Monthly Archives

April 2012

I love Jack White.

How did it get to April 30th?  I’m really not sure what happened to the first third of 2012.  I know time is supposed to speed up as you get older but come on now really?!  May is jam packed with events and milestones – my daughter turns 6 and finishes kindergarten, the pool opens next weekend, Memorial weekend signals the beginning of summer (though we’ve had summer temperatures for some time now…), and we have our favorite friend from our University days arriving to party for a long weekend with his new girlfriend.

I can’t wait to see S.  When I moved in with MM* in my 3rd year of University, MM was already sharing his flat above the The Central bar with S.  We all worked together in the bar, partied together and lived together.  S. was always very tolerant of my immediately intense relationship with MM.  In fact he was instrumental in getting us together.  The night MM told me he was “infatuated” with me S. had been working on his behalf from behind the bar, plying me with heavy handed Moscow Mules making me far more susceptible to flattery and sweet talk:)  After graduation MM and I helped S. move down to London in a white van, and a few years later MM was S.’s best man, and though his wedding didn’t last too long it resulted in two gorgeous daughters for him.  After a tumultuous time in London S. moved to Sweden where he has been happily living for some time enjoying the Scandinavian lifestyle and regular vacations to Thailand (apparently all Swedes go there in the darker months!).  We haven’t been allowed to speak to the new girlfriend yet – I’ve even been banned from trying to search for her on Facebook.  S. knows me so well that he’s aware I never keep anything to myself so I assume he is putting these restrictions in place in the interest of self preservation.  At this stage he must be feeling relatively secure and comfortable with the new relationship as I have been granted access for a whole weekend!  S. if you’re reading – I promise I will not embarrass anyone but myself:)

S. by the way is also a huge music fan particularly The Jesus and Mary Chain, so in an attempt to have some new music to discuss I’ve just bought Jack White’s Blunderbuss.

I must just mention that I LOVE Jack White.  Seven Nation Army and Icky Thump have to be two of my favorite singles ever and the best music to run aggressively to!

Blunderbuss has had some great reviews.  It’s his first solo album and by all accounts he hasn’t strayed too far from his White Stripes sound…I’m going to stick my headphones on and listen to it while I work today.  I love listening to a new album – you’re never quite sure if it is going to make an immediate impression or if it will need a few listens for you to appreciate it.  I must just remember there are colleagues sitting near me so I must not start howling along.

After a good 4mile run this morning and already climbing temperatures I was looking for something comfortable to wear.  I have to say I really disliked the Boden SS 2011 Ibiza tunic when I first bought it in the preview.  I immediately sent it back thinking the yellow was far too lurid.  However, it reappeared in the clearance just before Christmas last year and I have to say I absolutely love it now!  See you even need to be exposed to some items of clothing a few times before you fully appreciate them!  Maybe the fact it was only about $30 helped too – but now I wish I’d bought another color too!  It looks perfect with my Tory Burch black patent Eddies.  Oh and speaking of Tory Burch they are having a Friends and Fans event that ends today – enter FRIENDS12 at checkout for 25% off!

*MM – My Man

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My new goal weight.

After deciding to embark on my first marathon I have been assessing everything I need to do for optimal training and preparation. So far I have identified the following:

1. Find a running group so I can benefit from the camaraderie of a group of runners with similar objectives

2. Strengthen my knees and hips so they are less prone to injury

3. Use my foam roller daily and stretch thoroughly after every run to prevent injury

4. Use Fartlek techniques to get faster

5. Settle on a pair of running shoes that I like and keep me injury free

6. Improve my diet for optimal energy and try and lose 15lbs to get leaner and faster

Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are pretty much all in hand and I’ve been doing my clam shells and squats, and using my roller in front of the t.v. each evening:)  I found out that our local running store, West Stride, has a summer series of runs that should help cover 1 and 4 – though I might have to grab my running partner too in order to do some speed training on the local school’s track.  After reading Runner’s World I’m already confused with distances, rest intervals and paces to run at – not having a background in track and field makes me feel like a complete amateur – though I guess I am!

