Jewelry That Tells A Story

5.11.2017


I love things that tell a story. Things that aren't your general run-of-the-mill everyday Louis Vuitton, if you know what I mean. Things that are personal and meaningful, things that tell the story of you.

Which is why I love Origami Owl jewelry. You choose a customizable living locket and then choose the charms you want to put inside. They have absolutely everything under the sun to choose from — whatever your interests, hobbies, likes, loves, etc. — Origami Owl has something for absolutely everyone. (That totally sounds like advertisement talk but it's true. See all charms here.)



There are charms for so many different occasions and I've been adding to mine over the course of a few years. Each charm represents and means something in my life and tells the story of me. So far I have a pencil (love writing), a piano (grew up playing), a palm tree (my spirit animal and wherever there are palm trees, I want to forever travel there), a typewriter (again for the writing), an angel (always looking after me), a starfish (for the love of the beach), and an artist palette (love to create). 


You can add as many as you like and they have different chains, lockets and add-ons to choose from. Below are a just a few of the many charms you can choose from...


Any sport, any occasion, any occupation, hobbies, travel, food, family, kids...it's all there. They even have locket rings which I think are absolutely adorable. Click HERE to create your own! Love you, mean it.

You can see current Origami Owl specials going on here and here.

Please Kid, Don't Ask Me For The Latest and Greatest. (Cause You Ain't Getting It)

5.09.2017

tree swing, the original spinner

My oldest got off the bus the other day and immediately asked for a fidget spinner. Like, can we go to the store right now no right right now and get one please.

A huh? A what? A who?

"A fidget spinner, mom," he said. "All the kids have one."

I knew it. I knew there was a reason I didn't let him ride the bus. Along with coming home and demanding a thingermajiggy, he had also learned what holding up his middle finger means and that although seemingly impossible, worms can actually make babies.

Filthy animals. The after school bus is just chalk full of filthy animals.

(Slight exaggeration on my part. I do occasionally make my kids ride the bus when I'm feeling extra evil. Still might be slightly exaggerating but you get my point. Also, read this! I about had a heart attack. Ok, I think I really meant the filthy animal thing.)

Anyway.

One thing is for sure: I will not be buying my kids a damn fidget spinner.

Part of it is my rebellious nature to not jump on every bandwagon out the gate (in my defense, I was given the uber trendy Starbucks Unicorn Frapp from a friend when she came to visit, otherwise I would never have taken part in such a vile act) and the other part is my deep-seated belief that I must instill in my kids the notion that they do not get everything they want in life, just because "everyone else has one."

Especially because "everyone else has one."

I don't have anything particular against these fidget spinners. They look cool enough, I'm sure they do help some kids concentrate (do they?) and it's just another trendy toy at the moment. "Trendy," "toy," and "at the moment" being the operative words.

I'm sure my kids do want one. My kids want everything. And of course we could go out and buy them one but what does that accomplish? And yes, I do buy my kids toys. I have fallen victim to the whiny "can I have it please can I have it please please please" at the final hour standing in the checkout line. I'm not proud of those moments, but I'm a human mother and not perfect by any means. (I would like it to be stated for the record that these events do not happen often, but for the sake of camaraderie, I admit it has once or twice before.)

And I understand that it's hard to say no to the latest greatest thing our child wants. Actually, that's a lie. It sounded good and that's why I said it but I can't just flat-out lie for the camaraderie. Because the truth is, I don't think it's hard to tell them no. I don't think it's mean to not give them what they want and I am almost certain that I don't even have to capacity to feel guilty for not giving in and buying my kids the most current crap product out there.

I know I go on and on about my kids not having iPhones, about them not having an Xbox or Playstation or fidget spinners, but it's only because it is something I am so compassionate about. I am teaching them how to one day live in the world, and I want them to do just that — actually live in the world, not let the world live in them.

Because just as everyone knows, "things" don't make us happy. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter might beg to differ, but darling, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all fake.

One thousand percent fake. The more and more I scroll through my feed, the more and more I get thisclose to deleting the apps all together. I haven't yet, and I know that is because the vicious pull of popular social media is still gripping at me, but I'm working on it. I'm working on it, alright? (This topic is a whole different blog post, which is most definitely coming to a blog near you soon.)

