Sunday, July 23, 2017

MY SUMMER FASHION FAVES for 2017

Oh, summer, how I love you so!!!

Your sunshine! 

Your warmth! 

How your very presence calls for the breaking of while-school's-in-session rules, such as always wearing shoes and paying mind to bedtimes.

And you know what I truly love about summer?

The clothes.

Here are my sartorial staples for summer--along with a few other items I remain enthusiastically geeked about--that stay in constant rotation literally All. Season. Long. 

And p.s., the following items listed are the exact items I own... 


HAREM PANTS
Alright, I realize that when you look at these pants the old 90s MC Hammer classic, You Can't Touch This may come to mind, but if you can move past that and follow me here, you just might understand why I've come to believe these pants are the greatest things since sliced bread. First of all, they're 100% cotton, roomy, and thereby extremely comfortable. I've worn these harem pants during a 500-mile car ride to the East Coast, when I took the kids to see a magician perform at our local public library, and these pants have also become my go-to pants to practice yoga in. Simply put, I now live in these pants. And, thankfully, my kids are not yet old enough to inform me that wearing them will embarrass them. Whew.


 LULULEMON POWER Y TANK TOP
Like the pants above, I seriously consider the top above to be of holy grail status. In fact, every single time I wear the pants above, practice yoga, get dressed in the morning, or, say, take a breath, I am wearing one of these tanks. To date, I've purchased nine-- one for every day of the week, plus one to spare! Wearing this tank is like a "twofer" because of the built in bra. Plus, these tanks wash well and fit like a glove. They're worth every penny.

HAVAIANAS FLIP-FLOPS
Okay, I'm about to hop into my fashion time machine for a moment, and those who were fans of Nicole Ritchie's closet circa 2005, will remember this era fondly: When The Simple Life star accessorized all of her outfits with colorful Havaiana flip-flops. Well, I immediately bought four pairs...which I still have today. I found them in my closet a few months ago, dusted them off, and began to wear them around the house in place of my shearling-lined Minnetonka moccasin slippers when spring arrived. And guess what I discovered? I still love these flip-flops, so I bought a silver pair, pictured above. Yeah, I can hear the naysayers poo-pooing the mere thought of spending over twenty bucks on a pair of plastic thong flip-flops, but in this case, you get what you pay for: These don't fade, lose shape, or fall apart. 




SPERRY TOP SIDER ESPADRILLES
While I love the Havaianas above, the one thing they lack is arch support, which is truly something my forty-year-old feet have come to appreciate. While I still kick it in my Havaianas at the beach and around the house, my go-to summer shoe all other times has been and continues to be the Birkenstock Gizeh. However. I bought a pair of Sperry Top Sider espadrilles (pictured above) last year at a deep, deep discount on clearance last fall, and promised to break them in this summer. Well, honey, let me tell you. We're only half-way through this summer and they already feel like buttuh! And they go with nearly everything I own.


AMERICAN EAGLE COTTON KHAKI SHORTS
I've worn these shorts literally four days straight. (Yes, I washed them after the second wash; then air-dried them flat.) Honestly, if I'm not in the harem pants, I'm rocking these. In short (no pun intended), I love these so much. The end.



J. CREW "PAPER THIN" COTTON T-SHIRT
(With ruffle detail)
My only regret now is that when I bought this shirt (in white) back in 2015, I didn't buy at least three more. I don't think J. Crew makes them anymore. (**INSERT A CRYING EMOJI HERE. :-(**)




RAY-BAN AVIATORS
These babies have been by my side since the summer of 2010. A true classic, they are. And while I consider myself somewhat of an aficionado when it comes to sunglasses (Chanel is my other favorite brand), I always come back to this pair, which is why I'm wearing them in the photo at the very top of this post.



