sweater weather

as much as i love summer for its long days, the warmth, and the “carefree” living, i also adore fall for the crisp weather, the foliage, fun fall activities, and the fashion!

i have a love/hate relationship with my figure.  as much as i embrace my hourglass shape, it can be downright infuriating to find bottoms that fit properly. in addition, I have a long torso so finding sweaters that are long enough can be a challenge. i always have to do the arm test where I raise my arms to see how high the sweater rides up.

even though i do like to choose clothes that highlight my body shape, i also have a thing for long, baggy sweaters and cardigans. (one reason being it makes you feel even skinnier.) i love the oversize sweater + skinny jeans/leggings look.

i also tend to eat more in the colder months like I’m an animal going into hibernation. (what can i say? i love comfort food.) so, baggy sweaters are perfect for hiding the food baby as well!

i went to the mall last week and came away with three sweaters – all from h&m – and a button-down shirt from forever 21. normally if i like something, i buy it in more than one color.

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i’m a huge fan of turtlenecks so I was ecstatic to find this style. i loved this grey turtleneck sweater so much, i also bought it in blue. i’m contemplating going back and buying it in light grey as well. i chose to purchase a medium – one size bigger – so it would hang even more loosely on me. i also liked the longer length that a bigger size provided.

although pairing a sweater with skinny jeans is a classic go-to look, i opted to glam up my day look by wearing liquid leggings instead. these are several years old and from forever 21.

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another fall staple: burgundy nails

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here’s one in blue

the blue style is actually different because it has a slit down the sides, and is a high-low sweater (meaning the back of the sweater is slightly longer).

IMG_9105.PNGabove is the exact style of the grey sweater. as you can see, it’s also available in a cranberry color.

*edit, I returned to the mall yesterday (11/7) and purchased the cranberry one!

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I did not purchase this one, but the bright teal caught my eye when I was browsing online.

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i also purchased this exact sweater at the store. i like the flirty look, and it would also look cute with a flouncy skirt.

i am always on the lookout for warm and cozy sweaters, so if you find any please do share! maybe it’s my mall but the forever 21 there rarely has clothing that i like anymore. it may be because I outgrew that place – fashion-wise – but i still pop in to see if i’ll like anything. (negative to sweaters.)

i hope to do a future post with more fall/winter fashion so i’ll be on the continuous hunt for sweaters, jeans, and warm accessories.

~ i’m part of a community of  connecticut bloggers called ct blogger babes, and if you would love to read more november posts, please click below! we love, and thank you for, your support!

rosé mansion

yes! here are the photos from rosé mansion! my friends and I had so much fun checking this place out back on august 31st.

here’s some info on the mansion: it’s an exhibit that’s only in NYC from July 14-october 21. initially, the last day was the 7th but I’m guessing overwhelming popularity allowed them to stay open fo two more weeks.

admission is $45 ($35 on weekdays before 4:30pm). tickets sell out FAST for the weekends so buy them as soon as you can. at last check, the next three Saturdays are sold out and there are only two more Saturdays left after that.

the mansion is located at 445 5th ave, New York, New York 10016.

the experience: you wander through differently, and vibrantly, decorated rooms to sample all kinds of rosé and learn more about each one. of course, these rooms are totally meant for the ig-obsessed people like me to take photos in!

the majority of the patrons are women (I’ll say 95%!) there were a few guys when we went, and the one man that was in our group remarked, “I guess I’m the group photographer!”

just in case it isn’t clear.. you must be 21 and over to attend since alcohol is served. you actually are allowed to bring a child but only if 1) they are 12 months and younger, and 2) you are wearing them. they do check your id at the door so don’t think you can purchase a ticket online and think you can get away with it.

okay, on to the pictures!

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the wall as you go up the stairs to begin the tour

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complimentary wine tumbler, pin, and stickers

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everything is covered with the grapes stickers

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scratch ‘n sniff walls!

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these next three pictures would have been lovelier had it not been for the harsh overhead lighting. one improvement to the rosé mansion experience would be to change the lighting.

