Friday, August 31, 2012

End of Summer?

As we head into Labor Day weekend and everyone laments the end of summer I'm still adamant that it's not the end! I was born on the first day of fall, and I intend to relish each day of summer until then but I do have to admit that I am ready for fall. This summer flew by, but at the same time seemed to go on forever (maybe cause of the intense heat compared to last summer!).

When I think back to our plans at the start of the summer I'm happy to share that we ended up doing most of them:

Memorial Day Pool Party in Maryland
Lil Love Bird with my friend Melissa at the Jewish Museum's Kehinde Wiley exhibit
At the Oogieloves Family Day - you can read my full conference recap here
The Jazz Age Lawn Party {Image Credit}
Here's what I'm looking forward to this holiday weekend . . .
  • Nia's friend's 2nd birthday party (since her birthday Nia's completely obsessed with parties of any kind and randomly starts singing happy birthday to herself throughout the day!)
  • Working on our itinerary for our trip to Las Vegas in 4 short weeks - Mr. Love Bird's coming with me and we added a day before and after Blogalicious so we can spend some time together!
What about you? What are you looking forward to this Labor Day weekend? 

P.S. There's still a few hours left to enter my $100+ value giveaway here (winner announced on Monday, September 2).

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Silly Lil Love Bird

Remember Nia's "cape" that Mr. Love Bird made? She jumped right into character and that was just the beginning of her silly antics of toddlerhood.

Here's a sampling of some of the things she does that keeps us cracking up . . .

Nia was really into the "Yimpics" as she called them
Not only does she have the gift . . .
But she shares it with me as well!
Yes, she is asleep.
I came out the bathroom and saw she did this - it scared me so badly! Reminded me of a figurehead on an old ship.
She told me, "Mommy, I stuck!" (Yes, that's a napkin holder)
To say she's obsessed with stickers is an understatement
She loves to climb
What has your kid done to crack you up lately? Isn't it hard to get mad at them when they're so darn cute?!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An Afternoon with Tracee Ellis Ross & SoftSheen-Carson Optimum's Miracle Oil Launch

Miss Tracee Ellis Ross
I was recently invited to SoftSheen-Carson Optimum's Miracle Oil launch with Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of Diana Ross at 404. It was a treat to slip away for an afternoon and learn about this exciting line for women with natural or relaxed tresses.

The gorgeous Curly Nikki was also in attendance (you can check out her recap here!).

Tracee Ellis Ross with blogger Curly Nikki
Tracee works the product through her hair
Tracee was very enthusiastic about the product line even jumping in to demonstrate how awesome it is in her own hair! Her bubbly personality was infectious and got everyone excited to try the product. It was passed around the audience and models with various textures allowed us to feel the product in their hair. 

The product line (a full review is on the way!)
{Professional Images Credit: Bratskeir and Company}
During the afternoon we learned about the 6-in-1 Miracle Oil which includes apricot, argan, avocado, coconut, sunflower and jojoba oils and can be used in so many different ways:

Hot Treatment
Daily Leave-In Conditioner
Moisturizing Scalp Oil
Heat Protector
Frizz Controller
Dry Skin Hydrator

In addition to the oil, the Miracle Oil line includes moisturizer and creme. We were given products to take home and so far I've used the moisturizer in styling Lil Love Bird's hair and her hair soaked it right up, but I promise a full review of the products on both mine and Nia's hair soon!

If you want to get your hands on Miracle Oil products they are now available at major chains nationwide. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

If I Wasn't So Ambitious

Throwback Lil Love Bird - 1 Year Old
I've been having a lot of candid conversations with fellow moms of more than one child about what it's like transitioning into 2+ motherhood. I had a strong feeling of wanting a baby pre-Nia and now I keep waiting to see if I have that feeling for #2 or more and it has yet to show up.

On a deeper level I'm pondering why that is? I always thought I'd want a lot of children (meaning 3+) and Mr. Love Bird and I would have debates about child spacing pre-Nia before I knew just how challenging motherhood would be.

