Monday, August 25, 2014

{Personal Style} Watermelon

Ever since I bought my tuxedo trousers, I've been figuring out ways to pair it so that it'll look stylish and sophisticated. So when I scored this fuchsia sleeveless blouse, I knew that pairing it with my green moto-inspired blazer would be kinda perfect.

Speaking of perfect, let's talk about these Prabal Gurung for Target pumps being the perfect match! Love it!

The fuchsia and green is color-blocked to perfection, reminds me of watermelon (one of my favorite summer fruits), and definitely makes me feel bright and summery during these last few weeks of the season.

What do you guys think of the color combo?!

Hope you all have a great week! Stay stylish! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Teaching Kindness with

One of the biggest things that I encourage the teachers in my school to do is to not only teach our students content and curriculum, but character and social skills as well. I love that I can give them tips and tricks that'll help our students to not only be intelligent little people, but also caring and loving and kind.

Because, you know, that's just as important as any academic learning.

And I definitely try to teach Aiden these traits as well. Through planting seeds and being an example and, quite simply, just letting him know when he's made a wrong move and needs to be checked for it.

It's working. So far. And that's a pretty good feeling.

But I can always use more help and hope and resources in that department.

Luckily for me (and you!), has a slew of child-friendly flicks that'll help parents instill the core value of kindness into the little ones. Aiden's old-time favorites like Arthur and Super WHY! are great options with tons of lessons that kids will pick up on quickly.

There are a couple new flicks on that I know Aiden will love to learn from.

Rudy, a feel-good movie about a boy who dreams of playing football at Notre Dame, is a great example of just how anyone -- big or small -- can make a difference. It's perfect for school-aged kids (especially those interested in sports!) and makes for a great conversation starter.

A Mile in His Shoes, a very inspirational movie where the talented pitcher suffers from Asperger's syndrome, teaches the powerful lesson of love and acceptance. And, let's not forget that it's also sports related. (Somehow sports movies are choke full of inspiration and feel-good moments.)

What movies do you stream on to start conversations about love and life, kindness and acceptance, and how to be a caring friend?

{Disclaimer: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team Ambassador Program, this post is being sponsored by Netflix. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day of School: Style Edition

skirt, blazer, blouse: H&M | bag: MARK by Avon | 
shoes: Banana Republic | stacked bracelets: Stella&Dot 

It feels like just yesterday that I was helping my teachers pack up their classrooms, hugging my students, and wishing them a fun-filled summer. Today, I'm welcoming them back to school for the 2014-2015 academic year. And I'm doing it with style and grace.

Behold the first day of school outfit:

I'm kicking the year off with a very simple and classic navy pencil skirt, matching blazer, and bright yellow blouse that'll add a pop of color. I'm also adding a trendy statement necklace to jazz up the outfit a bit. Oh, and I'm wearing my new fave shoes: stacked pumps that I scored on sale at Banana! Woot! They are absolutely perfect for walking around a school all day long.

And, of course it wouldn't be a great first day of school with a "good luck" hug from my main little guy. He starts school in about two weeks and I can't wait to show him the same amount of love and encouragement that he's shown to me. (Totally my definition of team work!)

Even though school's starting, I'm still in a Summer mindset and I fully intend to soak up every... single... ounce that's left of Summer. I'm already planning another beach or pool day this weekend and outdoor dining will take place well into September. #JustSaying

Anyone else starting school this week? Student parents? The kids? If so, wishing you lots of love and luck!

Stay stylish!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Determination to The Tenth Power

"Mommy, where are we going today?" 

It's Saturday. And usually I have something planned for us to do since I'm trying to make the most out of our summer staycation, but today I've got nothing. 

"Umm... I dunno. What do you think we should do?" 

"We could go skating at Pier 2." 

He's only been skating once before with his very expensive summer camp and he loved it. As he should because it's costing me a million bucks it's supposed to be a magical experience. But... He didn't actually learn how to skate that time. I could already see him falling 20 times, but what the heck... It's summer! I'm here for it. 

