Staying Stylish in Suburbia

Pinterest- Oh so Pintastic or oh so depressing?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let's talk Pinterest for a moment, shall we? Even though it's a fairly new phenomenon, (I started pinning about two years ago along with most folks) I can scarcely imagine doing without it now a days. Honestly though, the concept of collecting my favorite things in one spot is nothing new to me. Case and point this blog. As a teenager I had journals full of torn out pieces of inspiration. I would write down a poem I loved, cut out a dress from a magazine, or paste in the CD cover of my favorite band. It was all there in my notebook just in a less organized, more jumbled sort of a way. Whereas the Internet has made it that much easier to gather inspiration from a plethora of places, Pinterest has made collecting that inspiration a cinch, with shared ideas and creativity in an eye-catching layout that makes a visual person such as myself swoon. 

But here's the catch. As fun and addictive as Pinterest is, it also has the potential to become a depressing vice for some. Recently there has been a rise in what is being called, "Pinterest Stress," wherein pinners (mostly female) feel like they can't live up to the standards presented in their pins. They're right of course, they can't live up to it. That's why it's called "picture perfect" and not real life perfect. From flawless baked goods to beautifully styled outfits, impeccable interior design, and seemingly effortless DIY projects, it's impossible to attain that type of perfection in all facets of life.

Pinterest (in my opinion) should be about triggering your own creativity, not trying to live up to some kind of false standard. In other words, don't buy the hype. No matter what it looks like, no one's life, not even Miss Martha Stewart herself, is that perfect. And who wants perfection anyways? I don't know about you, but I'm not striving to be some new breed of hipster Stepford wife. I love discovering new things and getting creative but perfection is boring. Beauty is in the flaws and the fails and the mistakes. 

Having said all that, here are a few ideas to help minimize Pin-Stress. 

Don't compare. As the saying goes, comparison is the thief of happiness. It's important to realize that no matter how effortless a picture or project on Pinterest appears, it probably wasn't. Just as with blogs and Facebook, you can't compare your behind the scenes with everyone else's highlight reel. The next time you see a perfect pin of something, try imagining the chaos or ugliness right beyond that cropped shot. I swear it helps.

Realistic pinning. Choose your pins wisely: If it looks too complicated or expensive then leave it alone. There are plenty of ideas and projects that are totally doable. I'm not saying never pin anything outlandish or dream-worthy but it's also important to stay grounded in the realm of reality. I'm a terrible seamstress, for example, so why would I pin a bunch of DIY sewing projects that I'm sure to feel lousy about never completing or not doing well enough? I'd be much better off pinning painting projects that are still challenging but right up my ally. 

Make it your own. Try to enjoy the beauty of whatever pin you have found without feeling like you have to copy it to the tee. Pinterest posts should be used as a springboard for your imagination. Let them inspire you to do something similar but all your own.

Limit yourself. I actually find mindless pinning to be quite relaxing. I do it after the kids go to sleep when I'm too tired to do much else. For those folks that feel that it creates stress in their life though, it  might be a good idea cut back on your pinning. Instead of using Pinterest for entertainment, look at it as a tool. Log in if you have a birthday party to plan for or a special dinner to make but otherwise leave it be. 

Where do you fall in the Pinterest spectrum. Does it make you happy and relaxed or stressed out and sad. Or do you fall somewhere in between?? 

P.S. Below are a few of the things you'll find me pinning away at...and much, much more.  Feel free to swing on by and follow my boards here if you are so inclined. 
xoxo

Food and Drink


Interior Design

DIY Ideas

Anything Kid related



Clothes, jewelry, hair etc...

(The images above are not mine but can be found on my Pinterest boards.)

Evoking the Sunshine with Whitman

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you." 
- Walt Whitman


My mood is so often affected by the weather. I'm trying to evoke the sunshine (or a sunny state of mind) with a little Whitman on this gray rainy day.  Happy Tuesday everyone! xoxo

Yard Sale Score

Monday, April 28, 2014

Every spring our neighborhood holds a community-wide yard sale. Households eager to clear out their junk (or well loved treasures depending on how you look at it) haul their unwanted items out onto their driveways in the hopes that someone will take it off their hands. It's actually a pretty fun day. We didn't sell anything this year but our neighbors across the street did. We went over there to check it out and chat with a few other friends from around the block. The kids had fun running around, offering lemonade for 25 cents and temporary tattoos for free. 

