Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Product Reviews: Adorama Pix

I recently had the opportunity to make a photo pic through Adorama Pix. AdoramaPix offers a variety of photo options including prints, books, home decor, calendars and cards. This opportunity presented itself at the right time, since I had been thinking of making a surprise photo book to document my son's first season of soccer.  The Adorama Pix website was easy to use and navigate. I was able to upload and create a 10 page book in under 15 minutes. There were several template options to choose from to assist in the customization of books. The site offers leather, die cut and fabric covers, but I opted for the hardcover. I loved that I was able to have a front and back cover photo on the book to maximize photograph space.

I was pleasantly surprised when the my complete book arrived so quickly!  I ordered on the evening of June 30th, and the book was in my hands on July 6th. Not to shabby, considering mail days were lost due to the holiday weekend. The photo book featured thick, textured photo paper. The paper texture sent me into a tactile frenzy. I couldn't stop touching it. The thickness of the pages is a welcome feature. As a mama of three, I'm always worried my littles will get too aggressive turning the pages of our photo books. With pages this thick and durable, I won't have to worry about ripped pages. The lay-flat binding is a bonus and allows panoramic images to span across two pages without any separation. If I had to complain about something, it would be that the first and last pages are attached to the inside of the front and back cover. But that's more about my own preferences than anything else. It certainly didn't take away from the beauty of the book at all. 

Want your own photo book? Head on over to Adorama Pix  and use code: pxusfam25 to get 25% off  square photo books (6x6,8x8,10x10,12x12). Offer ends 09/30/2015 11:59 pm EST.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Little Moxie, A Little Mischief: Sick Momming

I'm sick. Like, want to die because I feel like death, want to stay in bed all day and cry from the shear pain my body is in, kind of sick. I don't care to get into details, but trust me, things have not been pleasant in my world for the last couple of weeks. It's nothing major, it's nothing life threatening, but it has made parenting little ones with boundless energy a total nightmare. I have three bosses and they are all tyrants. Sicks days are not in the skimpy benefits package. No matter how shitty I feel, clothes still need to be washed, tummies still need to be filled, and household tasks need to be completed, Sick momming is no fun. NOT. AT. ALL.

Here are a few tips I've learned along the way to make sick momming a bit easier:

Let someone else deal with it. Figure out what tasks you can assign to other members of the family, rather than take on all responsibility to keep the home running. Maybe your eldest child can help out with laundry or dishes. Let your husband deal with chauffeuring the kids to their activities and handling the bath and bed time routines. Take up all those well-meaning friends on their offers to come over and help straighten up the house or cook dinner. You may be used to doing everything, but you don't HAVE to do everything, especially when your body is telling you not to.

Be okay with letting someone else deal with it. Not only do you have to divvy up the tasks to other family members, but you have to learn to be okay with letting them do it their way - which might not be as good as your way, but it's getting done in SOME way, and that's what's important. I have had to take lots of deeps breaths and let go of the control, but it beats the alternative of doing it myself. 

Allow kids to entertain themselves. If you are lucky enough to have children who can reasonably stay out of danger while you relax, let them entertain themselves. Whether that entertainment be in the form of an all day Disney Jr. marathon, or whether it means allowing them to cover their bodies in washable marker masterpieces, what doesn't kill them will allow you to get some much needed rest. Now's not the time to micromanage their entertainment. 

Put those self-sufficiency skills to the test. If you're kids haven't had a lesson in self-sufficiency yet, there's no time like the present. Have the kids fend for themselves a bit by making the things they need the most accessible. Have a bin of snacks within reach for little hands. Move juice boxes to the front of the fridge or prepare cups of milk and store in the fridge within reach for thirsty kids. Have a basket of coloring books, crayons, puzzles, etc out for easy play. Have your spouse prep lunch bag meals for the kids before leaving for work and leave in the fridge as an easy-to-grab lunch and/or dinner. 

Gather the family in a common area. If your kiddos need a little more of a watchful eye, do your best to confine yourself and the kiddos to one space. Set up camp in your family room or basement. Whatever room in the house makes the most important things accessible. I'm lucky that our basement/family room has a television, bathroom, plenty of space, the majority of the kids toys and a mini fridge. I block off the stairs with a baby gate and can easily take a much needed snooze without too much worry that I'll wake up to trouble.

Make family nap times a new rule. Mama needs a nap? Maybe everyone needs a nap.  Done.

And the most important tip -  cut yourself some slack. Yes, things do have to get done, but most of it can wait.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wear It Mama: Vintage Diva

I love vintage inspired looks, so even though I was on a shopping freeze, I couldn't help but be smitten by this dress. I bookmarked it and mulled over it for a few days before pulling the trigger, and I'm glad I did. This airy dress is perfect for a summer date!  At 5'8" I don't often wear heels, but since I was already breaking my spending freeze rule, I thought I might as wear break my heel rule too and snagged up these strappy sandals with a 3 inch heel. They give a slight sexy edge to the girly, floral patterned dress. The dress and shoes were instant loves, but it took me a bit longer to find the perfect purse. I finally settled on this studded evening bag, and although I wasn't totally sold on it at first, turns out it works well with the look. Now I just need a date night!

