Understanding the 9 year old Dragon

I have enjoyed the most glorious few days with this little sweet pea of mine!! We’ve had the best adventures these past couple weeks and folks I am here to tell you… I might just have found a way to tame the 9YO hormonal dragon.

if you follow me on Facebook and Instagram then you know my woes re:  9YO hormonal meltdowns.

Lily has epic meltdowns frequently… these chemical messengers in the body are apparently normal, but they leave me emotionally wrecked!

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A few months ago her dragon-ness was just too much for me to take and she was telling little tiny fibs about everything… everything had some element of a lie and I was so stressed because I didn’t want her to get used to her lying ways –  and she is such an angel-  but she would tell these lies – and they were all surrounding CANDY!

The S U G A H had a hold on her and wasn’t letting go.

So on the way to work one morning I just did a simple google search.

my 9yo tells lies.

What I discovered was page after page, chat room after chat room about this very topic. You know they say… misery loves company. and I do. Apparently this is normal and so is the candy. It’s a sign of early puberty which is sorta scary because she was JUST running around in tutus and mispronouncing words…

But I’ll take it. It’s normal.

My reaction to her tantrums and meltdowns has changed since. I get it, I understand.

Honestly we have to keep reading about these kiddies and their ages and what to expect because the more ya know… the more you are ready for it.

So I’ve been reading more and more info about 9YO behaviors, patterns and what to expect. ( very national geographic sounding – like i’m studying some species of dragon tween creature)

Arming myself with the tools I need … as a parent.. to handle this dragon stage has really helped me understand Lily.

I always tell her “if  you just feel like crying then come over and sit with me and cry, you don’t have to have a reason for it”  and she does. She has no idea why she is crying but she will sit with me and wail and then it’s all good. ( sometimes)  she is still learning how to contain her out of control meltdowns.

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Ahhh don’t grow up!!!!

Do you have any advice on this 9YO age? Seems like their bodies go through so much at this age and we parents just want to hold on!

 

 

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on being EXTRAORDINARY

There seems to be immense pressure, in social norm, to be extraordinary.  With social media being an ever looming presence, there is no escaping the expectation to be extraordinary.

Almost as if  being “good” or “REALLY good” at something is no longer enough. We need to go “viral” we need to create buzz, we need to “prove” something… not to someone… rather everyone. People we don’t even know need to know of our extraordinary-ness.

How are we defining extraordinary? working in the online social space, i see it all. I know the work it takes to get one ‘viral’ shot, one dog and child behaving in harmony picture, one spoof video with your entire family in perfectly matching tees… i get it. It’s hard work and for anyone who thinks some of this stuff just happens… no it doesn’t. There is a ton of work that goes behind a ‘viral’ video or image. seo, slugs, tags, reddit, stumble, instagram, brown nosing… it’s a whole business. But that my readers is how you, me, we, judge extraordinary. Isn’t it? or is it? *there are exceptions who find an organic way to go viral but these are few*

It’s taken me years to get over the fact that my dance career at the ‘extraordinary‘ level is over. I don’t have any desire to get back to it anymore simply because too much time has passed and I’m not motivated to rebuild that sort of career. But just when I accept that, I find myself in this world of blogging where the business of being a mom has to be extraordinary!  It’s not enough to post a cute picture of your child… you have to now spend endless time making that go viral. A cute kid + dog + your ultra trendy outfit + on a beach in Bali + with yummy food that you cooked up while balancing 2 kids on your hip + lo-fi filter… i could go on.

I have to admit that I do get lulled into this extraordinary rat race. how could I not! I work in a competitive online space and being extraordinary is how this world measures success. Thankfully this family of mine snaps me out of my madness from time to time.

I would really just love to move to a beachy town and open up an art studio or a theatre, make dances, screen print shirts and letterpress all day. Wouldn’t that be just be the dream. I would make a difference in arts education while also making art!