(Esmae's first tat at the new garage tattoo parlor across the street.)

After a while we decided to see what the rest of the hood had to offer. As I've mentioned a time or two before, I'm a big fan of a deal, yard sales included. I didn't have any expectations going into our walk. It was more about getting out in the spectacular spring morning. Still, we made out pretty well if I do say so myself. Here are a few pictures of the yard sale loot we came away with. 

Teacup Set 





I was tickled pink when I spotted this pretty tea cup set! I love the details and it only set us back three dollars. 

Shot glasses


We lost our only shot glasses during our cross-country move last year. I found these two for only fifty cents. It's not like we're sitting around taking tequila shots all the time but they do come in handy for making mix drinks or the occasional house party. Bottoms up!


Bicycle Trailer 


This was our biggest score by far! We've been wanting a bicycle trailer to take the kiddos out on rides with. They're expensive though (at least 400 dollars for a new one.) We came away with this lovely Burley trailer (in perfect condition I might add) for only 100 bucks. Not bad, eh? I'm super excited to go for a family ride soon. In fact, I'm pretty sure I know what we'll be doing on most weekends form now on!  

Yard sale shopping tips


What about you? Do you brake for yard sale signs? Ever find anything good? 
Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you're out getting your yard sale shopping on. 
  1. Be friendly. It shouldn't have to be said but friendliness goes a long way in this world. Get to know the people selling their stuff. You might even discover a good story behind whatever it is you are interested in buying plus, it never hurts when it comes down to negotiating the price. Which brings me to my number two tip. 
  2. Always negotiate the price. That is unless it's so low that you don't mind paying for it. I didn't haggle over the three dollar tea set or 50 cent shot glasses but I did get the seller to come down a bit on the bike trailer. 
  3. Be willing to walk away. Have a price in mind that you are willing to pay and if the seller won't meet you there then walk away. Otherwise it won't be long after you get your stuff home that buyers remorse will start to kick in. 
P.S. This yard sale sign made me laugh. Have a great week everyone! xoxo




Foodie Friday- Best Brussel Sprouts Ever!!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

I didn't grow up eating brussel sprouts so I never developed a particular loathing for the dreaded childhood vegetable. That being said, I've certainly jumped on the brussel sprout bandwagon as an adult. This recipe in particular is seriously delicious. Of course it could be argued that cardboard,
when cooked with a bit of bacon might have a certain mouthwatering allure to it. I've had brussel sprouts cooked with nothing but olive oil and lemon with a pinch of salt and pepper that were absolutely scrumptious though. This just happens to be my favorite way to eat them. It's not just the taste either, I thoroughly enjoy watching them cook, turning from a dull sage color to a beautiful bright green in the pan. Lovely little leafy balls of green goodness is what they are. I'm telling you, give this recipe a try this weekend and you won't be disappointed.  

 Ingredients 

Aprox 18 Brussels sprouts, cut in half (choose small, firm, bright green sprouts)
6 strips thick-cut applewood- smoked bacon
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lemon wedge

Cooking Instructions

1. Cook bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat until crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.

2. Add  garlic to bacon drippings and cook over medium-high heat until onions are translucent

3. Add Brussels sprouts, cut side down, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cut sides begin to caramelize, about 6-8 minutes. The outer leaves should remain bright green.

4. Roughly chop bacon and toss with Brussels sprouts. Squeeze lemon wedge over brussels and add ground pepper to your taste. Serve immediately, while hot and enjoy as an amazing side dish.

Poem in your Pocket Day

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Happy Poem in your pocket Day!!!! On Poem in Your Pocket Day, people throughout the United States select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day. 



I chose this poem simply because it speaks to me at the moment. 

PROMISE ME

Promise me 
you will not spend 
so much time
treading water
and trying to keep 
your head above the waves
that you forget,
truly forget, 
how much you have always
loved
to swim

-Tyler Knott Gregson


These poems were also in the running



IN PERPETUAL SPRING

Gardens are also good places
to sulk. You pass beds of
spiky voodoo lilies   
and trip over the roots   
of a sweet gum tree,   
in search of medieval   
plants whose leaves,   
when they drop off   
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they   
plop into water.


Suddenly the archetypal   
human desire for peace   
with every other species   
wells up in you. The lion   

and the lamb cuddling up.

The snake and the snail, kissing.

Even the prick of the thistle,   
queen of the weeds, revives   
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt   
there is a leaf to cure it.