Shopping List
Vintage Floral Print 3/4 Sleeve Dress
a.n.a Eva Multi-Band High Heel Sandal
La Regale Studded Evening Bag

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Little Moxie, A Little Mischief: The Not-So-Pretty Pictures

I am just going to say it - this will never be the blog with pretty pictures. You know the blogs I am talking about. The blogs with the pictures you covet and aspire to. The kind of pictures every blogger feels the need to emulate so every blog ends up looking the same. Unfortunately, that will never be this blog. It won't be for lack of desire, because who doesn't want pretty pictures? It will strictly be due to a lack of opportunity for these reasons:

My kids are not cooperative. Sure, we all know that perfectly sweet blog picture of the child leaning artfully against a wall was achieved after 50 shots and a lot of bribing, but here's the thing, I don't have the time, energy or patience for that.  Not to mention, my kids are never cooperative for photos. Like never, EVER! Getting a moderately decent picture of one of them alone is a tough enough task, I would have to sell my soul to the devil to get all three to cooperate. They are not swayed by bribes, tears or pleading. I have tried, believe me, I have tried. Without fail, all of my pictures feature the blur of a moving child, or at least one disgruntled look. (See pic above).

My walls are not white. White walls are all the rage in blogger-dom In fact, white everything is all the rage. Sometimes I feel like I have been thrust into the Arctic with all the white. It is pretty hard to screw up a picture taken against a white background. I, on the other-hand, am fighting against patterns and colors. I don't own enough white things, apparently, to use as a clean backdrop. Even if I wanted white walls, my kids would eventually fill them up with chocolate handprints. It just wasn't meant to be.

My kids don't have a monochrome wardrobe.  Although I dig the black, white and grey look, and my kids do have a fair share of trendy pieces, I have succumbed to the fact that they are children and not tiny adults. Because they are children, they have a natural attraction to outrageously gaudy clothing, and color combinations that would even make a clown cringe. I would like to grace you with pictures of my kids in a constant stylish state but, chances are, you're going to see them more often than not, in t-shirts featuring cartoon characters. (See above pic... again).

I have no time to be artsy. There will be no pictures of my feet with a Starbucks coffee cup strategically cropped in the corner of the shot. There will be no carefully strewn objects placed with the transparent attempt to make said objects appear random. There will be no children in directed poses disguised as authentic.  There just won't be, and do you know why? Because I don't have the time, or brain cells to think of those things. Pre-kids I could stage a "natural" scene with the best of them, but three kids, two dogs and one cat later, I'm fighting against the odds of everything getting knocked over, broken or covered in fur before I'm able to click the shutter release. Lame, but true, in the words of the great Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

So there you have it, just a few of the reasons why you won't find pretty pictures on this blog. Although you will not find the prettiest of pictures here, I can guarantee that they will all be honest... even if honesty does come in the form of nose picking.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Small Style: Beach Vacay

The boy kiddo has his eye on a beach vacation this summer. Unfortunately life has been too crazy for our usual trek to Virginia Beach, so this year's destination will be the Jersey shore. Close enough!  To ease the disappointment, I took the little dude shopping for a new beach outfit. Being that he's become more vocal in his likes and dislikes when it comes to clothing, I was more than delighted at what we ended up with. He's usually not a fan of jeans, but was totally digging these distressed medium wash denim shorts.  The hipster shorts needed more than just a regular tee, so it was a total score when we found this blue gradient hoodie. It pairs PERFECTLY with the shorts. Throw on a casual tank underneath and some comfortable Native's on the feet and he's good to go for this year's local beach vacay. This outfit was accomplished without any tears or  protests. I'd say this week's shopping was a win!

Shopping List
Sunset Hoodie (Mood Blue)
Boys' Sports Tank Top
Medium Wash Destroyed Denim Jeans
Jefferson Native Shoe (Pigeon Grey/Victoria Blue)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Freebie Friday: Fourth of July Word Search

The out-of-school sillies are already running rampant, and quiet time activities to help calm down the kiddos have been much needed. Word searches have been a great down time activity for my oldest, and, as an added bonus will keep him on top of his reading and spelling game for the next school year. With the Fourth of July right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make my very own themed word search. This is the perfect thing to keep restless hands occupied when I'm busy with barbecue preparations.

I had so much fun making this word search, that I'm sharing it with you. Download and print and you'll get at least a few minutes of freedom from shouts of  "I'm bored!"


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wear It Mama: Boardwalk Babe

As a California native, I am a beach bunny through and through. There's nothing I love more than to spend the day bouncing between sand and surf. My absolute favorite way to end a day at the beach is to spend the night on the boardwalk. The rides, the games, the FOOD. I love it all. A day at the beach followed by a night on the boardwalk means that a comfortable and versatile outfit is needed. This open crochet chiffon top fits the bill perfectly. It's incredibly cute while not at all fussy, and transitions easily from beach to boardwalk. The color is gorgeous, and the crochet sleeves and neckline add a flirty touch. A simple pair of dark wash jeans shorts that are easy to slip on and off are perfect for this busy mama who doesn't have a lot of time for complicated clothes when dusting the sand off of three antsy kiddos. Speaking of slipping on and off with ease, these huarache style flats are amazing and add a little flair to the outfit with a subtle floral print. These sandals are much more comfortable than they look and perfect for a quick change. This outfit is as easy as 1-2-3, but looks as good as a 10!

Shopping List
Chiffon Top with Open Crochet (Blue Cove)
Women's Plume by Faryl Robin Cora Huarache Flat
Dark Wash Destroyed Boyfriend Shorts
Necklace with Pendant (Gold/White)