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this turquoise room was tiny! and more harsh lighting… boo

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this room reminds me of a glam trailer park in florida 

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this room had plastic bags containing different kinds of “rosé” that you could squish with your feet and hands

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I absolutely loved the grapes tunnel

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one of my favorite backdrops

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I quickly snapped this photo when the employee behind the lab crouched down to get something

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the next section is the sparkling champagne room

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the next five photos are hilarious: an employee snapped photos of struggling in the ball pit, and of us helping her up!

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waiting for the garden bathtub room!

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so many cool walls

 

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I wish we had had more time in here but there was a long wait!

we chose our crowns and acted regal

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sing it with me: iiiiii want to swinggggg from a chandelierrrr, chandelierrrr

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I wish you could view the next five photos like a flip book! the pics are so adorable

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so concludes our tour… major props to genie for hearing about the rosé mansion back in july so we could plan accordingly. it was so hard to find a date that would work with our conflicting schedules but we were so ecstatic when we were able to make one work.

here’s to more fun and unique exhibits in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

candytopia

i actually am not a big candy fan. that’s dennis’ thing. i’m more a of a chocolate girl. still, when i scrolled through my facebook newsfeed one day and stumbled upon a candytopia  post, i was intrigued. this interactive candy exhibit looked outrageously fun and it made for good instagram photos – what most of us want these days, amirite?

my friend, genie, and i had already planned a girls’ day in nyc to go check out the rosé museum (future post) so we decided to visit candytopia on the same day. i am so glad we were on top of planning and purchased tickets for both exhibits beforehand because they quickly sold out! weekdays are pretty much available for both but it’s because most people have work or school. the weekends seem to fill up rather quickly. in fact, this coming weekend is sold out at candytopia, and next weekend is nearly sold out as well.

we purchased 11:15am tickets so we could grab lunch afterwards and go shopping before hitting up the rosé museum at 4PM. it was great to have groups go in 15-minute increments to prevent overcrowding. let’s face it, most people attend these exhibits to take photos and candytopia does not disappoint! in fact, we loved how the employees were so engaging and even approached us to ask if we wanted to have our pictures taken. we never felt rushed and everyone was so friendly.

there were children present because it was the long weekend and school hadn’t started for the year yet. it wasn’t chaotic at all; in fact, it was cute to see them so excited for the free candy and the displays. genie and I discussed very briefly how our girls would’ve enjoyed it if they had come but we did not regret coming without them! it was our day of being able to eat uninterrupted and explore at our own pace.

you can check out the site here for dates and tickets. admission is 3 and under are free, ages 4-12 are $24, and 4+ is $34. it seems pricey but it’s a one-of-a-kind experience only available in new york city and san francisco at the moment. plus, the exhibit is temporary and the last day is November 15th. get your tickets as soon as you can!

almost all of the objects were either made of candy or had candy on them. this cab greets you once you pass the ticket area. I believe it’s a replica but there were soft fondant-type banana candy glued onto the exterior.

in almost all of the rooms were open trunks where people were free to take candy such as kit kat bars, candy bracelets, pixie straws, and airheads.

 

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even with groups being split into different time increments, it can take a while to take pictures. you just have to be patient.

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there was a line for the hammock, of course.

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one of our favorite photo ops was the “100” emoji!

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he knew what was up

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I had to take this!

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I loved this one as well

the next photos were taken by syncing our phones with the cameras on the ceiling!

so cool!

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I love the optical illusion

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this wheel spun around while an employee sprayed confetti on us

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probably my favorite! this is the marshmallow pit… with fake marshmallows. 

people asked if the marshmallows were real but that would’ve been a huge sticky mess especially since we all take turns jumping in the pit! it was actually quite difficult to get out of the pit because we kept sinking in!

there are also signs warning you about taking your cell phone into the pit because if you lose it in there… it will take about a week to find (their words).. of course, that didn’t deter us from taking them in because photos!