"Sure! Let's do it!"

A few hours later, we're at the skating rink and, as I'm getting our tickets and gear, Aiden declares, "I'm gonna learn to skate today." 

Umm, okay. 

"That's great! All you have to do is keep trying." 

He goes around the rink with the skate walker and, as I predicted, he falls down about 15-20 times within the first half hour. Each time, I flinch and wait for the tears. But they never come. He just gets back up again, grabs onto his walker, and keeps going. 

I give him some pointers to help him glide and balance better. (I've known how to skate since I was a kid.) Keep your feet hip width apart. Bend your knees. When you see yourself losing your balance, stop pushing your feet and just glide. Back up straight. Look forward. There you go. You got this! 

After a while, he chucks the skate walker to the side and attempts to skate on his own. To no avail. He falls. Hard. I flinch. I brace myself for the tears. They never come. He gets back up, shrugs his shoulders, and says, "I thought I could balance on my own." Then he laughs. Then he grabs the skate walker for a little more practice. 

He keeps going. He's sweaty and scarred, but he only leaves the rink once -- for a drink of water. When he gets back into the rink, he gives the skate walker to one of the staff members. He puts on his wrist band and starts going. Slowly and carefully. Then he picks up speed and goes around once. Without the walker. Without falling. 

Then he goes around again. And again. And again.  

He falls two or three times within the next hour, but he gets back up again and keeps going. He's got a look of focus on his face and he means business. 

Determination. To the tenth power. 

I'm so proud of him. Not just because he's learning to skate, but because he keeps going. He doesn't give up. He's got it in him to do the damn thing. Everything. Anything that he wants to do. All I can do is stare in awe and, of course, videotape it. This is a moment that I'll want to remember. 

And please believe I'm gonna use this as an example for everything else that he finds hard. 

When he's frustrated with tying his shoes? Remember that time you were so determined that you learned how to skate? 

When he's struggling to sound out big words? Remember that time you preserved so you could learn how to skate? 

When he wants to quit a sport because "it's too hard!" Remember that time you kept trying and trying... and you learned how to skate? Remember how proud you felt? Remember the big smile on your face? Remember that you kept talking about it for days, saying, "I can't believe I learned how to skate!" 

Yeah, that. 

"Fall down seven times, get back up eight." The eight time is what makes the difference between success and failure. That level of perseverance and resilience is exactly what I intend to teach Aiden. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Life Is Not A Dress Rehearsal

Life is not a dress rehearsal. 

You know when meet someone online and then you get to hear them speak in person and then you see them on TV and they instantly become your best friend in your head? Such was the case when I stumbled upon the amazingness that is Demetria Lucas, blogger, author, and TV personality. She always says things that have me like, "Yes! I was totally thinking that!" Such was the case when I heard her share her favorite motto: 

Life is not a dress rehearsal. 

When I push myself hard and put some really long hours in so that I could take my career to the next level and go get my dreams, this is why I do it. 

When I dream up other ways to reach my goals and come up with dope ideas that I want to see come to fruition, this is why I do it. 

When I push past the mess and stress that happens in my life so that I can do the damn thing and try to be great, this is why I do it. 

When I leave relationships that are toxic — even though it means that I'll be a single mother — this is why I do it. 

When I set some time apart for Aiden and me to do things that kids like to do and create happy memories for him, this is why I do it. 

When I give Aiden the gift of travel and perspectives of other cultures and experiences that'll hopefully last a lifetime, this is why I do it.

When I work on this communication thing that I've gotta fix in order to a have healthier — and functional! — relationship with The Guy, this is why I do it. 

When I push myself to move out of my comfort zone and do something that's gonna elevate me, this is why I do it. 

Because life is not a dress rehearsal. Yes, there's always tomorrow to fix things or another opportunity to get it right, but generally speaking, this... is... it. 

