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Tuesday
Jan132015

Winter Wreath Workshop

 

There are ways we can spend our time that are either exhausting or life giving. As I’ve gotten older and my time more limited, I’m learning how to spend my days doing more things that excite and fulfill me and less things that spread my time thin and lack any luster. These things don't have to be epic, just quality.  

 

 

I love the idea of community building, meeting new people and gathering over a shared interest and I really love holiday wreaths. So, when I couldn’t find a workshop being offered in Brooklyn or any floral class at all for a reasonable price, I turned to my expert floral design girlfriend and said, ‘Wanna have a workshop?’. Since the studio space we wanted to use was only available to us for one specific weekend, we had about two weeks total to put the whole thing together. Would I ever suggest organizing anything with that short of a timeline ever again? Oh heck no. But we learned a lot and had to let go of the idea that it was going to be picture perfect. We wanted to focus more on the conversation, the connections and the people rather than sponsors and magazine-worthy decorations. And what resulted from it all was seriously one of my favorite days! 



There’s a magical thing that happens in the city in those wee-hours of the weekend. So, I wanted us to gather early, so we could all enjoy the quiet and coziness of those rare moments when everyone else hasn’t really ventured out for the day yet. Or... I just really wanted everyone else to understand what weekend mornings are like for mom’s. Combine that with some coffee and dedicated time to working with your hands and you feel like the most accomplished person on the planet…... and it isn’t even noon yet. *high five*



One of my favorite parts of hosting workshops is seeing everyone’s personal and unique creativity flourish. Some of these ladies were putting wreaths together like a boss! They were much better than the ones I’ve seen for sale at the farmer’s market…. so I’ve started a side business called… 'Pimping Out My Workshop Attendees'. I think it’s going to be a raving success! 


 

I’m honestly so thankful for all these wonderful ladies who came out and joined us for this workshop on such short notice. We laughed, swapped stories and crafted together. This was the first of what will hopefully be many more this year!

 

*Brooklynites - If you are ever in need of a florist for any event, wedding or birthday…. meet Kristen of FLRL Design Co. She’s a flower magician!

 


Monday
Jan052015

Thank You 2014

 

 

What a year it has been, yeah? Before we ring in the new year, E and I like to take a night out to sit and assess the past twelve months. It’s like, our thing. We also do it on birthdays. We do this every year and it never ceases to amaze us how much we can fit into fifty-two short weeks. It’s easy these days, more than ever, to feel like you just aren’t doing enough. I promise if you look at all you put into the last year, you’d be amazed at everything you’ve accomplished. This helps to give us perspective and gratitude for another fulfilling year added to the books. We’ve come to realize that things this year looked a little different than the year before which looked a heck of a lot different than the year before that (thanks, parker mae). But as each ball drops, I’m continuously looking forward to everything that lies ahead.

Just as much as we like to reflect back on the year, we also challenge each other to speak out loud a goal they’d like to see happen in the next. While I’m happy to speak them, I’m not quite ready to commit them to paper here on the world wide web….. I may as well get them tattooed on me at that point. For now, let’s just reflect back on the highlights of the past year. Know that everything in my being wanted to make a cheesy slideshow with photos that fade into the next and some instrumental version of the ‘Graduation’ song by Vitamin C to be playing in the background…. but I decided not to take away any street cred this blog still clings too.

 

Thank you 2014 for……

1:: Really feeling like I’ve settled into this whole ‘mom-gig’. As with anything new, it takes some time to get the hang of it, but with motherhood, everything just keeps changing as they grow older. But your confidence grows, and this year, I felt mine really flourish.

2 :: A handful of features in Instyle, People and People Stylewatch ran throughout the year. This mama’s still got it going on!

3:: We successfully took an infant/toddler on 12+ flights, two trains and at least 8 road trips with minimal casualties, breakdowns (by either the infant or the adults) and eye glares from fellow passengers.

4:: Hosted my first workshop with a dear friend here in Brooklyn. It was one of my favorite days.

