Tubby Todd Bath Bombs are every bit as yummy and fun as you'd imagine.Read More
I've only been using the serums for about a week and a half and I've already noticed that my skin is smoother, fewer fine lines, not dry and itchy, and looks more "glowy". It's the kind of look I got when I did Whole30, but better. And I'm definitely not doing Whole30 right now.Read More
Five and a half years ago this dance felt unnatural, forced, and lonely. Today it feels full and fleeting. The only thing that's really changed is me.Read More
I'm so excited to share my recent work with Tubby Todd Bath Co. The summer edition "Tubby Tropics" is now available on Tubbytodd.com. I worked on naming, bottle copy, social media campaign, shoot lists, and email marketing. I feel so lucky to work with such an amazing team!
My favorite scent is Pineapple & Passionfruit Hair and Body Wash. It smells light but super tropical. Tubby Todd's All Over Ointment healed my son's eczema (red spots all over his belly) overnight so we're huge fans over here. I don't just work for them. I buy their products and tell every mom I know about them. They smell better than any other natural soaps and lotions I've used and have the best customer service ever. We're definitely a TT family now. You can try it all here.
We had so much fun at West Coast Craft a couple weekends ago. We went early, hit up Tartine Manufactury (no line + most delicious pastries ever) and wandered around Fort Mason to see West Coast Craft.
I was a little nervous about tackling a weekend craft fair with three little kids, but it was actually okay! I think going early was key. The booths were beautiful and we had so much fun meeting several of the business owners there. Then we headed upstairs to the Mother Lounge when the boys got restless. They drew, put on too many Tattlys, and played in the teepee. We even happened to get a few shots in front of Alcatraz taken by @modernkids. We felt so lucky. Definitely going again next year.
Have you ever been in a writing group? I'm new to one. It's a small, group of only women. We meet once a month. Last night was my first time and I left feeling so inspired, excited, and happy. Despite sharing The Me in My Motherhood and Year of My People, essays I wrote on a whim I wrote for this blog in 2015, the group was super complimentary and supportive of me expanding the essays into a series. I'm so excited about the idea I think I'll start sharing monthly posts on the topic.
I'm finding more and more there's power in a group. Gotta have the accountability.
I'm excited to share a new project I'm working on. I'm so excited to get a chance to work with some creative ladies (Jordan Ferney, Erin Jang, Leah Rosenberg) I've dreamed of working with.
It's called The Color Factory and I've joined the team as the copywriter. I'm working on a slew of writing needs: email newsletter sign-up flow, subject lines, clever color-related compliments and sayings, signage, and the website content for Color Factory homepage like the About Us, Contact Us, Who We are, etc.
You can sign up to get updates and learn more about what it actually is here. It's hush hush now but you'll learn more very soon!
Today is my birthday. It's not what I expected it to be. It's gray and drizzly and my head feels like a fog has landed and will never lift. I know it will, but today it feels like it won't. I know it's childish to really look forward to your birthday, but I can't help myself. I always do. It's never too different from any other day but something feels special all day long. But it's also lonely. Why are birthdays lonely? It puts me in the head too much. Reflecting on the last twelve months, trying to determine whether they've been of much worth. What even happened last year?!
Is it just getting older, or do birthdays feel weird to you too? Do you get too pensive on your special day too?
Image by Heather Moore
First, I have to admit I'm coming off a really weird day. I began the day energized and now, at 8 PM, I feel like I've been hit by a truck. It's felt like a long week. We've been battling colds, teething, big emotions, new labels, big campaign deadlines, limited childcare, and late nights. Just like everybody else. It seems to have built up a little too much though and all I want to do is eat cadberry mini eggs and watch The Americans.
Second. (And this is really ironic after that paragraph.) In the past little while I've heard from recruiters from some big companies in the area. I don't know if someone else has the same name as me in SF, but I'm super flattered and excited to know my wordsmithing is literally tricking people into seeking me out for great jobs. I swear, I will think I'm a fake until I die. #impostersyndrometothemax Scratch that. To be honest, for the first time in a long time, I do not feel like a fake. I've been writing and editing for seven years and I've always felt like I was just figuring out as I was going. (I love that feeling--I think it's crucial to make good work.) I got lucky and worked with great clients and people I really admired that had way more experience than me and did just fine, but still felt like a fake. But now? I don't know if it's just that I really, really love the company I work for now, or that I've found content strategy (social media marketing + email marketing especially) to be so endlessly fascinating, or I'm just too busy to worry about it, but I feel like I get it. I feel confident and excited. I know we'll always figure it out and doing something is better than doing nothing. We get it out, and then keep reworking to improve. We don't wait to get something perfect before pushing it out. How very lean of us. How Bay Area of me.