This is my life, so I'm trying to constantly make a conscious decision to do what I love. And do it often. These are the cards Aiden and I have been dealt, so I've gotta teach him how to make the best of it and how to play the heck out of it. This is the baggage that I bring to my current relationship, so I've got to do my best to be aware of that baggage and not let it affect my relationship. 

Because this is my life. And it's not a dress rehearsal. So I've just gotta do the damn thing. With no apologies. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Art of Fine Dining

An étiquette class equipped with story time. A three- course meal equipped with children's fave dishes. A cupcake decorating session equipped with all the toppings you could think of. This is just a little taste of what Aiden got to experience at The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park a few weekends ago. (Pun intended.)

I think it's so important for children to not only have good table manners, but also to understand the art of fine dining. So much so that every time Aiden and I go out to a restaurant, which happens fairly often (don't judge me!), I take the time to teach him how we're supposed to behave while dining out. Sometimes I even allow him to signal the waiter over to us to ask a question or to ask for the check. 

When it comes to getting him to speak properly and politely to the waiters in the restaurant, I'v gotten pretty successful. But when it comes to proper eating etiquette and table manner… forget about it! Your girl has not been that successful in teaching that area to Aiden. 

So when I heard that The Ritz was offering 2-hour etiquette classes on a monthly basis for children ages 5-11, I jumped at the opportunity. Once we entered the hotel, we were greeted by the hostess and escorted to a well-lit and spacious dining area. That's where we got to meet etiquette expert and author of The Extraordinary Life of Prince — Which Fork's First?, Prince Sanders. Not only was he warm and friendly, but he was also funny. Aiden immediately liked him and was excited about story time. He enjoyed the funny book,  but he also loved the fact that the author was the one reading him the story! 

After story time, it was time to eat. The children placed their own order, decided as a group where to place their napkins, decided together which fork they should use for their first course and second course, and widened their eyes in excitement when it was time for dessert. (Read: cupcake decorating.)

One of the coolest parts? Each child got a signature souvenir, which consisted of the etiquette book, a Ritz-Carlton stuffed lion, and a linen napkin with their initials embroidered. Needless to say, Aiden's been playing with his teddy and "practicing eating with Popcorn" (the name of one of the characters in the story). He's gotten pretty good at it, save for the crazy mess he makes and more food ends up on the tables than in his mouth. 

An even cooler part? Adults got their own fancy cupcake. And it was delish. Adults also got their own adult beverages. And that was even more delish. 

Needless to say, it was a pretty magical and memorable experience for the both of us. 

If you're like me and you want your littles to value experience, this is definitely one for the books! The price is $100 for one adult and one child (plus tax and tip), with $60 for each additional child. Visit The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park's website for more information about this interactive and engaging experience.

{Disclaimer: I was invited to the etiquette class in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wild Kratts Brothers Perform at The Bronx Zoo

Photo courtesy of The Bronx Zoo
If you're a lover of The Bronx Zoo like Aiden and I are, then you're in for a treat this weekend. And... if your littles are fans of the hit TV show, Wild Kratts on PBS, then you're in for a double treat this weekend. (Say what?!)

Because, this weekend, Kratt Brothers, Martin and Chris of Wild Kratts will be taking the stage to re-live a fun and mind-blowing adventure that happened to them out in the Amazon jungle! It'll be an interactive performance that'll be fun for the entire family.

This is a huge event for The Bronx Zoo, and trust me on this... you won't want to miss it!

Here are the deets for the performance:
When: July 26th and 27th
Where: Astor Court
Time: 12:00pm and 1:30pm (show will last approximately 30 minutes)

(You're welcome!)

Oh, there are certain things that you'd might want to know before you go (like arrive early because seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis), so check out The Bronx Zoo website for more information.

(Again, you're welcome!)

{Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for the Zoo Crew and this post is part of a sponsored series. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}


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