Thursday, August 31, 2017

10 Date Ideas For September That Aren't Dinner & A Movie

With the kids back in school and things getting back into some semblance of a routine I set about my getting my life together by way of organizing my calendar. As I was scheduling out the the month (dental, doctor appointments, days off etc.) I thought we should go ahead and get some date nights on there as well so we can budget and plan ahead a little bit lest we are caught with some "free time" and no ideas on what to do with it.

A few weeks ago my mom randomly offered to baby sit on a Friday night so we happily took her up on that. But we were sort of at a loss as to what to do. We ended up going to one of the outdoor shopping centers and wandering around the shops for a bit before grabbing a drink and a bite to eat at Yard House. Afterwards we stopped by to see some friends and ended up talking well into the late night. While we enjoyed ourselves, I realized we often do the same things for date nights, unless we've got tickets to an event of some kind. 

There is a small part of me that misses the fun of the early days when we did stuff for dates. Not that we don't have fun and have adventures but when was the last time that weekly/ monthly date night was something other dinner,a movie or drinks w/ friends?
So I thought I'd make a fun list of some kick ass dates that can break us out of our standard dinner or a movie rut. I narrowed it down to ten. 

  1. The L.A. County fair - With concerts, food of all kinds, rides, exhibits and an abundance of good people watching it really is the perfect date no matter day or night.
  2. Beer Tasting - I'm admittedly not a beer lover. But my guy likes them so I don't mind taking one for the team and trying out a flight or two. Who knows - I might find something I can tolerate! 
  3. Bowling - Taking it back to the days of dating back in high school and college, a night of friendly competitive bowling can do wonders for a relationship. Loser has to do the dishes for a week. 
  4. Piano Bar - Dueling pianos playing ALL the hits, plus drinks, people watching and snacks? Yes please! We went once two years ago and my cheeks still hurt from laughing.  
  5. Paint & Sip - These are popping up all over and why not take the main squeeze and spend a little time getting creative with a little libation? Everybody in the class gettin' tipsy!
  6. Cooking Class - It may seem "odd" to want to cook on your night off but learning a new recipe together in a group setting isn't' the same as destroying your kitchen trying to make a Pinterest recipe with children underfoot.
  7. Salsa Classes - When was the last time you and your S.O. danced together? And not twerking at a bar or club I mean, legit danced. I've been wanting to take dance classes for forever and I think it would be such a fun way to spend an evening or afternoon!
  8. Indoor Rock Climbing -  On our honeymoon we went zip lining and then rappelled down the side of a mountain. Rock climbing seems like a fun way to get back to that same kind of adrenaline rush. 
  9. Escape Room - These keep popping up in my social feed and in almost every Groupon email! Some friends of ours did it last summer and had a ball so it's definitely going on the list. 
  10. Street Food Cinema - okay so maybe it IS kind of dinner and a movie but not in the traditional sense! Each movie night has aptly themed food and there is a DJ and it's outdoors! That's definitely a switch from  the local theater.
The cool thing is a lot of these things can be done affordably and even last minute! Groupon, Living Social, Facebook, Eventbrite all have great listings of events happening wherever you are! Most of these are local to So Cal but I'm sure can be found in most cities, so check it out and go get your date on! 

So - what are you trying out that's on this list? Do you have a date night routine?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Mail Call: Why I'm On A Mission To Send More

A few months back I found the cutest note cards while out cruising the stores before pickup. It got me excited to send some happy mail to my gal pals and online friends I don't really talk to all the time.
And then it got me thinking about how the way we communicate has changed and even though we share things online and in group chats. Letter writing has gone out the window. It's an outdated art. I kind of miss it though. 
I know going to the post office is drag. Trust me, I am the absolute worst when it comes to mailing stuff. Just ask Sili, I've been sitting on a package of hers since March. Hey August. Terrible. I know my shortcomings. Making it to the post office is one of them.
While it may take a few months for me to make it inside the post office to mail off a package, I absolutely have zero problems dropping a note card in the mail. 

Perhaps it stems from going to summer camp and visiting relatives back east as kid and looking forward to letters from my parents and friends. Add in, going three thousand miles away to college and waiting with baited breath for care packages from my parents as well as letters from my friends and boyfriend, I dig letter writing. I may not be the best at keeping up via phone calls but I'll drop you a few lines like it's nothing. 

I also LOVE getting mail other than bills so I write in hopes that others will write back and my trips to the mailbox are a little more exciting than the arrival of the new IKEA catalog. 

Even when I was younger, I dug stationary. My family has always given me custom stationary so my love is basically ingrained deep within. Even while away at school I still made it a point to write letters on cute note cards (I'm talking Sanrio and early Disney Store classic Winnie The Pooh days) and even had a small side hustle hand making cards my freshman year. 

So, I put it out there I was collecting addresses and began my card writing project. After an initial burst of cards, it's been slow and steady the last few months because life. Also - I want to take my time with my words and not just dash off a quick thought that doesn't mean much. I must admit, I do get quite the rush when I drop a stack of pretty envelopes in the mail and imagine the reactions; sorting through the bills and weekly mailers and seeing a handwritten envelope with their name on it. A smile spreads across their lips at the unexpected arrival and with an extra pep in their step they head in the house. At least that's how I feel when it happens to me.