-Amy Gerstler



CRUSH

Tell me about the dream where we pull the bodies out of the lake
and dress them in warm clothes again.
How it was late, and no one could sleep, the horses running
until they forget that they are horses.
It’s not like a tree where the roots have to end somewhere,
it’s more like a song on a policeman’s radio,
how we rolled up the carpet so we could dance, and the days
were bright red, and every time we kissed there was another apple
to slice into pieces.
Look at the light through the windowpane. That means it’s noon, that means
we're inconsolable.
Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.
These, our bodies, possessed by light.
Tell me we’ll never get used to it.” 

-Richard Siken 


Image Source

Thrifty Thursday- My Latest Fashion Finds

I recently went through my closet in a fit of spring cleaning, only to realize that the majority of my warm weather wardrobe was maternity wear. It makes sense. I was at my most pregnant during the spring and summer months last year. Talk about limited options though. I can remember rolling out of bed in the morning, waddling over to my closet and choosing between maxi dress or maxi dress. It was all about comfort and staying cool at that point. This year I can have a little more fun with my clothes. I'm always on a budget though, which is why I was so excited to find these  French Connection tops at more than half off the original price tag at T.J. Maxx. I love the clothes at French Connection but they tend to be a bit on the pricey side. These shirts are light weight and pretty but also good quality. Score!!! 

How about you? Where do you find your best deals on clothes? Any good scores lately?

P.S.

I have a hard time ordering clothes online for myself. They never seem to fit right and I prefer to try things on in the dressing room rather than having to go through the trouble and disappointment of sending them back. Buying clothes for the girls is a different matter though. I was recently reminded by a friend that H&M has great kids clothes too. I went online to have a look around and wound up ordering Esmae a bunch of summer outfits there for really cheap. She grows so fast I can't stand the  thought of spending too much on her clothes. Their selection is really great though. Here is a sampling of some of the basics I got her there in case your interested in doing the same for your little one.


H&M kids


More of Easter week according to my iPhone

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It was a beautiful week leading up to Easter. Esmae and Maslynn's Gran was in town and we took full advantage of the weather. Here is a bit of our week according to my iPhone.

Easter Egg Hunt with Friends




I love this last picture of Esmae leaving hand in hand with her friends. It's so awkwardly cute.

A Walk through the woods 




The forest floor was covered with Bluebells.  

Decorating Easter Eggs




It was Esmae's first time decorating eggs and as you can see, she really enjoyed herself.  Mazzy was happy just to sit by and watch with her Gran.

First Date Night In Over a Year


I swear we were as giddy as two teenagers. 

Day Trip to Harpers Ferry

 







Local beer, ice cream, trains, bridges, wagons and the worlds largest river turtles. We came. We saw. Good times were had by all...especially Esmae. xoxo





Mazzy's Easter Baptism

Monday, April 21, 2014

This Easter (or the Saturday before) was especially sweet because our little Maslynn got Baptized. No matter what you do or don't believe, there is something so sweet about having your baby blessed. My mother-in-law was here acting as her Godmother and even Esmae made it through the ceremony without too much wiggling. I love how totally relaxed our church is here. I have always been a spiritual person but I am also full of questions and doubt. Belief is so personal. Faith means something different to everyone. I have come to appreciate the power of prayer though, especially within a community of people. This church is perfect for me in that sense. They encourage debate and discussion. In their words- "We are an open, welcoming, searching, spiritually pondering community. We come from all walks of life, from different points of view, from very young to wise elder. In all we do, in every prayer we make, as we read and listen, discuss and share, we celebrate the presence of God in the diversity of humanity."

At the moment of her Baptism, Maslynn became very calm, even as they dipped the water out over her head. I got teary and felt full to the brim with love (just as I did when Esmae was Baptized.) I also felt the presence of my Oma who passed away years ago when I was in college. I used to attend Mass with her as a little girl and I wore her cross to keep her close that day. I know that she was there with us and so happy for me and my family in that moment. 

I have experienced a lot of different ceremonies in my life. Whether it was a Hindu flower blessing, a Native American Blessingway, or a baby's Baptism. Ceremony is something that I have always appreciated. It connects us to each other while at the same time reaffirming the sacred within ourselves and a higher power beyond our comprehension. I am grateful for all my experiences and for the blessing of a new baby entering her own journey of spirituality in a safe and open-minded community. 

Here are a few pictures from that day...












Blessings to you all and happy Easter (if that's your thing) from our family to yours! xoxo