I’ve heard that freckles are where God and the angels kissed you before you left heaven. Every summer, as the sun draws them into view, I see count new kisses and, I fall in love with with each of them.
I’ve heard that freckles are where God and the angels kissed you before you left heaven. Every summer, as the sun draws them into view, I see count new kisses and, I fall in love with with each of them.
The week-end is already over and it’s only Thursday. I’m calling it because between now and Sunday evening, it’s go, go, go until we can face-plant among the pillows only to wake up on Monday and start fresh. The kids are heading into end of year mode. May marks one month until the end of this school year. The first week-end in May kicks off the slide down that slope with Spirit Week, Field Day and Magic Dragon Day. Spirit Week involves the kids dressing up each day from a pre-approved theme. Monday and Tuesday were Blue and White Day (school colors), Wednesday was Tie-Day day, and Thursday was Crazy Hat day. Sadly, we have no “crazy” hats, but the girls looked, to quote M, “Stylish, sophisticated and continental,” in two of my church hats. Friday is field day where each grade participates in relays, running races, and other fun games. They wear their Magic Dragon Day shirts — the dragon being the school mascot, the shirt color pre-determined by the eldest family member attending the school (Go, Blue!) — and run around, getting hot, sweaty and grass stained. It’s an early release day as well and I’m confident that this year, I’ll remember to get them at 1pm instead of the regular dismissal time like I did the last two years (oops!).
Magic Dragon Day is on Saturday and it promises to be a rolicking event. Every year, the school hosts a carnival like event for the entire school. There are booths with games of chance, tug-of-war contests in each grade, dunking booths, Spirit Wear sales, book sales, a cake walk and the highly anticipated kidnergarten May Pole Dance. While this is our third MDD, this is our first May Pole Dance and cake walk experience. The kindgergarten kiddos have been practicing since before Easter to kick off MDD with their dance. The girls and boys wear their Sunday best and dance around the blacktop, lacing grosgrain ribbons up and down the length of a flower topped pole. Once the dance is over, Magic Dragon Day can officially begin.
C is in kindergarten this year and has been protesting having to do the May Pole dance because she “doesn’t want to hlod hands with a boy!!” Keep up that attitude, kiddo! As we’ve gotten closer, though, she’s started to get more excited. She’s picked out her dress, she’s decided what color flowers she’d like in the wreath that will sit atop her head. She is ready to peel out of the dress with her friends and into her MDD shirt in order to paritcipate in her first ever tug-of-war. I suppose it’s no surprise that her enthusiasm has been escalating. While neither she nor M have ever done a May Pole before, they’re third year MDD vets and ready to eat and play their way through the day.
In addition to the May Pole prep, kindergarten parents are also tasked with preparing two cakes (or 48 cupcakes or some combination of cake and cupcake) for the MDD cake walk. Cake walk? What’s that, you ask. The Cake Walk is one of the most fun and successful booths at MDD. Similar to musical chairs, participants move along a serpentine path on the blacktop. The path is sectioned off into numbers which correspond to numbered cakes set up in the auditorium. When the music stops, the emcee draws a number from the pile and whomever is standing on that number, wins the corresponding cake. The cakes are indeed prizes to be had! The cakes are either homemade or store bought, and decorated within an inch of their lives. The more decorations, the better! In years past, cakes have been decorated as sand castles, treasure chests, dragons, Legos, Polly Pocket Beach parties and Star Wars themed cake toppers.
Earlier in the year, when talking with another kindergarten mom, we resolved to buy our cakes instead of fool around with the homemade foolishness. At the time, the mandate was, homemade only — not necessarily from scratch, but definitely homemade. I was all about “breaking the law” because I didn’t know what the heck kind of cake I could scrape together or whether or not I was really up to the challenge of finding something that could hold its own against other Pinterest-worthy cakes that were sure to come down the pike. I went back and forth the Hubs about it, who clearly fell on the side of “Just buy the cake!” and my mom who was more of “Oh, c’mon, you can make it.” Truthfully, I was doing a cost benefit analysis as to what was more cost effective: buying a pre-decorated cake or buying the uspplies and doing it myself. In the end, I think it was a wash. I found a recipe that looked hard, but was more time consuming than anything else. Ultimately, my biggest challenge was making sure my cupcake cups were equally filled. Well, that and trying to keep the girls from eating the decorations before I could put them on the cake.
