Look: One-Shoulder, Two Ways + Birthday Thoughts

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One Shoulder Cotton Dress: Nordstrom B.P. (sadly sold out! Similar one here for under $50) |Sandals: J.Crew 

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Navy and white pin striped ruffle one shoulder top: Nordstrom | Jeans: Madewell | Heels: Manolo Blahnik

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Off the shoulder tops and dresses have been going strong for a few seasons now, so it’s only fitting that now one shoulder pieces are hitting the streets…after all, how many iterations of a shirt are there really!? Anyway, I’m digging these asymmetrical pieces; they offer a fun way to show some skin in a fresh way.  The first look is based around an easy-peasy cotton dress in a dusty rose, worn to lunch and shopping with my sis and Nolan…dresses like these take me right through summer and can we worn to a variety of events.

I wore the second look for my birthday dinner (34!), out to dinner with Tim.  I like how the masculinity of the navy and white pinstripes play down the girliness of the ruffle…and even though the top is navy, I paired it with black ripped skinnies to give the look a little more edge (since I was wearing it with “grown up” heels– have to give the sneaks and loafers a break every now and then!).

Just a few thoughts on birthdays– growing up, my family never really made a big deal out of them; I can remember only having maybe 2 or 3 actual birthday parties as a kid…my mom worked full time while raising us, and really didn’t believe in “going overboard” (lol) for celebrating things that one didn’t really “earn” …which I (kind of) get.  Now that I have Nolan, I also try not to “spoil” him– we did throw him a first birthday party (which was def more for us, celebrating the fact that we survived the first year of parenthood…also we just wanted to have friends over and bbq, if we’re truth-telling here)…I’ve been to some lavish kids parties where you kind of can’t help but roll your eyes…the problem is, if you’re having “my super-sweet-16-mtv-style” parties as a toddler, the bar for expectations gets raised every year…so I’m thinking let’s try and find some middle ground in terms of birthday parties for Nolan.

As an adult, I think birthdays are still worth celebrating.  Once you’re an official grown up, the redundant and arduous tasks of maintaining every day life can result in a serious case of the blahs– so ya know what? I think its kind of cool and maybe even necessary to do something a little extra special for your birthday– if you don’t take the time out to purposely have fun on your “special day”, then when will you, right? When you’re a kid, you’re surrounded by “fun”, with toys and games and treats almost on a daily basis, — so as adults, maybe birthdays should be about the same!

<3,

Christine

My First Year as a Mom <3

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Outfit details: Mustard off the shoulder dress: Forever 21 (similar ones in this awesome shade here, here and here) | Shoes: J. Crew (old) | Earrings: J. Crew J. Crew |Sunnies: Gucci |Bag: GigiNewYork

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms and moms-to-be out there!

I will preface this post by saying two things: 1) I am not, nor do I mean to come off as any type of parenting expert.  2) I just wanted to share with you guys a few of the things that I’ve learned/realized over this first year of being Nolan’s mom.  Which brings me to my first thought:
1. Everyone’s an “expert”, but no one really knows what they’re doing.  The minute that I announced I was pregnant, and even more once Nolan was born, I was inundated with advice, some sought out, most unsolicited.  Between information from doctors, the internet, and other veteran moms, it can be very overwhelming to hear so many often conflicting opinions on how to do feed, diaper, get to sleep, medicate, care for, and interact with  your baby.  A lot of the advice and info is helpful, but some of it is judgmental and annoying.  At the end of the day, its up to you to sort through the bs and decide what’s best for you, in your particular situation.  I really liked to figure things out for myself, and tried to keep things as simple as possible.  Through all the “helpful” advice, really, everyone is just winging it — humans have survived through trial and error if you really think about it!
 