5:: Took a staycation with E at the Ace Hotel in New York, the Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, the Belmont and the Stoneleigh, which are both in Dallas. Fellow parents, staycations are the jam. Treat yourself to them! #kidfree

6 :: Turned, gulp, twenty-nine. And wrote about it here. I also celebrated two years at the most wonderful company a gal could work at. This also marked my fourth year as an Anderson.

7:: I was invited to attend the Sweet Paul Makerie Retreat. I literally got to just make awesome things while being instructed by super legit craftsmen for two days straight. Heaven, was that you?

8:: My baby turned one. I cried (a lot) and then did the only rational thing I know how to do….. I threw her one hell of a birthday party. (Let’s be honest, the party was to celebrate the fact that we kept a child alive for a year. She won’t remember.)

9:: We continued to create our family narrative with Parker. We spent hundreds of hours snuggling and giggling in bed, we took her upstate for our annual apple picking trip and she went on her first hike, we took her to see my hometown and our family store, she saw the ocean for the first time and one of the great lakes, she met both of her great-grandmothers and learned to say ‘mama’ and ‘dada’..... oh, and she took her first steps on E’s birthday!

10:: For the first time in my adult years, I was able to really step away, take some time and be quiet and still and enjoy doing nothing. I have never been good at having free time or taking a sabbath. It’s a necessary thing to do and I feel it has allowed me to be better at all the other things in my life because I’ve learned to take time to ‘do nothing’.


 

Sunday
Nov302014

The Quality List :: COS

 

We are diving back into my top picks for The Quality List. I guess they really aren’t ‘top’ as it’s an ongoing list, but we are back in the groove of it. So, let’s get our groove on with COS, or Collection of Style, which is a sister company to H&M and finally launched recently online in the US. Word on the street is that a New York store is in the works to open next week on Spring. Next week! Things never happen that fast. For those of us who love luxe-looking basics without the strain on the wallet, this is going to be a game changer for us!

They have a very classic design, but with a modern edge to the pieces. Lots of textures and minimal color. They pretty much make the 'New York uniform'. They consider themselves to be the the one stop shop for ‘high end design and good quality at an affordable price'. When I see their collection, I think Zara meets Vince. Everything is very very clean, but so chic and anything but boring.

I’ve selected a few of my personal note-worthy pieces, (shocking, they are all mostly black) but there’s just so much available. That’s another part of the line that I like, you sometimes find with quality labels that their selections are so minimal. One t-shirt here, two pairs of pants there. But this line has a crazy amount of options that range from casual to cocktail. It’s just all so incredibly sleek! 

 

Cotton t-shirts start at just $25 and structured statement piece dresses are $129. Bonus is they have some uber fancy kids stuff and it is a bit above what I usually pay for P’s frolic around in clothes, but on those special holiday occasions, they have some unique and beautiful options. And everyone loves options!


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Friday
Nov072014

This Holiday, Let's Try To Be Prepared!

 

Do you smell that? The crisp air, the hint of fireplace smells and warm home cooking in the air? Yep, it’s officially the start of the holiday season! Everyone is in the best mood, your social calendar is on fire with parties, your outfits are always the best because you get to layer up with light jackets and scarves and sip warm drinks. Best of all, you wish for snow….. yes, wish. Because after January 1st….. snow is no longer a novelty or a thing of beauty. It is a nuisance. A yellow nuisance.

I’m a pretty good procrastinator. So when the holidays start to roll around, it feels a bit like a race to the finish line. We have weeks until Thanksgiving and months until Christmas…… so I have all the time in the world, right? Wrong. This year, I have vowed to not get caught at the last minute unprepared for holiday visitors, parties and gatherings. Last year, I could still blame the quasi newborn. This year, she’s practically a teenager, so that won’t fly. I’ve decided to share a few tips I’m implementing to be sure I’m equipped for any holiday occasion that may happen…. planned or unplanned.