It is harder and it does take more energy to get your kids outside expending energy than letting them plop in front of the TV to watch hours of mind-numbing brainless junk so I get it, I get it...why things like spinners are so popular and why millions of parents are buying them. It's the world we live in, but I refuse to let it be the world my kids live in.

And just fyi...it starts getting a lot less hard if you stick with it. My oldest did get right off the sin-mobile and immediately ask me for the fidget spinner, but I said no and he asked one more time and I said no again (this time with more oomph, let's say) and he hasn't asked me again since. He knows I meant it, and besides, he came home and started playing with the new tree swing that his dad had hung up while he was at school, and the fidget spinner was a thing of the past.

Rubber tire tree swing: practically free, keeps the kids entertained outdoors and no batteries needed. (Take that you wicked toy marketer people.)

Bare bones parenting. Is it a thing? If so, I want to join. I think it would be made up of rubber tire swings, grass stains, melting popsicles, bike tires, skinned knees, barefoot feet, happiness, dirty hands, dirty toes, full bellies and pure hearts.

Does This Bragging Make Me Look Preposterous?

3.26.2017

via Pinterest

With the rise in social media, it's so easy to put whatever it is that you want out there. There are many positives to this, such as spreading the word on great charities, re-posting helpful marriage advice articles and of course, the meme's.

It's great for sharing our day to day life, documenting the first lawn mow of the year or the amazing meal we just made from Pinterest. It's a good tool to keep grandparents up on the doings on their grandchildren and also to tag your husband in whenever you come across a DIY project that needs to happen, like STAT. It's fun to share photos of friends that we haven't seen in forever and to document exciting events like concerts and weddings. Social media, in and of itself, isn't a bad thing. It's when people use it for inadequate purposes that gives it that negative aura. 

Take for instance, bragging. Also known as: showing off, boasting, gloating, crowing, showboating. 

Also known as: no one cares.

Yeah, I see your new Mercedes on Facebook. I'll raise you one paid off ten-year-old SUV that still looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. What's that? You bought the whole line of Armani over the weekend? That's nice, I hope it all stays in style. Just the other day, I got a new purse also...the cutest canvas style tote that holds all my stuff and is totally my vibe. Forty eight bucks. I got it at a store that also sells couches, which may seem weird to you, but I kinda like that off-shoot stuff. Not everyone has it, you know? 

And yes, I did see your pricey designer shoes. How could I possibly miss them!? Sillygoose, you only posted a photo of yourself wearing them — sole side out! — 39 and a half times. And tagged the designer on every social media platform. And mentioned them in your theatrical detailed caption. We get it. You have feet that need to be covered. We now also get that you are a gasbag braggart. 

Profound bragging is just so obscene and gross to me. Especially when there are so many people in need, so many people in the world who don't even know what they will do for their next meal. So much struggle and pain and poverty that some people (definitely not you!) have to endure and deal with every day. And yet, there you go boasting about how much money your hideous designer chandelier cost. I can't tell you the animosity I feel when I scroll through my social media feed and see a post about St. Jude's hospital, and the very next one is from some chick showing me her new Tiffany's jewelry purchase. Bragging isn't cool. It's narrow-minded and unoriginal. And it's just in such poor taste.

It's funny. Those who have worked from the bottom up are usually never flamboyant with their wealth. Some of the richest people I know wouldn't dream of instagramming their car emblem. Some of the even richer people I know are so low-key about it, you'd never guess they were loaded. What's more, they are some of the most fun, interesting and real people I know.

I'm not saying people shouldn't enjoy their wealth, not at all. That is part of The American Dream — making a good living, working hard, enjoying nice things. And shoot, I wouldn't turn down a hundie if offered to me. We all love to be able to take a nice vacation every once in a while, and splurging isn't a sin. I love a quality pair of leather boots just like the next person, but I spend the money on them because of the comfort and sustainability, not so I can showboat and toot my horn. (And can someone please tell me why Uggs are so looked down upon? I constantly get made fun of for my Ugg love — mainly from my nonjudgmental family — but I am Uggs-and-Bikinis all the way, ride or die.)

