It’s been a while since I posted but that’s pretty much how I roll. Take a break, decide to blog again, rinse & repeat. If you know me, you know I’m a huge JCrew fan. During college, I even worked there for a bit to basically pay for all the clothes I then bought.
On the left are the color collage earrings from JCrew. Adorbs but at a hefty $78. Hefty for me for something that I’ll probably get sick of in a few months. Imagine my delight when I came across these knock-offs today at Forever 21 for $3.80! Granted, I’ll probably have to load them up with Neosporin before I stick them in my ears, but they’re too cute. I didn’t see them online yet so you better hustle to F21. Or, give your lunch money for a couple weeks to JCrew…they are really cute.
I found myself on one of my favorite sites today, Pinterest.com. It’s a great time-waster, er, boredom-killer. You can get tons of ideas for everything from crafts to fashion and decor. After you find what you like, you can “pin” those pictures and ides to your own “board” to save for later and share with friends.
Some time later, I realized that it seemed I was looking at more and more of the same stuff. Everything started to look the same. I wondered to myself if this is because a large part of the population on Pinterest have similar qualities and tastes? Or is it because now as a society, everything is so easily sharable, not many people are thinking for themselves and are “borrowing” ideas from the Internet?
If you don’t get what I’m saying, try an image search for “birthday party table”. What are the results? I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find a majority of these images have a 3 x 8 table, with drinks and snacks lined up in a row, a possible banner/pennant hanging above, all in a color-coordinated theme. Where is the creativity? How many mustaches have you seen lately? No, really?! In everything from wedding booth photos to kid’s birthday parties, mustaches everywhere. Are these just trends or an over-saturation of one person’s good idea?
Maybe facebook is to blame. Everyone joined and from there, were able to easily share sites, photos and ideas with friends. In some ways it’s good because those who aren’t as creative are now able to express themselves easier. In other ways, what’s to stop the elementary school type copycats from not thinking for themselves? Is imitation really the highest form of flattery?
It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a moment to sit down and write. In fact, I’m sure there’s plenty of other things that need my attention at the moment. With both boys back in school, I can finally breathe a little bit.
So what have we been up to this summer? Oh a little of this, a little of that.
A whole lotta beach…
Quite a bit of outings…this is candy heaven
We took a trip to Boston and saw a lot of Paul Revere things
And we did a lot of reading…
…and of course, lounging (with “nose protection goggles”)
From the looks of it, we had a wonderful summer. Now it’s back to the daily grind. I’m happy to be back in a regular schedule. I think the kids are relieved to not have to hear me tell them what to do all day long. Win-win.
One of my friends once said, “I can’t stand wine snobs…the way they sniff their drink, swirl the wine and twirl their skinny glass stem with their fingers, it’s just annoying.” Wine snobs are a dime a dozen. Sure, I won’t turn down a glass of wine but I do have to agree with my friend that there’s something to be said about serious wine drinkers.
Ever been to a true beer tasting? It’s a completely different ball game. While you do get some similar conversations about the “notes” you may taste, beer drinkers are cool. They get crazy. They are awesome. Just think about the environment where each is served. Real beer drinkers usually have more fun.
I confess: I’m a total beer snob. Don’t call it a microbrew (hello, 90’s!). I fully support craft breweries when I can. Craft beer is just that; beer made by a brewer that is independent and uses the finest ingredients. It’s like the difference between eating at Red Lobster or a local hole-in-the-wall seafood joint.
This Memorial Day weekend, the hubs and I headed over to The Bruery’s 3rd Anniversary Celebration. That’s not a typo, The Bruery is a smaller (but getting bigger) craft brewery located in Placentia, CA. If you are in the area, do yourself a favor and head over to their tasting room and try some of their delicious Belgian ales. No wine snobs allowed.
The highlight of the tastings was getting my paws on a sample of Black Tuesday. I wasn’t quite prepared for how strong the Imperial Stout would be. Check out the reviews on Beer Advocate. You read that right, 18.2% abv. One tiny glass of this is all you need.
It tastes like bourbon made love with a strong ale. Definitely not my everyday beer, but such a treat. When my husband took a picture of me, he was possibly drunk off one sip, thus covering the phone lens.
Even my husband gives it a permanent thumbs-up. Okay, maybe that’s due to his cast.
The past few months we’ve been car window shopping. Let me just say, as much as I love researching things, I HATE the car buying process. Hate it. My excitement pretty much dwindles down to a big fat zero as soon as the smarmy salesperson sees me walking.
