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Thursday, October 30, 2014

What you're actually thinking when you run into an ex

This short video—about what you're really saying when you run into an ex—made me laugh out loud. I can remember all of those experiences and they still elicit a little shudder of awkwardness. When's the last time you bumped into an ex? (Mine was on the bike path last year. I was wearing Alex's giant winter jacket, glasses and a backpack. Cringe.)

(Video by Alison G. Vingiano)

A seven-step guide to heartbreak

Cup of Jo editor Caroline and her long-time boyfriend recently broke up, and her heart was in a blender. Here are the seven sweet things she did next...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Japanese art of decluttering

Did you guys read the recent NYTimes article Kissing Your Socks Goodbye? Japanese tidiness consultant Marie Kondo believes that decluttering your home will change your life. She's a celebrity in Japan, and there's currently a three-month waiting list for her services. Her approach is a little wacky, but she has some great pointers, too.

Here are seven of her tips...

1. Throw away anything that doesn't "spark joy." “'Don’t just open up your closet and decide after a cursory glance that everything in it gives you a thrill...You must take each outfit in your hand.' "

2. Skip the Container Store. "Do not buy organizing equipment—your home already has all the storage you need."

3. Fold your clothes like sushi. "Fold everything into a long rectangle, then fold that in upon itself to make a smaller rectangle, and then roll that up into a tube, like a sushi roll. Set these upright in your drawers."

4. Hang clothes in rainbow order. "Hang up anything that looks happier hung up, and arrange like with like, working from left to right, with dark, heavy clothing on the left...'Organizing them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.' "

5. Thank your clothes. "Thank your stuff, it’s been working hard for you."

6. Let your socks rest. "Socks bust their chops for you, and if you ball them up, they don’t get a chance to rest...'The socks and stockings stored in your drawer are essentially on holiday.' "

7. Get rid of papers. “'There is nothing more annoying than papers...After all, they will never spark joy, no matter how carefully you keep them.' "

What do you think? Do her tips sound nutty or brilliant? (Or both?) Kondo also just wrote a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, if you're curious to hear more. Do you ever declutter your home? We did it before we moved and it felt so freeing!

This is part of a series called "What We're Reading"—featuring interesting articles on different topics we find during the week. I know most of you are big readers. Hope you like it!

(Photo by Natsuno Ichigo, via the NYTimes)

Are you dressing up for Halloween?

Illustrator Kiersten Essenpreis dressed her baby Harlan as Jerry Seinfeld's crazy Uncle Leo. Amazing, right? Apparently, she had the idea last Halloween when she was still pregnant: "I thought, 'If he's still bald by Halloween, we're doing it!' "
Haha I love this shot. And what did her baby think? "Everything was attached so lightly, he didn't even notice it," she said. "The hardest part was actually finding a purple turtleneck onesie for him."
Nailed it.

What are you going to be for Halloween this year? How about your little ones?

P.S. Toby as a giraffe, and a genius costume for adults.

(Photos by Kiersten Essenpreis, via Mashable)

Homemade Cheese Straws

Colder weather means spending more time hanging out inside with friends. Do you have a go-to snack for guests? Today, Melina from Licking the Plate shares her secret for cheese straws that look impressive but are easy to prep. Here's how to make them...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Four fall outfits

My friend Kendra—who recently moved from New York to northern California (break my heart!)—always has inspiring style. She looks laid-back, but her outfits have a bit of a twist. Here, she shows the four ensembles she's wearing most this fall... ...

Awesome idioms from around the world

The other day, my Dutch friend Wesley was chatting about something or other, and he suddenly busted out with the Dutch idiom, "Don't tie a cat to a piece of bacon." It means, more or less, to not put temptation so close to someone that they can't resist. Isn't that awesome? So when I saw these idioms from around the world, I couldn't help sharing.

Then I was trying to think of American sayings but was coming up blank. But obviously we have so many! Here's a long list, if you're curious.

P.S. 11 untranslatable words from other countries, and parenting around the world.

(By Hotel Club)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Our walk-to-school ritual

Toby's school is only five blocks from our apartment, and the best part of the whole walk (by far) is...

Motherhood Mondays: Home as a haven

Oh, these little boys. Be still my heart.

One of the most heartwrenching parts of motherhood, I've come to realize this fall, is watching your child go to school. With other kids. Who will be sweet sometimes, tease sometimes, play nicely sometimes, hurt feelings sometimes. How hard to think that all those little ones sometimes will feel lonely or left out or embarrassed or sad. I know those are good emotions, too (we're striving for wholeness, right?) but maybe not for him. Maybe just happiness for this child, okay?

Toby has had a somewhat tough time adjusting to a new school with new kids, many of whom have known each other for years. He enjoys school overall; he just has wobbly moments here and there. Plus, four-year-old Toby still seems so little. An exchange at the neighborhood playground the other day:
Another four-year-old: "Have you ever seen Star Wars?"
Toby: "No...have you ever seen Elmo?!!"

Well, as usual, the brilliant Jenny Rosenstrach must have read my mind because she recently wrote a Real Simple essay about her seventh-grade daughter, who was having a tricky time with some school friendships. Jenny didn't know how to help, so she did what any self-respecting adult woman does: she called her mom. Here's what happened:

She told me what I already knew: I’d have to sit this one out, as well as the next one and the one after that and the one after that, too. It was time to let the kids figure this stuff out on their own. But in a vehement tone that I imagine she reserves for her most unruly clients (she’s a real estate attorney), Mom did give me one tangible way to help: “You just make sure that when those girls walk in that door every day,” she said, “they never doubt that home is the most comforting place for them to be. That is what you can do.”

So that is what I will do: Make sure that when my children walk in the door every day, they never doubt that home is the most comforting place for them to be. We've slowed down our evening routine and added some rituals. We light candles at dinner, we play games on the floor, we pile onto the sofa to read books. And Alex and I have started putting Toby to bed together—instead of switching off, we focus on him, and lie down (with Toby in the middle), and talk and sing songs and give "challenges" (like "what sound does an owl make?" or "pretend you're swimming" or "count to 20") which Toby loves. And, the next morning, when Toby pads into our bedroom at 6am, and stands at my side of the bed saying "Mama? Mama?", I pull off my ratty sleep mask and give him a huge grin, no matter how exhausted I am. Home is a haven, a soft landing place, and no matter what happens in the outside world, they will always have that.

P.S. Do your eyes light up when you see your child?

(Photos of Toby and Anton playing ice cream shop by Winnie Au)
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