It's fine to own luxury handbags, and it's fine to be photographed with your expensive purse if you happen to be carrying it the second someone asks to snap a pic. But if you're showing me the coffee you just ordered, there's really no need to "discreetly" place that overpriced LV conspicuously in the same frame. Why not just show me your coffee? Which, if we're being honest, what you are really going for here is pretending to show me your coffee and maybe the manicure you got today but bam! diamond ring, front and center. 

Motives. Everyone sees right through 'em.

Boasting about your weekly maid that comes and cleans your house is just so, so very uninteresting. Literally. It's about as interesting to me as all the in-utero fruit-sized babies that grace my Facebook feed. Show me how you work your ass off, volunteer at your child's school, make a house a home and know how to mow a lawn. Now I'm impressed.

It's exhausting playing the game of keep up and show and tell. I was at a dinner once where someone mentioned a vacation they had just gotten back from. Someone else at the table piped in with a lavish vacation that they had just taken last month. And I kid you not, then someone entirely else told us of how he is going on a vacation for three weeks "just because he can." It went back and forth and forth and back with these three people and then a few more joined in and everyone was trying to state their case that their vacation spot was the most extravagant and otherworldly and the one-upping that was going on just about did me in for humanity.

One-upping. Also known as: no one cares.

I mentioned that my family likes to go camping during the summer and you should have seen the looks of pity thrown my way. (I would like to also mention that I don't attend those kind of dinners anymore. I prefer to eat my food sans the salty taste of over-inflated pride, thank you.)

It's like the time Rob and I went to Vegas one year and stayed in one of the nicest hotels on the strip (see here). It was a blast, we felt like high fliers and we had the time of our lives. Things change however, and the next time we were able to make it to Vegas, we ended up staying in probably one of the cheapest most beat down hotels on the strip (see here). It was still a blast, we still felt like high fliers and we still had the time of our lives. Because it didn't matter to us where we stayed, how much our room was, or how many stars our hotel was rated. We had a real good time with real good people and the same real hot sun shined upon us all

Keeping up with the Joneses? Ppsssshh. More like schlepping it with the Smiths. It's so much more fun, believe you me.

Look. Having nice things obviously doesn't make someone a bad person. But if those things define you, then I'd say you've got a problem. If you feel the need to show off and grandstand with all your stuffs...well then, you have fun with that.

I'll just be over here in my camping chair. With true friends, a warm bonfire and worn-out Uggs.

You know, in the real lap of luxury. *wink

The Case Against Bras

3.16.2017

via Pinterest

I wrote earlier this week regarding The Case Against Homework and The Case Against Electronics that I figured I should also write about the case against something just as — and maybe even more so — crucial: for the love of all things, can we just get rid of these metal contraption boob crushers!?

I'm talking about The Case Against Bras.

I don't know why I'm so passionate about the subject but dammit, I am. (Probably because I have boobs and don't like being told how to harness them. Let's run with that.)

Look, I'm all for women making their own decisions. If it makes you happy to wear a bra with hardware sewn in then by all means, rock on. I'm not here to tell women what to do or wear, I'm here to announce that I won't be letting anyone else tell me what to do or wear!

Specifically, the bra. Also know as chest chokers, mammary muzzles, over-the-shoulder boulder holders and a plethora of other stupid names probably created by men. (Full disclosure: I love men. I'm also not here to downgrade their worth. But just as all men and women are not created equal, neither are all men, which we will get into in a moment.)

Real talk. Bras are uncomfy as they come. 

Not only are they annoying and ill-fitting, but they have the potential for some serious chafing. There is a reason why the various meme's of "the best feeling in the world is taking off your bra at the end of the day" are so popular and get re-posted over and over again: it's because it really is the best feeling in the world! The feeling of taking off one's bra at the end of the day evokes such a strong reaction in us women that it has become a major daily triumph. Something we look forward to and desperately yearn for. But why should we have to go through pain just to get to such pleasure? I understand the sentiment "pain before pleasure" when it comes to sports dedication or intense schooling or birthing a baby for crying out loud: some things we must simply endure in order to come out the other side of bliss, but our boobies? Our soft, sensitive, precious boobies? 

Pain and boobs should not a partnership make.

And marketing companies aren't stupid, they know how to hook women into buying multiples of these torture devices by compartmentalizing their "many uses." You can't just have a regular bra, you also need a "t-shirt" bra and a "strapless" bra and a "halter" bra and a "racerback" bra and a "multi-use" bra and a "sexy time" bra - nursing, padded, plunge, push-up, adhesive and stick-on bras, oh my!

