June 17, 2013 § 4 Comments
While working on a recent post I realized I’d forgotten a simple rule regarding the grammatically correct use of the indefinite articles, a versus an.
The rule goes that if a word starts with a consonant, the prior article is “a“.
If the word begins with a vowel, the article before is “an“.
But what happens when the consonant sounds like a vowel?
Embarrassingly, I was too lazy to check the day I was confronted by my forgetfulness and found other words to describe what I wanted to say.
But as always happens, the issue came back around, this time over the weekend as I lay vertically, watching so much television I was guilt-ridden when I clicked the thing off.
It’s a well-known irritation (to most grammar lovers) that television is littered with incorrect usage (the worst being me vs. I).
But the visual graphic that sent me to google came from one of the most well-known and intelligent networks; HBO.
I was relieved to find that HBO had it right.
The choice of article is based on phonetics.
An HBO production (did you see the finale of Game of Thrones?)
An oversight (it happens all the time).
An MBA in grammar (a thought).
A grammar lover (now and forever).
Have any of your own grammar hang ups?
Shop owner Jillian Clare makes great upcycled vintage furniture, home decor, and many more grammar tea cups and saucers.
June 16, 2013 § 4 Comments
Whether or not you practice yoga or consider yourself a spiritual gangster, I’d encourage you to check out the clothing company with that eponymous name.
I’ve been wearing their tees, tanks and sweatshirts for a few years, and they are a staple to my day-to-day wardrobe. My stacked yoga tank is in constant rotation. Great mommy gear. Easy and not as commonplace as your typically overproduced, graphic tees from Gap or H&M.
I’m currently writing this post in my men’s Guru tee (size medium), now found in the sale section.
There’s 20% off of $100 until tonight with the code 20more on the entire site.
If a hamsa symbol or a namaste tee is too “voodoo” for you, try a love tank.
We could all use more love.
Have you heard of or worn Spiritual Gangster?
June 13, 2013 § 10 Comments
Life is good. It really is.
I’ve moved out, removing myself from nastiness looming around every corner. I’m not constantly irritated by the sight of a person I once loved, whom I now find an utter nuisance.
My kids are happier. Even old friends have noticed.
But I was naïve a year ago when I said (while sitting in a beach chair and listening to rolling waves), “it will be so much better… I’ll be happy.”
It will be better and I will be happy.
For now, we argue about what is marital property. Do I fight for the (maybe worth $300.00) Pottery Barn t.v. stand by paying my $350.00 an hour attorney to sort it out?
Do I walk out of this arrangement with far less than equal distribution of property, the engagement ring (that frankly, I think I earned), and my small half of what we get when the house closes at the end of June?
At that point we’ll move into the next stage of divorce entitled the, “Where’s my support check?” nightmare.
I feel it coming.
If you asked me this morning, I advise that marriage is a legal agreement that has little to do with love.
Keep that in mind before you decide to say, “I do.”
When the love is gone, all that’s left is what you lost.
I believe in equal rights for all people and everyone should be entitled to marry. I’m just not sure the arrangement is conducive to most of us in life as we live it today.
June 11, 2013 § 3 Comments
There are two schools of thought when it comes to buying clothes.
Pay little, and you might get a few wears.
Pay more, dollar cost average (so you don’t feel as bad), and have quality garments to choose from for years to come.
I love a cheap find, but buying quality has its place, and your wardrobe will most certainly thank you for including the good stuff.
If you’re desperate for digital bodycon or a one-season pair of polyester harems, hitting up Forever 21 is a fine choice.
If however you want good solid pieces that you’ll pull for season after season, James Perse is your brand (link on my main page).
As an advertiser for the brand I was alerted to their June Sale a few days early, so that I could write up a post for you (which I’m excited to share with you now).
It speaks to the James Perse reputation that my previous post (about the last private sale) garnered so much attention. My stats page continues to show near daily hits regarding that information.