But in today’s social media obsessed lifestyle, this would not be enough. I would have to have an art studio or theatre which is creating footage that goes viral because some 6 year old wonder kid living in the beach town community would be able to belt our a first soprano aria while still drinking from a sippy cup and cranking out 32 fuetes on point while her cat runs circles around her, or my screen tees  would build an obsessive following via instagram because some fashion mom indie blogger who lives on the upper west side would photograph their kid wearing my design or my letterpress stationary would make it to the oval office on some ‘small business’ support” initiative.

and then people would say – that’s extraordinary.

Truth is I am pretty satisfied being where I am, who I am and chugging along doing ordinary things with my extraordinary family. These babies of mine think I am pretty extraordinary when i do  things like

  • Let Lily stay up an extra hour
  • have ice cream for breakfast
  • go the beach
  • dance in the rain
  • have a movie night
  • read extra books at night
  • fall asleep with them
  • let them crawl in our bed in the morning
  • have dance parties
  • just give them snuggles
  • …and these everyday life moments

all extraordinary things… to my most important audience. and that’s all that matters in the end.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you feel this pressure in your  life…not just to be good but to be extraordinary!

 

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10 BlogHer tips for Brands and Bloggers

So in case you have been living under a rock … the mother of all momblogging conferences is going on right now.. this weekend. BlogHer!

This, my friends, is where the Who’s Who of the blogger community gather.  They host events, speak on panels, and party! Brands large and small flock to this conference to engage with bloggers.

While I am not attending this year, my dear friend Candice – of Mom Most Traveled – and I have decided to impart some honest to goodness bona-fide wisdom for those of you attending. You’ve heard a ton of advice so we’ve broken ours down to 5 essential tips…5 for bloggers, and 5 for brands. Maybe you won’t get these tips on other carefully written lists, but we want to give you the real truth about attending blogging conferences.

FOR BLOGGERS:

  1. Be gracious. Be conscious about NOT making other bloggers feel “less than”. The blogging world is full of introverts (we do, after all, do our best work when we are alone in our pajamas), and lots of people are out of their comfort zone. You can be a light, or you can be a sledge-hammer.
  2. This is business, not a sorority party, so slow down on the drinkies. It’s tacky, it’s embarrassing and you are perpetuating the ‘drunk blogger’ stereotype.
  3. DO branch out from “your tribe”. After all, that is kind of the point of BlogHer. Mix and mingle and play nicely in the sandbox.
  4. We realize that this might be the first time in months that you have been invited to a party for adults…but make sure you dress on the “professional” side of fancy. Brand parties are an excellent place to network, so now might not be the best time to bust out those plexiglass stilettos, or show off your fab cocktail dress at 10 in the morning. Ain’t nobody got time for stilettos.
  5. be YOU. be the nicest most bestest beautiful version of YOU because you are the best YOU. No one else is YOU and only YOU have that special something that the world is waiting for. YOU! brands want YOU… authentic, genuine YOU. so be original, be yourself and don’t hide your true beautiful self under a bushel.

FOR BRANDS:

  1. You are attending Blogher for a reason… to connect with bloggers. So do that.  Look up from your texting and your business emails. Set it to OOO auto responder and be present! 
  2. First I’d like you to note – Not every blogger is looking for swag, We are looking for contacts and a business relationship. That said —> Think about the quality of ‘swag’ you are handing out. You are at Blogher… the mecca of swag. Some brands go all out with swag so your brand key chain is not going to cut it. I once received a simple $5 gift card to Starbucks with the brand logo on it. that was the best swag!  Be creative and make a real personal connection. That is the most effective type of swag.
  3. Follow up via email the Tuesday after BlogHer! If you have a promising stack of business cards, don’t let them go to waste! Snooze? Lose.
  4. Be ready to do some bona-fide Speed Dating with bloggers! Connect with Bloggers on a personal level. Ask them about their kids, ask them about their blog, their interests…find out everything you can, so you can court them later with great campaigns!
  5. The MOST IMPORTANT thing brands can do to track their action during blogher is #ashtag!! Seize the moment brands! Have a hashtag, create a silly photo booth which will give bloggers a chance to relax + have fun = trending hashtag, you can also give away a ridic prize based on hashtag photo booth submissions.

And a bonus for the brands … free massages and John Stamos cover a multitude of sins. #justsayin

 

Have fun at BlogHer everyone!

