.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sweet Pea's Ice Cream Dream

Naturally we wanted to celebrate Sweet Pea's graduation and she wanted to do something with her friends but because  we are (as always) on a budget we were at a loss on what we could really pull off.
And then I was scrolling Pinterest late one night and came across the "ice cream party/ social" theme and my wheels started turning.  I knew we could make it cool and I quickly started pinning ideas and Sweet Pea was fully on board because ice cream. 


Even better for me, Dryer's/Edy's was one of the sponsors at Mom 2.0 and they handed out coupons for free gallons! Say what? Done and done. My girlfriends were kind enough to score me a few to add to my pile and by the end of it, we cleaned up. It wasn't that hard to determine which flavors to choose, the obvious choices being chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry and cookies n' cream as a "wild card".  

However, trying to narrow down toppings proved to be a little more difficult than I imagined. Because OPTIONS.

But somehow we did it and got it all set up in time for the party. 


There were ice cream cones galore (regular, sugar and waffle cones and bowls) for guests to choose from as well as regular ice cream bowls for those who weren't that into it. 

As for toppings we went with crunchy, chewy, and chocolatey as a "theme" and it worked out well as I happily scored some clear trays I'd envisioned at the Dollar Tree! Talk about a come up! 

My husband  and brother-in-law did a particularly great jobs in creating their sundaes and made quick work of them. It was nice to see all of our hard work enjoyed by my people.

Because we're into Pinterest like that, we found a cute way to decorate ice cream sandwiches and made our own versions for a fun introductory treat for the older kids and a pre-dinner treat for the littles. 

* this post was not sponsored although I did make use of the coupons received via Dryer's/Edy's at Mom 2.0 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mixing Things Up For Back To School: BabyNinja Style

“This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of OshKosh ; however, all content contained wherein are my own."

Back to school in Southern California always happens during some crazy 'last chance at summer' heat-wave and leaves everyone melting and miserable. Yes, well into September, it's stupid hot here. While the rest of y'all are all about the Fall life we're still melting. Not to worry though, I've become a pro at mixing up my own closet for this transitional season and by extension that of my kids. 


As Baby Ninja is getting older, and growing at a rapid pace, but still very much having strong opinions about what he wears, I'm all about mixing and matching. With him, less is more and the more outfits I can get out of a few pieces of clothing the better. I went to OshKosh to check what they had that might be able to handle Baby Ninja's hardcore playtime activities. I've been a fan of the brand since I was a child, with their classic striped overalls being a favorite and I also enjoyed the way "oshkoshb'gosh" rolled off my tongue. It made me happy and so did their clothes. 
The current versions also make my kid happy. 



For the record D was a little skeptical about rocking shorts with long sleeves both as a layer and main tee but once I showed him how fresh the boy would look, he was all in. 


I did pretty well for the boy with two pairs of pants, two long sleeve shirts (one flannel, one cotton) and two t-shirts (one short, one long sleeve) all for roughly $50 because they were having a sale and I was able to use a coupon  (use CODE: OKBG3136 ) for 25% off my total purchase! 

Y'all KNOW how I feel about a double discount.  I'm jazzed because I didn't spend a million dollars on clothes as he continues to grow and he's stoked because he's got "cool space clothes" to wear to school. He's also actually looking forward to his haircut now and showing off his whole look like his sister did when she started school. 

What's even better is that what I got pairs so well with what's already in his closet and it just makes me all happy inside to know that his wardrobe is shaping up to be just as functional and fun as the rest of ours. Which, maybe is silly to some but for me, streamlining things is key. If I can make our lives simpler by purchasing pieces that pair well together and last, well then, I win. The end. 

Wear it later: 

It helps the boy likes what he picked out and it's even better that so does D. I made sure to show them how he can wear everything from Summer to Fall because for some reason my husband seems skeptical about my shopping skills for Baby Ninja. Whatevs. I knocked it out of the park if I do say so myself. 
Layers are essential as the days can go from cool, to warm, to warm-er to warm, cool, and cool-er as we get further into Fall and all these pieces make choosing outfits each morning super easy. When dealing with a four year-old, easy is best. 

