Friday, October 28, 2016

Come Thru With Fall Style Fellas!

"This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own."

I often get crap from my husbands friends and my brother because they I only focus on women's fashion, to which they have a point but I'm a woman. Focusing on women's fashion and helping them develop their personal style, is kind of my thing. But that doesn't mean I don't have love for the fellas and their personal style struggles, I truly do. It's just that shopping for them can be a little trickier for as sometimes my vision isn't necessarily what they have in mind. My brother is a bit more of a risk taker when it comes to what he'll wear but even he's on the fence about some things I think work. I want to get better at analyzing what will work for all the men I love. 

Lucky for me, Macy's is going to help me out a bit in that department with their semi-annual men's style events. Even better for me, there will be one held at their South Coast Plaza store next Saturday 11/5 at 3pm. It's totally free and open to the public so I hope y'all will stop by. You can bet I'll be front and center trying to get a handle on the seasons latest looks and trends, making note of what I might want to purchase for the fellas. 
And while my husband isn't that into fashion or furthering his personal style, he's open to seeing what he could learn. 
It was a lot easier when we were younger and his wardrobe consisted primarily of t-shirts, button ups (always plaid) and a few suits for dressier occasions.  But, as we all know, times they are a changing. Men's fashion has come a long way and I'm curious to see what Macy's comes up with and what he's inspired by. 

For more information for events near you check here: 

In the meantime, I hope to see all my local style savvy folks out at South Coast! 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

For All The Friends I Loved Before


To all the friends I've loved before......
The ones I used to spend hours on the phone with but life and children and distance have made that seemingly impossible.
The ones I used to spend all my free time with. Those that used to come to every event we hosted. To the ones who hung in there even after kids, and countless moves and life changes. The ones I met in Mommy & Me classes as well as actual classrooms. The ones I've worked with over the years or met because of work. The ones I met online and in bathrooms.
I miss you and I hope you're well. 
I'm not sure when things changed or how. Life began to get in the way of our friendship and unlike some others, neither of us really made the effort to fix it. Or if we did it was one sided and less seemed like more so we just let it die out. Sometimes there were last ditch attempts to make it work but for whatever reason, maybe it was for the best, we didn't happen. There is no blame to be laid, this is just the way life goes and in my many years of over-analyzing relationships I know this much to be true. 

Friendships come and go. Especially among women and even more so when we become mothers. There are those that are there in your time of need at 3 a.m. when you're a new mom and have no idea what is happening with not only your body but your baby. There are the ones you eat lunch with everyday at work and know all about their family history and dynamics, the ones whose baby showers, weddings and birthdays you attend. And for a time you can't imagine your life, and how you've managed so long without them. But those relationships ebb & flow like the tide all the while helping you sustain your footing and keep you afloat. They are gems hidden in plain sight. Treasure them while you can. 

So to all the friends I loved before, Thank you for being a friend when I needed it. Thank you for being there when I felt like the world was against me and when I thought I walked on water. Some times things were fabulous and fun and other times were full of whining and sadness. Salacious gossip and memories that will never be forgotten or betrayed. Those were magical moments. 
Without you I wouldn't have made it through. 
The memories we've shared, through laughter , through tears. So many highs, so many lows that we both went through. 
Please know that I never judged you.
I hope I was there for you in the way that you needed too. I know I can be sporadic and loud and that can come off as aloof, but I hope you know that I was always there for you. An email, a text or even a ring on the phone, for you I'd pick up. 

Perhaps my ways were not what you needed and that you have since cultivated a tribe who truly understands you. 
But in the meantime just remember, like Whitney told Bobby, "I' will always love you".

Do you have any friends you've loved and lost? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Chillin With The 40/40 Club

This weekend was marked with a bit of magic.
My husband rounded out his group of friends who are turning 40 this year and we finally got to celebrate all together. It's been a weird year for the Mr. C2C and I with many ups and downs, hella highs and crazy lows but we've gotten this far and it was time to celebrate.
My original plan was to have a house all to ourselves w/ our closest friends and just chill with quality food & drink and maybe hang by a pool. (Think Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica when they went to Florida for NYE and the Orange Bowl. - Don't judge me.) I had it all planned in my head. But things didn't quite work out as I thought they would so I regrouped.  And then we were at dinner a few months back and I just asked him what he wanted to do , while still throwing out a few ideas and he told me he just wanted to hang out with his friends low key style. Okay cool, I can do that.

See - I LOVE birthdays. I love to party plan and prep and wear myself out running around to find just the right props and tablecloths but that is not him. He lets me go to town and be over the top most of the time because he knows this is what I love and also how I show love (Acts of Service) but this time, things were different. 
Money is tighter, time is shorter and there are other things hovering in the background that require our attention.
So I chilled on all that noise. The hamster on the wheel in my party brain was all , 'hallelujah and pass the carrots. I simply sent out an E-vite to his best friends, sisters and brother to come hang for a low key game night.