We'll see how many I get back. But that won't stop me from sending the ones I have and picking up even more.When I see a cute set I can't help but scoop it up and between trips to Target's Dollar Spot, Home Goods and all the cute nonsense that shows up in my social media feeds, I'm covered.

Here are a few of my fave sites for buying sweet note cards and other stationary: 

Oh So Paper Co  
Mae B. Online 

Effies Paper 

Do you like stationary? Where do you buy yours?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sanity Saving Tips For Shopping With A Teenager

Growing up in the 90's I absolutely dug back to school shopping. I didn't have much personal style except that I would sometimes try to emulate outfits I'd seen in movies but other than that, I just bought what looked cool on the mannequins or a similar version to what I'd seen on friends.  Attending a private high school didn't give me that much in the way of freedom of expression w/ my style the way public schools did. We had a semi-strict dress code and my parents were hella modest so there was a LOT that I knew I couldn't wear.

Now that I have a teenager of my own and dealing with outfitting her for an entire year, things are a little bit different.  I find myself exhibiting similar characteristics of my mother while shopping but I've also caught myself in the act and corrected my behavior. See I don't want my kid to have any type of complex about her body because of my statements about what she chooses to put on it. Nor do I want her to be ashamed of her body in any manner. After 15 years of shopping together, we've finally got it somewhat down in how we approach our shopping and what's age appropriate and still cool.

Over the years I've learned a few hard and fast rules when it comes to shopping with your teenager. Granted, I still think stores with a "juniors" department should serve wine but hey, that's just what would make it easier for me. 
  1. Eat first. Listen, this is really the foundation of any shopping trip. It's the only way to properly avoid a hangry meltdown on either of your part. I know we tend to avoid trying on clothes post meal so if you can't eat, be sure to carry snacks or stop for one. 
  2. Encourage their personal style exploration - The only way to do this is to compromise in some fashion. So you don't love your daughter in crop tops? okay invest in high waist jeans and your problem of baring the belly button is solved. Everyone is happy
  3. Keep your facial expressions even. Or at least attempt to. I know sometimes it can be hard when your teen comes out of the dressing room looking like an extra from the Laguna Beach but try to keep your comments to yourself.
  4. point outfit 'ideas' for inspiration - This works two fold in that you don't want to come off as suggesting that they rock a certain style and you also get a feel for how they see themselves. 
  5. remember what it felt like - this is key. School shopping is stressful enough for us all. Parents are harried and doing mental gymnastics to figure out how to budget for all the necessities while still splurging on some of the needs.
  6. make it fun at the end of the day, this is prime opportunity to chat with your teen as you have their undivided attention (sort of) and you can impart some low-key momisms but still be cool about it. Because I have a daughter we end up getting mani/pedi's while I pry into her life a little bit.

These tips apply to year round shopping and not just back to school. Holiday shopping can also be a drag if no one's in the right mind set and keeping these tips in mind while out and about trying on yet another pair of jeans can save someones life. I kid you not. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

This Summer

This summer has been......... different. 

It’s been both busy and quiet. Things have been slightly off balance since my dad moved in back in May and we’ve been trying to recover and catch our steps ever since. Having a septuagenarian in a house with a toddler(ish) and teenager is a trip let me just tell you. Managing every one's feelings and expectations with real life applications has been quite the roller coaster ride.
A side-effect of my dad's stroke is that he needs to have someone around the majority of the time. He is mobile and ambulatory, so he can do the basics by himself but on occasion he needs a second set of hands to keep him steady. He's had a couple of falls since being home from the rehab hospital, so naturally I was a tad nervous to leave him by himself for long periods. Which is pretty hard to do when you have an active five year old. 

There haven’t been any trips this summer. No overnights or escapes from reality, no conferences or press trips and I’m realizing we desperately need that. Travel is key. No matter if it’s just a few hours drive or a flight away we need to that break from our everyday routine. We've missed that. The last few years we've managed to get away for a few days here and there and it's always been so much fun to stop our everyday routine. Getting out of town with the family is essential to our survival. 
Things started off pretty slow and around week three I wanted to pull my hair out but things slowly picked up and got better. 

The kids have been in classes twice a week the last few weeks so that’s also been a switch. Running back and forth all over town as they each have their 'schedules' to adhere to.
As we ready ourselves for Kindergarten we took the boy out of pre-school (all the praise hands for not having to write that check any more) so he’s been home on the daily. Coming up with activities to keep him occupied while simultaneously finding ways / time to be creative and get my own work done has stretched the levels of my imagination and patience. 

I'm a mixed bag of emotions about school resuming next week. Excitement for the year ahead, relief that they will be otherwise occupied for several hours of the day and a little bit of sadness that summer is over. Something that a lot of my mom friends are also experiencing, that bit of guilt that we didn't do enough, go on enough adventures,create more or even just day trip around town. No amusement parks, not enough trips to the beach or time playing in the pool. Things were just a little off from years past, but I think they still had a good time.

There were field trips to fancy doughnut shops, and time spent with friends, dinosaur books and mornings at the park. We did watch a LOT of movies but, we did it as a family and that's what matters most. 
So, while this summer may have been a little different than those before, it was still kinda fun.
But you bet your sweet cheeks we're going somewhere next year. 

What did y'all do differently this summer?


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