February 20, 2018

New Found Favorites

When I find things I love, it feels like I have a responsibility to share them with you. So this week I'm sharing some of my new found favorites.

First let me introduce you to Hu Chocolate. It's 70% Stone Ground Dark Chocolate that is Organic, made with Fair Trade cocoa and is paleo and vegan. And did I mention it's one of my most favorite chocolates EVER?

I've tried three flavors, the Hazelnut Butter, Almond Butter with Puffed Quinoa and Cashew Butter with Pure Vanilla Bean. I'll warn you, it's expensive, but worth every penny. The best pricing is on Thrive Market. Order some. You won't be sorry.

Next up are some of my new found favorites from Trader Joe's. Let's start with the Trader Joe's rice and Quinoa hot porridge. I sampled this in the store with some bananas and walnuts and was hooked. I've been eating it that way, adding almond milk, and have also had it with berries and nuts as well. It cooks much faster than oatmeal, and I've found needs more water than indicated on the directions, otherwise it's a bit thick for my taste.

These two are my new favorite Trader Joe's "snacks" or sweat treats when I'm trying to avoid eating a REAL sweet treat.
Nothing but Fruit & Nuts. Fig-Walnut
Nothing but Fruit &Nuts. Date-Hazelnut-Cacao

To round out my new TJ's favorites, I bought these unsulfured pear slices, and they are delicious. This is hands down my favorite dried fruit. And, they have no added sugar! 

Lastly, If you live in Portland and haven't been to Virtuous Pie, I highly recommend it. It's not actually all that "new" to me, but I went on Friday and hadn't been in a while, so I was reminded of how much I like it. 

They make plant based, gluten free pizza and ice cream that doesn't make you miss dairy at all (p.s. I still eat dairy and gluten).

February 19, 2018

Ask C&C: Keeping Dry

20 years ago I moved to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and at that time I purchased my first Goretex rain coat.  Living in the PNW requires proper waterproof "gear" and participating in snow sports in the PNW demands maximum performance.

In my recent social media request for "Ask C&C" questions, one of our readers asked how we keep our winter gear '"dry" during our winter activities. Ask and you shall receive.

What do we use to keep our wet weather gear as dry as possible during wet weather? Nikwax!

I highly recommend it to anyone looking to weatherproof your gear!

February 15, 2018

ASOS Keeping it Real

Last week I saw this Rip Curl bathing suit pop up on my facebook feed.

I clicked on the link, and it took me to Nordstrom where I was able to check out the back of the suit as well.
I like the suit, but 1) there's no way that would cover my a** and 2) there's no way her a** actually looks like that. I showed my friend Taylor and she quickly agreed on both points. Then she told me that ASOS (a C&C favorite as you know) no longer airbrushes their bathing suit photos, so I had to check it out.

And it's true. Stretch marks, skin rolls, dimples, lines, skin discoloration...it's all there. Finally retailers are "Keeping it Real" and showing what women ACTUALLY look like in their bathing suits.

Here are a few of the suits I like on their site (there are lots of really great ones). Yes, most of the women are still very thin, but at least they show a true representation of what these women actually look in the suit, not an air brushed false reality.

February 13, 2018

Keeping it Real: When your 6 year old wears your bra to school!

Last week the Mini Fashionista asked to wear "workout clothes" to school. I've encouraged this before given that she has PE 3 days a week and is extremely active on the playground at recess, so it seems perfectly logical. I inquired as to why the sudden change of heart...her reply "I just want to change things up." This is code for "I don't want to tell you, mom!"

She even let me snap this photo of her on our way out the door.

Fast forward to 5:00 p.m. in the locker room after swimming and she instructs me NOT to take her clothes out of her bag. Well, it was too late. I was already midway through the process when I discovered my sports bra in her bag! And she immediately confessed to wearing it to school (insert giggles from her friend in the background who was already aware of the situation). If you look at the above picture you can see the sports bra bunched up around her.

Channeling my best "Positive Parenting Solutions" self I kept calm. Honestly I felt a mix of emotions...disbelief, irritation (that she took something of mine without asking), laughter, amusement...

My biggest question was "why does my 6 year old want to wear a bra?" Her reply "because _____ has one." Someone in her class has a bra, and she wanted to wear one too.

Much like the makeup situation I posted about recently (here), this was an opportunity to draw upon my best parenting skills. Instead of saying "NO, you can't wear a bra. You don't need a bra. You are 6 years old," I decided to handle it differently and in an more effective way.

It's clear that she's curious about breasts and bras and about being a woman. By denying her interest I will only push her to hide her questions and curiosity from me in the future. She didn't ask me to wear the bra in the first place because she "knew I would say no", which I probably would have.... (lesson learned on my end to say "yes" to these types of things in the future).

So here's what I did. I told her that she can have a sports bra, but that she will have to buy it for herself. Because she doesn't have breasts, she doesn't need a bra, and I am not going to use my money to buy her clothes she doesn't need. We looked at some bras on Target and identified that they cost around $10, which is a big portion of her saved up spending money.

I encouraged her to think about it for a week. I told her that when there is something I really want I often wait a week or so to be sure I really want it. I also pointed out that she would likely wear it once or twice, forget about it, and then grow out of it. So maybe it's not the best use of her money.

This has definitely been one of the more amusing and laughable parenting experiences thus far. These moments serve as little lessons for me and the Mini. She's learning about life and I'm learning about how to let her live hers! :)

February 12, 2018

Copying is a Compliment

Did you watch the Opening Ceremony on Friday night? What did you think about Team USA's Ralph Lauren duds? I thought they looked great! The gloves are definitely a statement piece and made the look. A friend and reader (thanks ML) sent me a link to this article that calls out the similarity of the RL glove design to these gloves by Astis Mittens

After reading the article, it's pretty clear that RL did take "inspiration" from Astis, but I like that they found the positive and are celebrating that it has drawn more attention to this type of glove and to their brand. If you've never seen their beautiful work before, here are a few of my favorites.