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Wordless Wednesday

 

Here’s to Summertime New York Sunsets!

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5 Travel Must Haves when traveling with kids

We just got back from our annual road trip down to Florida and back. Our family loves to travel whether it’s by train, plane, car or boat! We have the adventure bug and fortunately we travel quite often. Our loooooong road trip down to florida is about 20 hrs which we break up into 3 days. With stops in DC, Atlanta and the Carolinas. This year was our first roadtrip with 2 kids. and let me tell you it’s was VEEEERRRYYY different from traveling with one kid.

While we had lots of gear and toys for the kids, these 5 stood out from the crowd and maybe every roadtrippin parent should add these to their collection of travel gear.

Top 5 Travel Must Haves when traveling with kids: 

The Bubble Bum is our go to travel must. Lily has had this for a year and loves it. It’s very comfortable and can be deflated when traveling on an airplane. Lily usually just attaches it to her carry-on bag… it’s cooler that way.

Travel Must Haves
Inflatable booster seat – Bubble Bum

The Kazoo MyPhone headphones are super cute and come it at a cool $20. They have built-in volume control so no fear of having your kids blast their eardrums.

KaZoo MyPhone Headphones for kids

We cannot leave home without our Reisenthal Carrybag. These wide  mouth bags are perfect for anywhere. We put this in between the kids with all of their essentials easy to reach. Since the opening is so wide kids can see everything inside and pick what they need without emptying out the whole basket.

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reisenthel carrybag

We love pretty much everything EEBOO makes because of their whimsical designs , fun colors and absolute commitment to creativity.This magnet set was a hit this summer. Lily told and retold stories the whole vacation. The magnets are hard to hold on to so we had a zip lock bag which stored them for us. Eeboo also makes super fun colored pencils and lots of creative things for kiddies.

Make Me a Story - Magnetic Story Board EEBOO
Make Me a Story – Magnetic Story Board EEBOO

This case from Speck is perfect! BUUUUT it’s only for your ipad mini. One case can go from board room meeting to back of the car Frozen marathons. It attached to the back of the front car seat and voila… built-in viewing for the minis.

ShowFolio Cases for iPad mini and mini with Retina display

Hope this was helpful.

Happy roadtrippin you guys!! Stay safe and enjoy the summer.

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Stawberry Fields and a fancy bike with WENDYS

Last month I attended a swank soiree at a rooftop garden high above Rockefeller center in NYC. It was a kick off to summer hosted by Wendy’s to launch their new Strawberry Fields Chicken Salad. Celeb Molly Simms was on hand to talk trends and fashion and Polyvore goodnes all inspired by the new summer salad.

Wendys Summer Salad

Wendys Summer Salad

Now here is a brand – Wendys– which I know well. Remember back in the day in college when you had no money but wanted a tasty meal… a .99cent ceasar salad + .99cent chicken nuggets did the trick! Oh those salad and nugget days bring back fond memories!

Wendys Summer Salad

The new Strawberry Field Chicken Salad is a very fancy version of my culinary compilations from those college days.  This salad boasts freshly prepared greens topped with California strawberries, honey roasted sunflower seeds, blue cheese crumbles, Applewood Smoked Bacon, warm grilled chicken and Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Apple Balsamic Vinaigrette. 

I have to tell you that this salad was a nice filling refreshing meal for these summer months. The blue cheese with the strawberries really make this a winner. The Strawberry Field Chicken Salad is only available for a short amount of time so head over to your local Wendy’s to try it out.

 Our freshly prepared greens topped with California strawberries, honey roasted sunflower seeds, blue cheese crumbles, Applewood Smoked Bacon, warm grilled chicken and Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Apple Balsamic VinaigrettWendys Summer Salad

Hey do you see that bike in the picture above… well guess what. Those fab peeps – who are now my besties fa life- sent me the bike to keep!! I mean really… this gorgeous papillionaire cruiser with custom details is M I N E !!!

Thanks you  so much Wendys!

Happy Summer everyone!