Third, bless good babysitters. They are a diamond in the ruff.
Now to Season Four of The Americans. Just a nice relaxing episode before bed.
Images by Heather Moore.
I'm very excited to share that I am now working with Tubby Todd, one of my favorite beauty brands. It's an all-natural bath and body company based in San Diego. They've only been around for a year and a half but they've grown exponentially. I'd used their products off and on on my kids over the last year and always found their lotions and body wash to be the best I'd ever used. Now I'm 100% convinced their All Over Ointment is a miracle product.
Since I live in the Bay area, I work remotely part-time. I thought I'd miss working in an office but so far it's totally fine. It's been rejuvenating and exciting to be working consistently again and I'm loving my early mornings focusing and writing. I can't believe how good it's been to be working again. Hooray for good changes and fresh starts.
This last year was a time of growth. We added a baby (I could stop right there), a home exchange in Copenhagen, a cargo bike. We expanded our park repertoire and tasted savory porridge. I learned how to fold a fitted sheet and deliberately decided to BAN that homemaking tip from my brain and never do it again. We ate a little healthier, sometimes. We visited family in Utah, enjoyed San Francisco's free breakfasts (just kidding, thanks Airbnb!), and explored new spots in L.A. We drove to Yosemite in the morning, and drove back at night. We picked figs and lemons and gum nuts and spent as much time as possible outside. I impulsively cut 12 inches off my hair. We put our little boy on his first school bus, and watched him blossom.
I'm hoping 2017 comes out Brave. 2017 is the year I want to go back to work. A full time writing job will demand as much spunk and courage as this freelancing stay at home mom can muster. But if it feels scary, I should probably do it, right?
Here's to 2017! And if you need a content strategist, full-time copywriter, or social media editor, and you're in the Bay Area, let's talk. I'm available late summer/early Fall, but interested in freelance now.
Thanks so much for following along, readers.
One of my favorite things is Amazon Prime. (You too?) I wish I didn't love it so much, but I do. (You too?) A couple of months ago, I was prepping for the second birthday party in a month and realized I needed something that could dazzle toddlers until they were weak in the knees. Enter rotating multi-color disco ball thing. It's much better than I'm making it sound.
I bought and it received it the next day. I love technology! We pulled it out for the Monster Mash Toddler Dance Party a few weeks later and it was a hit. But, it's the impulse purchase that just keeps giving. (Never thought I'd say that.)
When the sun sets at 4:30 mid-winter and there's not another adult to be seen for another four hours, this rotating bulb becomes the Light you've always hoped for, but didn't know existed. Plug it in and you've got an impromptu dance party happening. It never fails to cheer us all up and get us through dinnertime, bathtime, and the full bedtime routine with fewer wiggles and less crying (hopefully). It can motivate the mopiest little one to help clean up or play with their sibling. Throw in some Bieber or Timberlake and everything is A-ok once again.
Bless this house, little disco ball thing. Do you have any Amazon impulse purchases that have gone so right? It's the best.
Cute Boys Clothes Do Exist is an ongoing series on OAC. See Wolfechild and Avarca Pons. Some readers have asked where I buy the clothes for my boys so I'm sharing that here. I don't mean to be pretentious, know-it-all, or alarmingly basic by sharing these details. Truthfully, we're often dressed as ragamuffins and just happy we make it out of the house. But I do love the hunt for great kid's clothes and I know some of you do too! Hope you enjoy.
I follow a few different people on Instragram that shared when Arq launched, include Elle of SollyBaby. I was so excited to check it out but was kind of in sticker shock. However, more and more I've been choosing to buy higher quality children's items over cheaper clothes because if they last through my five year old, then they can get re-worn two more times over the next few years as his two younger brothers grow into his old clothes. It's a win-win-win. I also like my kids more when they're wearing cute outfits so occasionally the splurge is worth it for all concerned. :)
This Fall, Arq had a huge sale on their first run of clothing, their Fall collection. Which was amaaaaazing. If I had a little girl, I would have snagged up all those little dresses so fast. So I grabbed the painter's shirt because it's basically the toddler version of a shirt Keenan owns, the Oregon flannel, two pairs of green scout shirts (because hello), boxy baby tunic top, baby track shorts (cannot WAIT to see Sigge's rolly polly-ness in those bad boys), and a light blue baggy short. Our boys wear shorts year-round so we buy lots of shorts. The prices after the sale were similar to Target. Seriously. We've already received several of the items in the mail (in sweet packaging, with a little discount code if you send some feedback) and the quality is A+. We'll see how they hold up but I'm planning to use these clothes in our family pictures in a few weeks.