Between the cake and the prep for the May Pole dance, which included hot gluing silk flowers to a ribbon encased wreath, it’s been straight up Crafty Town up in here. The recipe for the cupcakes follows the photos of my finished product. I baked the cakes and cupcakes a few days ahead of time so that I could focus solely on frosting and decorating.
Enjoy and Happy Friday, y’all!
recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker, found here.
See also: A Day at the Beach Cake! Recipe courtesy of Reloved Recipes, found here.
It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been back from NYC and I’m still reveling. In the course of four days, we accomplished quite a bit, but aside from the quality time, sans bébé’s, with the hubs. The highlight for me would have to be the first day in the city.
Friday, the hubs and I took the train up to NYC from Union Station. Not a bad way to go. A few stops along the way, but there was Wi-Fi and in 3 hours, we were in the Big Apple. We hit the streets with hardly a break. After dropping out bags at the hotel, we trotted across the street for breakfast at a corner coffee shop. After carb-loading on eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns as we sat knee to knee and elbow to elbow with other diners, we bellied over to the subway.
Although I grew up in NJ, literally a stone’s throw from NYC, I have visited the latter more often as an adult. My first experience with the NYC subway was back in 1995 when my brother took me and several of my girlfriends into the city for lunch. This was when the subways were disgusting petri dishes full of all kinds of human detritus. Graffiti, panhandlers, everything that made the subway fearsome and unappealing was at it’s peak right then. Add to the fact that in my pea brain, the whole subway system rendered me dyslexic with its barrage of numbers, letters, and primary colored geometric shapes, I was paranoid that I would never make it to where I wanted to go, let alone where I had started from. I couldn’t wrap my head around uptown and downtown and why I needed to catch the 6 on the NW corner instead of the SW corner in order to go where it was I was going.
I’d much rather take a cab. Cabs, however add up. As my visits to NYC increased in my adulthood, I was more comfortable grabbing the subway with someone else, someone who knew EXACTLY where we were going. Fast forward to this last trip with our daily itinerary that had us criss-crossing all over the island of Manhattan. There was no way I could cab it up. Add to the fact that on one of the days, the hubs was going to be out of pocket for work related reasons. I decided to get empowered; I studied the subway system before leaving (yes, I’m a dork) and plotted how to get from A to B to C to A to D. Then I saved it to my phone.
I showed the hubs who just shook his head and showed me the subway app. Talk about a game changer! Plug in starting station and your desired arrival station, it tells you how to get there, the shortest route, and what transfers to make. Cue the Hallelujah chorus!
By the end of the trip, I was riding the subway like I’d been doing it for years. I had my metro card ready to swipe, my ear buds in my ears, and I navigated those tunnels with more confidence than I felt. Overall, my biggest fear had been getting mugged or accosted in some way, in addition to getting lost. Although I was a tourist, I didn’t want to look like an easy mark with a map I couldn’t fold or a look on my face that said, “Yes, I’m from the suburbs!” What I discovered is, even if you don’t know where you’re going, walk with purposeful confidence like you do. Then duck into a Starbucks (because there is one on EVERY.SINGLE.CORNER and pull out our your phone to figure it out.
I ventured down to SoHo and Tribeca on Saturday morning, on my own. . .on the subway! It was exhilarating and empowering. And it freaked my parents out when I told them about it. My dad kept telling me I have to be careful about people pushing people onto the subway tracks. I reminded him that I was hugging the wall like it was a long lost lover. My mom gets a little . . .flatulent, shall we say. . .when she gets nervous, so the duration of the call was peppered with bursts of agitated wind followed with, “Oh!” and “Oh, dear!” and “You’re making your mother upset!” I promised them that after I had finished my trip to Tribeca, I met up with the hubs and we traveled together after that. Poor Mom. She had to hang up because we couldn’t hear Dad over her. . .distress.