In a fortuitous turn of events almost all of the homies were able to come through and we kicked it old school for a few hours sans kids.
We broke out the dominoes and Jenga and commenced to ass kicking and shit talkin'. Later we pulled out Cards Against Humanity and the evening proceeded to go hilariously astray from there. The birthday boy was in charge of reading the first round and he couldn't get through it without laughing so hard tears rolled down his face.

It was in that moment, when he was doubled over, CRINE laughing, surrounded on all sides by the friends he's turned into family with "The Art of Storytelling" playing in the background, that I knew I did good.  No balloons or banners or singing. No massive gathering. Just the things he likes the most: good food, good drinks and good friends. And because we came up together and have shared many memories there was no reason to get perfect pictures or really any at all. Present and in the moment as it should be. 

At one point we ended up out on the patio and it was like old times except it's exceedingly more and decidedly better than we could have ever imagined.  We stayed up well past our bedtimes and ate way too many cupcakes while the fellas sipped on a little cognac and the ladies knocked back margaritas. 

You might've seen me joke about my husband becoming a card carrying member of the 40/40 club but the truth is, I can tell he's hit his stride. He's more secure in his ideals and beliefs, our family is solid and we have goals that we are working towards, together 
Forty looks good on you Mr. Dorsey. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Betsey x Macys + Trolls!!

“This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.“

I make no apologies about my love for Macy's and how they continuously strive to create community include their shoppers in the overall plan for what they carry and do. So it should come as a surprise to no one that I am SO excited for next week's event at Macy's in Rancho Cucamonga. 

Legendary designer Betsey Johnson is launching her latest collection xox Trolls, inspired by Dreamworks Animation's Trolls and available exclusively at Macy's!
If you're familiar with Betsey (and really where have you been?) then you know that her being inspired by the Dreamworks Animations Trolls movie is not all that surprising. Bright colors? Awesome hair? That's Betsey in a nutshell. Macy's does such an amazing job with these fashion events and I can't wait to see what they come up with this time. I always have such fun at these. And I get ideas for reworking my own wardrobe so double win! 

Not local to So Cal? Don't trip - there will be events taking place all over the country and you can check out the schedule here  for more details! 

But if you ARE local, I hope you'll join me for a fun afternoon of talking fashion and if you're one of the first 100 people in line you can take a photo with Betsey! Oh and if you spend $50 on Betsey Johnson merchandise you can get a signature selfie stick! Not gonna lie, I love a selfie stick and their many versatile uses! 

So am I going to see you next Saturday 10/29 at 2pm at Macy's in the Victoria Gardens?

I better!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How I Became One Of "The Cool Moms"


Over the last few weeks I've seen articles from women who claim to be either so "above" the typical modern mom or sad that they’re left out of the “cool moms” group. I get both sides to a certain extent.  
One article discussed how she was not ‘into modern mom culture’ because she doesn’t drink wine and hasn’t been to a big box store in over a decade. Because she’s a city dweller and doesn’t drive how could she relate to the excitement of a minivan? Well that doesn’t make you the poster child for counter mom culture. It just means your life looks different than those who live in more suburban areas. Cool story though.

Then there was the mom who was lamenting about not being in the ‘cool mom’ group because she wears pajamas to drop off and not Lululemon, her kids aren't perfectly dressed and she has trash in her car. And to that I just had to laugh. Who declared all the "cool moms" wear Lululemon (and who can afford it?) and drink Starbucks BEFORE drop-off? 

Being a mom is hard. I’ve said for years and tell all my new mom friends, finding a tribe when you are just starting out is key. But also realize that tribe is going to evolve and grow as your children do. School moms are a horse of a completely different color and who you start out with in play group may not be who you end up with come senior year in high school. 
To the mom who is sad about not being in the cool mom group. I get it. I know you. I used to be you. Sort of. See when my daughter first began elementary school I was finishing up school, so I had a bit of a flex schedule and could be around for class parties and volunteering. I soon learned that I wasn't the room mom type and happily went to school at the end of each shift. I also felt like the odd woman out when it came to the other mothers. Most had older kids and had been in the mom game for a minute while I was trying to maintain my G.P.A. 
By the time she started 2nd grade we moved to a new city where we knew no one. In those first few months I always felt like the odd mom out when I picked her up and being one of few black families in the area felt like I stood out more than anyone else. I also didn’t dress like the other mothers, who all seemed like they were established and in their late 30’s – mid 40’s and in capri's and rayon shirts.  They seemed to want no parts of my newly 30 year-old  cut-off and flips self. Okay cool.  Then I went to work full time and mostly forgot about them until we went to school functions and I would see them all chatting and laughing. There were pangs of jealousy. Maybe a little loneliness. I wondered how long they’d all been friends and what they did for fun. But again, I worked full-time almost two hours away so I wasn’t pressed.
Then, I got pregnant with Baby Ninja and went on early maternity leave. Suddenly I had to navigate the world of after school pickup. Something I hadn’t done in over two years.  Who knew there was a science to it? Not me. 
I would see groups of moms gathered in what seemed like “cliques” chatting and laughing each afternoon as I sat and played with my phone. Comparing notes on everything from the teachers they liked, to dentists to which soccer coaches were the worst. And I totally felt left out. Part of me wanted to be ‘above it all’ and I don’t have TIME for all that housewife-y type ish. And the other part of me wanted nothing more than to be included. Sometimes, I would see them in Target or overhear plans to get coffee and it made me miss my own friends as I climbed back into my car and drove home alone. But still I brushed it off.