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if you’re going to be in the new york city or san fran area, be sure to check out candytopia! hurry and reserve tickets before it’s too late.

how to start a book club

I have always been shy. painfully shy in my adolescent years, in fact. as the years passed, the combination of a growing urge to want to be heard and not wanting to hide in the shadows of others encouraged me to be more social. I still am fairly reserved especially around a large group of people, and, to many, this fact may seem more like a revelation. some have expressed doubt that I actually am shy. this may be because I am an extroverted introvert. not quite sure what that means? read here.

as a child, I sought solace in reading. my first distinct memory of reading is when I was around 4 years old. I recall being amazed at how words could bring pictures to life. over the years, I stuck my nose in a book whenever I could. everyone knew me as a bookworm. it got to the point where I kept receiving books as gifts, and though that was appreciated I still wanted toys and dolls like any other child.

still, not much could bring me as much joy as a book could. some of my favorite series growing up were the berenstain bears, the babysitters club, ramona quimby, and sweet valley high. and my all-time favorite book is j.d. salinger’s the catcher in the rye. for those who know me, I did not forget harry potter. that series is in its own category of greatness. I used to just pick up a book from the series and start reading. after the 14th go, I lost count of how many times I had read harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone.

in recent years it has been difficult to find the time and energy to read what with raising two children and this little thing called life. however, the desire to read more books never left my mind. what if i was in a book club? better yet, what if i started one? I had discussed this idea with another mom friend who had been itching to start one as well, so I finally created a group on facebook and invited friends who I thought would be interested.

I began this book club back in january and so far we have read five books. we just started our sixth this week.

when you create a book club, you want to think about these factors:

  1. group setting: where will discussion take place? in person? online?
  2. size of group and its members: do you want a large group or an intimate one? who’s invited? is it an open/closed group?
  3. general rules and guidelines: you want to have some sort of set rules so members know what to expect and how to participate.

here is what I decided for the three factors:

  1. I chose to have my book club as a closed facebook group. I invited friends that I thought would be interested, and I also encouraged them to invite other friends. we decided to have weekly discussions on the group page (mondays at 8:30pm) after having read a set number of pages. after a book is completed, our group meets up in person for a final discussion which involves much laughter, gossiping, eating & imbibing.
  2. I didn’t want the group to be too big but I did invite a large number of people because I wasn’t sure who would be interested and committed enough to participate. we have about 15 people that are in the group but only around 8 that are active. we all agreed that this small group is more to our liking because keeping up with everyone’s responses in the facebook group chat is challenging! the notifications keep going off and we have to find the next comment.
  3. who’s the moderator? there needs to be someone to keep track of the time and the comments. our group poses two questions weekly that pertains to the reading. we spend a half hour on each question (8:30-9pm for question 1 and 9-9:30pm for question 2). if members still want to discuss questions further, we do so after discussion for question 2 is completed. but after 9:30pm, members are free to leave the discussion. in our group, usually the person who volunteers the questions for that week is the moderator for the discussion.

our group is a democracy: we decide everything together such as choosing the next book (members suggest titles and we vote via a poll), how many pages to read for the next “assignment”, changing the date/time of a discussion if necessary, and having members offer to post questions for the reading. the only things I did on my own as an admin & main moderator was to come up with a group name (reading between the wines) and the general rules and guidelines.

as for the rules and guidelines, how strict/lax are you about participation? most of us do participate in every book, but sometimes our schedules don’t permit us enough time to be able to read a set number of pages every week and participate in a group discussion. therefore, we have members joining in the discussion when they can (up-to-date on their reading, of course) or just waiting to join in for the next book.

as for choosing the discussion questions, some books have questions in the back of the book. however, we did find that these questions tend to spoil the book since they’re meant to be used after the book is completed. most of the time, we come up with questions on our own (after one of us has read most or all of the set number of pages) or we use our go-to which is “what is your favorite passage or quote?” personally, I like questions that require the reader to go back into the book to reflect a little more deeply on the reading.