We went to check out the Matisse exhibit at the Met, both of which were unbelievable. You would have to visit the museum every day for at least an hour for a year before you could see all it has to offer. We had to cross through several stunning galleries of Greek art and African Art before we found the Matisse exhibit and it was excruciating to have to power through at that fast a clip. Every few few, something else caught my eye (hello, Faberge eggs!) or the hubs would pull up short to take a peek at something else (Egyptian exhibit complete with a walkable replica of a royal tomb).
As for Matisse, I had know idea how prolific an artist he had been. There were at least five large separate rooms in the exhibition hall whose walls were adorned with his works. And I’m not just talking two 11x14s on each wall. There were portraits, sketches, stills of fruits, and of views from seaside hotel rooms. I’m hardly doing it justice; it was just so amazing. I had been familiar with Matisse and some of the other artists of his generation, but yet, there was not one piece that the hubs and I could identify as his signature work. Van Gogh is easily recognized by sunflowers or Starry Night. Klimt has The Kiss. Gauguin has his Tahitian women. Can’t come up with anything from Matisse (me, personally that is), but there are now pieces that I will associate with the artist from here on out.
After the Met, I persuaded the hubs to take a walk with me to Madison Avenue. There was a little shop that I wanted to visit.
|Need I say more?|
If you know me, you know I have been trying to get my feet in a pair of these red bottom shoes for about four years now. It all started on Labor Day week-end about three years ago. The hubs and I went to NYC for a week-end. I had my first photo product photo shoot in Harlem, we caught up with friends, strolled through Central Park and went to Bergdorf’s. I knew exactly the shoe I wanted, but sadly Bergdorf didn’t have it in my size. Why I just didn’t go right to the source to begin with escapes me, but no matter. The clerk at BG directed us up to Madison Avenue. Too bad for me, the shop was closed for the season. It was Labor Day week-end, after all, but c’mon! I had shoes to buy and a hub that was willing to crack open his wallet that very day!
So, I went home empty handed, but with a resolve to get myself a pair of red-soled shoes. And I began to save. For three years, I socked away a piece of whatever funds came my way. Once I’d reached my goal in the spring of 2012, I dialed up my girls to plan a week-end away in NYC where we were all going to buy a pair of shoes. The plan was Columbus Day week-end. The trip was in the works and the shoes were in sight. Sure, I could have gone to Saks or Nordstrom and bought a pair, but I was in it for the experience!
Then, September 7, 2012 happened. You know, the night I jacked-up my leg tripping over a trash bag that had broken glass in it. Just the usual on a Friday at 7:30 in the evening, the night before my birthday and my 5 year old’s birthday party at our house. No biggie.
The last five months have found me getting my Lindsay Wagner on, although I’m not bionic, I am feeling very good about where my mobility is at this point. As soon as I could squish my foot into a regular shoe, my resolve to get those CL’s was stronger than ever. So I decided, I would just go and get them myself. And I told the hubs, “Look. I’ve been saving. I want the shoes and I’m going to NYC for the week-end. I’d love it you would come with me, but if you can’t, I’ll see you when I get back.”
It was that serious.
Fast forward to two weeks ago and me and the hubs being buzzed into the store. It was like being on the inside of a genie bottle. Red plush carpet. Round padded ottoman. Shoes lining the walls, hiding out in recessed nooks, in repose on shelves.
|not my best work, but i was trying not to geek out.|
I couldn’t get my shoes off fast enough. The store isn’t that large, mind you, but there were a crap ton of women in there, all of which had one regular shoe on one foot and on red bottomed shoe on the other foot. We found some free space on a chaise with leopard print pillows and waited for me to flag down a clerk.
I had initially gone in for a pair of Bianca’s in nude, but recently decided black patent leather would be more practical. When I finally got the clerk to help me out, she brought out Bianca, Rolando, Pigalle and the Simple Pump. Decisions, decisions.
|Bianca, Pigalle, Rolando and Simple Pump|
Two women across the way from me were in deep discussion about the relative comfort of the pointy toe box.
Nude Heels: I really like these, but my toes are all bunched up.
Leopard Wedges: Oh, I have those! My toes go numb after about five minutes, but I love them. They’re so cute!