One mom friend of mine who's put her lucrative career aside to raise her two children told me that she was happy to do so and there was nothing better than a baby.


I just couldn't wrap by head around that and it made me wonder if something's wrong with me. Instead I was thinking about what I think is better, at least at this stage of my life and it's my business(es).

I'm a firm believer in multiple profit centers, and I'm constantly balancing a ton of different projects at any given moment and at this stage I feel like slowing down to have baby #2 would detrimentally affect the trajectory I'm on.

Part of me wishes I had started on some of these paths in college, but I know the importance of blooming where I'm planted and I live my life without regrets. Instead I'm learning to sequence and balance and the ambition I feel towards my career goals is much stronger than the nonexistent desire for more children.

Sometimes I think if I wasn't so ambitious in non-motherhood pursuits I could surrender myself to motherhood and be in pure bliss in raising my children (as some of my peers profess).

Instead I want to keep on the path I'm on and take care of myself mentally, physically and spiritually so that when I'm ready to move on to the ambitions of (more) motherhood I will be ready to do so. 

Have any of my readers experienced this? How have you coped? 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Do You Get Allergy Face? See How I Avoid It!

Last week I was invited by Zyrtec to the London Hotel here in NYC to get top tips from fashion and beauty expert Rebekah George on how to combat Allergy Face.
The gorgeous atrium at the London Hotel
What exactly is Allergy Face? It's the red eyes, puffiness and swelling you can get from staving off allergies and with fall season upon us I was excited to learn simple ways that I can look my best despite allergies. I'm a contact lens wearer and suffer from red itchy eyes during allergy season so I tend not to wear any make-up (plus since Nia keeps me on my toes I often don't even have time to apply it anyway!). Luckily for me there were some efficient tips I used that I've already started using . . .

The highlighter, bronzer and bright eye shadow gave me a natural-looking glow.
I was a little nervous about wearing a bright pink lip because I have what I call really luscious lips (!), but Rebekah convinced me I can totally pull it off! In the end I really liked my natural look.  

My finished look. No more Allergy Face!

With fashion and beauty Rebekah George
Here are my favorite 6 tips that I learned that afternoon:
  • Store makeup brushes in a sealed bag to prevent dust from setting in or wipe them off with a tissue after each use to reduce contamination.
  • Be sure to apply your makeup next to a window. The natural light will help prevent you from applying too much makeup. You don’t need to go overboard on makeup to combat Allergy Face - the key is less is more.
  • Layer on a luminescent highlighter before your foundation to make your skin look awake and healthy.
  • Stash two spoons in the fridge at all times. Take them out and place on top of your eyes whenever your eyes are puffy. The metal from the spoons holds in coldness longer so you get better results than using cucumber slices.
  • Rim your inner lids with a white pencil to help brighten up eyes and wake up your face.
  • Avoid irritating your eyes by applying mascara just to the tips of your lashes – it gives you the look of an open and defined eye with less risk of upsetting eyes.
Carissa Black make-up bag and some of the beauty products I received

We always keep allergy medicine in our cabinet, but I always wonder if the 24 hour pills actually work. I was happy to learn that Zyrtec starts working within hour 1 of use and I was given a few samples to try this fall. In addition to these I also received the cutest Etsy-based make-up bag stuffed with products to try (my fave so far are the Visine soothing eye wipes which soothe troubled eyes and double as eye make-up remover).

I'm ready to stave off Allergy Face this fall. What about you?

What tips do you use to keep Allergy Face at bay?

Disclosure: I was invited to this event as part of Mom Central. I received a complimentary make-over and product gift-bag and was not obligated to write this post. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lil Love Bird Steals the Show! A Jazz Age Lawn Party Recap

Sunday Nia and I ventured to Governor's Island for the third year in a row for the Jazz Age Lawn Party. Our tickets were originally for Saturday but the early rain scared us away so we were glad when they honored them Sunday instead!