some other general rules to consider are use of offensive and foul language and respecting others’ opinions – these are more of an issue the bigger and more public your group is though.

we also thought it would be to fun to celebrate reading a book by having a meet-up along with food and drinks. most of the time, we meet at a designated restaurant to catch up on each other’s lives, and, of course, to discuss how the book ended. our last meet-up was at my friend, katie’s house since she recently had a baby girl (natalie, age 1.5 months), but usually we try to choose a central location since some of us live an hour away from one another. if we do hold it at someone’s house, it turns into a potluck.

another suggestion for the meet-up is to, at least, have one person bring a copy of the book for group photos. I love to document (clearly) so a group photo is a must! a meet-up is also wonderful to be able to meet other members, some of whom you may only know through the online discussions.

at this point, some of you may be a bit overwhelmed! it does seem like a lot of work initially but once you decide how the group will be managed and run, i promise it will be fun (unintentional rhyming there). and that’s the important part: have fun. you obviously wanted to create, or be part of, a book club because of your love for reading. so, don’t forget the main objective in being a part of one. there really isn’t a point in being a part of something if it’s not enjoyable.

I hope my tips have been helpful in motivating you to start a book club! feel free to share any of your useful advice and even book suggestions!

happy reading!

 

photos from our most recent meet-up (7/29/18)

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1. we forgot the book, and 2. missing courtney and lori

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lemon cake balls made by karen

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taking turns playing with genevieve

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new mama & baby natalie

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me holding our current book

here are the books we’ve read so far:

1. little fires everywhere – celeste ng

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2. the secrets she keeps – michael robotham

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3. tell me i’m wrong – adam croft

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4. landline – rainbow rowell

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5. the alice network – kate quinn

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6. the last mrs. parrish – liv constantine* current book

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the merry month of may

we spent part of mother’s day weekend in boston. (we as in penny, ezra, and me. dennis had to work 9-1 on saturday so he didn’t join us.) the kids and I left connecticut friday morning shortly after breakfast – thankfully, there wasn’t any traffic. i admit, i was anxious about having the kids to myself almost the entire weekend. but, i really wasn’t alone because my parents were around until 3pm on friday, and then I was alone with the kids from post-nap until my bedtime.

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Ezra actually blew a few bubbles on his own!

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penny loves running in my parents’ back yard

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Ezra likes playing with anything that makes noise: in this case, pistachios

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he was amused by what was on tv

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enjoying some ice cream

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the main reason for going up was to attend a dohl, a Korean first birthday, on saturday. i figured my parents would be busy with the restaurant but i’m really happy the kids and i were able to spend some time with them that weekend.

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he chose the sharpie!

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birthday boy with the proud parents

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praying before the meal

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mesmerized by the balloon artist

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the bedtime routine was kind of a struggle since I had to bathe both kids and do separate bedtime routines. it wouldn’t be so bad if penny cooperated a little bit more. lately, ezra wants to get out of the bathtub after about 5 minutes or so while penny has always loved bath time. since I was alone, I had to coax penny out of there since I can’t leave her alone in the tub.

my mom offered to watch ezra while penny and I went to the dohl on saturday. right as we were about to leave, penny had a massive nosebleed. she really doesn’t get nosebleeds that often but I did notice her picking at nose while she was using the iPad. I think she was more scared of the reaction my mom and I had when we saw her face. it was like a scene from the movie, carrie: her face was just dripping blood; the lower half of her face was bright red.

we tried to stop the bleeding by pinching her nose but she kept screaming and crying, most likely because she didn’t know to breathe through her mouth. I was really getting worried about the flow, and my mom was looking up the nearest hospital when it finally ceased. penny had spat out a glob of blood and that had stopped the bleeding.

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she was really scared and upset.