Clerk: Look, these shoes aren’t meant to be comfortable. Women end up getting a larger size thinking that the toe box is going to give them more room, but in fact, it creates more room in the back of the shoe, so that your heel slips and you’ll walk out of the shoe and fall on your face.
Hubs: Seriously? Are you for real with this?
Poor hubs! He was totes out of his element and completely amazed at the number of shoes being tried on, exchanged and purchased. His analytical mind was reeling; he has to admit that CL’s branding and marketing is unparalleled.
By the time I got to the Simple Pump, I was beginning to think that I was going to go home empty handed yet again. The Bianca’s were too pointy. My toes were not having it. The Pigalle was the same thing, and Rolando didn’t come in my size. There was no way that I was going to drop over $800 on shoes that made my eyes water just walking around in a circle. Plus the fact that I was taking these little mincing steps? Yeah, that wasn’t going to work. When I finally put my foot in the Simple Pump, it was like putting on a pair of Isotoner slippers!
Remember when Ariel sings into the shell for Ursula the sea witch? Yeah, it was like that.
And there you have it. Victory is mine!
And yes, I am wearing them while I type this. Only on the carpet, though.
SN: the hubs and I went out for an event yesterday evening. It was raining, and we skittered from the parking garage to the location, he saw that I was wearing a pair of patent leather pumps.
“Are those the shoes?”
“In the rain? You’re kidding right?” and I gave an eye roll so massive, Liz Lemon felt it.
In keeping with the fashion and wardrobe topic of late, I thought this Wednesday, I would cull through my “Dress Me Up” Pinterest board and see what things I’d like to put on my bod. Oh, and I recently read in one of my piles of papers that if you choose to keep it simple with a black and white palette when it comes to clothes, wear the white on the bottom instead of the black, otherwise, you could get mistaken for waitstaff at an upscale restaurant. However, if you must wear your black on the bottom as it minimizes and does al kinds of forgiving things to the lower half, add a pop of color or a statement pieces necklace to draw the eye up towards your lovely face. Hey, look at that that! I’m retaining information; now for the application! Stay tuned.
In my constant quest to write more, I’ve decided to challenge myself by implementing theme days. In the past, I’ve had “Mondays Message“, where I’ve selected a quote and waxed philosophical about it and how it applies to my life. Truth be told, when I first started this blog in 2007 (!), I started by using quotes to springboard a discussion. After a while, I stopped doing that because life provided enough fodder from me to chronicle and catalog. From time to time, I had revisited those beginning blog posts. There’s a propensity to stick out my arm and have you verify that I do indeed where my heart on my sleeve. I think that’s why I stopped. Sure, I’m happy to share things with you about myself, my kids, my Hubs (within reason), but those quotes started to feel really self-righteous. I mean, I wanted to pick something with some sustenance to it and found that I was grasping on how to draw a connection without sounding like a total blowhard. Sometimes, it’s best to just keep some air of mystery between us.
But, back to theme days (actually, that sounds kind of goofy like I’m doing “Hawaiian Day!” or “Pirate Day!”. Maybe I should say springboards). I’ve been doing pretty well with Recipe Friday, actually. It started out as a post entitled “What’s Cooking” in 2011 and I’ve been pretty faithful to it. In fact, I’ve been posting some of my creations on my instagram account. Some of my instagram followers have been asking if they can find the recipe on my blog. I’m loving the potential for cross marketing!
A friend of mine suggested I check out a blog entitled Simply Seleta, because the author reminded my friend of me. Evidently, Seleta has White Wednesdays where she posts images of white things. Think picket fences, lush meadows of white headed flowers, white colonial style homes with red doors and black shutters. I skimmed the last White Wednesdays and thought it would be nice to pick up another springboard for the roster. Monday Message, while good in theory, just doesn’t do it for me. And truly, aren’t Mondays bad enough without having to add another dollop of drudgery on top? *head slap* that’s exactly what the problem with Monday Message was! It felt like drudgery and as though I was lecturing to you on how to be better — like me ). I’m not a life coach and I don’t want to be.