Then something crazy happened. I struck up a conversation with a couple of them one day. Randomly, I was close enough to overhear and jumped right in with my two cents and a hearty chuckle. The ice was broken.  It also helped that a couple of them were pregnant as well and we would nod at each other in solidarity as we lumbered through the parking lot.
Little by little I learned names and we chatted more and more each day. 
I still wasn’t all the way “in” but I was close enough.  Was I really making school mom friends? How exciting! Once Baby Ninja was born, it was even more important to get to know these women. I don’t know anything about having a boy and several of them had two or three! And talking to them sure did pass the time while waiting for Sweet Pea. I began to look forward to my afternoon carpool duties if for no other reason than to have some adult conversation. 

Sure some of them were complete opposites of me. I am not about that PTA / volunteer mom life. I’m just not. I don’t have the filter required for that kind of service and I cuss like a sailor, children in earshot be damned. (#sorrynotsorry)  BUT I will happily provide items for the bake sale. Just don’t ask me to chair it.

And it turned out I wasn’t alone. I be-friended another mom, who actually works in my industry and is about as interested in volunteering as I am. We happily chatted about SEO, bloggers we both know and the struggle of hitting your deadline and being creative with children underfoot. We even road tripped to a conference and were roommates so how's that for getting know each other!  They were more than just faces in the crowd at that point. 
I also took the time to actually get to know these women outside of judging them for how they looked/acted/what they wore.  And I realized, I fit that "cool mom" mystique. I get dressed before I drop my kids off (most days, but that’s what active wear is for) and make it a point to say hello. I am into fashion and can talk personal style for days. We meet for coffee and sometimes brunch when our schedules permit and you can often find us in the aisles of Target. And maybe that intimidates other moms. It can be hard being feeling like you're on the outside looking in but take if from me, if you don't make the effort to engage, you'll forever be feeling like that. And who knows, maybe you'll find you won't like them as much as you though or maybe, like me, you'll find you like them a whole lot more. 

But don't write off the "cool moms" as being exclusive. We're not, our sunglasses are just bigger than yours.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

It's More Than Medicine For Some

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

I've said it before and I'll continue to say it until maybe it starts to make sense or get easier, but parenting a teenager in 2106 is weird. There are so many things we have to watch out for, keep track of and encourage about while still trying to maintain our sanity and some semblance of control on our household. I don't know about y'all but I struggle with that. The upside is we have a very good open dialogue with Sweet Pea when it comes to what we "think" teens are doing these days.
That includes everything from homework, dress code, social media behavior and drugs and alcohol. Yep, she's 14 and we talk about drug and alcohol use and abuse because this is life. It's not like when I was a kid and we had D.A.R.E and parents thought seeing a "this is your brain on drugs" commercial would be enough of a deterrent. And it's not like we just have the "hard drugs" to worry about anymore either. Nope, they're getting high off of cough medicine. Cough medicine y'all. The stuff we used to run from. These kids are flocking to and abusing.

But not on my watch. Do you know that approximately 1 in 30 teens has abused OTC cough medicine? Yeah me neither. I had an idea that it could be abused thanks to a fun encounter I had as a teen and the popularity of "Sizzurp" when I was in college but I thought that ship had sailed. 
One week I was really sick, and took it upon myself to medicate and get the right dosage. Except that I didn't. I'd forgotten I had taken a Tylenol (or something to that affect) earlier in the day and went over about 1/2 ML in dosing the Nyquil I was hoping would relieve my symptoms and let me sleep. I was so wrong. I have a hazy memory of the phone ringing and talking to my brothers girlfriend and my heart beating like crazy and that's it. I just felt so out of it and I could not figure out why. That had never happened before. 
My father, a doctor, later confirmed I was indeed high and was lucky I didn't have a stronger reaction. Ever since then I've been really adamant about not mixing meds and reading all the Drug Facts Labels.

That's why this year, I'm all in when it come to supporting Stop Medicine Abuse campaign to help spread the word among parents.  

When you look at the numbers it will make you rethink where and how you stockpile your medicine for the "seasonal sickies" while keeping an eye on the level of meds in the bottle. And to be fair, it may not even be your kid that you have to be concerned about, it could be a friend of theirs. If you store medicine in your children's bathrooms, you might want to reconsider if you have teenagers who have friends over and have access to these meds. 

DXM or Dextromthorphan is the active ingredient in most OTC cough medicines and some teens use it to get high.  Some nasty side affects of abuse are vomiting, rapid heartbeat and loss of motor control.  I encourage all my parent friends to look out for the PARENTS icon on cold and cough medicine packaging. That icon will direct you to where you can learn more about teen abuse and how to prevent it.  

Have you talked to your teens about cough medicine abuse? How did you address it? 


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