Our pain = their gain.

Not to mention, there have been many, many articles written on how bras can actually hinder our health! If that's not reason enough to go braless, I don't know what is. And back to the vanity aspect of wanting to look our best, science has proven that not wearing a bra actually helps our boobs not to sag. According to a study, scientists have found that not wearing a bra actually protects your breasts from gravity. This is because it forces women to have better posture and it also forces the body to develop the muscles that lie underneath the breasts, which aid breast support and lift. (Also see: 9 Amazing Things That Happen When You Stop Wearing A Bra.)

I say it's time we take our boobs back into our own hands! (Literally, don't forget to self-check our breasts on the regular ladies!) They belong to us and we should treat them with respect. 

Speaking of respect...

Now that we've covered banning bras in the name of comfort and health, what then do we do about the social stigma of it all? Even after all my convincing, I doubt most women are going to walk into a job interview sans bra. (Unless the job interviewer is a man, then let's be honest, you will probably get the job. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a win-win.) The headlines are always the same: "Braless Jennifer Anniston out on the town!" "Chrissy Teigen At Dinner Without A Bra!" "Judge Judy Presided In Court Today With Exposed Nipples!" I mean, how is this even actual news?! People still, in this day and age, get hot and bothered by seeing a woman breastfeed! 

But it is. It's news because still, people are afraid of the breast. People are offended by seeing the mere outline of one of our most natural body parts. People are apprehensive and can be downright defensive about the notion of going braless. 

And by people, I'm mostly referring to insecure women.

Sorry. I didn't want to go there, I really didn't, but I can't gloss over the fact that it's mostly women who have such a problem with the anti-bra movement. Men sure don't give a crap (clearly) and there can't possibly be any other plausible reason besides insecurity when it comes to other women giving any consideration to the state of my unrestricted boobs. 

So what if it makes you uncomfortable that your man is staring at my boobs! You know what makes me uncomfortable? Your man staring at my boobs!!

Creeper.

And I get it, men are visual creatures, they just are. I'm not trying to take away their God-given right to ogle pretty little things, but do some of ya'll gotta rubberneck it so hard? And just in case no one has told you yet, you won't stand a chance with that exposed bosom you covet so badly when you gawk like a muttonhead. (Here is where we circle back to "not all men are equal." I know not all of you guys are crude, lewd, eyeball challenged people — most of the men I know are respectful and sure, may take a quick peek but they definitely don't let their eyes linger there like they've never come in contact with one before. Grow up and act like you've seen a pair before, it's attractive.)  

I promise you that I'm not going braless to lure your man in. I'm sure most other women aren't either. Sure, there are some hookers out there with the sole intention of dressing in a way to nab themselves a treat, whether taken or not, but those animals are in a whole different category of debris. Most women, most decent women who choose to go braless are doing so purely because honey, it just feels good

Look. I'm not at all advocating for the total baring of boobs. I'm all for being classy and modest (except when I'm not) and protecting our self-worth by respecting our bodies. I certainly don't think self-proclaimed flaming feminists who shove their bare boobs in our faces and who use them as a juggling act in public is empowering to women whatsoever. It's not. Behaving in that manner is vulgar and tasteless and does absolutely nothing to legitimize the imperative value of women.

What I am advocating for is simple comfort when it comes to our boobs. That and lowering the stigma of going braless. That's all. Comfort looks different for every women, and if it makes you uncomfortable going without, they make some super cute soft bralettes that don't contain any materials that would set off a metal detector. 

And as I said earlier, if wearing a wire in your bra is the most comfortable for you, no judgement here.

I'm just asking that you do the same. 

The Case Against Electronics For Kids

3.13.2017


But I really, really want one.
Don't care.

But all my friends have one.
Don't care.

But I neeeeeeeed one.
Don't care.

You're the meanest mom ever.
Thank you, I try. *wink

And there you have it.

See, I despise overconsumption. It can be in many forms, but for today, I'm talking about the overconsumption of electronics for children. Screen time is such a passionate issue with me and it is something I refuse to give into. I really don't care what everyone else says, I really don't care what everyone else is doing and I really don't care if my kids hate me because I won't buy them a game console. 

