I wonder if there is one woman out there who has never felt frustrated with her motherhood, in any way. If there is, I do not want to meet her.Read More
I was so excited when Toca Boca, the creators of our favorite children's apps like Toca Hair Salon and Toca Boo , reached out to me to tell me about a new project. They've teamed-up with a Brooklyn-based tattoo artist to create a special series of temporary tats for kids. The collaboration is an effort to create a synergy of play and art—both digital and physical—inspired by Toca Boca games and characters. The result are physical toys that encourage imagination and self-expression. I love that!
The Toca Boca team was so sweet to send us some tattoos for the boys to play with. It was perfect timing with Halloween AND Sondre's First Birthday around the corner. I can't tell you how much fun we had playing with them, and how many mini snickers I had to give Silas to let me put one on the back of his neck. He wanted them to cover his belly and both arms. Sondre insisted on only his arms and belly. :) We love them! Everywhere we go people stop and admire and laugh about the boys' "ink". The colors are vibrant and the designs are so, so cool. Pretty great. We also used them as an integral part of the boys' Halloween costumes.
One of our favorite things to do these days is eat at work with Keenan. So, we drove into the city for a Halloween breakfast! Blurry Halloween images for the win. :)
It's no secret I'm mildly obsessed with Fine Little Day. The shop is now stocking these special prints by a new-to-me Swedish illustrator, Henning Trollbäck. I'm putting together the boys' room right now with a little help from Meta's Atly class and these prints would be a perfect point of inspiration. Scandinavian design forever, is what I say.
It's been a while since my last post on cute boys clothes, but I'm still waving my banner. There are a lot of high quality, non-graphic, gender neutral, well-fitted boys clothes out there if you're willing to look. :) Hopefully I can help you find them!
Since moving to the Bay Area, we've had to adjust wardrobes completely. More than half the clothes we had in New York obviously won't work where the temperature is almost always 70 degrees. It's sunny almost every day, with sometime-bouts of clouds(fog) in the morning and in the evening before sunset. It gets cold at night and as soon as the sun starts to set. We always have to have a warm jacket/coat packed or we're freezing. I love it. We can justify a fire in the fire pit or fireplace and keep warm wool blankets on the couch, but wear t-shirts and sandals all year. Anyway, we've had lots of people ask us about these sandals we've been wearing lately. I LOVE my Pons! I saw them first on a post from Erin Loechner and loved them. I've been looking for nice sandals for a long time and I just can't get on the Birkenstocks train. They're 100% handmade, made in Spain, and leather. After wearing them in for a week or two, they're soft and mold perfectly to your feet. I bought mine true to size and they felt a little tight but loosened up to be perfect.
I knew the boys would need new shoes too so we bought two investment pair. Once Silas grows out of his, we'll pack them away until Sondre can wear them. They've been at the beach, playground, and mountains and still look awesome. He throws them down the slide about 100x every time we go to the playground and honestly, they still look good. He can strap them on himself, too. All in all, super happy with these shoes. I couldn't help but share our discovery because we love them so much. You can buy them on Amazon here.
Do you have Pons, too? Do you like them as much as we do? I'm such a nerd about the stuff I love. I can't help but talk about it.
PS I have my doubts about the Men's Pons, but if you've seen them on and they looked good, will you tell me? Somebody I know wants them....
I couldn't wrap my head around a post today and I got lost in old iPhoto images. Snapped these a few weeks ago after I turned around and found this sweet boy sound asleep. *heaven* Some days may be frustrating but overall, overall: Look at these people I get to raise. I mean, come on. Lucky doesn't begin to cut it.
P.S. Have you seen this? I held a baby and inhaled. So good.
'Well!' thought Alice to herself, ' after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs!
Down the Rabbit Hole is a new series in 2014. I compile my favorite things from around the internet for our mutual enjoyment. The internet is fun! Enjoy!
I just discovered the Overdrive app thanks to the Janssen of Everyday Reading. I tried the web version like four years ago when I was spending lots of nerdy time at the Brooklyn Public Library and it did not work on my Mac and made me super mad like computer problems do. But Overdrive does work now and I am so, so excited. Free books, free audiobooks, free Kindle books! My heart is happy.