I’ll reiterate here before I send you off to shop.
- Don’t be afraid of the simple 1-4 sizing. I’m a 10/12 and the pieces I’ve bought are always a size 4, and always fit beautifully.
- Do not be hindered by the cost, especially during sample sale time.
- The clothes are not inexpensive, but neither are they cheaply made (they use Japanese cotton and special silicone washes for softness).
You will wear these time and again, and they’ll last far longer than that one season wonder, which either falls apart after a washing or gets stored in a far hidden closet (for approximately 30 years until which time flourescent digicon comes back around).
You can’t get to the sample sale through the regular James Perse site, so click on the ad(s) on my main page to get there directly. Let me know what you buy!
June 8, 2013 § 6 Comments
One of the most fun parts of blogging about what we wear is sharing with readers the clothing companies that they may have never heard of.
One such company is Boden, which I only discovered a few years ago when my kids were just babies. Their quality fabrics and construction (washes great), and easily maneuverable website makes shopping a breeze.
The U.K. company founded in 1991 by Mr. Johnnie Boden (with a small inheritance left by an uncle) began with a small men’s collection of eight pieces.
Over time the company grew (and grew and grew) and now includes lines for the entire family (Baby Boden, Mini Boden for kids, Women and Maternity, and a teen collection called Johnnie B). The United States now makes up a third of Boden’s business.
Since my first order (size 5 towelling shorts and appliqued tees for my big 2 year olds), my girls have fallen in love with piece after piece, season after season. The doggy skirt from Spring 2012 is still the favorite thing in their closet.
The women’s line has recently (in my opinion) seen a burst of sophistication that was hiding before amidst crazy mixes of prints. While I had bought pieces over the last few seasons (I lived in last summer’s crinkle tunic), often the wackiness of certain color combinations threw me off. The patterns can be hit or miss, but the photos on models (and flat) give a good idea as to what you will get when you order.
Some good things to know before you run off to shop.
1. Never ever make a purchase without a coupon code reducing full price items with free shipping and returns the current link on my site is for 25% off with both). If I know something will work and returns aren’t included, I might make the purchase, but normally I’ll just wait a few days to avoid the hassle of return shipping costs.
2. Read a few reviews. I’m always relieved if I fall in love with something, but the reviews say it’s not for “the busty” (me) or if something runs small. It definitely helps when deciding.
3. Read the garment measurements. Better than size charts, the measurements of the actual pieces make ordering so much easier. Every company should do this. I find it the most brilliant part of ordering online.
4. Some of my favorite bloggers are devoted Boden fans (My Superfluities, Poppy’s Style, and School Gate Style for example). If I’m still on the fence about a purchase I search their blogs. Usually I can find a picture of the item being worn.
5. The packaging from Boden was the first I’d ever seen that could be cut along a dotted line for opening with an adhesive strip, making returns as easy as replacing items in the original package, sealing, and sticking back into the mailbox.
6. Mini Boden is carried in the U.S. at Nordstrom (in stores and online). I’m curious to see how long this arrangement continues, since I find the online shopping option so much more effective and affordable than the prices that Nordstrom offers.
Here are some of my favorites for women and girls from Spring/Summer ’13
And for the girls …
* Disclosure: I am a Boden advertising affiliate, so if you click on the Boden link it will take you to the site with the coupon code embedded for your purchase. I so receive small commissions from all advertising on site.
June 5, 2013 § 5 Comments
My closet is full of the brand’s great staples (toothpick jeans, Jackie cardis, twill shorts, one-piece bathing suits and bikinis), but am I wrong to say that things have been looking the same for the last few seasons?
Do we blame this on Jenna Lyon’s departure?
Having taken the web shop off of my near daily morning site check, it’s been ages since I’ve bought anything from the brand.
But today, an intense rash guard search led me back.
Aren’t I glad I looked.
