Friday, June 29, 2012

Fashion Friday: Summer Trends I Love

Ahhhh, summer.  The time where life should slow down but instead it speeds up to an intense rate of "live life to the fullest as fast as damn possible because we only have three months".  At least it's fun.

Summer fashion.  I love the simplicity of summer styles.  Here are some of my favorite trends for summer 2012.


Summer dresses with boots? Scarves with shorts?  Dresses with dark tights? Yes, please!

Source: via RJ on Pinterest

Source: via RJ on Pinterest

Source: via RJ on Pinterest


It's been hot for a few summers now and then trend is not ending. White. Embrace the awesomeness.

Source: via RJ on Pinterest


Stripes are so in right now--especially if they are navy!

Source: via RJ on Pinterest

Other trends I'm loving:

  • Stacked bracelets
  • Big bags
  • nearly-strapless sandals

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Things I Love: One Disney Princess

Two years ago this August I wrote one of my most looked at blog pieces on Disney Princesses (<--Click here if for no other reason than to read some of the comments.  Hysterical.  Especially the one telling me to turn off comments if I don't want them ... clearly that person doesn't understand reverse psychology!  And of course there's the comment that says something to the effect of "people with stupid facts ruin everything."  I'm pretty sure that comment is from a politician. Good logic, that one!).

In me previous Disney Princess post, I talk about my issues with the princess movies.

  • Princess either have no mom or a messed up relationship with their mom.
  • Princesses are weak and must be in the care of a man.
  • While princesses have amazing character qualities and talents, it is their physical beauty that gets the man--not the heart underneath.
  • Princess movies perpetuate cultural myths and are historically inaccurate
  • Princess movies can be super scary
Of course my daughter is slowly seeing these movies and we are talking about the stuff that bothers her and the stuff that bothers me (BTW--I never advocate not to watch them so don't get all bristly on me).  What's really funny is so far, she doesn't like most of the princesses.  And by most, I mean she only likes Rapunzel from Tangled.  She has not asked to see any of the other shows for a second time.  

Until now.

Now my daughter and I agree on one princess.  Merida (the star of BRAVE).

Photo from FilmFilia

We took our kids to see Brave and although there was still some scary magic stuff and some freaky bear scenes, I found the movie to be quaint and charming.

Did it perpetuate cultural stereotypes of pre-Christian Scotland being filled with dark, blood-thirsty, drunken men in kilts?  You betcha.  What do you expect?  It's Disney.

Was it filled with humor and great graphics? You betcha.  What do you expect?  It's Pixar.

Unlike other shows, though, I loved, loved, loved Merida.

Here's why I finally love a Disney Princess (and a princess movie):

  • Merida wears a dress but she is not overly girly.  She likes to run and be wild and do archery.  She's almost like a real girl, like my daughter, who can go from make up to mud in under thirty seconds.  Finally a movie that shows the fullness of gender roles (and how they can be crossed).
  • Merida has good and bad characteristics.  Unlike other princesses who are "always good", Merida is disobedient, sneaky, and selfish.  I love that she has some rust on her and that kids get to see the consequences of negative behaviors.
  • Merida has good characteristics.  Above and beyond being kind to animals and being a good singer (like most princesses), Merida is brave, loyal to her family, doting on her brothers. She's not afraid to apologize and try to make amends.
  • Merida has a mother.  YAY for mothers and daughters!  Yes, a girl ought to have the love of a father but she also should have the love of a mother (most Disney princesses have no mother relationship). Is Merida's mother a bit overbearing?  Yep.  Do they struggle? Yep.  Does her mother love her to the point of doing anything to protect her, even to change for her daughter?  Yep.  Finally, a Disney mother-daughter relationship that isn't sick and twisted.
  • Merida is girl next door pretty. She isn't flawless.  She isn't the skinniest girl on the block.  She doesn't have every hair in place or lipstick on her lips. She is alive and vivid (for a cartoon, that is).  Somehow not being drop dead gorgeous makes her so ... appealing.
  • Merida doesn't need the Prince.  Sure boys are vying for her hand, political alliances and all, but Merida is more concerned with her family and finding her path than being defined by love and a man.  Sure I hope she ends up with the right guy but I hope that doesn't happen until the right time.  In the meantime, I'm content with her strengthening her relationship with her mom, dad, and brothers.
Yes. It's true.  I finally love a Disney Princess.  I'll own this show and I'll watch it over and over again with my kiddos. 

**If you haven't seen Brave yet, then I encourage you to read the movie review by Plugged in (click that link).  There are some scary scenes in the show and, depending on your level of comfort, some themes might not be suitable for your children.**

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I Think About: NOT Waiting for the Golden Years

A friend of mine moved away and came back for a little visit.  Since we all have kids we brought out our mom plan: go to the park so kids can play and we can talk. It worked like a charm.