Speaking of the library, we just had the best time at a local singing time. We sang about Mother Earth and Father Son and eating your vegetables and one kid named an instrument that most of us had never heard of. Berkeley, man.
If you're looking for summer book recs, Everyday Reading and Angieville are my favorites. I just started Gone Girl and have no idea what it is about or anything. Anybody want to stop me before I continue? Did you love it? It's so popular I bought it without thinking.
Our son now shares his name with our friend's new dog. Pretty cute.
I really enjoyed Joanna's rundown on her beauty uniform. My boys make me feel like a ragamuffin, but free and loved. :)
I like all this buzz about Capsule Wardrobes and Minimalist Living and such. The small cynic in me is on high alert but when I quiet it, I think it's all a great idea. I heard about it from Natalie first, then Jenna, and then traced it back to Caroline. (If you're wondering what I'm talking about read that last link there.) I've already taken some necessary steps this week and maybe I'll share my Capsule Wardrobe aka Clean Closet Without High School Track Sweats result. :)
Some beautiful photos our friends captured of our joint trip to Big Sur. Our first! I can't say enough good things about Northern California. It is gorgeous, just like everybody told us it would be.
Have you seen these "dates" in a box? Ages ago Confetti had us try the Camping Date at home and it was SO much fun. Honestly. I was super surprised how fun and romantic it was. I'd totally do it again. Perfect for parents.
I keep posting photos of New York on Instagram. And my kids. I'm one step from produce aisle photos....
My pet project Bored Moms has a small but really awesome community on Facebook, if you want to join us and talk about mom stuff. If you still use that old thing. :) I can't say I'm the grandest Facebook Group manager in the world, but I do dabble in cute overload pet videos that somehow relate to parenthood so you should check it out.
This blog post was sparked by our three-year-old.
Friday! Still wish I could watch TGIF every single Friday.
Hi! I feel a little sheepish. Not a single post since July? A brief blog break turned into two and a half months of silence. I'm sorry if you came here during that time wondering what happened! We've been busy exploring California, traveling to see family, getting our house all set up, and trying to keep up with our boys. Lots of good stuff, lots of adjustment, and lots of thinking happened. Also, we just went on a trip to New York City so I'd love to follow that up with a rundown of my favorite places to eat, shop, see when in the city. I've been meaning to pull together a city guide for a very long time and this just may be the time I actually do it.
I love this blog. Keenan built it for me when I started writing for Design Mom so I could have a place I was proud of to direct traffic to. When I began writing here, I had no idea what exactly I wanted to create, or even specifically post on. I am the ultimate *generalist* so it was hard to narrow my focus and say, I write about graphic design, or I write about mom stuff or my family, or New York stuff, or small stuff. (There's my obsession with miniature stuff again.) But I feel like it grows when I grow. It's silent when I'm focused on other things, or a creative outlet when I need one. It's my home base for my for my writing. My blog feels more like a blob of my Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, email and Bloglovin' feed these days. They all go together and I have dear friends and awesome acquaintances on all of them. Even if I'm not blogging, it still feels like I stay in touch if I'm tweeting or following my feed, you know? Do you feel the same way?
Just one more thing—a conversation* topic keeps popping up with friends and family about how frustrated/tired we are with how hard it is to put down our phones and focus. The guilt, the waste of time, jealously, the overload, etc. I'd love to write a little more about this as I gather my thoughts. Hopefully pull in some good resources. It just keeps coming up so I have to talk about it. *Screen fatigue.
(I'd love to hear your thoughts on it or hear of any links you've found helpful. Email me Koseli Cummings @ gmail or tweet me @OriginalKos, okay? )
P.S. Started a site that pokes fun at the idea that moms are bored and boring. It's called—you guessed it—Bored Moms. Needs a lot of work but I am so impressed with the reception so far. We've struck a nerve. I'll write more about it soon.