There’s tons of great swim shirts (loser than rash guards that come without a neck zipper), rashies with the zipper, and board shorts to protect the skin of pale girls (like me) and smart girls who know that the skin they’re in is the only skin they’ve got.
There’s 25% off online through June
6th 9th by using the code summer at checkout (the store sale lasts longer but most of the swim stuff is only available online). A few pieces are already sold out, but a little tip is that they replenish early every morning, so check back if what you love is gone.
Do you cover up at the beach or pool?
And for the little girls … swim shirts a bit more sophisticated than Roxy, but no board shorts, yet. Maybe next year …
June 3, 2013 § 2 Comments
Last week at the pool we met a little boy who’d had a liver transplant.
My kids didn’t say anything about his upside down U-shaped scar (or bloated belly) until we got back home, and the flood gates of questions poured forth.
Why did his belly look like that? How did he get that big scar? Does it hurt him now? Do we have a liver? Why do we need a liver? Do fish have livers? Where’d he get the new liver? What happened to the person who gave him the liver?
Liver. Liver. Liver.
I, after ensuring that my children’s hair wouldn’t turn green (chlorine + blondes don’t mix), and throwing together an after swim snack, started the googling flanked by my girls.
Web Md and Wikpedia served up the best and easiest info to digest ( pun totally intended).
- The liver is the largest internal organ (the skin is the largest external), which we need for detoxification and digestion.
- The liver has two large lobes (the right and left), and weighs about 3 pounds.
- The liver’s biggest job is to filter blood that comes from the digestive tract, and clean up bad stuff (metabolizing medicine, etc.) before sending it to the rest of the body.
- The liver sits within the upper right part of the abdomen, above the gallbladder, and works with the pancreas and intestines to digest our food. It separates out (metabolizes) the proteins, carbs and fats.
- You can’t feel it because it’s protected by the ribs.
- If you could touch a liver, it would feel rubbery.
There’s a lot more information to be found that describes the liver and its functions, but for my kids, this information sprouted a fascination that’s cluttered up the top sites screen of my Apple ever since.
The questions about why the boy’s liver wasn’t working in the first place and who’s liver he had in his body, were answers not as easily pulled from a screen.
My explanation went something like this:
- Sometimes little kids get sick.
- Someone died, and that person’s family knew that a little boy’s life could be saved by giving away the liver of the person that they loved, who didn’t need his liver anymore in heaven.
- The boy at the pool’s belly did looked different and his scar was very big, but those things didn’t mean that he’s not a good or nice boy. And wasn’t he such a good swimmer?
- Those scars mean that he’s a very lucky warrior.
- Aren’t we glad that he’s okay.
And one more fact that I couldn’t help share…
- Lots of fancy people eat (and like to eat) animal livers.
After five days of liver loving?
Talk about a buzz kill.
June 3, 2013 § 7 Comments
When Christine asked if I’d be willing to guest blog over at her site, Love Life Surf, I was incredibly honored.
And incredibly nervous.
Christine is my very first, real-life blogging buddy!
We met last summer at New York City’s Chelsea Piers where after a long walk (and talk) we noshed on fish tacos. It was the perfect afternoon.
A few weeks ago, after a weekend visit to my birth family, a post poured out of me that I sent it to Christine unsure if it was right for her site.
She liked it, and chose to share it with her readers today.
My first guest post!
A Life Off the Mat.
So happy for you to head on over and read it, and also to check out Christine’s great blog.
May 30, 2013 § 4 Comments
I’ve been meaning to write a post about how I’ve learned to manage my daughter’s asthma, but as I’m not a doctor I’ve been hesitant.
That was until this morning when a friend posted a Facebook status update asking other moms for advice in regard to her sons’ asthma, and his first nebulizer treatment.
As someone who’s been dealing with this since April 2008, I thought now was the time to share my experience in the hope of helping her, and any other people struggling with such a diagnosis.
When my first-born twin (Sophie) was a little over a year and a half, a snotty virus (for which we’d already visited the doctor) turned into an afternoon of funny breathing.
