December 7, 2017

Keeping it Real: Digital Detox

A few months ago I took a ten day digital detox. I was feeling overly addicted to all things social media and needed a break.

For the first few days I found myself reaching for my phone and wanting to open Facebook and Instagram (which I had removed), but after a few days I felt free. I felt free from the constant pull, the constant need to connect with something beyond what I was experiencing in that moment. 

You know that feeling? The feeling you get when you sit down in a waiting room, when someone leaves the table to go to the bathroom, when you're stopped at a stop light....that feeling you get so many times a day...and in that moment instead of just "being" you feel the need to pull out your phone?

During my detox I was able to step back and observe how much social media and our addictions to our phones and computers takes away from real life social interactions. It distracts us from our family and friends and prevents us from truly being present. During my detox I noticed how annoying it is when others are constantly on their phones. It's annoying and it's rude. It was sad to admit that I had been that person too.

I didn't know how long I would stay on the detox, but after about ten days I decided that it had been enough. It didn't take long to realize that social media was just a lot of noise and distraction. That said, I missed seeing the photos of my niece. I missed seeing the mountain adventures of my friends. I missed seeing the joy and happiness of the people I love.

So I decided to go back, but on different terms. The first thing I did was to significantly reduce the number of accounts I was following on Instagram. I went from 600 to less than 200 (not all of which are active accounts). I also decided to write a "Technology Contract" with myself. Here's what it looks like.

I will not....
- Check social media on weekdays until after I take my daughter to school
- Look at social media when in the presence of family or friends
- Look at Instagram more than 3x/day
- Look at social media in bed
- Let social media take away from real life social interactions
- Look at email or social media on my phone after 9 p.m.

For the first few weeks I did a really good job of keeping to my contract. During that time I was getting what I wanted out of my social media interactions, but I didn't feel controlled by it.

And then I let things slide....I went back to looking at my phone with much greater frequency, looking at it in bed and after 9 p.m. Once again I let myself be controlled by the addiction.

While I love some aspects of social media, I want it to have a less significant presence in my life. So I'm going back to the contract, and I'm hopeful that after a few weeks of compliance it will become an effortless habit and a permanent way of life.

Anyone want to join me? You won't be sorry!

December 4, 2017

Pink + Red Perfection

I am obsessed with this dress. I love peplums. I love shift dresses. I love pink + red together. So, these two colors, in this silhouette is pretty much perfection. The only thing I don't love is the $350 price. 

If money were no object, I'd gladly take the top as well. 

And while I'm shopping, the black satin is pretty fabulous too! 

November 27, 2017

Let's Talk About Sex

A few weeks ago I attended a "birds & bees & kids" talk given by Amy Lang at my daughter's school. I really appreciate that our school offers this these types of lectures, and I always try to attend.

She started the lecture by asking the parents about our experiences learning about sex and our bodies from our parents. The majority of the people had no recollection of "the talk", most said they learned from books or their friends and only a few people were taught that sex is a part of a loving healthy relationship. She recounted stories of a friend who was told sex meant "kissing with your tongue" (and subsequently thought she was pregnant for 6 months), of a friend who's parents referred to his penis as the "shamer" and a handful of other stories of misinformation.

Amy informed us that the US has the highest incidence of teenage pregnancy and STDs of any developed country, so clearly we are not doing our job educating our children about their bodies and their sexuality.

While this topic is uncomfortable for everyone, parents and children, it's a conversation that needs to be had, and Amy suggest as early as the age of five.

What does starting the conversation early accomplish? 
- It decreases the risk of childhood sexual assault (given the recent news headlines, this is reason enough to talk to your matter how uncomfortable it makes you).

- Children often receive contradictory information between their secular and religious educations, leaving them to question what to believe about sex and sometimes confusing them more. Open and honest communication about sex in families can help kids make sense of the mixed messages.

- Even if parents don’t feel competent in their delivery of sexual information, children receive and incorporate parental guidance with greater confidence than that from any other source.

- Parents remain the primary influences on sexual development in childhood, with siblings and sex education as close followers. During late childhood, a more powerful force – peer relationships – takes over parental influences that are vague or too late in delivery.

- Engaging in difficult conversations establishes trust and primes children to approach parents with future life challenges.

- Teaching about sex early and often contributes to a healthy sexual self-esteem. Parents may instill a realistic understanding of healthy intimate relationships.

Amy has written a few books herself (here) and recommends a handful of books to read to your children, beginning at a young age. Robie Harris writes the three most simple and straightforward. We own all three of them and have read the 4+ and are about to start the 7+. These books give your kids all the facts in a simple and age appropriate way.

Some of you may be shocked by this, but my 6 year old now knows exactly how babies are made. Her reaction was a bit comical at first..."you did that?...that's disgusting" which my response was "it's a normal part of a healthy, loving relationship." And that was that. The earlier you start the conversation, the easier and less awkward it will be. 

I feel thankful to have resources that help me to be a better parent, to create a safe and open dialogue in our family about uncomfortable topics,  to arm her with the knowledge necessary to protect herself and to have a healthy relationship with sexuality. 

wow. that's a lot for one post. If you have kids. check out the books. you won't be sorry. 