Number 5 is a trickier one.  I’m currently running in my Newtons but I’m not sure my form has perfectly adapted yet and in order to stay injury free I’m considering buying a pair of New Balance W890 v2 to alternate with.  Of course this does mean spending a silly amount of money on running shoes until I find my perfect pair but maybe I just need to shift my clothing budget over the next few months into a line entry for ‘running expenses’?

Number 6 is one I didn’t think I need to plan for, but if anything I have found my weight gradually creeping up due to all the running I have been doing.  I have taken ‘carb loading’ to heart unfortunately and have lost all sense of portion control.  So knowing that I need to fix this fast I headed back to my Jenny Craig center non Friday.  It’s only the other week I was telling Running in Mommyland to treat it like hitting the ‘reset button’ and now I find myself heeding my own advice.  I already feel much better after just 3 days back on the plan.  I know there are cynics out there (I used to be one of them) who think diet plans are money making, quick fixes that don’t generate long lasting results, but in 3 years, excluding the past couple of months, I’ve managed to pretty much maintain my weight and I am confident that I can reach my new goal weight quickly and stay there again once I’ve convinced my mind and body again that I can survive and run strong perfectly well, even with smaller portions.

I just successfully passed one of the biggest tests in my new weight loss journey.  We have just taken the children to a fund raising fair at the elementary school and on the way home we called for frozen yogurt.  Normally I partake with the kids and get a huge lashing of yogurt covered in crushed peanuts, white chocolate chips and syrup – yum!  I’m very proud of myself that I avoided all temptation – even though I did have to go and lock myself in the restroom while they served themselves!:)  It’s 90 degrees here today so I’m wearing my lovely J.Crew gingham shorts, AllSaints tee and navy slim Havaianas.  This weather is playing havoc with my attempt to grow my hair – the humidity is adding volume and frizz – nice!  I might have to opt for a selection of hats and headscarves throughout the coming months!

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Tug o’ War

I bunked off work today to help out at my daughter’s field (sports) day at school.  It was so much fun hanging out with a bunch of 6 year olds.  Poppy doesn’t turn 6 till next month but I’ve recently noticed a huge jump in her maturity and it’s quite amusing to hear her using new vocabulary and intonation in her delivery – it makes it easier for me to visualize what I might be dealing with in 8 years time – terrifying!  I was in charge of the tug of war station and as the eight or so classes of kindergartners rotated through I had to explain the rules and get them excited about using their muscles!  As you can imagine much yelling and encouragement was needed so it turned out to be the perfect event for me:)  And goodness I’ve never met so many ultra competitive kids!

When I returned home I was disappointed and yet relieved to discover that there would be no NYC marathon number for me this year.  My friend Martha at Running in Mommyland, who recently did her first marathon, also didn’t get a number so we have agreed to train together virtually for Miami in January.  It will be my first marathon and I am excited but terrified.  It’s amazing what emotions running can evoke!  I’m hoping to get another couple of friends to commit to so we can make it a long girls’ weekend and party hard after running hard – Miami is the perfect location for it!

This afternoon I made a poor attempt to get some photos of me with the children – of course Hugh would not comply but MM managed to get a couple that vaguely resembled a happy family:)  I’m wearing my Ibiza tunic in quail egg which of course I love, and is thicker than last year’s pool party tunic so can be worn decently away from the pool side.

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Sinks, tubs and faucets (taps!)

Thoroughly exhausted.  I woke last night to the panicky feeling that I needed to do something, though I had no idea what and then couldn’t get back to sleep – and that was at 2.45am!  I can’t complain though as I have a feeling that my sister is feeling more tired than I am after a marathon labor that produced my new nephew at 6 minutes to midnight last night.  He still has no name which makes me giggle.  It demonstrates how different my sister and I are as I had both my children’s names picked before my third trimester – I think I’d even practiced writing them down and Googled them to check there were no criminals or weirdos with the same names.

This morning was spent having fun picking out tiles, tubs, sinks and faucets for our new master bathroom.  Talk about overwhelming – I had no idea there were so many types of white subway tile, never mind worrying about picking the right kind of sink for the modern aesthetic we’re aiming for.  I even had to get in tubs to check them for comfort which was a tad embarrassing given the unsightly state of my feet after losing a toenail after the weekend’s race!  Anyway I feel like we’re on the right path to the desired end result, though I’m dreading the weeks of turmoil, dust and workmen ahead.