P.S.S. Thank you to PJ for including my thoughts in her post on blogging and jealousy. Always a timely post.
I've been feeling creatively stuck lately. I'm not sure what it is—whether it's our big move, or settling into the two kids thing, or whether I need to make a bigger change like working away from home, or taking a trip alone. It may also be that I just need to get up earlier every day so I can have a solid block of time to read and write, and then go for a jog. I know I miss New York, but that's not it. I can't put my finger on it. It could also be a big idea for a new site that I've had that I'm still wrestling with. I honestly don't know. Maybe I'll just buy something? :)
Anyone have any tips for getting out of a funk? It's a cyclical thing for me, but this funk is lingering. Even Rocky Road Tilamook won't cut it. Funk be gone.
April was our last month in New York. Keenan surprised us with this book right before we pulled onto the road for the final stretch of our cross country move. Keeps the faces and places we love fresh in our minds. His thoughtfulness is above and beyond.
Man, missing New York so much lately. Not one thing in particular, and probably more my people than anything. What I'd do for a bowl of ramen or a walk around our brownstone neighborhood at dusk, though. Also, a little trip to Fish's Eddy and the Japanese bookstore we loved one more time.
In place of a 'New York favorites' or 'What to do in the city!' post, I feel the need to sit and write every memory I can remember and send it in an email to myself. I can't bring myself to share New York memories just yet. Feels too personal and almost sacred. So dramatic, I know.
Brooklyn, you sucker.
The House of Illustration in England will be the first place totally devoted to illustration as an art form. We have Quentin Blake to thank for that, signature illustrator behind the Road Dahl books. His drawings paint my childhood and pre-teen years when I was a shy-away-from-home bookworm. I'll always love the authors who wrote the books that kept me company then. Forever favorite.
P.S. Heard this news through a friend's Twitter, Bret Helquist. Also an insanely talented illustrator.
I'm a huge fan of Maria Kalman. This Portrait of Creativity video is an insightful interview into her life growing up, creative inspiration, her love of New York City, and some of her recent projects, like the book out called Girls Standing on Lawns. Meeting her at a Creative Mornings a couple of years ago was one of my bucket list moments. She told me she loved my name, we chatted for a minute about New York, and she signed my illustrated Elements of Style book. Pinch me.
Last weekend, I listened to a radio show on WNYC while I cleaned out my boys' closet. Between sorting onesies and wool sweaters, and trying to match tiny shoes and old socks, I heard Kurt Vonnegut's 1998 recorded interviews with "the dead, or almost dead". He wrote short fictionalized clips for WNYC where he talks about traveling through a blue tunnel to meet up with various deceased characters. He meets a woman on death row; Dr. Kevorkian; Lee Harvey Oswald; a woman who's obituary was botched by the New York Times. They're political, opinionated, understated, funny, and dark. What timing and word choice. If you want something brain-stirring, or something to do while you're cleaning out a closet that smells like "old house", this is a good pick.
P.S. I have a secret wish to host a podcast or write for radio one day.
Really excited about Kidpost! It's a new service where you can hashtag photos of your kids "#kidpost" across social media and it will filter and email them to only the people you want to see them. No more kid picture overkill. (Which we all know is a thing. I am so guilty.) And a simple way to get pictures of your kids to grandparents who are not on Facebook or friends that hate Instagram. The beta is free to the public so it's a good time jump in and try it out.
Kidpost was created by Khoi Vinh, a friend and mentor of Keenan's. I love these illustrations that Keenan created for the brand. The top picture looks like our bald, fat baby Sondre and the little boy in the pocket tee reminds me of our Silas. :)
Adjusting, adjusting, adjusting. We moved May 5 and now it's early July. Honestly, I just tried to do the math in my head and I guessed we'd lived in California for four months. I can't believe how much has happened in the last two. What a whirlwind.