We didn’t really know what we wanted and were open to all types of cars, as long as I didn’t have to take a second out on my home. My numero uno pick will always be the Prius. It’s efficient in every way and the perfect little transportation tool. Problem is: we already have one (and love it). So we needed something to replace our other car, a gas-guzzling inefficient yet nice, Infiniti FX35.
Ever since having our Prius, I’m a gas mileage snob, and hate filling up the tank. Another requirement is the car needs to be unique and fun to drive. Therefore, we thought we had found the perfect car for a family of four, the MINI Countryman. What’s that, you ask? It’s their new four-door car, that also comes in an all-wheel-drive version. check out how ADORABLE this car is:
AHHH! I still love it. It drives like a go-kart and the interior is just as cute as the exterior. There isn’t a ton of room, but good enough for carting around the kids, as long as you don’t need too much trunk space.
We pretty much had it in the bag, but I thought I’d test drive something completely opposite: a minivan. YES, I just said that. I just wanted to see what it was like to drive something that’s MADE for families. I drove the Toyota Sienna, VW Routan and the Honda Odyssey. *whimper* They were really easy.
The Sienna has my favorite exterior styling of all three, but the floor..ugh, it had these horrible rails that were so noticeable running through the car, and the drive was just *okay*. The Routan had the best interior styling, but it drove the worst. It also scared me that they were marked down so much, not to mention, VW’s have a reputation of being as reliable as a high school boyfriend. Last, the Odyssey. God, that car is hideously ugly, but, it’s the ONLY one with a nice smooth ride. The interior is also plush (if you’d call a minivan plush) with a bajillion bells & whistles.
After all that, they were still minivans. And we only have two kids! I see now why people with three or more get them, because really, who wants to hold a screaming baby while corralling cat-like kids, all-the-while trying not to hit the Mercedes next to you. Your life is f-d for a while anyway, and it’s not like there’s any way to look like you don’t have 3+ kids when you do. But seriously folks — I say if you MUST drive one, Odyssey hands down.
Okay, we’re back to our original choice of the Countryman. The night before we were taking that sucker home, I woke up at 2 am with major anxiety. It was so bad, I had to go online and do some more research. Two hours later, I felt better with a decision to test drive one last option, the Ford Frigging Flex. Yup, I said Ford. As in Henry Ford of the early 1900’s.
They drive by me occasionally and I think, huh, that’s a different SUV. I’ve seen the commercials of the uber cool biracial couples enjoying their night out on the fluorescent town on slick, just-rained-but-no-cloud-in-the-sky streets. Ford, though? C’mon. I remember my parents’ old Explorer that seemed to always need repairs. My first truck was a Ford Ranger with the power of a 1-speed bicycle.
The next morning I woke up and headed to the Ford dealer to check it out. Me, being the only person up actually test-driving at 8:30 am on a Saturday, I was fresh bait for the salesdudes. We went for the drive. I wanted to hate it so I could get the MINI. I looked for a reason to hate it. Okay, the gas isn’t as good (but it does use regular instead of premium!). And it’s a Ford…but wait, I LIKE that it’s a Ford! I don’t look like an asshole driving another premium brand in OC. It’s a domestic vehicle. You know, I was starting to LOVE the fact that it’s a Ford.
I can’t even name all the things I love about that SUV. Maybe it’s the four sunroofs?
Maybe it’s the fact that I can actually shop at Costco with all this room?
It could possibly be the fact that it has Microsoft Sync, which is probably one of the best hands-free voice command systems around.
Or..the one-button seat folding, 2nd row cooler/freezer IN the armrest (!), the smoothness of the ride, backup camera…etc. I could go on and on. This thing is rad.
I made us all go back and test drive it with the car seats. I kind of knew it was meant to be when my kids couldn’t sock each other because of all the room. To ensure I was right, we went BACK to MINI one more time for a ride with the carseats, too. I still loved it, but I thought about never being able to fit anything larger than a few groceries in the back and it made me sad. (and it had no fridge)
It was a done deal. My driveway needed a Flex. When I sent back my husband to do the dirty work (aka buy it) I told him a few color options and said, have fun! Well, he did and got me what I consider equivocal to a rapper’s limo. All I can say is rollin’ on 20’s…
Here I present, the Ford Flex Titanium:
The interior is GORGEOUS. Almost too gorgeous because the center of the seats has a grey suede. Sort of freaked me out a little, but nothing a little scotch guard won’t protect (and car seat protectors, too). I find it doable because the rest of the interior is black. The suede part is soft and feels like sitting on a sofa.