LOUIS VUITTON SAC SHOPPER TOTE
Oh, Sac tote, how I love thee. Let me count the ways: Your long beautiful straps that (thankfully) don't dig into my arm despite the fact that I load this bag down like a pack mule; the lustrous patina that has developed over your leather detail; your dimensions, which enable me to fit everything from, say, a gas can to a Kitchen-Aid mixer. I bought this bag when I was pregnant with Kennedy, in anticipation of using it as her diaper bag (which I did, and it worked out great), and now that both she and Scotty are older, I carry around much less and this bag serves as my go-everywhere tote. I know that this bag was discontinued in favor of the now-current Louis Vuitton darling, the Neverfull tote, but I don't care. To me, this bag is Still The One.



WAI LANA STICKY YOGA MAT
Do you know how people get nostalgic over songs and perhaps movies? Yeah, well, I get that way over yoga mats....Back when I was studying to receive my yoga teaching certification and learned midway through that I was pregnant with Scotty, I bought myself an orange Wai Lana sticky mat. To this day, it is the most comfortable yoga mat I own, and, trust me, I own too many yoga mats. So, this year, for my 40th, I gifted myself  with the Wai Lana mat with Ganesh detail (pictured above), and although it has only seen about four months worth of practice, as soon as I step foot on it, it already feels like home. Namaste.





HEM WHITE SAGE INCENSE STICKS
If it is possible for peace, clarity, and joy to be condensed into a half-millimeter-thick stick, this has to be what it smells like. Admittedly, I am a fan of dried sage, and smudge (an ancient practice of healing and energy clearing) our home with it every New Years Day. So, simply based on my love of sage alone, I took a chance and ordered this incense, despite never having smelled it...and now I can safely affirm to you that it is the best incense I own.



TOM'S OF MAINE NATURAL LIP BALM
I'm an EOS girl, but I am also a fan of Tom's, so, 'eh, I picked this up at Walmart. Love the ingredients; love the scent, and I love the way this feels.



WETLINE XTREME PROFESSIONAL HAIR GEL
As curl-obsessed as I am, you know good and well I could not end this post without a shout-out to the product that I credit with keeping my and my daughter Kennedy's curls frizz-fee and shiny during this (sometimes) oppressive summer heat. The key is this gel right here: WetLine Xtreme Professional Hair Gel. It's cheap, doesn't contain alcohol or silicones (but is made with aloe vera, which makes this gel quite healthy), and it performs well. This pretty much means it is a curly girl's dream.



Hope you're enjoying your summer!!!!!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

HOW TO SOAK UP SUMMER

Go outside.

Play outside, walk outside, exercise outside, relax outside, eat outside, and most importantly, breathe in the outdoors; do as much as you can in the sun or under shade.

Go barefoot.

Feel the earth against the soles of your feet. Get your feet dirty as often as possible. (It's nothing a good shower can't fix.)

Lay down on the grass and look up. Take a moment to really observe the sky above--the passing clouds, the birds flying by, the trail of vapors from an airplane. 

Do we ever really notice these things? Probably not often enough.

Study trees. 

Watch them move in the breeze. Go ahead and wrap your arms around one while you're at it.

I'm serious!

Humans and wildlife could never survive without the benefits we receive from trees and other plant life: Trees facilitate the production of breathable air, after all. 

The least we can do is show our appreciation with a hug.

Use your sense of smell.

All the barbecue, the elusive whiffs of bug spray, the fragrance of flowers, the traces of freshly cut grass, evening rain, and everything in between.

Buy something from the ice cream truck--and if it doesn't offer anything you like, buy something for a child.

Take a moment to sit on your front porch (or nearby curb) after the sun has gone down.

Just be there and take it all in with an open heart.

And then count your blessings that you're able to do all of the above.

But, wait, there's more.

Do copious amounts of the following:

Smile.

Laugh.

Sing. And loudly. Especially with the windows down in the car.

Live.

Do all of this without thinking about it; it will come naturally if you let it.





Sunday, May 7, 2017

GlassesShop.com review & coupon code


Confession: I am pretty close to being blind.