2. You do NOT need half the stuff that BuyBuyBaby is trying to sell you.  I really think that these baby merchandise companies are capitalizing on the new mom’s anxiety and fear, in turn, creating MORE anxiety and fear, and more so, making moms feel GUILTY for not buying (and buying into) the bullshit items like “wipe warmers” (sorry, friends of mine who use these!) As a person who has a serious aversion to clutter, I was so afraid that having a baby would bring so much crap into the house (and realistically, some of it is unavoidable).  So we really tried and continue to try to keep Nolan’s things to a minimum.  Babies don’t know what a “toy’ is vs. a cardboard tube pulled out of the trash (trust me, Nolan prefers the latter)– so we’ve kept the crappy plastic toys to a minimum and let him explore random household items instead.  One mantra that I’ve kept in the back of my “mom” mind is that HUMANS HAVE BEEN RAISING OTHER HUMANS WITHOUT THE INTERNET, TECHNOLOGY, OR ANYTHING FILLING THE AISLES AT BABIES R US SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME– and guess what?! We’ve not only survived, but thrived!  We don’t even use a baby monitor (don’t judge!)– we bought the most basic, audio only model, and only used it for a few weeks before we realized it caused more stress than relieved it, for us at least (we also have a small upstairs, and could hear Nolan through the doors lol)…my mom never had a monitor, and all of us somehow survived!
3. Being haggard and selfless does not make you a better mom.  One of my dearest friends who became a mom a year or so before me shared this thought/observation with me at my baby shower.  So many moms wear their frazzled appearance and exhaustion as badges of honor, proclaiming (loud and clear) how long its been since they’ve eaten a real meal/watched a show/gotten a mani/showered etc.  In my opinion, and experience, this does not make you a better mom! I refuse to put myself last all the time, and I will NOT feel guilty about it! So what if Nolan has to entertain himself in the pack n play for a half hour while I shower? It’s ok to leave him for a night with family/friends so that I can go out with Tim or my friends.  And sometimes, he’s gonna have to sit through an episode of House of Cards because that’s what Tim and I are watching.  I was happy and ME for 32 years before I had him, and I see no reason to discontinue being either of those things! Which brings me to the next thing I learned…
4. Babies are not alien creatures, they are just small, inexperienced humans.  Before I had Nolan, I def would have put him in the “alien creatures” category– babies seem so foreign at first.  After reading “Bringing Up Bebe” last summer though, (chronicling an American woman raising her baby in Paris, and the sociological differences in baby-rearing culture), the notion that babies are just smaller humans, with the same desires for independence, privacy and alone time as we do, really clicked with me.  Would you, as an adult, like someone stalking your every move, constantly hovering over you, “entertaining” you, doing things with and for you? That sounds like torture to me!  So, when Nolan wakes up in the morning, I leave him to sing to himself, talk to his stuffed animals, rearrange the blankets in his crib (Shocker! He has in fact survived with a pillow, blankets, and stuffed animals in his crib! Current dogma instills in us that the crib should be bare, but as soon as I observed that he was strong enough to move things as he pleased, including himself, I let him have these things in the crib). I don’t play with him every second that we’re home– one of my favorite things to do is just watch him from a distance and see what he gravitates towards and can figure out for himself.  Since we’ve been “giving him privacy”  and independence to do things for himself since he was a newborn, he’s grown accustomed to it and now I’m so proud of his independence and ability to entertain himself– also it makes it a lot easier on me as a mom!
5. Make them fit into your life, not the other way around.  A few sagacious people passed this little nugget of wisdom on to me, and it is def the most valuable idea that we try and live by.  As a woman who never felt a burning desire to be a mom, (sorry Nolan, if you ever read this! I’m obviously so happy your’re here!) one of my fears was that having a baby would change our lives in negative and irreversible ways.  We learned that it doesn’t have to.  I would definitely say that life changes, yes, in that you have to be a little better about scheduling and organized/structured with your time– but it’s really only as “bad” as you make it!  From the first few weeks he was born, Tim and I decided that we were just going to take him EVERYWHERE; we would have him live life with us (most of the time) as we had been living prior to his arrival.  We ‘”ripped the band aid” off of the typically nerve-wracking experiences for new parents right away– we took him to fancy, not only “family friendly” restaurants, took him camping (he slept in a tent multiple times!), took him to the beach, had him sleep over other people’s houses at night, both with and without us; he’s slept in many hotels, flown on planes twice (Miami and San Diego), gone on many a car trip, navigated public transportation (subways, ubers, taxis, trains); he’s been to parties, in crowds, to bars, and even to New York Fashion Week!  Other thank to recap all the fun we’ve had with Nolan over the past year, my point is this: instead of building up anxiety over waiting to do these things with him, wondering how he’d fare, we JUST DID THEM…and he adjusted!
6. Being a mom is like being in a weird,but kind of cool, sorority.  Once you have a baby, you’re in. You get it. You can trade stories about poop, puke, and socializing (other than your own!).  Sometimes being in this club is annoying (judging, comparisons, competition, cliches), but most of the time its nice.  It’s comforting knowing that pretty much everyone is dealing with the same issues, and that you’re not alone…I like being able to learn from moms whose babies are older than Nolan, to get a peek at what’s to come, and I like being able to share some of what I now know with moms who are newer than me.  I also see my own mom differently; I understand a lot more thing that baffled me growing up (like why she never had time to sort out the mail! Guilty, myself…).  I admire the fact that she worked a high pressure, full time job, commuting many hours a day, and still making time to take care of my siblings and I.  We were well cared for, but groomed for independence, exactly how I want Nolan to be.
There are probably a million more things that I’ve learned, literally something new every day– so cheers to my first successful year down, and another year of adventures to come!
xo, ❤
Christine