Thank you, Arq! Can't wait to see what's in that winter collection around the corner.
P.S. I emailed Arq with a couple questions and received the very BEST customer service. It was delightful. Loyal customer and brand evangelist 4 ever now.
Update: Arq's winter collection is small, but as beautiful as ever.
*I was not paid for this post or provided with product. All opinions are my own.
My family and I love books, but are picky about what books we buy. I'm still all KonMari about stuff and Keenan is a designer and gets twitchy when books are eh. I love taking my boys to the library because we can try out any book we want, and then decide whether we want to buy it. But I do want the boys to own books they'll read and re-read for years to come. I love a well-written children's book with beautiful illustrations! In my dreams, I'd love to write a children's book one day.
I'm delighted to share a new-to-me board book by artist Wangechi Mutu. It's called What do you see? It's a contemporary spin on search-and-find children's books. Mutu has collaged a fantastical, vibrant world where objects are not quite what they seem. The book exemplifies a child's world: curiosity is everything. This book looks different than anything else in our library, and it's a great chance to explore and introduce collage. We may even do a companion activity with this book and collage with paper, leaves, figs, and rocks we've collected over the last few days. The book is published by Home Grown Books, a Brooklyn-based published. (You know I love that.)
It is an eco-friendly board book, which is perfect because our nine month old Sigge is realllly into chewing books.
I love knowing a bit more about the artist or author. It turns out Mutu was born and raised in Kenya and much of her work explores gender and racial identity. Her work is in museum collections around the world including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Beyond supporting such a talented artist, 5% of profits from this book will be donated to Every Mother Counts, a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and birth safe for every mother. You can buy the book here.
*What do you see? was a gift but the opinions and book review are my own.
This is my first post in Artist in Motherhood Residency series. You can read more about it here.
I wonder what Vincent felt as he blended sunset hues or scraped greens of every shade. Did he ever get hungry? It's hard to imagine a genius getting hungry. I imagine him, head down, blending blending blending, then tool to canvas, deliberate and sure. Brows bunched, muscles tensed and stretched. Perfect awkwardness translating a perception in his head into an image of such depth and beauty.
When I saw these paintings this summer at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, I froze. I had just seen this sculpture, which is the most beautiful work of art I have ever seen. (I had just seen the original Christus, so this is saying a lot.) They were so beautiful. I had never seen these paintings by Vincent Van Gogh in any book. I felt a little miffed that I never knew these existed. As if the world had some obligation to me that I should know every work of one of the world's most famous artists. It struck me: somehow Van Gogh painted these masterpieces, in his own corner of the world, and so few (proportionally) knew or know of them. How does this happen?
Recently, we lost a family friend. Not just a family friend, but someone we really, really loved. He was like family to us. His name is Aaron. I can't say "was" because it's still surreal that he is gone. He was a really good person. So sweet. Really funny. A really weird, surprising sense of humor that bubbled out in this warm, quiet way. It manifested itself in surprising texts that truly made you LOL. When he talked to you, he really listened. He made you feel loved and cared for. He was exceptional. Above and beyond in all the things that really matter.
I'm feeling the textures of my life. The paint pushing up against the canvas, the imposing shades of light and dark. The sun setting every evening leaving exhaustion and frayed nerves, or gratitude and serenity. Perhaps it's okay if the artist admits defeat and sets the canvas aside to begin the masterpiece anew. Paint smudges on a smeared palette wait nearby.
(Unknown (let me know if you know)); Glyptoteket in Copenhagen Photos by Keenan Cummings
The dreaded question. "And what do you do?" My mind stumbles over Stay at Home Mom, Freelancer (but not these last few months), Cummings' Family Manager, etc. I need one of those terrible sweaters that's covered in cutesy embroidery listing, Nurse, Teacher, Chauffer, Chef, etc. with a checkmark next to each label. I'm all of it and more. I'm none of it but more.