This SUV is amazing. I’ve been looking for reasons to drive it around and the gas mileage isn’t as horrible as some of the others out there. My kids LOVE it, too and I love knowing that someday, when they want a friend to visit, I’ll be able to fit them in my car. I almost don’t want to tell people how great it is, in fear I’ll see them everywhere, but really, they are THAT great. Every so often, I’ll catch a young stylish fellow looking over at the car (early 20’s) and think: good choice.
Ahh, the last letter of the alphabet. On a side note, who invented the cursive capital Z? What a stupid way to write Z. Back on topic; how I would love to see my kids’ faces on the Zipper. I’d love to send my husband on it with them.
But, I’ve decided I don’t want to pay for any more therapy for them.
So…we just went here:
Oliver was not very excited about going to the zoo. He said that “the zoo smells like poo”. I happen to agree and I love he’s learning to rhyme so well. Solomon, however, was in hog’s heaven. The zoo we visited isn’t really known for it’s robust collection of exotic animals. Basically, don’t get your hopes up to see something really neat. But it’s good for a quick trip, and it’s cheap.
Hey look, my housemates! (stupid gate. those are pigs.)
They did have a brown bear there, which borders on cool. I got this totally professional shot of the bear’s back and the other’s butt. It’s one for the books.
But what would a trip to the zoo be without my kids being way more interested in something that’s NOT part of an exhibit. Oliver was amazed by the “woodchucker” (woodpecker).
We had so much fun doing this project, even if at times, it was a bit challenging. My boys got into the idea more than I thought they would, and I’m a little sad to see it over.
Sickness hit our house hard last week and everyone’s finally on the upswing. We only had two more letters to go so we can’t stop now!
Y is for yogurt! But what’s better than plain, boring yogurt? Yogurtland! It’s an OCD person’s worst nightmare. The only way to describe it is a yogurt self-serve bar. My husband took the kids and these photos for me. (don’t know how I got out of that one)
You won’t find me going on about how being a mother is the best thing in the world. While at times, the side effects of motherhood bring some of the most special moments, it’s hard work. We all need a break from the demands of sticky fingers and sleepless nights.
Usually, I’d ask for time alone for Mother’s Day. No fancy gifts, no buffets at busy, overpriced restaurants. But this Mother’s Day, we ALL needed a break together.
So we headed out to Palm Springs for one night for a little R&R. Our first stop was the Mexican Restaurant we always visit while there, Las Casuelas. The food is pretty good, but who cares…we all go for the margaritas. And yes, I finished it all.
I fully admit I’m a hotel snob, but that becomes excessive during certain situations. Like visiting Palm Springs & Vegas. I don’t know if it’s the combination of extreme heat and long drives that makes me crave good room & board, but I’ve had my share of crap hotels in both places. No more, I say!
Palm Springs is a great getaway. When you’re with kids, however, it can be tricky. A lot of the hotels out there are adults-only. Or if they’re kid-friendly, read: brown decor with waxy sheets. One of my favorite kid-friendly (yet a little excessively hipsterish) hotel is ACE. If you’re the type of parent who doesn’t allow the sight of alcohol in front of your kids, this probably isn’t the best place for you.
What ACE is good for is supremely comfortable beds and a really awesome pool. Two must-haves in Palm Springs. The pool scene can be just that, but we’ve always encountered friendly, respectful people who don’t mind kids.
The restaurant there is also really good. Extra good, because if you happen to be having beverages at the pool all day, no need to drive. Their menu offers mostly local and organic food, and has a neat Denny’s-meets-modernism decor vibe.
This is what one might look like after hours of sun,drinks and no hair styling tools.
My boys are awesome.
Sunday morning we went to church decided to head home. Somewhere along the way, we got sidetracked by the idea of going to a winery in Temecula for lunch. It wasn’t really a quick stop along the way, but was worth the extra drive. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like all our photos look like this:
All the boys wanted to do was run around & go “fishing” in the fountain, which makes for better photos anyway.
Naturally, Solomon decided to get a cold on Mother’s Day so our venture was cut short. The getaway sort of did make me feel sappy and like the luckiest mom in the world…even if I was wiping boogers all day.
For those still following the letter of the day, I didn’t forget about Y & Z! But I’m waiting for him to feel better before venturing out.