 

Fresh Florals ::

Nothing says, I’ve got my crap together to guests like a house that has fresh flowers abounding. Since that can also get pricey, I suggest getting flowers that tend to appear fresh longer or that dry out gracefully. My favorites are eucalyptus, hydrangeas and and sort of winter-ey wildflowers that can also be used as a filler. Think babys breath style flowers. For November, I keep a variety of dried leaves collected from the park and pinecones on the table. As we get closer to Christmas, I love to have evergreen sprigs and branches mixed in or laid out as part of a tablescape.

 


Go-To Party Outfit ::

 That perfect LBD you have but never wear until it’s the last minute? Yep, that one. Take it to the dry cleaners now, so it will be ready and in tip top shape so you aren’t left wearing your runner-up dress because your first choice still had spilled cocktail sauce on it from last years escapades. I prefer to stick with simpler dresses for holiday gatherings and go heavy on the jewelry (obviously) or add in a bold lip color for effect.

 

Fistfuls of Snacks ::

Hunger levels are at an all time high during the holidays and nothing is worse than a hangry host or guest. Be sure to have a variety of quick and easy snacks on hand to help curb any hypoglycemic rants before they start. The trick here is to make them easy to eat, budget friendly to replenish and conveniently accessible to stock up on at a moments notice. May I suggest fresh nuts, like these rosemary roasted almonds, or crisp seasonal veggies and hummus, fancy cheese and crackers or even tomato, mozzarella and basil skewers.

Easy Cocktails ::

Tis the season for cocktails galore. Aside from our normal stock the bar options of champagne, wine and whiskey, I also prefer to offer my guests a healthier alternative if they feel they’ve already been overserved this holiday season. I’ll keep a pitcher on hand and will mix up some sparkling water with a few drops of Crystal Light and it’s a simple substitute to a glass of bubbly and it’s calorie free. If you have littles or are expecting friends with little ones to stop by, this is also the perfect fun holiday drink for them to enjoy with guests.

 

 

Thank You Gifts ::

No one wants to be that guest who arrives for the holidays empty handed. Yes, the host said to ‘just bring yourself’, so call it the half southerner in me, but you should always have a token of your appreciation to give to the host. It by no means needs to break the bank, but be considerate during this season of giving! The etiquette on this stuff ranges, but think of it in small, medium and large. Small is a holiday party and you are among a larger number of guests, something like flowers or a card are thoughtful. Medium is a dinner party with a more intimate group, so something like a bottle of decent wine (no two buck chuck folks) or one of my favorites is this cocktail swatchbook. Large is if you’re an overnight guest in someones home, consider a gift card to their favorite local restaurant or this cute little tree trunk planter. On the other hand, I sometimes have small gifts on hand for when I host little dinner parties with friends. For those, I will have something light and simple for each guest to take home with them at the end of the night. This could be a candle or my favorite are little brass bottle openers, which are always a hit.

 

Now that I’ve shared my tiny wins for keeping up to speed and equipped for this holiday season, it’s time to tell me yours!  Leave a comment, tweet or Instagram about your tips to making this holiday season the best ever with the #tinywin hashtag. Also, keep a look out in the Nov + Dec issues of People, People Style Watch and Instyle Magazine for more of my #tinywin holiday tips!

 

 

*This post was sponsored by the lovely people at Crystal Light™ via People StyleWatch. Thanks you for supporting the brands that help support this blog!*

 

Monday
Oct132014

Ten Ways To Use Coconut Oil

 

I feel I can confidently say that you’ve already heard about the coconut oil craze. Honestly, this little oil is really have its fifteen minutes of fame, right up there with kale and the hashtag. It’s practically the superfood of the beauty world right now. Yet, I still get super inquisitive looks and questions from people when I explain all the ways I use it…. and this is in Brooklyn, y’all. Figured that may mean it’s still worth sharing.

My personal love affair started about a year ago and it was merely for the benefits of a moisturizer and something to cook with. New Yorkers live in limited space, so anytime something serves multiple purposes, I’m into it. These days, this oil has replaced a number of harsh, expensive and chemical filled beauty products in my daily arsenal. Bottom line, it has saved me a ton of money, cut out unnecessary products from my beauty routine and leaves me smelling like a walking piña colada. Mmmm. How does my skin feel about it? Awesome. It’s never looked so calm and refreshed, thanks for asking!