I hate that conversation unless I'm talking to someone who might get it. Doesn't have to be a woman, but we probably need more than a couple minutes. Once I stumble over my answer, there's a nervous laugh and an understanding "Yeah..." and then we talk about the things we love, what we want to be working on, something new we've discovered online or in the Bay. It's an inadvertent ice breaker because I've realized none of us know what we're doing. We're taking care of kids while caring for our own finances, relationships, and minds. Behind every halted answer to, "And what do you do?" is a field of commonalities that stretches and falls with the seasons of our lives.
I'm deep in a season, calling it whatever feels right at the moment. I really need that sweater. (AND Beverly Goldberg in my life, for real. I LOVE HER.)
All images by Lenka Clayton
Three years ago, I wrote about Lenka's Artist in Motherhood Residency on Design Mom. Lenka Clayton is a fine artist who had a tough time finding a residency that would accept her because of the constraints of having a child. So, she created one herself and called it Residency in Motherhood. She printed business cards, scheduled part-time child care, and established her own "studio space" where she dedicated herself to exploration and creation and journaled the process for the world to see. The result is beautiful. (Alain De Boton agrees.) When I found Lenka's project three years ago, it moved me. When she photographed objects she found in her child's mouth (63 Objects Taken From My Son's Mouth), I laughed. I got it. When she typed interrupted, stunted, exasperating events of the day (What do we do all day? jpg file name "nightmare"), I was right there with her. I was her, and she was telling the story I didn't know how to tell, but felt. She was the Artist of Motherhood, accidentally painting a dizzyingly poignant picture of my personal motherhood.
Three years and two more children later, I rediscovered Lenka's project. I don't recall what I was doing on the desktop computer—I'm so rarely sitting down in the office these days—but I happened upon her personal update. She's shown art in the Guggenheim (among so many places!), she's waiting for her second child to arrive, and she's created a Artist in Motherhood Residency kit so anyone in the world can create their own "formal" residency at home or at a studio, and even seek a grant. It moved me again, just like it did three years ago. But this time I did something about it. I pulled a sheet of paper out of my notebook and scribbled down the following mess:
And just like that, I am an Writer-Artist in Motherhood Resident. (Albeit a Bachelor-watching, stick-figure drawing, part-time one. Baby steps, right Lenka?) If you want to join me, sign up and put your name on the world map and let's keep in touch and follow each other to see each other's projects. I'll be sharing some of my thoughts here since I am calling myself a Writer-Artist, but most in my private physical journals. (I still keep those, but alas, no key.)
PS One of those links in the Design Mom post now takes you to a Tumblr featuring breast augmentation. LOL
After hours of flying, a quick stop in Paris, perfect travel behavior from our kids (ha), and a friendly taxi ride, we are in Copenhagen! Just saying that makes me happy. Unreal. We're exhausted but good. It feels so good to be someplace totally different, with a wealth of new to explore. I'm feeling so grateful we get to do this as a family. I can't believe Silas is old enough to remember this! I hope Sondre does too.
Going to get some more sleep. Xo
We've daydreamed about doing it, and now we finally are—we're moving to Denmark for six weeks*! We're doing a house exchange through Behomm with a Danish family that lives in Copenhagen. It's straight outta The Holiday without Jack Black, snowy cabins, etc.
It's our first international flight as a family and Sigge's first ever. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous—I know we'll be fine but long flights with kids are tough. And the longest we've ever flown with just two kids is five hours. So. Pray we get that bassinet we requested and we're sitting in bulkhead seats so Keen has a little more legroom and that our kids sleep the night and the people around us are nice (and super patient).
We leave in just a week so I'm packing, deep cleaning, and ? I don't know what else I should be doing. We're not planning our trip until we get there. We'll spend most of our time in Denmark, but make trips to Germany, Sweden, Norway, and ?. I'd love to hear tips on what to see and do and eat. We'd like to rent a cargo bike to get around easily, too.
Can't wait for all that family time in one of my favorite regions in the world. Imagining the boys running wild at a Danish playground, or riding the ferris wheel at Tivoli at night, is making me so, so excited. I'll be sharing our experience here on the blog so you can follow along if you'd like!
*made possible by paternity leave. Thank you, Airbnb! One day I will write about those precious few weeks before and after Siggers was born—it was the best.
Pictures by Keenan at Book/Shop. Pictures have nothing to do with Denmark except Sondre kind of looks like he's from a magical storybook land, aka Denmark.