We started out on the ferry which had a 2 hour wait to get on, but thankfully another mother at the front of the line had mercy and signaled me to join her family. Hooray for the empathy of fellow moms!

With my sister Ariane
My sister Ariane met us on the other side and we were amazed at how packed it was compared to previous years. This has become a fun tradition for us and I love seeing all the various costumes; the attention to detail is outstanding.

Nia made a little friend!
Nia took a while to warm up but the fun music played by the Dreamland Orchestra was infectious and she couldn't help but join in the dancing - to say she was the life of the party was an understatement:

There were still more friends for Nia to make . . .

Before we headed back on the ferry we stopped for Mister Softee with sprinkles (Nia's request!)

Timeout New York also has a fantastic photo gallery from the June Jazz Age Lawn Party (it's held 2x each summer).

P.S. Click here to see our visit last year to the Jazz Age Lawn Party! And yes, Nia could still fit the same dress and bonnet - my little string bean!

Friday, August 17, 2012

More On Blog Her '12 and a $100+ Value Giveaway

I was in such a hurry to get my thoughts out on BlogHer '12 while they were fresh and now that a couple weeks have passed I had a few more thoughts to share (and a fun giveaway if you can make it all the way to the end of the post). . .
  • Have business cards you can write on (and with a picture of yourself!) - as I've been working on my follow-up I find it was so helpful when attendees had non-glossy cards that I could make notes on. At the end of each night I would go through my cards and jot down notes from who I met each day on the cards. One of the advice posts I read before attending mentioned this tip and I kept it in mind when I ordered my cards and I think it really helped! I loved my cards from Moo (and a few women were very interested in my Mr. Love Bird  - hey I can't blame 'em, he's pretty hot!); you can get yours here through my personal link.
  • Get away so you can experience the city - since I live in the city I wasn't too bummed about not being able to break away from the conference to explore, but I'm thankful that the private parties gave me the chance to do so and the impromptu dinner with Weather Anchor Mama as well. For those not from the host city, I think it's important to add in time to get away, even if it means missing a session or a party. To go that far and not to be able to take in all the city has to offer would be such a disappointment. I really like how Jess from Curating Style stayed at the Ace Hotel (one of my faves) and ventured to partake in the awesomeness that is Shake Shack as well as scheduled an appointment at one of the city's premiere blow-out bars. 
  • There were extremely disparate experiences amongst the attendees - from disappointment to elation, it's incredible to review the recap posts and seriously wonder if some of the attendees were even at the same conference, but of course that's to be expected given the large attendee list; here are a few recaps to check out:
    • Mae at Life's Candy shared the conflicting feelings she had after attending but summed up the main reason why she keeps going back to BlogHer: the people and her passion
    • Amy at Baby Baby Lemon shared a quick-hit list of her faves (I completely agree that the Social Fiesta had the best food out of all the official parties!)
    • As a highly sought after blogger it was interesting to see Emily's experience (she blogs at Baby Dickey); she attended a bunch of off-site events that sounded like a lot of fun. The with-baby part, not so much!
    •  Mom to the Screaming Masses explained the "special snowflake" mentality she witnessed from many of the attendees; as a panelist her perspective is very interesting
Our hostess, The Baby Shopaholic on the far right

{Images Credit}
Congrats! You've indulged in yet another post about my BlogHer '12 experience so I'm going to do another giveaway . . .

I'm giving away a prize pack including 3 items I picked up at the conference:

I blogged about them here and am giving away the purple set pictured {Image Credit}

Item #2: Ollo Clip

You can enhance your iPhone 4 & 4s camera with this clip on lens! BlogHer veteran Fadra of All Things Fadra named it her #1 favorite item in her swag recap here. {Image Credit}


 You may have heard about Trojan's swag and subsequent NYC campaign (it ended up getting shut down!); well I was able to snag one (or two!). {Image Credit}

Near the arguably most popular booth at BlogHer '12 with Brandhyze (Frugal-Nomics) and Stacy-Ann (Weather Anchor Mama) {Thank you Stacy-Ann for the pic!}
Wanna win this prize pack? You have 2 weeks from today to enter, and I've made it super simple: I loved using Rafflecopter for my last giveaway so I'm using it again with the only mandatory entry being a comment and a few extras if you're up for it . . .