I mean, there literally isn't even just one care anywhere in there for me to give. I don't feel the slightest bit guilty that my boys have never opened an Xbox on Christmas morning. It doesn't keep me up at night racked with remorse that my kids don't have their own TV in their bedrooms. And it sure as hell doesn't give me conflict over whether or not to buy my boys an iPhone. 

The day my kids have an iPhone is the day they can buy one themselves. 

To be honest, I sometimes feel the need to stretch so far to the other side that I've fantasized about taking my family and moving us all to some remote island with not a single plug-in to be found. No shoes, no shirt, no shitty plastic newest edition handheld.

Alas, we don't live in the middle of Tanzania so I try and reign it in as best I can. As much as I believe that for the most part, kids should be using their time exploring, creating and building, I understand a little give and take is par for the course.

My kids each have an iPad. Not an Apple iPad (too expensive and unnecessary for their age), but one I got from Amazon that was designed strictly for children. I have to approve and download any app they want, and they don't even have the option of buying things online. (Don't even get me started on spending real money on virtual stuff — I just cannot comprehend such silliness.)

With those iPads come strict rules. They only get to play them on weekends - non negotiable - and their time is limited. I google every new game they want to download and check parent reviews. My children also aren't allowed to play a lot of the popular "kid" games out there. (Seriously, do some research. The popular game Roblox that every child loves? So many parent reviews say as much as the moderators try to keep it PC, it's super easy to breach the restrictions and many parents have witnessed pornographic subject matter while their kids were playing. It isn't uncommon. Further, I thought "youtube kids" was an app designated towards, well, kids. That is until I was standing over them watching a video and I heard, "I'm gonna kick your ass!" Delete.)

Also, the second they get upset while playing their iPads - whether it be because a game isn't working properly or their brother made their character die in Minecraft - is the second I walk up to them and take them away. I refuse, absolutely refuse! to let electronics be a source of dissension in their lives. If it is making them unhappy or grouchy, it's gone. And I always explain to them my reasoning - I tell them iPads should be fun, and since they get to play for such limited time, if it makes them upset or agitated, it is working in a negative way and isn't benefiting their precious minds and souls. 

TV time is limited also. Again, they aren't allowed to watch television during the school week. It simply just doesn't come on when they walk through the door after school. The content of what they watch is again approved by me. I know one day I will have zero control over what they do/see/experience so I'm using the time I do have to hopefully lay a solid foundation. 

I've even gone long periods of time with no TV and iPad at all! I just ban it completely. Sometimes they make me so angry that I go into my "that's it we are living like they did in the stone age" mentality and then that's exactly what we do. I remember thinking their questions of "but why can't we play iPad? Why can't we watch TV" would never end but amazingly, after a week or two, they do! It's a learned behavior to get addicted to that stuff and it takes a new learned behavior to become un-addicted. 

I would also like to point out that when my kids are home from school, I am never watching TV myself during their waking hours. I never sit down on the couch and turn on a TV program for myself to watch until they are off to bed lights out. Do as mommy says and does, isn't that right? 

Mommy could definitely get her own face out of her iPhone more often... *hangs head in shame

What do we do to fill our time? We read, we paint art projects, we build Lego cities, get pulled behind the 4-wheeler when it snows and when it's warm outside, we basically live and breath the outdoors. I didn't buy myself my own Razer scooter for nothing. I'm getting the motorized one this year, you know it.

We spend money on outdoor things: bikes and trikes and trampolines and tree swings and obstacle courses. Even in the summer, the screen time rule still applies. Out. The. Door. Don't whine. 

Look, I get the whole 'different strokes for different folks thing'. Some families may have no problem with having an Xbox in the house - a few of my good friends have game consoles for their kids and it seems to work out just fine for them. I know my kids, and I know that even if I gave them limited play time, it would be a constant source of discord. They would want "just 5 more minutes" and "but why can't we play it now" and I just choose not to even welcome that battle in the front door.

Gotta go though. Tarzan is naked out on the trampoline and the neighbors are starting to come home from work. We aren't completely uncivilized over here.

(as I google property for sale in Tanzania...) 


If you want more anti-screen time proof, you can read this or this or this or this
All very informative and from people who have actual professional stats to back it up!