 

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A New York Sunset to Welcome us Home

Every year we head down to Florida to spend time with our parents. It’s 2 weeks of love and food, cousins and did I say food! This year our trip was layered with lots of friends and life and seeing people decades later.

more on all this later. I have to process it all.

it was great!

New York Mom

As we drove into NY this gorgeous summer evening… we were welcomed with the most fiery sunset. Now… I just love the bayous and beaches of Florida… but nothing compares to these New York Summer Sunsets!

I’m glad to be back. The kids are glad to be back. Lily settled right into her routine, Thomas re-discovered all his toys and was really happy to see his Choo Choo’s . and my sweet Jonah Bear has been a big hairy lovebug this evening.

Go hug your families… i wish I lived closer to mine!

 

 

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Family Travel – Free activities at Bass Pro Shops

 

We are vacationing in Florida and while I have loved spending every single day at the beach, sometimes I just want to wear clothes and be dry for a hot second ya know!

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A quick tip for all you people travelling with kids. Bass Pro Shops has amazing FREE activities for kids… almost everyday.

Lily loved the crafting and stayed at the crafting station long after everyone left.

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There was also a shooting range type station. The 6-YO kid next to her could not believe that she had never held a rifle… because all 9-YO’s should know how to handle rifles right… but i digress. Eventually Lily figured out how to hold the rifle and hit every single one of her targets. But once it set in that the ‘targets’  were images of animals she quickly stopped and then questioned her actions. And felt bad about it. Atta girl!

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We also had a quick archery session and Thomas almost got eaten by this great white shark – Katherine which is circling the Florida Gulf right now.

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Moral of this story… go to Bass Pro Shops… lost of fun stuff for kids to do and you get a few hours of dry-clothes-no-sand-in-your-britches loveliness.

 

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Safe travels everyone!

 

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Tween Style File – Swimsuits

Finding a swimsuit for a 9YO is a challenge. If you have found yourself shopping for swimsuits for the 8-12 girl age range you might share my disregard for the itty bitty padded bikinis that are out on the racks for my 9YO!

I won’t use this post as a rant about how inappropriate clothing…especially swimsuits are for this age demographic. We are taking our little girls from tutus in the toddler age and throwing them into some awkward pre-woman – pretween stage… in the retail industry.

Lily has decided that “girl’ bathing suits are not her style.  She likes that boys get to wear baggy shorts and not tight underwear type swim bottoms. While she did not want me to photograph her wearing a swimsuit, she did pick out her favorites.

We love these brands and own a few of these suits. Hope your picky tween finds one that fits her style and one that you as a parent.. approve!

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Vacation Mode

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We’ve been enjoying endless beach days on the gorgeous emerald coast over on the Florida Panhandle. It’s our annual trip down south to see our family. My grandmother and mom have been feeding us with endless feasts of curries and rices and seafood and all our favorite south indian dishes. Indian food is my comfort food and we always eat 3 servings too many at every meal.

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mamma with her great-grand-children

 

My mom and grandmother spend hours crushing spices and cutting onions and garlic, the whole house smells like rich spices and childhood memories of growing up in india fill my space. My Mamma made idlis and bajji for breakfast, Lily requested biryani – an indian rice dish- and that amazing meal with raita welcomed us for lunch, Sweet pulao and pork curry was cooking away another afternoon and there were always fresh-cut mangos on the table. My mom and mamma spoil us to no end when we visit and it’s always so hard to leave them and go back to the NY grind.

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indian breakfast : idli and potato bajji.
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indian lunch: biryani, raita, green beans and mango pickle
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Indian lunch : sweet pulao, pork curry, idli, fried cauliflower

I spent most of the day today thinking it was Monday, which is no good when i’m still working and missed 2 deadlines. Vacation brain.

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Both our families live close by which makes visiting families easy. Every summer Lily runs and jumps off grandma and grandpa’s dock and this …. marks the official start of summer! This dock on the bayou is one that belongs in a classic americana book about long lazy hot, humid summers spent water skiing, swimming, spotting dolphins and never catching a fish even though you stand out on the dock and fish every night…

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It’s pretty awesome this sweet life of our and we are blessed. our families make it that much sweeter. Hope you are having a hot, humid and lovely summer.

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