While we were at the park, the discussion turned to the things we desired--a little vacay, sleeping in, a day in bed watching movies ... The audible mom sigh sounded.  And then the question came ... the question lurking in our minds but rarely spoken aloud ...

"It will happen, right?"

As in, "One day I'll get to lay in bed and watch movies again like I did in college?  "One day I'll get to sleep until ten?"  "One day I'll get to take a relaxing vacation?"

Of course we all joked that these things would happen ... as soon as our kids were out of the house.

The Golden Years.  We hear about this magical time in life when you are financially secure and not tethered down by jobs and napping infants.  Apparently this is when sleep happens and travel occurs and memories are made.  So we trudge through this day dreaming of these Golden Years.

My parents had a Golden Years plan.  They were going to have a cabin in Alaska and stay there all summer but they'd winter in the lower states.  They'd have a fifth wheel and just drive from one spot to the next seeing the country.  They'd had this plan my whole life.  They were waiting for kids to be gone and to be secure.

Then the recession hit and all that financial security was gone.  My mom got sick and died.  This was no where in the Golden Years Plan.  During the weekend of mom's memorial my dad was covered in family and screaming grandkids and my sister and I were frazzled, exhausted messes and he looked right at me and said, "THESE are the Golden Years, don't waste them."

This craziness?  This brokenness?  This exhaustion?  THESE are the Golden Years?

I looked at that man, at his shattered dreams and his regrets of waiting for "one day" rather than living each day as though it were "one day" and I knew what he was saying.  Nothing, nothing is guaranteed for us.  We can plan and save and wait but our plans, they are not set in stone.  Something like the economy or CADASIL can change everything.

We have to live and love and enjoy now because "one day" might not happen.  Living life to its full is a daily mission, not some big dream for the future.

What are we waiting for?  Are we too afraid to actually live today?  Are we too afraid of what it would cost or that it might make us humbly ask for help or give up something?  What are we waiting for?  Why do we wait to live when we could be living, really living, right now?

I don't want to wait for the stars to align to sleep in a little.  I don't want to wait until I'm on the brink of insanity to take a vacation.  I don't want my children to feel like a burden ... like I can't wait for them to leave so I can start living.

I want to live like this is my Golden Year, even when--on many levels--it feels like a Job year.

What do you desire?  What can you do to make it a reality?

What can you do to really live today?

If you want to sleep in, can you make a "sleep schedule" with your spouse alternating Saturday morning sleep in times?
If you want a day in bed, could family or friends take your kids for a night?
If you want a vacation, could you cancel cable to save for it or do a staycation?

What I think is the days go slowly but the years go quickly and I will not be waiting for some dreamy "one day" to start living the life I dream about.  It starts today because today is all I might have.

Thanks, Shell for letting me Pour My Heart Out on your blog.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Days of Play: Soap Clouds

I'm generally a darn good playmate for my kids.  Cars, trains, babies, Barbies ... you name it and I'm game for some fun.  This is especially true of crafty, muddy, icky fun.  From their reactions, my kids like to play with me.

At least until there is a better option.

This week my niece is visiting so my kids have gone from "will you play with me mom?' to "who is this 'mom' you keep speaking of?"  **Sigh**

Oh well, at least I'm getting some work done and some fun reading in.

I did try to engage the kids in some play this morning.  I gave them each their own bar of Ivory soap to make soap clouds with.

My grand idea: They'd watch the clouds form, we crush them to bits, and we'd make red/white/blue soaps for everyone.

How it actually played out: They watched the clouds form, crushed the clouds to bits in 30 seconds, and ran off to play on the swing set.

I decided to make soap molds myself and went inside to get the food coloring.  18 seconds later I emerged from the house to find my son dousing the bowl of soap flakes (now soap soup) with the hose.

Soap Clouds were an epic fail at our house today BUT the kids generally get a kick out of watching them form.

If you have a bar of Ivory soap, pop it in the microwave for 1 minute.  It's fun.

**Warning, Warning, Warning** (Btw, when I say that three times I really think you should read what is next).


If you want more information on Soap Cloud awesomeness (and how to make molded soaps from the mess), click here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Music Monday: Margot and the Nuclear So and So's

Seriously.  I love that name.

It reminds me of my friend Jenny who can't stand it when people mispronounce nuclear.  I'm not sure how it is mispronounced which means I'm sure I'm one of the offenders.

Anyhow, Margot and the Nuclear So and So's have been around a while.  They are from Indiana and they have a melodic instrument-heavy sound.  Know what that means?  It means they are a serious treat for the ears for "random" music novices and musical geniuses alike. If you can't pronounce nuclear correctly, I bet you will like them.
Give 'em a listen.

Broadripple is Burning

Jen Is Bringing the Drugs (For Jenny who never brings drugs. Oh, and this one has an F Bomb).

Dress Me Like a Clown

I obviously didn't post it here but you should know that Margot and the Nuclear So and So's totally have a song called Hello Vagina.