Needing a bit of color I opted to wear my radish Effortless cardigan over my AllSaints Tilly Tee, with my Hudson jeans and Tory Burch navy Eddies.  I love the cardigan and had several complements throughout the day – this color really is one of my favorites.

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Mexican date night.

 

Back in England our favorite way to spend a date night was to head out for a good curry and a couple of lagers.  Due to the lack of good curry houses here our need for heat and spice is more often satiated by Mexican food – the more jalapenos the better!  Plus I prefer a couple of margaritas these days to cold, fizzy lager.  Last night, to celebrate another half marathon and take advantage of Grandpa still being here to babysit, we went out to Nuevo Laredo.  It was lovely, so relaxing and such a giggle.  I’m pretty sure I could have eaten all that was on my plate but that would have been greedy no?

It was freezing here, so unexpectedly I had to scurry to find a sweater and jacket to wear.  I hurriedly threw this little ensemble together – my Boden stripey jumper from AW 2011, Boden leather jacket from SS 2011, Hudson jeans and Tory Burch navy Eddies.  I think this is my favorite jacket – I always feel casual yet polished in it.

Before I went out and stuffed myself another Boden parcel arrived.  I had hastily ordered the Boho tunic in Haze champagne spot when a US 6 came back into stock and somehow I found myself putting the Glam jersey tunic in purple in my basket too.  The Boho tunic unfortunately was extremely tight across my 36Cs so I have had to return for a US 8 – but the good news is it is gorgeous.  It’s a lovely lightweight, silky tunic that will be great dressed up or down in the height of summer.  I love the haze color too – a great soft purple.  Just be warned that due to the lack of stretch you may have to size up from your normal size in jersey tunics – it’s not as loose fitting as you might think.

The Glam tunic sparked some debate on Boden’s Facebook page last night.  Others have ordered it and reported it looked a tad cheap – I can see their point – and sometimes too much embellishment is not a good thing.  Also the print is pretty busy.  But, when I first opened up my purple one I instantly loved the colors.  There is a coral color playing in with the navy and purple spots making it a really unusual but summery color combination.  My only niggle is I think it needs to be an inch longer.  I am keeping mine as I have learned the hard way that sending something back ultimately ends in me pining for it.  Looking at the photo I think nude shoes will be better – the navy ones make my legs look a bit stumpy – never a desirable look.  What do you think about the tunic?

Mike leaves today to head back to England – it’s been a great visit and fun to have him around, and in other exciting news the 24th April may also be the birth date of my new nephew!!  My sister is huffing and puffing on a labor table in the North West of England as I write.  MM and I are hoping that he is called Daniel to provide ample opportunity for fun at family affairs with his two year old brother Jack:)  Interesting fact of the day Jack was also born on the 24th of the month, as was his Dad, and his Dad also!  Uncanny hey – though not all the same months admittedly.

Today I have on my Boden tunic from SS 2011 (I think it was the funky tunic similar to this season’s), Boden leggings and Tory Burch Revas in hibiscus pink.  Hopefully I’ll have some cute baby photos to share tomorrow!

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Another 13.1 done…

So another half marathon successfully completed.  Still a tad slower than I had hoped for but the course yet again had far more hills than the profile had led me to believe.  It was also one of those courses where you ran backwards and forwards along the same 3 points so you could always see the faster folk running past you the other way – just a little demoralizing!  I much prefer a nice long loop where you have no idea how many are in front of you or behind you!  It was won by a 26 year old girl (it was an all female race – I prefer mixed) in 1hr 31mins – amazing.  The last 2 miles seem to go on FOREVER but thankfully my reception committee was there to cheer me across the line.  The weather was amazing and we got to relax afterward with music and wine by the side of Lake Lanier.  I shuffled around the house for the rest of the day – my knees got really tight – but I’m feeling pretty good today after a good stretch and using my foam roller.  I have to wait till Wednesday to see if I get an NYC marathon number before planning another half.  My goal now is to get leaner, toned, stronger, faster and more competitive – my next 13.1 will be under 2hrs!