It seems like we just perfected our summertime fly and now we're anticipating the start of the school year. Because Baby Ninja doesn't "officially" start back until September 1st we're in no rush and have plenty of time to prepare for Pre-K! But at least we got the clothes portion out of the way.  

Have y'all done all your back to school shopping yet? 

And because I want y'all to win like I did, so I'm giving away a $50 gift card to OshKosh to help you out with your own back to school shopping!  

Enter the form below for a chance to win!

Find a store closest to you here


Monday, August 15, 2016

P.S. I Love You - The Anniversary Getaway


Back in June, I talked about how good a family vacation can be and it was truly a good time and did my heart so good.  Something about checking out from the norm tends to change everyone's mood and improve all around attitudes. The same can be said for relationships. Particularly if you have children and busy schedules. Of which we have both.  We still had some time available with our timeshare so last month, D and I celebrated 6 years of marriage with a trip for two to Palm Springs. The last time the two of us went away together overnight was just before Baby Ninja was born. I think. 
So when it came time to plan our anniversary celebration I was thrilled when he suggested we head to Palm Springs for a "staycation" of sorts. I have a long history of loving the desert city and it's been on my list of places to hit up for awhile. 

We knew it was going to be hot, it is the desert, so we weren't too concerned about the fact that it was July. However, as the heatwave increased relatives inquired if we were still going and we said "for sure." We committed this time away to be with each other, so 117 degrees be damned. We're heading out. 
The drive down was smooth sailing save for some typical midday So Cal traffic and we cruised along the 10 East heading to our kid free oasis in the desert. 

People keep asking how it was and if we had a good time. And here's the thing, we could have stayed down the street and had a ball, it wasn't about where we were and what we did but that we were hanging out together.

We slept in, had real uninterrupted conversations over breakfast, lunch AND dinner. We took naps. We played Jenga and caught up on all the TV we have to wait to watch until after the kids go to bed. There was a LOT of HGTV / Food Network happening too. We slept in, drank too many margaritas and I lazed about the pool and people watched. 

In short - heaven. 

It was good for us as well. The break from the day-to-day grind of living, loving and raising a family in this current socio-economic climate can take a toll on a soul. Being able to connect in a way that we hadn't in a while was both enlightening and encouraging. 
We also ate some really good food. Because that is equally important. 


We also noted how many couples we saw and loved the fact that while Palm Springs isn't exactly a "party town" it's perfect for our personalities. You can stroll the main drag and find all sorts of shops, bars and places to eat. The prices aren't ridiculously over the top and the vibe is relaxed and chill. It's basically everything Vegas is not. And at this stage in our lives, it really suits us. 

Palm Springs is for lovers, it's warm out 90% of the time, thusly forcing you to either stay indoors or brave the heat and test your relationship and patience. But if you're cooped up indoors until it cools off, you have the opportunity to spend time with your partner in a way you most likely wouldn't at home. And that's pretty much what we did. It was almost like we were back in college again until our kids called to check in and break the reverie. It was all good and totally worth it. 

Adventures and daredevil activities are dope but sometimes, you gotsta' chill. 

Have you ever been to Palm Springs? What's your favorite way to get downtime with your partner? 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bawse Babe Magic At BlogHer

It’s rare I get back from a conference or event and write a recap so quickly but it had to be done.
I spent the last 3 days in downtown L.A. for BlogHer 16. And it was a little insane. For starters it’s one of the biggest blogging conferences and the O.G. so it makes sense that it be larger than most. Thousands of women converged on the J.W. Marriott to meet up with other members of their tribe, network and hopefully learn a few things.
I knew it was going to be a good one when after a quick trip to Starbucks the other Amber, of Talk to Amber fame, and I sauntered back into the lobby and ran smack into Whitney from Naptural85. She smiled in our direction and we took that as an invitation and went to say hello. That she was legit sweet, and genuinely interested in us and our spaces on the ‘net was the impetus for an exhilarating weekend. It was only the beginning.

blogher_ naptural85

By the time we caught up with Xenia and Ruby it was already crackin' in a major way. 