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Have a good weekend everyone!

P.S. If you're thinking of attending a blogging conference in the future here's a fantastic list of all the blogging conferences!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Where it All Began: Love Birds Return to Wellesley College

I haven't aged a day ;-)
This past June I made my way back to Wellesley College for my 10 year reunion - it was hard to believe that it's been that long! Wellesley is an all-women's liberal arts college just a few miles west of Boston. Growing up in Columbus, Ohio I attended Columbus School for Girls and definitely didn't want to continue on the single-sex route for college but my ever-persistent guidance counselor convinced me to visit, and I instantly fell in love. With an alumnae roster that included such powerhouses as Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Nora Ephron, Madame Chiang Kai-Shek and Diane Sawyer I knew that I wanted to join their ranks. 

My college dorm overlooking Severance Green
Wellesley has a gorgeous campus, and I treasured the time I spent there while I studied psychology and economics. It was important to me to have access to a big city while in college and although I really wanted to attend NYU, in the end coming from Columbus, Boston was a good training ground for my eventual move to New York City 5 long, grueling years after graduation.

Throwback Love Birds
I met Mr. Love Bird while attending Wellesley (you can read how we met here) and on our first night back in Boston we reunited at Stockyard, one of our favorite restaurants with a few friends. 

With my friends Noelle and Anna
Entertaining Lil Love Bird while our friend Steve, a BC alum who coached at Northeastern with Uka, looks on
At Stockyard then and now: what a difference a few years makes!
We stayed at a local home we found on Airbnb (a vacation rental site that I highly recommend - and no, it's not a sponsored recommendation!). Nia fell in love with the owners' dog, and it was nice to be removed a bit from all the hustle of reunion and feel like we were really away - the town of Sherborn where we stayed has so many lovely, historical homes and farms. 

Lil Love Bird's new friend Cassie
Enjoying dining hall food much more than I did while at Wellesley!
My class dinner - it was right after this that I found out my grandmother passed away
My SD card in my BlackBerry randomly crashed after our trip so I was so sad to lose some fun videos I took of Nia including her singing a nigun at the multicultural church service the last day of reunion. Now whenever we tell her to sing the church song, she breaks out in "di-di-duh-di-di" and it's adorbale! However, I was able to capture the beautiful new multi-faith stained glass windows that were installed in the chapel:

One of the well known traditions of our reunion is the annual alumnae parade. The oldest representative at reunion was from the class of '32! The older alums ride in antique cars while the others walk picking up classes along the way. Mr. Love Bird captured a video of the procession all while wrangling Lil Love Bird and in the rain (I'm waving at about the :30 mark towards the right of the screen):

Waiting for the parade to start
My purple class - each incoming class is assigned one of four rotating colors
There were very few of us attending who were married and/or with kids. It's so interesting coming from the Midwest how the timeline of major life events varies drastically vs. on the East coast. Some of us with kids were surprised at the lack of events for the younger ones or some type of babysitting service - BlogHer even had childcare available for a nominal charge. Being the activist types we are (and the Squeaky Wheel that I am!), some of us discussed getting in touch before next reunion so we can organize better for those with families and suggesting this on our reunion questionnaires as well. 

Then and now: me and my roommate Maria at graduation; at reunion with our girls
Despite this (and the awful cold temperatures and rain we were plagued with during the weekend), I am so thankful for my time at Wellesley and am looking forward to returning in five years for my fifteen year reunion! 

Did you attend your college reunion? If so, what was it like? 


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