They really are a piece of art.

February 9, 2018

Currently Coveting

We all have wish lists...the things you are currently coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another. Here's what my current wish list looks like.

I recently bought this J Crew Open front sweater-blazer in navy (on sale), and I LOVE IT!

Now I'm waiting for it to go on sale again to justify the purchase in at least one other color...maybe both! If you are looking for a comfy but polished layering piece, this is it! 

Did you know that Baggu now has a gingham print?

My friend and I saw a woman the other day wearing the most fabulous slip on sneakers. Being the shameless extrovert that I am, I walked across the restaurant and asked her where she got her shoes. They were a grey wool version of these Vince sneakers. I love this color too! 

I've had my eye on a new pair of black sunglasses. Unfortunately a few of the styles that I really like are only offered with polarized lenses, which I can't wear....they give me a headache. Here are a few of the styles I'm currently coveting! 

February 5, 2018

Keeping it Real: What to do When Your Kids Lie?

A few weeks ago when Katie and her family were here visiting the Mini Fashionista got into Katie's eyeshadow. And when I say "got into Katie's eyeshadow" I mean she took the brush and dug a hole into the blue eyeshadow.

When Katie approached her about it, she, like most kids her age would do, denied it. So what did I do?

These are the tough parenting moments when I don't always know how to react. Luckily, Positive Parenting Solutions, my go-to-resource for all things parenting, gave me the tools to feel more effective in the way I handled it.

I did NOT ask her "Did you get into Katie's eyeshadow"? That's a loaded question that ensures your child will lie to you, and you already know the answer, so it accomplishes nothing. Instead, I was very straightforward. I addressed what she did, told her I wasn't mad about what she did but sorry that she felt the need to lie about it. We talk regularly about how lying is worse than telling the truth about doing something bad.

What I did next was the important part of the response. I didn't have to question why she did what she did. I know. She is interested in makeup. She asked for a makeup kit for Christmas, but I didn't give her one. I didn't give her makeup because all I could envision was a pile of broken eyeshadow caked into her rug....

So, here's what I said, "I know you're interested in makeup. I'm guessing that's why you were playing with Katie's makeup. How about we make a deal? Anytime you want to play with makeup, just ask, and we can do it."

So, we got out my newest Beauty Counter eye palette, and we played makeup. I piled on tons of eyeshadow and bronzer, and she loved it.

She loved it until we had to take it off, and then she hated it. Her eyes were irritated from the washcloth, and the skin under her eyes was red and irritated too. I'm guessing she won't want to play makeup for a while again.

Here are the tips that Positive Parenting Solutions gives to handle lying and the tools I used (not perfectly but from memory) to handle the situation. I hope these will help you in handling similar situations with your children.

1. Keep calm and parent on. Watch how you respond to misbehavior and mistakes in your home, whether it’s spilled juice on the carpet or unfinished chores. If your kids worry about being yelled at or punished when they mess up, they won’t want to come to you with the truth. Focus on using a calm voice – yes, it can be tough, but it’s possible. That doesn’t mean kids are off the hook for lying. But instead of getting angry and assigning blame, discuss solutions to the problem with your child.

2. Don’t set up a lie. If you can see piles of laundry on your daughter’s floor, don’t ask her if she’s cleaned up her room yet. When we ask questions to which we already know the answer, we’re giving our children the opportunity to tell a lie. Instead, emphasize ways to address the situation. If you know Evan hasn’t touched his homework, ask him, “What are your plans for finishing your homework?” Instead of “Where did all this mud come from?” ask, “What can we do to clean this up and make sure it doesn’t happen next time?” This can help head off a power struggle and allows your child to save face by focusing on a plan of action instead of fabricating an excuse. It also teaches a lesson of what they can do next time – sitting down with homework right after school or taking off their shoes in the mudroom instead of the living room – to avoid problems.

3. Get the whole truth. While we may want to put our child on the spot when we catch them in a lie, accusing or blaming them will only make things worse. Getting to the root of the problem and understanding why she couldn’t be honest with you will help you encourage your child to tell the truth in the future. Open up a conversation gently, saying, “that sounds like a story to me. You must be worried about something and afraid to tell the truth. Let’s talk about that. What would help you be honest?” You can use the information you glean to help her be more truthful in the future.

4. Celebrate honesty. Even if you’re upset that there’s a sea of water on the bathroom floor because your daughter tried to give her dolls a bath in the sink, commend her for coming to you and telling the truth. Tell her, “I really appreciate you telling me what really happened. That must have been difficult for you, but I really appreciate you telling the truth and taking responsibility.”

5. Delight in do-overs. Think of mistakes as a way to learn how to make better choices. When we stay calm and avoid yelling or punishing our kids for mistakes, our kids will be more likely to admit their slip-ups in the future. Turn the mistake into a learning opportunity. Ask, “If you could have a do-over, what would you do differently?” and brainstorm different ideas. If someone else was affected – maybe he broke his sister’s scooter – ask what he can do to make it right with the other party.

6. Show the love. Let your kids know you love them unconditionally, even when they make mistakes. Make sure they know that while you don’t like their poor behavior, you will never love them any less because of the mistakes they might make. This helps your kids feel safe opening up to you.

7. Walk the talk. Remember that your kids are always looking to you and learning from your actions. Those little white lies we tell, whether it’s to get out of dog sitting for the neighbors or helping with the school fundraiser, aren’t harmless – they’re showing your kids that it’s okay to lie.