There are a number of ways to incorporate coconut oil into your beauty routine. If it’s a little scary for you to literally spread oil on your face, I get it, maybe start with just applying it to your under eyes or using it on dry spots only. Then work up the nerve to lather your entire face with it! A word of advice when purchasing coconut oil, I only get unrefined, organic and cold pressed. My skin went haywire when I used one that wasn’t. (Note: This one is my favorite.)

 

 

TEN WAYS I USE COCONUT OIL

Make Up Remover :: This is my favorite use of coconut oil, as it is a gentle and easy makeup remover for both my face and eyes. I don’t have to worry about harsh scrubs or spending a ton on fancy make up removing products. A little coconut oil and then a cleansing wipe and my skin is squeaky clean. Plus, the safest way to remove eye makeup is with an oil based cleanser. That will save you from ripping out precious eyelashes or damaging them.

Moisturizer :: Fragrances in moisturizers can be some of the most harmful ingredients, especially if you’re applying it to your face. After washing my face, I swipe a bit of coco oil on to help keep my skin hydrated through the night. Honestly, when I wake up, my skin looks super refreshed. I will say, I don’t use it in the morning as I’ve found my make up settles weird on top of it. Just something to note.

Oil Pulling :: Remember when you got your braces off and all you wanted to do was swipe your tongue back and forth across the front of your teeth? Whelp, that’s what they feel like after you do some oil pulling. Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which help kill germs and freshens your breath. I take a spoonful of oil (in its liquid state) and swish that around in my mouth for 15-ish minutes and then spit it in the trash. This should not replace brushing and flossing, for the record. I still brush my teeth post oiling pulling, but definitely don’t brush them before. There are some that make actual toothpaste by mixing coconut oil and baking soda, if you want to take it one step further. You’ll also read accounts of people who think oil pulling has cured arthritis, skin conditions, etc. For me, it has just helped with cleaner and whiter teeth. Think Orbit gum commercial clean. *Ting*

Under Eye :: It’s super light and perfect for delicate under eye skin. Wrinkle creams and under eye moisturizers can be expensive, and what for? All you need to combat wrinkles and spots is moisture. Just don’t get it in your eye or else your vision will be a bit foggy. Think, one too many glasses of wine, foggy.

Hair :: A small amount, and I mean small, on your fingertips and apply it to the ends of your hair after a shower or you can also apply it to dry hair to wrangle in gnarly split ends. Just seriously go easy on it, you can always add more, but you will be a big grease ball if you use too much. I know from experience.

Cuticles :: I don’t get manicures much, I just don’t have the time. So this is a simple way to keep my nails looking pretty and polished. Using a Q-tip has proved to be the cleanest application process. I tried just using my fingers once and everything kept slipping out of my hands for the rest of the afternoon. Learn from my mistakes, people.

Lip Balm :: Swipe some on for smooth and hydrated lips. Miracle worker in those harsh winter months.

Clean Brushes :: Put some coconut oil on a cotton swab and use it to clean your makeup brushes, mascara brushes and foundation brushes. Just like it works as a makeup remover from your face, it will do the same thing here. After you’ve cleaned them, rinse them with a little soap to clean off any excess oil.

Body Scrub :: I used to spend a lot on fancy body scrubs, but now this recipe has been an easy and cheap substitute and I can mix up essential oils to add in to as the seasons change. Lavender for the spring and cinnamon for the fall.

Diaper Rash :: Little P has had her fair share of coconut oil exposure. Diaper rashes can be an ongoing fiasco for little bums. We’ve tried all those fancy and organic creams and honestly, the thing that clears it up the fastest….. coconut oil.

I know there are lists of like a million and one ways to use coconut oil, these are just the ones that have been tried and true and have worked for me. If you have others, by all means, please share! I'm always on the hunt for new coconut oil miracles.