I considered not going to the party since I felt bad my mom would have to watch both children, but mom insisted I attend. however, penny piped up saying she wanted to go (birthdays = cake), so I ended up bringing her since she had recovered from the bloodbath (yikes!)

penny had a really great time especially since there were was a face painting artist and a balloon artist. she didn’t get her face painted (I didn’t ask if she wanted to because I figured it would smudge during nap time) but she did get a balloon princess wand. she also didn’t eat much of the food -sigh- but she had a bunch of fruit, green tea ice cream, cake, and a package of salted seaweed that I had brought.

penny actually ended up napping when we got home even though it was after 2pm. thankfully, Ezra napped too (he’s been fighting his second nap hardcore for the past month) so I was able to sleep!

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Ezra loves giving high-fives!

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picking flowers in the rain with auntie

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favorite toy: any ball

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eating tang soo yook: deep-fried sweet & sour pork

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the wonder of bubbles

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we drove back home after Ezra’s first nap on Sunday morning. we got home just after noon (time for lunch!) and Dennis had made French toast cannoli rolls for us to eat. they were sweet and savory – penny liked them too because of the mini chocolate chips. i also received a bouquet of flowers, a cake stand from Joanna & Chip’s brand, Hearth & Hand, and Joanna Gaines’ new cookbook, magnolia kitchen. all of the recipes sound tempting so I am excited to attempt to make every single dish.

for Mother’s Day, we took my in-laws out to dinner at a Korean bbq restaurant. we like going there because the kids love Korean food, and we get to sit in a room so we don’t have to worry about the little ones running around in the restaurant if they want to get out of their seats.

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so much is happening these days – I still have the book club that I had started back in January but I’ve been putting that on the back burner with all the family birthdays that have been going on! luckily, after penny’s birthday, it’ll be quiet for some time. my dad’s birthday is in June but I’m assuming I won’t be (fully) be in charge of planning a party.

I’ve also been trying to rebrand my instagram, but I’m still at a loss on what I want to focus on. I did want to do affordable mom fashion, but it’s pretty tough figuring out outfits in advance and having someone there to take photos. Dennis takes 99% of my instagram photos but it’s hard to get pictures taken during the weekdays since he’s at work. I would still like to share photos of my kids from time to time, too. I’m still trying to  figure it all out while also creating a specific “look” to my pictures so my feed is more cohesive.

what is exciting is that I have been in touch with a few companies that have reached out to collaborate. I’m waiting on a top to come so I can try it on and share it on Instagram. in the next few weeks, I hope to be sharing some of these collaborations with my followers.

goals for next post(s): penny’s birthday and nyc trip.

to blog or not to blog

it’s been nearly three months since my last blog post. sheer laziness was the big reason for not blogging, but I also seriously contemplated forgoing it altogether. I wasn’t, and I guess I still am, unsure if it’s really “taking me anywhere.” I’m just not certain if the benefits outweigh the time spent curating the photos and thinking of what to say. by benefits, I mean the sole purpose in which I had started this blog: to share my life with, first, one child, and, now raising two little ones.

I had had feedback from friends and strangers alike that my posts have helped them personally which is very rewarding, and wonderful to hear. that, for a while, gave me the momentum to keep my blog going; but it is a very time-consuming task especially with a very s l o w MacBook. (mine is from 2009!) it took ages for me to upload photos and write one entry. (now that Dennis has a brand-new MacBook Pro – thanks to our family and friends for the generous gift – technology won’t be the piece that prevents me from blogging.)

recently, I rebranded my instagram page – I deleted (gasp) most of my photos. (I ended up archiving most of them, but I also made chatbooks using all of my IG photos: grand total $160!) I want my page to have more of a cohesive look and also appeal to a particular niche. although the photos I have uploaded since the purge are similar in content to what I’ve had before, I’ve been focusing on the layout and look of my page more than ever. I’m trying to have similar colors via filters and also focusing more on myself as well. before kids, my posts were generally ootd and lifestyle which I really enjoyed. of course, I will post pictures of my kiddos now and then but, for the most part, the focus will be on mom style and lifestyle.

since I rebranded, I attended a first birthday party and went on a double date to the movies. this past Saturday, penny and I went to lorelai’s first birthday. the weather was beautiful on Saturday – warm enough to remove my blazer and it was *only* 11:30AM. (warm and sunny weather hasn’t been easy to come by in New England this year.) penny was fascinated by the Canadian geese that were swimming in the pond so I took a few photos of her as she checked them out.