My outfit today was inspired by the need to be comfy and by School Gate Style’s color palette.  I love pink and grey together – MM always says it’s my love of the ’80s.  I’m wearing my Hudson Collin jeans (mid-rise today for added comfort!), grey ruffle J.Crew tank from a few seasons ago, pink Boden LE sparkle pocket cardigan from AW 2011, and my favorite Tory Burch camilla pink Eddies.

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My First Boden Summer 2012 Order Has Arrived!

I vacillated over this order for some time.  Unusual for me.  Of course I ended up placing the order as previously when I have been on the fence and not ordered, hoping to try them in the clearance, the items have promptly received rave reviews and sold out  – the Border print tunic for instance (though more stock was recently added so I swooped!).

It was initially the print of the Fab jersey tunic that I couldn’t decide on – I loved the colors and have a current obsession with green – so knowing how often fabrics look better in real life than online, I ordered both the prune and the moss.  I am thrilled I did!  I like the pebble colorway too but think it’s a bit too pale for me.  As always the jersey is super soft and stretchy and to me the cut feels as if it does nip in a little at the waist making it less straight up and down.  I ordered the US 6 which seems to be my regular size for Boden tunics – especially jersey.  I’m 5’6″, 140lbs, 36C with no waist so I definitely think a Boden US 6/UK 10 is more generous than other brands.  The prune is gorgeous – a lovely brown background and the lilac flowers are gorgeous, so even though it is brown the colors feel very summery – it’s going to be stunning with a golden tan (spf everyone!!).

The moss is lovely too.  I think moss is a bad color name – for me it conjures up dirty greens on a damp day – not good!  This green is actually much fresher and vibrant – though not lurid and fluorescent – a good balance and again perfect for summer.  The navy flowers mean it can be worn easily with navy shoes too – but nude flats would look great with both colorways.

The Fab jersey tunic comes heartily recommended!

 

 

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Why do we blog…?

I’ve just been interviewed by a journalist about blogging.  Some of the questions she posed really got me thinking.  Why do we blog?  I don’t do it to improve my self worth, self promote or to become an authority on anything.  I do it pure and simply because I like writing.  For me it is like writing a journal entry.  A quiet moment in the day, just me, my laptop and occasionally a glass of wine.  Initially it was also to help me feel connected with both of my homes here in the US and back in the UK, but now it’s also to stay connected with the many fabulous new friends I have met through blogging.

The virtual blogging world is non judgmental.  It is full of camaraderie and support – maybe because we are all wearing our hearts on our sleeves, we can each relate to the vulnerability of exposing snippets of our lives on the internet?  I am no longer surprised by how many like minded, strong, intelligent women I meet via blogging.  Our time with our laptops allows us to unload at the end of the day and then chat with each other about the joys and successes or the trials and tribulations we’ve experienced.

Of course there are many bloggers who are now professional/career bloggers.  Many are Moms who have had a career change or find that people value their opinion and advice.  I personally would never want to claim to be an authority on parenting, running, what to wear or anything else I write about – but I do enjoy sharing my opinions (my siblings will concur).  A recent article identified 7 categories of bloggers and I probably align closest with the ‘opinionated’.

She was particularly interested in differences between ‘mommy’ bloggers here in the US versus the UK.  Having thought about it I think there are more similarities than differences.  Our virtual blogging world is of course global.  Checking my visits today I have had views from Brazil to Oman and from Spain to Malaysia – amazing.

I think some of the similarities of blogging in different geographies include:

–       There are both sophisticated mom bloggers who have turned it into a profession, and amateur bloggers who are in it just for fun

–       Many moms who have had their kids, regardless of location, or whether they work or stay home, are looking for another outlet – I find blogging is the perfect ‘me time’

–        Blogging is a way of connecting with people between getting the kids off to school – often done while enjoying a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed.  It’s certainly more fun than watching t.v.!