It wasn’t major. She wasn’t on the floor gasping for breath.
But the fact that she was so little made it difficult to gauge the severity of the situation. Was she just stuffed up? Just tired?
By early evening I’d wondered enough, and a trip to the pediatrician led to a new reality.
Asthma became a fact in our lives.
By the time we arrived, the ladies at the front desk realized we needed help. They whisked us back, put Sophie’s little finger in an oximeter, which established she was breathing was at 60%.
We were sent straight to the hospital.
Since that day (and night) I’ve learned enough to write a book on how to manage the illness.
Because really, that’s all a mom can do. Manage. And learn.
Albuterol the wonder drug.
The first night in the hospital Sophie was given Albuterol through a nebulizer every four hours (if I recall correctly, she was given it a bit more often when we first arrived).
Albuterol is a wonder drug; a bronchodilator that opens up the airways of the lungs and is given two ways (either through a motorized nebulizer or the more commonly seen rescue inhaler).
I’ve had many conversations with my pediatrician and asthma specialist about the efficacy of the inhaler. According to medical folks, the inhaler is as effective as the nebulizer.
But to many moms who deal with their children’s asthma on a daily basis, there’s something about the constant inhalation of the Albuterol in the nebulizer that seems to work better than the two, minute-apart pumps from an inhaler.
The inhaler does have its place in our lives, though. Carried with us in backpacks, purses, and the car, we always have one ready in case a flare up occurs and the kid begins to cough. More about the cough later.
There is one side effect to Albuterol that must be mentioned.
Albuterol is known to increase heart rate, cause irritability and nervousness. In a child, the behaviors associated with these side effects are what I call “wildness”; extra tantrums, sometimes hitting.
I refer to my kid at this point as the Albuterol monster. She’s still cute, but a bear to handle.
Pulmacort, Flovent, and short course steroids.
Used in combination with Albuterol are steroids called Pulmacort (also known as budesonide), Flovent, and laundry list of other steroid choices administered in the nebulizer and/or inhaler.
Whenever Soph is having a big attack that calls for the use of then nebulizer, we add the Pulmacort up to twice a day.
Daily, we use the Flovent inhaler to keep the lungs open to inhibit the severity of the next attack.
There have been a few instances, however, when the use of the budesonide and Flovent haven’t been enough. In those cases, our pediatrician has prescribed an oral steroid.
Unlike the vaporized forms of these steroids that go directly to the lungs (avoiding the blood stream), oral steroids work by getting into the blood and then hitting the lungs.
There are serious side effects to the use of oral steroids and Sophie’s doctor and I avoid them as much as possible.
You may have heard of the term, “roid rage?” An increase in behavioral problems are one of the reasons that oral steroids are not as quickly prescribed.
Combine an Albuterol monster and a dose of oral steroids?
Hold your breath for the next 5-6 days. Your kid will feel better because they can breathe, but the inability to control emotions or sleep or hunger is really hard. Much harder on them than you.
Why’s your kid always sick?
This is a question I get a lot.
The truth is that my kid isn’t always sick, but when she does catch a virus her asthma always kicks things up a notch.
Having twins has helped me to see this more clearly.
Inevitably, as happens with little people, kids tend to catch each others’ illness. For her sister (Grace), a cold can come and go and she’s back to herself in due time.
For Sophie, the same illness lingers and sends us to the pediatrician to have a lung listen (we’ve been lucky that they’re almost always clear), and a few extra days of missed school.
A few weeks ago, after Grace had long passed the worst of the latest cold, Sophie was still struggling with post nasal drip, which led to lots of coughing.
The Albuterol and Pulmacort weren’t calming things down and I was having to administer the Albuterol more than every four hours during the night.
Needing Albuterol this much is a good clue that it’s time to get to the doctor.
Luckily Sophie’s lungs were clear, but she actually had a double ear infection (without a fever or any complaints).