In the midst of all of this, I’m working on creating a new web-page (with little to no luck, so if you’re good at web design or know someone who is, holla at me). I really want some good head shots for the homepage. I’ve got some ideas, but I need a photographer to help me out. Kendall and I can’t seem to get our act together, what with us both being attentive parents. My other friend Franklin, when we aren’t having food battles via instagram, is busy with his own family/work/life responsibilities, as well. I’m looking for someone who can either trade services with me or basically, gift me some pictures — all on my schedule of course. I mean, how else could this work? <-- That right there? That's sarcasm. The bottom-line is I'm hanging up all of forward progress on the fact that I don't have the exactly right headshot that I need for the homepage. Talk about procrastination. So, I decided to stop pussyfooting around and just do something. I give you, the at home, self portrait photo shoot.
|hgd photography ©2013|
It totally did not go the way I had anticipated. I set out to do some head-shots or beauty shots. Black and white, from the shoulders up, real tight in the face with minimal make-up and a curly ‘do. I got the black and white part down. As for the rest. . .I think I was possessed. You know how Beyonce (ugh, I cannot believe I’m going here) claims she has an alter ego names Sasha Fierce? Yeah, I kinda feel like that’s what happened. I let out my inner diva. She couldn’t be bothered to tell me her name, what with all the face she was giving the camera.
I’m Type A. I know that about myself and I embrace it whole heartedly. I love making plans. I like lists. I like nothing more than taking a piece of paper and filling it with the fine minutiae of what will suck up the minutes of my day. Even simple things that are part of our everyday routine, like “Drive the girls to school” make it on the list so that I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off when I’m done. It’s the little things in life, right? Well, that and new pair of shoes. . .ooooh, I’m going to add that to my list.
Anyway, finding some time to write and something to write about has been topping my list as of late. I haven’t been any busier or any more tired than normal. I just haven’t felt compelled to write. Or more likely, when I do have a minute to write, the great ideas I had slamming around in my head have disintegrated into “What am I going to have for lunch?” and “What happened to that ice cream I hid behind the frozen peas?” and stuff like that.
Sure, I have thoughts on Trayvon Martin, Samantha Brick, Sandra Fluke, placenta pills, red-shirting your kids, and the on-going SAHM vs. working mom vs. OAM debate. There’s a lot to discuss out there and I’d rather have a meaningful discussion about it with some friends over coffee than just put my two cents into the mix, step back and see what happens. A lot can get lost in the translation between my head, the keyboard, and whomever chooses to read what I’ve written.
So, I gravitate towards lighter fare.
Photographs and pictures that inspire me.
|I do believe in mermaids. I do, I do.|
Recipes that I want to try.
|Pie in a Jar|
Clothes that I’d like to have (and somewhere schmancy to wear them to).
|All dressed up with places to go.|
Crafts I’m (pretty sure) I can make.
|Where we met, married and live map|
Places I want to visit.
Books I’m reading.
|I don’t know if I’m impressed or depressed.|
At first, I was going to take this blank space of a post and write about how I’m already planning Co’s 5th birthday party. Yes, I have OAM tendencies, but I’m taking medication for that.
SN: My mom got on my case when I whipped out my folder of ideas and notes. “Her birthday is still in September, right?”
“And you do know that it’s April, right?”
After my first paragraph about list making and my internal monologue about “proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance”, my train of thought took a different course. And I just started writing just to write. I have come across several other bloggers giving tips on how to get started with blogging, or how to improve your blog. Sometimes, I want this blog to be a little more than it is. I want it to have substance (the word gravitas keeps flashing in my head). I go through periods where I’m ready to scrap it as my personal sounding board and really try to pinpoint some topics that I think are worth intellectually stimulating.
I want it to be something that people say, “Did you see what was on the One L today?” (of course, that would necessitate more writing, but I’m working on that). I want to have fully formed, thought-provoking opinions on topics that matter. BUT, I also just want to look at pretty things, eat good food, read books that have me thinking “Just one more page and then I’ll put it down”, and take pictures of my family and friends that really capture just who I am and what I’m about.
[ee-thos, ee-thohs, eth-os, -ohs] Show IPA
This blog is just an extension of that. This is what makes my blog my own. I don’t need to be like every other blogger out there. They’re already filling niches; why cram myself in? I’m going to stick with what I know. Just doing my own thing and crossing things off my list as I go.