And while I don't know how close I am to being legally blind, I can tell you this for certain: If I were behind the wheel without my corrective lenses, I am liable to mistake Niagara Falls as a tiny puddle--or my husband as Danny DeVito.

I'm not trying to be funny here: I NEED prescription lenses or contacts in order to see clearly.

If I venture beyond home turf, I wear my contact lenses 99.9% of the time.

But as soon as I return home, I pop those suckers out so fast, it would make your head spin. And then I slide on my eyeglasses

So I was pretty psyched when it appeared that The Eyeglasses Gods had decided to smile upon me in the form of an email from GlassesShop.com: They told me to pick out a pair of frames and they'd send them to me -- with prescription lenses -- and they'd sweeten the deal even more by providing the readers of this blog with a discount code for 50% off eyeglasses and sunglasses with FREE lenses. 

This was a darn good deal, and seeing as though I was in dire need of a new pair of eyeglasses myself, I was like Heck, yeah! Let's do this.

Having partnered with this company before, I know what GlassesShop.com is all about, and if you haven't visited their site which arguably possesses the best selection of stylish and affordable eyeglasses online, then it's time you check them out. Oh, and their prescription sunglasses are awesome!

And the best part?

GlassesShop.com provides lightening fast shipping, so my new glasses were on my doorstep about a week after ordering them. They were well-packed and arrived with a clear hard case and microfiber lens cloth:



The frames above are the same ones I'm wearing in the top photo; they're the Kalamazoo style in black. It's a style I keep coming back to again and again. What can I say? I like a strong, sturdy frame.

But make no mistake, whatever frame style tickles your fancy, GlassesShop.com has got it.

And here's how you can find a pair of your own: Simply visit GlassesShop.com, select the eyeglasses or sunglasses frames of your choosing, have your eyeglass prescription handy because you'll need to enter it when ordering, and, finally, enter the following special coupon code to receive 50% off eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses (sale frames excluded)*:

GSHOT50


That's it!

Now, go on: Change the way you look at things by visiting GlassesShop.com!


*Shipping rates are as follows:
Cost of standard shipping when order amount is less than $49:      $4.95
Cost of standard shipping when order amount exceeds $49:           Free
Cost of expedited shipping when order amount is less than $49:    $14.95
Cost of expedited shipping when order amount exceeds $49:         $10
Cost of expedited shipping for orders that exceed $99:                   Free


Saturday, April 29, 2017

WEEKDAY MORNING: WINS vs. FAILS

Like many moms of young school-aged children, I liken the act of rising and shining on weekday mornings to herding cats.

No, it's more like playing a game of wack-a-mole.

Wait, wait, wait. Scratch that. 

It's like juggling flaming chainsaws.

Yeah, that.

Because despite being a self-professed master of organization, something--some way, somehow--seems to slip between the cracks. 

I call these tiny earthquakes "fails".

But the small "wins"--the things that go well--make it all worth it.

Here's a glimpse into a recent weekday at Casa de Conover:

5:30 a.m.     My cell phone vibrates. It's time for morning yoga in my yoga den while everyone is still asleep and the house is quiet. I love this time! I crave this time. I press snooze. Four times. (I really need to give up late-night TV.) #FAIL

5:53 a.m.     I tiptoe out of bed, make my way to the other end of the house, turn on my Himalayan salt rock lamp, and twist and bend my way through an carefree, relaxed impromptu flow that makes me feel stretched, light, and ready to take on the day. #WIN

6:35 a.m.    Time to wake up the kiddos. As I open the door to Kennedy's bedroom, I hear what appears to be a moan of despair. Why? She had rolled over and crushed her binoculars in her sleep, which was quite easy to do because her binoculars are actually two empty toilet paper rolls that were duct-taped together, a craft made more than two years ago by Scotty's preschool teacher. (The fact that this mangled contraption hadn't found its way to a recycling bin before now is The Eighth Wonder.) I silently curse myself for allowing her to go to bed with these things in the first place. #FAIL