For roughly 72 hours, I was surrounded by some of the most powerful and influential women in my industry. And that was just half of us. At every conference it feels as if there is more and more magic in the air. As if it’s building up to something greater each time we get together.


The undercurrent of energy bubbling over as so many like-minded individuals talk shop and swap stories while marveling at those who are leading the way. It’s a MOMENT and I am overwhelmed every single time. But then there are also these other smaller magical moments that occur when sometimes no one and everyone is watching.

Such a thing happened on Saturday, I was sitting alone eating lunch waiting for Amber to return and Luvvie and Alyssa walked by on their way to get food, dropped their stuff and came back and sat down and then slowly a trickle dope ass women began to develop around us and it was sort awesome how it happened and of course photos had to be taken to document such a fortuitous occurrence because when magic is happening it must be acknowledged.

At one point I was chatting with Denene Miller of My BrownBaby, Luvvie Ajayi of Awesomely Luvvie and Erika Kendal of Black Girls Guide toWeight Loss  (when I tell you I run with and know bawse ass women BELIEVE me) and had them ALL hollerin, and Luvvie looks at me and says, “When is YOUR book coming out? Cuz I want to read THAT.”

Wait – whut?


The woman who’s writing I admire and makes me HOLLER daily with her everyday banter, just told me she wants to read a tome authored by me because I told her a true life story (well several- I have a few) and she fell over laughing? The woman who has a book coming out in 4 short weeks? Did she just….? Yes, Universe.
THAT was a highlight for me.
And then a few hours later I was hugging Marie Denee of TheCurvy Fashionista and fangirling over EveylnFromInternets and CeedotCee . It was a moment for sure. AND THEN – I crashed a dinner and met Mario Van Peebles because L.A. and what is even life?


I was working as a volunteer mic wrangler for a few sessions and it gave me a better appreciation of the staff that put on the conference as well as perspective on why/how things end up happening the way they do. But that is a whole other post and will come later. Because WOW. 

The entire #perosquad was in attendance and it was a beautiful thing to catch up in person with my girls I ‘see’ online every day. I miss them and value their thoughts and friendship and we don’t get to see each other for long stretches all the time so when we get together it’s ON.

There are so many moments of awesome and inspiration hanging out with the experts among us that I can’t properly do them justice by articulating them via text. 


You kinda had to be there.  And I hope that you will be. Next year I mean.

If this is your industry and you have been watching various stories unfold on social media I highly recommend getting to yourself to one of these events. It’s not all shenanigans all the time but it is magical and something we all can use a lot more of.   

Have you ever been to BlogHer? What was your experience? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

San Diego Stuntin In The Sedona

It’s not secret I’m a big believer in self-care and the importance of mamas getting time for themselves and with their friends. I write about it as often as possible and pretty much tell everyone I meet, in particular new mothers, - go get out with your girlfriends WITHOUT the kids.  So you better believe that when my girl Alice extended an invite, I jumped at the chance to head down to San Diego with KIA Motors and some of my other blogger friends. It was my first ever press trip and I was stupid excited about going. Add to that it was in one of my favorite So Cal cities? Yeah, let me go pack a bag right quick.

I was also excited for the opportunity to test drive #theNewKia and see what all my friends have been raving about in their Drive Shop posts. I low-key love cars, I don't necessarily understand all the mechanics of them, but years of attending auto shows gave me a huge appreciation for all the bells and whistles. We’d already had fun in the Sorrento that Amber had for Mom 2.0 Summit so I had high hopes. My expectations were exceeded. 