I've been surprised that the adjustment has been smoother than I imagined. What's hard is adjusting to two kids—two boys—ages 8 months and almost three. Wow, they are cute but woah they keep me so busy. One second, everything is clean and orderly and the next neither have clothes on, I'm holding some kind of bodily fluid in my hands, and one or both is crying. Some days are really hard. Like, I want to run away or find another thing to fill my time. Sometimes it feels like I get too much home time. But other days feel almost sacred. Even the messes. It's the ins and out of satisfying hungry tummies and teaching a new word. Teaching a fat baby to clap or raise his hands when we yell, Hooray! It's pulling on clean leggings for the fourth time, an unprovoked apology and I wuv you Baby without a sliver of guile. It's messy towheads and declarations from the couch, Mama, We. Need. Dirt. and then we head to the park and kick a soccer ball until the sun goes down. Sometimes my oldest will hold my face in his hands, look in my eyes, and ask me if I am happy. Just like him, I cannot lie. Yes, Silas, I am so happy. Sometimes I'm sad. Sometimes I'm frustrated. Sometimes I'm tired. But I am so happy. Then I ask him, Are you happy? Then he gives me his signature earnest look and says, Dada happy, Mama happy, Baby happy, Si happy. And just like that, we're a family.
Moving was not one flight or just leaving Brooklyn or our stuff placed in PODS and driven across the country. It's been a two month wave of rebounding, over and over and over again. For family time, for couple-time, for moving-in time, for friend time, for work time. It's refiguring all our old systems of time management and adjusting to our new workload, our new family (still new to two kids!), our new church congregation, our new friends, and our new neighborhood. Every day is a slightly uncomfortable adventure and that's where Keenan and I like to be. It's challenging but really good. I've said it before: I love a fresh start. (And pen pals.)
If you just moved, or are moving soon, fist pump. You got this.
Once upon a time I lived in Brooklyn and loved to shop at Lulu's Then and Now in Park Slope. I found innumerable gems there—a hand knit sweater from Ireland, light blue wool knickers, the tiniest white cotton hat, and handmade leather toddler boys shoes with sheepskin lining. It was all affordable and as someone who loves "the hunt", I seriously loved that store. It's also where I discovered the.most.amazing.hat. At the time, I couldn't afford it so I had to pass but oh my gosh, my eyes starting watering when I saw it because it was so perfect. So perfectly becoming for a super fat baby face with a tiny string at the chin for a tidy bow. It was amazing. I made two subsequent trips to Lulu's to find the hat again but they were gone. The sweet shop boy helped me track down the brand behind the hat—Wolfechild. (Best name award.) That led me on an internet goose chase to find more of these hats (to no avail) but I did find the brilliantly talented Wolfechild maker's blog. I've been following her for the last two years and I am so inspired by her hand-stamped rompers, her choice of fabrics, and her impeccable styling. She's so good. I'm saving my pennies so I can buy a few things to put on my boys when we're having a really bad day. (Cute clothes on my kids=instantly makes me like them more/might make me laugh=their safety is secure.) The new arrivals are beautiful and the sale section is brimming. Here's all the boy's clothes. She also just announced a new Etsy Wolfechild vintage shop! How special would it be to buy an outfit as a baby shower group gift or very special one year birthday present, or for family pictures? Wolfchilde is in the realm of buying less but buying better and I love that.
Wolfechild is the first brand I'm highlighting in a new occasional series I'm calling, Cute Boys Clothes Do Exist. Genius, I know. I just have to fight back and say that it can be hard to find cute boys clothes, but man, when you do they're amazing. It's possible, people. I don't mind some car graphics or soccer pajamas here or there, but at the of the day I want to focus on my child's face and not the creepy monkey emblazoned across his overalls.
The stars aligned and for midsummer this year, we were in Utah for Alt Summit. That meant we were in town for A Midsummer Mingle in Provo. It was the most incredible event put on by some talented ladies local to the Utah Valley. Honestly, I have never been to an event with more attention to detail and love for every handmade object. It really felt like every person is attendance was receiving a gift. I love Scandinavian design and anything that feels like I'm wandering through an enchanted forest, so...I was pretty happy. I love love Midsummer and was missing our annual tradition of Midsomer in Battery Park. This definitely tied me over. :)
Thank you again to everyone who put together this amazing party! See the contributors and how the event unfolded here.