7:00 a.m.     I head to the kitchen to pack the kids' lunches and feel a wave of accomplishment when I place their lunchboxes alongside their backpacks on the bench by the garage door. #WIN

7:10 a.m.     Now it's time to make the kids' breakfast, and I'm secure in the knowledge that because I had just completed a Walmart run the evening before I've got all the food we need. Except that we don't, because The One Thing I meant to get (frozen cinnamon waffles)...I forgot. And guess what I had just promised the kids they could have. You guessed it, frozen cinnamon waffles! After rooting through the fridge for the fifth time (How could I have forgotten them!?!), I locate a pack of frozen pancakes in a clear, sealed bag. Based on the clearly present freezer burn and ice chips throughout, I surmise that the pancakes might be older than Kennedy. But...they're still edible...right? I mean, really. How bad can they taste? I say a silent prayer, promise not to over-heat them in the microwave, and hope for the best. One minute and thirty seconds later, I realize exactly how bad they could taste. I wouldn't serve these pancakes to a starving squirrel. So in the trash they go:
Toaster hash browns doused in ketchup it is. Sorry, kids. At least they're not encased in a glacier. #FAIL

7:59 a.m.     Both kids are dressed -- and their faces scrubbed clean of ketchup -- with minutes to spare. We're gonna leave this house on time! #WIN

10:11 a.m.    Having dropped off the kids over an hour ago, I'm now en route to the yoga class I teach I'm a mere seven minutes away from the school when I'm struck -- no, overcome -- with a profound sense of fear and dread. You know, that feeling in the pit of your stomach that's liable to induce vomiting: Because I had just realized that I didn't have my yoga bag:
In my haste to usher the kids and their belongings into the car, my bag was left by the wayside. Everything I needed to teach my class was in that bag. It contained my iPod, portable speaker, props, and my mat...and the bag was still on the bench by the garage door. I'm screwed. I'm too far long. I can't turn around and go back home to get it. I'd never make it back to the school in time. #MAJORFAIL

10:13 a.m.    God bless The Hubs. I call him, explain what I had done, and without thinking twice, he grabs the bag and tells me he'll bring it to me. In an act that can only be described as miraculous, he meets me in the school parking lot literally seven minutes before my class is slated to start. IlovethismanIlovethismanIlovethisman! #WIN

12:17 p.m.    My class is over, and I am on a high (Blissed out, is how we in the yoga community often characterize the feeling.) I absolutely love what I do and consider it nothing short of a privilege to share the gift of yoga with individuals, particularly youth. And that's totally a big, fat #WIN:


The frozen pancake debacle.

My epic brain fart.

I don't give a flying flip about either one.

How can I when I've shared energy with these smiling faces:


And after I've picked them up from school at the end of the day, these smiling faces hug me and say they've missed me all day long:


Today was a good day.😊



Saturday, April 1, 2017

FALLING INTO 40 LIKE...

Wow.

Today I'm 40.

And I feel just as I did yesterday at 39! 

But I also feel as though we as a society have been conditioned to believe that when the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. on your 40th, everything will change.

And as hard as I try, I just don't see it.


I remember once upon a time, I thought 40 was, well, old. That 40 year-olds eat differently and listen to different music. That they look different (whatever the hell it means to "look 40") and that they basically live differently.

But there was one thing I had been quite eager to experience.

You hear all the time about how when women turn 40, they instantly become more confident. More secure in their skin. And much less conscious of other's expectations of them.

Man, that sounds divine, my younger self used to think. 

Well, my friends, I'm glad to report that that much is true.

I feel like Carrie Bradshaw when she discovered that Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes do indeed exist, and that they're not just some urban shoe myth.


I am more confident, I am more secure in my skin. And my expectations of myself are the only ones that matter.

But I don't credit today's birthday for that.

The process was gradual. 

It came when I decided I was worthy of a solid, functioning, love-filled relationship.