Spring Break Style: Miami Recap

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The cutest little bar fly! On Nolan: H&M baby: Shorts, Shirt, and Sneakers

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Morning walks along Ocean Drive

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Legit some of the BEST tacos I’ve ever had! Bodega also has a “hidden” back room with a bar/club/game area that we loved as well!

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The chic lobby at The Gale, where we stayed– a little small, but overall we really liked it…awesome rooftop pool, and two downstairs bars with live music and happy hour specials every night.  The hotel also hosts a coffee bar and the italian restaurant Dolce, which has some of the greatest meatball and polenta dishes we’ve ever had!

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Rooftop views of Collins Ave

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Night one outfit: Off the shoulder romper: Forever 21 | White loafters: Asos (old, similar ones I love here) |Sunnies: Quay Austrailia | Clutch: Gigi New York

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I wore this pastel blue off the shoulder romper paired with white loafers to dinner on our first night, to one of Miami’s mainstays, Joe’s Stone Crab.   We go every time we’re in Miami– its super old school, and traditional and the service and food are just impeccable.

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These slides, also from Forever 21, are super festive and just scream “vacation” to me.  They’re super comfortable and also under $25! I wore them during the day to the pool and also out and about town at night.

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Peachy-pink off the shoulder top: H Halston (ON SALE NOW!)| Denim distressed cutoffs: One Teaspoon |Slides: Forever 21 | Bag: Chloe Faye (worn as a clutch) |Sunnies: Ray ban

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I wore this second look for a casual dinner at Bodega for Taco Tuesday, followed by drinks after.  I rarely wear pink, but for some reason I was drawn to this super femme top…of course I had to pair it with my fave distressed cutoffs from One  Teaspoon to temper the girliness, and my festive slides.  If I’m going to wear pink, it may as well be in Miami, right?

I’ve written about how much I love Miami before, but seriously, its the BEST quick getaway that feels tropical, but still has the convenience of a major city! Highly recommend you go if you haven’t been!

xo, ❤

Christine (and Nolan)

Ways to Wear: A Leopard Tee

Not usually one for a lot of leopard, this faded version of a leopard tee caught my eye because its kind of a non-boring neutral– it has a subtle pattern which adds interest, without being too much in your face.  Leopard can be tricky because you never want to look like a cheesy 80s videostar, too overtly sexy or cheap– So here’s how I tempered the look two different ways:

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Leopard tee: Topshop via Nordstrom (similar versions I love here and here) | Velvet jumper: Topshop | White booties: Zara (sold out, similar here and here) | Sunnies: Quay Austrailia | Bag: Saint Laurent

Look 1: Here, I layered the tee under a red velvet jumper dress to give an unexpected contrast in textures…the jumper is kind of old school seventies school girl , while the booties and tee are more edgy and rocker- love them paired together! Don’t be afraid to mix a texture and pattern together, as long as they aren’t too aggressive on their own and fighting for attention!

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Leopard Tee: Topshop (same as above) shop other ones I like here and here | Jeans: Madewell (YOU WILL NOT REGRET THIS PURCHASE I SWEAR!) | Loafers: H&M | Sheer Mesh Top : H&M

Look 2: For the second look, I decided to layer a sheer mesh dotted long sleeve top (fave layering piece of the moment) UNDER the leopard tee— I got asked all day if they “came together” which they did not– but it almost seems like they could have, right?  I paired them with my FAVE pair of black ripped skinnies of all time, the Madewell skinny jeans, and these caramel colored loafer slides from H&M.  The color of the slides brings out the warm tones in the leopard tee, tying it all together.  The look is totally neutral, yet visually interesting.

On an unrelated note, its officially SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So excited to be off with Tim and Nolan for the next week– we’re headed to Miami on Monday, so stay tuned to Instagram for lots of warm weather outfit inspo!

xo, ❤

Christine