'Well!' thought Alice to herself, ' after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs!
Down the Rabbit Hole is a new series in 2014. Every week(<---Eek, sometimes) I will compile my favorite things from around the internet for our mutual enjoyment. The internet is fun! Enjoy!
Need to brain dump my excitement for Haim. EEEEEEE! I first saw them on Jimmy Fallon and was like, what is happening? This is amazing. They're like the modern 90s girl band I didn't even know I was looking for. And they're sisters? Are you kidding. There's not much I can even say about how awesome that is. I need a convertible and the Pacific Coast Highway to properly execute what happens in my head when I listen to Don't Save Me.
I'm impatiently waiting for my first Stitchfix to arrive and I'm so excited. Am I a little sad to say goodbye to frumpiness? Maybe. I have such a soft spot for over-sized lounge pants. But I'm so excited to open my front door and find a box with five perfect, new items of clothes that someone else picked for me. That's luxury. Anyway, I might even write up a full post on the whole experience. Would you like that?
Do you like the Maya Rudolph show? I watched the first episode and want more, but also want it to be funnier. Maybe I just want Jimmy Fallon?
I'm getting really excited for Alt Summit in Salt Lake City in a few weeks! Keenan will be speaking and I can't wait for that. He did such an amazing job at ALT NYC. I also can't wait to see old friends and meet more of my online friends in person. If you'd like to meet up, let's make it happen. I love meeting people and I've found in the past that making those meet-ups more deliberate makes them happen, especially at a large conference like Alt Summit. If you're looking for some advice or feeling Alt nerdy and want to get all the dirty details, here's Five Tips for Alt Summit, The difference between ALT NYC and ALT SLC, and Make a game plan before Alt.
We love Northern California. Everybody's so chill, the sun's always out, and the air smells like flowers. It's a big adjustment for us but we're doing well. All this is to say in a super roundabout way how much I love Trader Joe's snacks. We live two minutes door-to-door from one and wow. I love it. I especially love that shelving above the frozen food section. You know what I'm talking about. Where they literally take any kind of food and swaddle it in chocolate. Chocolate covered edammame, peanuts with sea salt, miniature peanut butter cups, magic, etc. etc. It's amazing. Oh, TJs. Also, that kettle corn and those frozen macaroons. I'm like 80/20 on the Whole 30 thing and 100% okay with that because of awesome Trader Joe's treat-time. I think TJs is bonding me with NoCal in a very deep and meaningful way. :)
If you live in East Bay, you're looking for an entry-level job, and interested in social media and blogging, you should apply to be Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom's office assistant. I cannot stress enough how awesome she is to work with AND this is an amazing opportunity to jump all-in and learn a ton about the daily workings of a blog.
Goodbye, Maya Angelou. "Listen to yourselves and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."
Have a wonderful weekend!
We now live in one of the most beautiful cities I've ever laid eyes on. Over-sized fuscia blooms and swaying palm trees and ancient eucalyptus trees. Bungalows, hills, and green for miles. There's a contentment in the air—superfluous Vitamin D, tacos, and open space, I think. I'm still wrapping my mind around people living here. California always meant vacation to me. But here we are, doing the laundry and going to church like normal. Driving? Driving. Driving everywhere! It's so strange. Our own personal cheerio and iPad universe flying down the freeway to our next house hunt appointment.
I feel pangs of missing for Brooklyn—but mostly for my friends and family there. I didn't realize how ready we were until we took the plunge and found just what we thought—another amazing life on the outside. It was so hard to see it but we knew we needed it. It was time.
These pictures make me cry. Will Silas remember his birthplace? (Does he even know he was born in the same hospital Dr. Mindy Lahiri delivers in?!) Will he remember the cherry esplanade, surrounded by best friends and sneaked snacks and the perfect early Spring day? Will he remember his first Indian food, or shrimp tempura sushi, or pork bone ramen? Or the Fireworks on the Hudson, or Storm King, or early morning bike rides through Brooklyn Bridge Park? Does any of this stuff even matter? We lived a simple life inside our tiny, but perfect-for-us apartment. It was where we ate together, cried together, invited friends over, and learned how to depend on and trust in each other. When I think of where we brought our two boys home from the hospital, I think of home. I love home. I miss it, and so desperately want to recreate that sense of security and us-ness in this new place.