It came from honoring what felt like a primal calling to leave a job I was unhappy at and instead choosing to pursue my passion of becoming a writer and yoga instructor. 

And it came from birthing two healthy, beautiful, bouncing babies, both of whom I had during my mid-30s.

Want proof of that confidence?

Today, after breakfast, I experienced something I hadn't in all my 40 years: 

I was genuinely thrilled to get a haircut. 

If you're thinking that the above shouldn't have been a big deal, you're right.

It shouldn't have been.

But when you've spent the first 38 years of your life believing that your near waist-length hair possessed super powers -- particularly after you've subjected it to 450 degrees to make it bone straight -- getting a haircut -- and wearing your hair in its natural, curly state -- is like choosing to swallow cyanide. (Suffice it to say, I had issues. It's a rather complicated story, which you can catch up on here.)

But now I love my shorter, curly hair. (It's that whole comfortable-in-your-skin thing.)

Here I am at the salon earlier today with my hair stylist, Melissa, whom I affectionately refer to as my Fairy Curl Mother:


And then I came home to this:

And I put a hurtin' on that sucker with my lovable fam:

Sorry the pic is blurry. When I looked in the viewfinder, I could have sworn it was clear. But, then again, I was on my second (large) glass of rosΓ©...

So, yeah, I feel extremely blessed and very grateful.

Hello, 40, I'm so pleased to meet you!

I'm truly excited to see what you have in store.

Life is good. ✌️ πŸŽ‚ πŸ˜Š ❤️ 


Saturday, March 18, 2017

NOTHING AND EVERYTHING.


I know, I know.

It's been a whopping 10 months since I've posted to this blog.

As the old cliche goes, I haven't been inspired to write anything. (Blah, blah, blah.)

That's why I find it particularly ironic that the following post is really about nothing.

Yet it has to do with everything.

I'll explain.

As I sit here enjoying my orange peel black tea on this still, snowy Saturday morning, I am once again reminded of how reliably unpredictable Michigan weather can be--just a few days shy of spring, no less--because it was only about a week ago that I dusted off one of those portable blue nylon lawn chairs and watched Scotty and Kennedy play at opposite ends of the driveway. 

During times like those, it's not at all unusual for me to mindlessly--almost robotically--bow my head and begin scrolling through my Instagram feed until my eyes glaze over from the endless stream of perfectly airbrushed candid shots and silly boomerang loops.

But, that day, I ignored my cell phone, kept my head up, and chose to look around instead.

Somehow, some way, my mind flashed back to ten years ago, when my life was totally different than what it is today. Back when I was a thirty-year-old newlywed who worked 10-hour days at City Hall. Back when it was just The Hubs and me. Back when our home was, in many regards, quiet and empty. Back when our spare bedrooms served as an office and a yoga den, before they had been converted to a nursery and the center of a toddler's universe.

There was a time when I would have spent a stolen moment like this on the deck in the back yard, sipping moscato and flipping through Vogue

Yet, here I am now in the driveway watching my kids play, and my chair's cup holder is harboring an array of bubble wands instead of bubbly.

Because, priorities.

Priorities that are also blessings.


Around the New Year, I came across a meme online that has--quite literally--stuck with me everyday since:

Take note of your surroundings because one year from now, something will be different.

The words hit me like a ton of bricks.

At first, the message possessed an ominous quality (Is someone close to me going to die? What bad fate will fall upon myself, a loved one, or a friend that will forever change our lives as we know it?).

But I've since come to view this meme as a precursor of the changes to come--in a good way.

Perhaps it's the fact that I was in a good mood at the time because the kids were playing fabulously and were not at each other's throats. Or perhaps it's the fact that in two weeks I'm going to turn 40 and I'm damn grateful for everything life has put me through thus far.

But the fact remains: It takes the same amount of time and the same amount of energy to focus on the positive instead of the bad.

Meaning, different can also be another way of describing something that's fantastically, magically, irresistibly awesome.

Let's all focus on expecting that instead.


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