Y'ALL. It was red carpet rock’n’roll high class treatment all the way from the moment we stepped off the train. Yup. WE. I got to ride down to S.D. with my homegirl Xenia and that kicked things off in the most amazing way. Being that we're both California natives it was fun to make the scenic ride down to one of our favorite places in the state. Not having to drive ourselves was and really get a chance to talk with minimal distraction was an added bonus. 

There was a car waiting to take us to the hotel when we arrived and after that you really couldn't tell us nothin'. For real. The hospitality suite was next level and I couldn't stop my eyes from bugging out at all the treats and toys they had for us. And don't get me started on the room. I've never stayed at The Hard Rock Hotel before but it definitely went above anything I would have thought. Spacious, modern semi-suite all to myself. Oh hell yeah. And that was just day one! They whisked us off to a welcome cocktail hour and dinner and then we were off to explore and get ready for the next day's adventures.

We started day two with breakfast (there was bacon so you know I was happy) and then learning about all the many evolution's that KIA has gone through and how the brand has grown and I was impressed to find out how hands on the staff is in the process of creating a quality product that is consumer friendly both in use and in budget. One of my favorite takeaways was when John stated, "We want you to do what you do best, tell your stories, your ways." I dug that. 
They listen to the consumer and then they apply that to their product. How can you not be down with that? 

Then it was time to drive. My girls and I decided to try out the Sedona minivan mainly because Melissa raved about hers and I was staunchly anti-minivan mom cliché. Because #suburbangangster. But then they showed me some of the features that were discussed in the session (buttery soft leather, sliding seats for easy in & out) and I was like…oohhh kayy mayyybee it’s cool. And then we turned on the Harman Karman sound system and I was like ohhhkkayy? We got bumps? We good. So off we went.

Insert _cruisin down the street in my six-four. But swap out '64 for minivan and.....yeah. We bumped a mix of late 90’s to mid 00’s (aughts? IDK I’m not a fan of that) and it was like old times. Except I was in the back seat of a plush suburban mom symbol with some friends who happen to be mom’s.  
Xenia hipped us to Barrio Logan and off we went. Can’t front, that place is like IG heaven, it’s a beautiful mix of murals of all kinds and because we’re kids at heart. We headed straight to the playground so Jillian could go down the slide. I almost didn’t want to leave it was so pretty and there were so many murals to see! I couldn’t photograph them all!

After a pit stop at Krispy Kreme (because DONUTS) we headed back to the city with a view of the beach on our left. The water beckoned to us and we all agreed a stop was in order. I have fond memories of cruising down Pacific Coast Highway with the windows down and music up loud sometimes riding solo, most of the time with my best girlfriends as we let our worries drift away like the tide, and let our hair blow until it hurt our faces.  Water on one side, responsibility on the other. Those were the days, man. Before kids and responsibilities when we could lose ourselves in the music, get caught up in the moments and groove like no one was watching. Somehow five women in a minivan managed to evoke the same feeling in me.

We ended up back at the hotel in time for a nap and all was right with the world. You know the last time I had a solid nap with no interuptions? Me either. 
I woke up rested and ready to karaoke with the new friends I'd made. Again, KIA knocked it out of the park with the set up and the live band. 

We sang our hearts out and went to bed hoarse and happy.  

Being this was my first real introduction to KIA I was blown away by their hospitality and the level of dedication they had to ensuring we had a great time. Not only did I learn about the brand, their philosophies, and history. They let us have our pick of cars and take them on a tour through San Diego. 
It was literally a dream come true and I wish more brands would follow suit. 

As we parted ways the next morning I could not stop gushing about my time in San Diego, the level of cool that is the Hard Rock Hotel with it's secret nooks and treasures around every other corner, the staff that painstakingly made sure we were accommodated in every way and the entire KIA team. 

The transparency and energy we experienced has yet to be duplicated and I am hard pressed to think that it could be any time soon. 

The new hotness - the KIA Niro -

 *Images via KIA and me as noted

** This is not a sponsored post. I attended a press trip for KIA motors but all thoughts and comments are my own.


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