I do love a fresh start. As Anne Shirley's teacher always said, "Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet." I'm on the cusp of getting down the two-kids thing, and trying to wrangle this new place with all its new (old) ways of life, as well as some side projects, and feeling a little overwhelmed. But I'm trying to maintain perspective: gratitude for all these opportunities for learning and patience to take them one at a time. Ugh, patience is the worst. I like things now, just the way I like them! and everything about what I'm doing in my life is the opposite. But I know I need to be and let be. Everything will work out.
Three cheers for a good night's sleep and a fat, brand new sunny day.
It's very important to me that I take the time to blog about things like this: cute, knitted comfort food. Once again, an email link from Keenan and once again, it's completely perfect. But I am wondering, Couldn't they have slipped a couple googley eyes on that ham? A tiny mouth on the egg? For heaven's sake, we need more stuff with faces.
This post is a collaboration with a new and talented photography friend, Mariliana Arvelo. With six days left in New York City, her pictures of my boys and I in our daily visit to the playground mean more than anything. xo
I've grown to love Brooklyn playgrounds with a fierceness. When you don't have a backyard, and your baby is scootering naked across your new chaise lounge, the playground becomes an all-inclusive oasis. A place of freedom, hard truths, broken toys. The land overflowing with organic snacks. What I didn't realize was what a gathering place of awesome grown-up humans it is, too. Not only did my oldest get to interact with (correction: steal from) kids of all different ages and backgrounds, I got the lucky chance to get brave or be lonely. And I'd rather be Chatty Kathy and try to reach out than be Lonely Mom any day. (Lonely Mom is so, so sad. She's come and gone, but ugh, she's sad.)
I have met the most amazing people at the playground. As I'm typing, I'm visualizing dozens of them—one of my most recent favorites was a mom from my new neighborhood. Just before I slipped Silas into the swing, she pulled out an already damp wipe from her jacket pocket and wiped a muddy puddle from the base of our swing, saving our first kind-of-Spring morning from cold, crying abyss. From that second, we were friends. Co-parents, almost. Our kids 'played' together. It was more about us tracking them under the monkey bars, through the slide—while coming in and out of conversation about our impending move to San Francisco, her story of going back to art school, our kids' milestones. Next to the giant X-O-X-O spinning blocks, we talked about how it's hard, like really, really hard sometimes, to just live here. To be a mom and try to feed and protect our tiny humans. To feel such love and such frustration with a place. The ups and the downs and taking chances on a thankless city year in and year out. And she said it so perfectly, almost in a whisper like she was honoring the confidants we had become to each other, It's New York. We're here. It's amazing.
And it is. It is so amazing.
So many thanks to the amazing Mariliana who captured these amazing photos of my boys and I at one of our last playground jaunts in our neighborhood, ever. It's home away from home, where my monkeys get the monkey out; the place where we get some sunshine after picking up a couple chocolate chip cookies at Choice. (Which, of course, my new friend at the playground recommended. They are as good as or better than warm Jacque Torres cookies!) I have never worked with a photographer who understood wild and skeptical toddlers (Silas) and completely indifferent babies (Sondre) so well. Mariliana is a DELIGHT to work with. If you live in the New York City area, or will be here visiting, I highly recommend Stylish Hip Kids Photography for capturing your family or a big event. Thank you, Mariliana!
And for fun, our favorite playgrounds in Brooklyn in order:
The Nature Playground at Prospect Park (a park made out of fallen trees from Sandy. it even has a sand pit!)
Pier 6 Water Park at Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Head out early on a Saturday morning, bike along the water, eat a croissant at Mazzola's in Carroll Gardens for breakfast and a Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory cone for lunch, and have a totally magical family morning.)
Underhill Avenue (lots of toys for little babies to play with)