November 22, 2017

The Spirit of Giving

In the spirit of giving we've partnered with one of our favorite artists and jewelry designers, Irene Wood of History + Industry, for a holiday giveaway.

Between now and next Tuesday you can enter to win this GORGEOUS Layer Necklace in mauve.

To enter please leave a comment at the bottom of the blog post telling us what you are thankful for this holiday season.

Irene is also offering an extra 5% off to C&C readers for a total of %35% off. Here are a few of the things I have my eye on.

These two necklaces are fabulous and would be the perfect accessory for my winter crewneck cashmere sweater uniform!

If I had my ears pierced (I know...shocker...who doesn't have their ears pierced??), I would buy these Katsura earrings

And lastly, have you seen her beautiful artwork? Katie has two amazing pieces in her home (see them here).

You too can have one of her beautiful paintings...

 Make sure to follow Irene on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with her beautiful jewelry and artwork. The winner will be announced next Wednesday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2017

Sorel x Chloe

Feast your eyes on these! 
"Paris meets the Pacific Northwest with the collaboration of Sorel and French Maison Chloé to design an all-weather boot that is both utilitarian and chic." (from SGB Media)

While a somewhat unlikely partnership, Sorel and Chloé have come together on this spin of Sorel's classic Joan of Arctic boot. 

The functional nature of the boot is true to Sorel, while the shearling tongue/lining, oversized gold hardware and large metallic laces scream of high fashion Chloé.

Unfortunately with a $515 price point,  I won't be running out to get a pair, but I am certainly admiring them from afar.  

November 20, 2017

Kids Gift Guide

Black Friday is nearly open us, which means that the Christmas shopping season is about to kick off! We try to focus on more "experience" or learning based gifts, so I thought I would create a gift guide along those lines. 

The nice thing about the majority of these gifts is that they are truly gender neutral, so any child in your life will delight in receiving them! 

Kits & Crates
These first few gifts are involved projects that provoke thought and creativity. 

Little Bits offers a variety of inventor kits, including this Droid Inventor Kit
Image result for little bits droid inventor kit

Next up is Kiwi Crate. We actually blogged about this a few years ago, as Katie got the Mini Fashionista a subscription for Christmas. These STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subscription boxes come once a month, can be selected by age and chosen in a variety of durations. 
Image result for kiwi crate

For the little chef in your life, Raddish Kids is a great way to engage the entire family in cooking. Raddish is a cooking club, culinary lesson, and mealtime solution all-in-one.
Image result for raddish kids

For the young reader in your life, there are all sorts of great options. Here are a few of my favorites. 

Ranger Rick has been around since I was a kid, so it's pretty amazing that this kid's wildlife magazine is still around. It's now offered in three age ranges, so there's an option for all the little animal lovers in your life. 

My mom got the Mini a subscription to Highlights Magazine about a year ago, and she eagerly awaits its arrival each month. We enjoy reading it together and doing the interactive activities. I also remember enjoying this as a child!  
Image result for highlights magazine

For the older children in your life, here are two great magazines. 

Kazoo is a new kind of quarterly print magazine for girls, ages 5 to 10—one that celebrates them for being strong, smart, fierce and, above all, true to themselves. We had a subscription to it last year, and it was a little too old for the Mini. I think this definitely leans towards the 8+ age range. 
Image result for kazoo magazine for kids

Almost Fearless magazine is actually for Parents, but I thought I would include it anyway. I just recently subscribed and can't wait for our first issue to arrive.

We are big fans of the author Andrea Beaty and her books. The characters are fun, they encourage interest in STEM and the illustrations are fantastic.

If you already have the books, the new Project Books are a great option to add to a child's library. The project books inspire young readers will all sorts of fun activities. 

Wonderbly creates gorgeous customized books with beautiful illustrations, fun characters and thoughtful story lines. I've already order a few for my favorite little people. 

November 16, 2017

Keeping it Real

Since the "keeping it real" posts seem to be among our reader's favorites, I thought I would jump back into blogging with a fresh breath of reality.

A friend posted this photo on Instagram the other day, and it really resonated with me.

I reposted it to my personal Instagram and have been thinking about it ever since... Are these things really all that new?  And are they in fact independent of one another?

Can't rich people be happy and healthy? Why can't success accompany inner peace? And who says the cool kids can't also be kind?

To me the takeaway is about perspective and priorities. It's easy to get caught up in money and success and being cool. There's no denying that our society focuses on these things, sometimes too much, and like it or not, they are important.

These analogies are much like the saying "strong is the new skinny". They are statements that are meant to shift our priorities. There's nothing wrong with being skinny. However, the focus on being skinny has taken much of society to an unhealthy extreme, an extreme that comes with negative consequences. Shifting the focus to "strength" is more positive. The negativity attached to the goal of being "skinny" is much like the negative associations made with success, wealth and being "cool".

So we shift our focus.

If you live with purpose and with the priority to be happy, healthy, kind and at peace, then chances are you will be. It's also quite possible that you will be cool and wealthy and successful (however you define those things) as well.

If you live with the latter as your priorities, it's like the kindness, happiness, health and inner peace in your life will be lost or diminished.

So here's to everyone putting messages like this in their windows. It certainly won't fix all the worlds' problems and won't cause everyone to change their priorities, but it may cause a few people to shift their focus, and sometimes a little goes a long way.