–       Thanks to Facebook and Twitter women everywhere are becoming more comfortable with sharing information thus pushing the boundaries of what would have been acceptable

–       Women relate to ‘real’ women – not models and women on reality shows

–       There are moms around the world who, like me, have established blogs as personal journals for motivation or goal setting (e.g. running)

–       Many brands that people follow or are loyal to – for me for example Boden, AllSaints and Tory Burch, are available globally

–       Mommy blogger networks and recognition or awards for bloggers exist globally e.g. Mom Summit, and Marie Claire blogger awards

I did start to wonder, hypothetically, if there is something culturally different between a UK blogger and a US blogger.  I definitely see more bloggers like myself, taking photographs in front of the mirror, coming out of the UK.  Are we thicker skinned?  Does our self deprecating humor allow us to shrug off negative comments?  Are we less worried about looking perfect?  What do you think – is there a difference?

One thing I know for sure these days, after 4 months of blogging, is that even though they say everyone has a book in them, I’m convinced everyone has a blog in them.

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…and the bride wore red.

A good friend of mine recently shared a wedding photo of herself.  I know most brides look stunning but Eva stands out as one of the most gorgeous looking brides I’ve ever seen.  Probably several reasons contribute to this – she’s gorgeous anyway, the backdrop was Mustique, and she has her handsome husband by her side – but she also opted to wear a very non-conformist, amazing red dress.

Eva and Stefan:

In an odd coincidence Harper’s Bazaar just posted a piece on red wedding gowns.  I think the Vera Wang one on the left is just divine, and the Spanish inspired dress on the right is Oscar de la Renta.

I’m not planning on getting married ever again (MM will hopefully be pleased to hear) but if I had to do it all over again I’d go for red.

It’s definitely time for some April showers here in Atlanta and that combined with the Arctic blast I receive from our office air conditioning requires long sleeves again.  Yesterday I wore Boden’s SS 2011 long line cardigan, and the AW 2011 crinkle shirt in chilli.  Both were sale bargains and they coordinate perfectly with my Tory Burch Revas in Tory Red.

Today I’ve opted for one of my favorite tunics from this season.  It’s the Chic Spotty tunic in taupe and you can get it at the marked down price of $89.70 right now (originally pricey at $138).  I love how it fits – it’s so comfortable to wear and doesn’t cling at all.  A great way to give your legs an airing!

A new nail polish made it’s debut too last night.  Essie’s A Splash of Grenadine – it’s a gorgeous light purple and perfect for spring, I think it’s one of my new favorites.

p.s. sorry for the grainy photos – the lighting was poor due to the rainy morning!

 

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A new playlist.

Gosh Monday mornings can be tough, especially after such a great weekend.  It was one of those weekends where I feel we attained the perfect balance of doing and relaxing.  Yesterday I made burgers and we had our first proper cookout of the year.  It was so much fun and the first year where I felt that the children enjoyed it as much as the adults.  They behaved at the table and ate a bit of everything – result!

As MM and Mike caught up on some of the FA Cup games I attempted to compile a new playlist for my race this weekend.  I enjoy running with music but for my last half I opted to run without – I did enjoy soaking up the atmosphere but by mile 8 I was craving a distraction – so this time I’m taking the shuffle.  I get really lazy with playlists.  MM creates them for every event – road trips, parties, birthdays – they’re his mixed tapes.  So knowing how crucial the right songs can be, I decided to take my time and pick out some top tunes – I even bought a couple of new albums – David Guetta and Madonna’s new MDNA, plus a couple of oldies that I knew would spur me on.  Every time I hear Like A Prayer it makes the hairs on my neck stand up – I love it and hopefully it will put an extra spring in my step on Sunday.

As I readied myself this morning I fortunately remembered I had a meeting with a new web designer.  It’s very exciting at Halcyon Media LLC at the moment as we are getting ready to launch new magazine title in September and a new website is required to support it.  It’s good for everyone to start new projects, there is an air of nervous excitement, and the office is rising to the challenge.  I can’t wait to let you know more about it as we make progress!

Today I am wearing one of my favorite Boden tunics.  It’s a couple of years old – in fact SS 2009 I think – but there is a similar glam jersey tunic in their new summer line.  I’m wearing the fabulous tunic in spearmint and I love it more every time I wear it – I do like the big prints – and I paired it with my sand Tory Burch Revas.

Let me know what your favorite running songs are so I can add them to my playlist!

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