Sure enough, treating the infection stopped the asthma.
The Cough. The Wheeze. The Chest Pull.
Many people say that they can tell their kids are having an asthma attack by the sound of their wheezing. For me, I can never hear it. I sometimes think I hear Sophie’s wheezing on the inhalation, but I’ve been told that asthma wheezing is more commonly heard on the exhale.
Because of my confusion I look for other signs of an attack.
For my daughter, next to the chest pull, her cough is the best indicator.
The asthma cough sounds wet, and unlike, a crouping, barking cough. Any cough that seems incessant is probably indicating a child’s difficulty breathing.
When Soph was younger and couldn’t verbalize her needs, I would listen for the cough and then administer her medicines.
Another good way to double-check the need for medicines is if the child’s upper chest is pulling in with each breath. And hard. If you aren’t sure, lift your kids shirt and have a look. A deeply inhaled pull at the chest (concave) is a sure sign that there is some difficulty with the breath.
Now that Sophie is older she can tell me if she thinks she needs her medicine, but often she’s so busy she doesn’t think about it, and I have to use my eyes and ears to decide when it’s time for a treatment.
How much medicine and when.
A kid who can’t breathe is an incredibly frightening situation for people who don’t deal with it daily, especially for caregivers, teachers, and moms who suddenly find themselves with an asthmatic child.
The best advice I ever got was this …
The Albuterol is not going to hurt her.
The directions for use say that Albuterol can safely be administered every 4-6 hours.
At school, if a kid has a prescription and they need the medicine, they should be given it without fear.
If they had a dose less than 4-6 hours before, but they need another to be able to breathe, caregivers musn’t be afraid to medicate according to the directions, and then get the kid to the doctor.
If your kid is given a dose in the middle of the night and needs another dose three hours later, you have to weigh the benefits.
I’ve called the night nurse and been told that despite having just finished a dosing three hours before, to give another dose since the coughing had not subsided, and then to call an ambulance. By the time the ambulance arrived, Sophie’s coughing was better, her breathing was not labored, and I was told that I’d done the right thing.
I called the pediatrician in the morning who reconfirmed that I hadn’t over-medicated my kid. In fact, she said I’d done exactly what she would have done.
This is a really important aspect to managing asthma. Of course you don’t want to over-medicate, but breathing is not an option, and using careful consideration when treating an asthmatic could be the answer to life or death.
In time you learn how to manage and make the best decisions based on the severity of the issue at hand.
*Writing that just caused super anxiety. I’m not a doctor, remember? I’m not telling you to over-medicate your kid. Did I mention I’m not a doctor?
As I mentioned at the beginning, it often seems like the asthmatic child is more sick than the average boy or girl. For my daughter, there are triggers that cause an attack.
For us, the common cold or virus always causes Sophie’s asthma to become problematic.
But other triggers, like seasonal allergies, animal fur, tobacco smoke, and mold can cause bronchial restriction, too.
We chose to test Soph for allergies and found that she’s allergic to trees and flowers of all kinds. This makes it tough for us as seasons change over. Spring and fall are beautiful to look at, but I literally lose sleep as I’m up in the night (did you know asthma is worse at night?) filling the nebulizer in the dark.
Prescription Singulair once a day seems to have helped.
Exercise induced asthma?
Many parents have children with no signs of asthma until (during) or after physical excursion.
While this isn’t the main issue for us, I have noticed that a lot of exursion at the beginning or tail end of a cold or virus can exacerbate Sophie’s asthmatic episodes.
Just another reason to have an inhaler with you at all times.
How to manage the meds.
With so many medications it can be hard to keep track of everything. For me, having everything in one place has been the only way to make sure I’m on top of things in this department.
There’s nothing worse than watching your kid coughing and hacking while you’re trying to locate the meds.
Using a basket (we call ours “the blue basket”), I have everything I need to treat an episode.