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while at the party, penny really enjoyed playing with a homemade dollhouse: she spent the majority of our stay playing with it.

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some of the girls eating pizza together

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yummy homemade cake

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birthday girl checking out the cake!

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big sister & little sister

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excited to eat a macaron

for the occasion, I decided to wear an oatmeal blazer from anthropologie with skinny jeans and ultra-feminine flats that I had purchased in Hong Kong. I’m not sure if I was being foolish or brave wearing light colors to a toddler’s birthday, but I left the party, unscathed!

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I love the polka dot liner and the elbow patches on the blazer! details are everything

 

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close-up of the lace top from forever 21

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I stuck with the color scheme by pairing the outfit with light tan flats from Hong Kong 

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that same day, Dennis and I went to go to see a quiet place with our friends. I did a wardrobe change: from light to dark (day to night). I wouldn’t have carried such a big purse with me but I thought we were going to sneak in Wendy’s (!) until Dennis told me that it was too loud to eat during that particular movie because of its, well, quietness. we ended up eating McDonald’s in the car, haha! (all four of us thoroughly enjoyed the movie – go check it out!)

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“darker” neutral colors for a night out.

the black shawl from Nordstrom doubled as a blanket while watching the movie since I get cold easily. suede grey wedges were a comfortable choice as well.

I hope you enjoyed my post, and continue to follow me as I revamp my content.

just to get by, just to get by…

the title of this post is from a talib kweli song, fyi.

anyway, today was a “snow day.” forecasters had predicted up to 10 inches of snow and most schools closed, but all we received was a few inches of snow; the road is still visible. it was just disappointing because one of our favorite playgroups was canceled so i had to come up with ideas to keep penny entertained at home this morning.

since we hadn’t done any art projects at home lately, i quickly cut up striped tissue paper while penny practiced cutting on a different sheet. then, i gathered other art materials such as a canvas, glue, and a pencil. i drew a heart on the canvas using a pencil and penny squeezed glue on it. i helped her spread the glue out since she likes to squeeze out one giant glob.

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we spent the majority of our morning in the playroom which we hadn’t done in quite some time since penny and i partake in a morning activity every weekday. i always get nervous when i have to be with two kids on my own but it usually ends up being okay – unless penny’s sick or has one of her meltdowns.

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in my last post, i wrote about how penny had started going to the potty on her own. well, she’s still doing it! she will announce she has to go, walk into the bathroom on her own, pull down her pants and underwear and sit down. i was about to put away the small pottys because she had been sitting on the toilet but now i’ll leave them out to encourage her to go by herself.

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we have 4 bathrooms: 2 full and 2 half. she rarely uses the toilet in the master bedroom. in the playroom, we have a toilet seat on top of the toilet and in the upstairs bathroom we just place her on the toilet. she has a potty in her bedroom that she barely uses anymore so we might just put that away until it’s time to potty-train ezra. sometimes i’m still in awe that she’s potty trained. it’s such a huge milestone for toddlers – and definitely not an easy one – but i am so proud of penny. i’m hoping for penny to go to preschool once she turns 3 and having her go to the bathroom on her own is a huge step.

all right, it’s time for both kids to be up so i’ll have to get going. i’m just glad i was able to find time to squeeze in a post so soon after my previous one! i recently started working out again to get ready for my cancun trip so i hope to touch upon that in my next post.

dennis built a fort for the kids last weekend and they loved it. look at ezra’s expressions!

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the every-cheerful ezra. his third tooth broke through last week!

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his favorite song is “곰 새마리” (three bears)

i had wanted a picture of both girls because they wore the same shirt, but, of course, penny wanted no part in it.

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