The nebulizer is there and waiting. The Albuterol and Pulmacort are in the labeled boxes they came in, and I check them regularly to determine if we need to restock. There is an inhaler in the box, because some nights a cough can be treated without the nebulizer (first line of defense). The Singulair is in the basket, as is a temporal thermometer (somehow we lose thermometers often, so I now know where I can always find one).
Since the girls’ dad and I are separated, the blue basket travels back and forth. This way, I”m sure that the medicines are always available and I don’t have to worry if dad has been able to keep on top of refills. etc.
Recently I ordered a second nebulizer so that we each could have one. It lessens the load, so to speak.
Nebulizers do wear out in 4-5 years (so they say), so I need to pick up another one soon.
Overall, we are managing really well.
The last few illnesses did require treatment for the asthma, but we haven’t ended up in the hospital and Sophie’s oxygen level is never below 97% (which is great).
For moms who are just beginning the journey, know that you will have many sleepless nights. Your job is to not only care for your child, but educate others so that they understand the illness without fear.
Keep in mind, too, that there is always the hope that your child will grow out if their asthma.
Many, many do!
Do you or your child have asthma? Anything I’ve forgotten?
May 28, 2013 § 8 Comments
I have an affliction.
I can remember every outfit I ever wore, good or bad, at most events in my life. I also, as it happens, can remember most outfits others have worn, but only if they were extraordinary (extraordinarily good or bad).
This affliction comes from my love of clothes.
And you would think that one who loves clothes as much as I wouldn’t be plagued by too many bad styling decisions.
But clothes loving and good styling are two different things.
The problem is that I’m not a great stylist. I could never be a style blogger because of my indecision; the one Libran trait I’d change if I could.
Which brings me to my last memorable outfit, the result of indecision, bad styling, and is serving as the catapult to a new era of mommy dressing.
It’s time to take the wardrobe by the horns.
Last week, faced with an opportunity to “dress up” for pre-school graduation, I styled the saddest outfit of all time; a navy tee under a navy and pink striped J. Crew Jackie cardigan, a khaki linen flared midi, and (hold your breath) golden Jack Rodgers.
I could have passed for a preppified nun, and had there been time would have driven home to try, try again.
Instead, I sat in a fold up chair, my envious eyeballs taking note of the moms who’d gotten it right.
Ainsley (whom I’ve only spoken with once) wore a denim sleeveless shirt dress, slight ruffle at the neckline, and gold piping around every single outer edge. It was easy and divine and simple and a tiny bit flashy and I came this close to asking who made it (if I knew her better I’d have asked).
She paired it with J. Crew sandals covered in small gold studs, prompting me to Jack Rodger kick my own self. I knew they were J. Crew, because I own the same ones (though my foot bed is light and hers was dark, maybe hers are a newer season?).
My friend Monica, mom to the sweetie who was introduced during graduation as, “Future Fashion Designer,” looked fantastic in a great day dress; above the knee, elbow length sleeves, in the happiest zig zag pattern of navy, white, lime and yellow.
I texted her from three rows back to tell her I loved her dress.
There were others.
Jessica (whom I think should have her own style blog, she’s so good) in a simple navy maxi dress with gold cuff and long golden necklace. The lady in front of me in a black chiffony tunic dress with golden coins at the edges and a smattering of simple golden bracelets.
I ran home after the ceremony and stripped off my clothes.
Individually the pieces I’d worn weren’t awful (except for the J. Rodgers, which require a separate post).
I failed in my attempt be creative and fun, to work with all I’ve got (a closet full of clothes) to create a look that would be memorable in a good way.
As a challenge, for a hair appointment on Saturday I wore the same khaki linen flare skirt, but paired it with Converse, a slouchy tee and denim jacket.
The striped cardigan?
Could be cute with an edgier piece like denim culottes (culotte’s? yes!).
The Jack Rodgers?
I’m not sure there’s hope for them.
To Good Will they go.
Do you have outfit memory?