dope ass stuff

New York

Girl’s weekends have been so important to my sanity in the past few years.  When my kids were younger and I first starting taking trips with girl friends I would feel so guilty about leaving my family. Yet over time I’ve come to realize that I need them just as much as I need to work out and eat healthy. An occasional getaway has really become part of my self care routine these days. These little jaunts give me a chance to rest and recharge so when I come back I’m a much more present and well-rounded mother.

This past weekend I went to New York with four of my girlfriends and it was such a blast. I love the energy of the city. It reminds me that anything is possible and that reinventing yourself is only a plane ride away. We spent the entire weekend laughing, shopping and dancing. I also spent the weekend trying to convince everyone to eat, as this is always my highest priority in life.

Have you ever tried to wrangle a group of shopping women to a table? It’s definitely like herding cats. They were the cats and I was the hungry lion.

Here is my round up of spots to check out :

Baccarat Hotel

Have you ever wanted to leave everything behind, delete all the contacts from your phone and start a new life because of a hotel room? Don't answer that. This hotel is so beautiful. The entire building is baccarat crystals and it is truly the place to people watch. There are so many instagram worthy spots. I did not witness a bad fashion moment expect for when I ran downstairs in my sweatpants to visit a nearby food cart. (See recommendation below.)

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Indochine

This is the spot if you want low lighting, sexy people and amazing food. We slinked in for dinner around 9:30 way after my normal mealtime and I inhaled all the things. The cocktails are fab and so is the food. My friend even had a bizarre encounter with a lady in the women’s restroom. Details to follow in my book....

The Blonde

Who loves 90’s hip-hop?! I do! I do! It’s like the DJ’s just knew what would get a group of 30-something moms to dance. They even played my all time favorite club song, " Pony" without me even begging.

Casablanca 

Truth be told I don’t remember a ton from this location, but I’m pretty sure I had fun because my feet hurt really bad when I got home. In fact, I took my shoes off in the lobby. Classy, I know.

Maria Tash

When my girl @clarkandstone told me about this place I knew immediately I was leaving the City will a couple more piercings than I came with. This place is so legit. They use needles instead of the guns and it's a far cry from the acne covered teenagers who work at Claires. I don't think I was cool enough to be in there but luckily they let me stay. They do all the celebrities. Rumor has it they did Beyoncé’s belly button.

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The halal Guys on West 53rd    – I wish I could give you an exact location. But check out the picture and look for these guys. Street food is not created equal. This is one of the best.

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Well there you have it folks, that’s my roundup. And if there are any moms out there debating on whether or not to take a girls trip my advice to you is go for it, it's good for the soul! 

xx,

Andrea 

 

Dope Ass Moms : Ceta Walters

I'm starting a new series on my blog where I interview amazing mommas making a huge impact. There are so many moms who inspire me and my hope is to share these mommas with you!  You may recognize Ceta from my recent collab with Fisher Price. When I first met Ceta she quickly became one of my favorite people. In addition to raising her two adorable boys, Clark and Stone, she is also making huge waves in the fashion blogging industry. Basically, I'm obsessed and soon you will be too! 

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What is the best thing about being a mom? 

  • The best thing about being a mom is the unconditional love you are able to give.  You get to love them every day no matter what they do even when they are not their best.  

What is the hardest thing about being a mom?

  • Not being able to control who they are and will be.  I want my boys to have a voice and utilize their critical thinking skills.  However, there are days when I just want them to do what  I asked them to do without a debate or understanding. Lol.

How have you changed since being a mom?

  • I am risk averse. I want an ironclad full proof guarantee for basically everything in life since having kids.  I was such a risk taker before I had kids.  

What's the best piece of advice given to you?

  • The best advice given is to parent with grace instead of fear.  When you parent with grace, you allow your children to be human and not robots.  Let them make mistakes and be there to help them along the way.  When we develop grace-based parenting, we put the attention on them and not the outside voices/eyes we think are on us based on fear.

Who's your style icon?

  • What a great question!  I would have to say Sarah Jessica Parker's character on Sex and The City.  She always managed to beat to her own drum. Totally my personality.

How has your style changed since becoming a mom?

  • I don't think it has. I think I've stayed true to myself. I don't wear too many mini skirts with the boys because they are boys.  I'm always running around with them.  I live in high tops with them.  Without them, I'm in that mini skirt.   

What are three essentials you need every day?

  • Sunscreen, My cell, and Dior Show Brow Styler (I'm afraid to take the microblading plunge so I'll just draw mine on for now.)

What late-night food do you crave?

  • I love dried mango, Late July chips, and Tates Gluten Free Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

What do you do to relax?

  • Spa! Nothing says relaxation like a good ol' fashioned massage

How has motherhood changed your career?

  • Motherhood dictates what I can do as a career.  I am a stay-at-home mom first.  I chose blogging so I can still be present for my boys.  I love those little rascals even though they drive me up a wall.  I want them to see me before and after school.  I want to be the first to know how their day was.

3 words to describe yourself

  • Funny, Authentic, Loving

What's your favorite app?

  • Instagram! It comes with the blogging territory I guess.  

What 3 things in your bag you couldn't live without?

  • By Terry lipgloss, Powdered Sunscreen, Haribo Gummi Bears

Best advice you could give a mom with young kids?

  • Just let them be! Don't try and control them.  They don't want to put on their coats.  They will ask for it when they are cold. Turn off the outside eyes and only focus on the little ones that belong to your children.

If your life were a song, what would it be?

  • Oh my goodness!  You know how much I love music.  "I'm Every Woman" by Whitney Houston or Chaka Khan depending on your preference.   I'm a little bit of everything in terms of my personality.  I'm a tomboy, loyal friend, a free spirit, and a fun mama.  I chest pump my boys when they score in sports, I live for a girls night, and I love a Nike blazer high top.  I also live for a gala for an opportunity to dress up.

What's the secret of being a dope ass mom? 

  • The secret to being a dope ass mom is being you, unapologetically.  If people can't appreciate who you are, they won't when you change to fit who they think you should be.  
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My Favorite 2017 Halloween Costumes

What's scarier than Halloween? How about waiting until the last minute to find the perfect costume for your family. Forget kitty cats and cowboys and check out some of my favorite fun-sized costumes that will win over the whole neighborhood! 

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Gladys, Mildred...is that you? 

 

All beauty and a mildly irritated beast. Get the whole household into character with this spin on a Disney classic.

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...Except maybe Lucy and Ethel. "Lucy...I'm hooooome!"

I dare you to name two better icons than Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. 

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Jurrasic Park? More like hitting up Lincoln Park for trick or treating. Love this family who went all out!

Introducing the newest inmate to Litchfield Prison. You can bail her out for 25 Kit-Kats. 

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Da Bears! 

 

Just keep swimming all the way to P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney for the king sized candy. 

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Follow the yellow brick road...all the way home to eat your kids' candy. 

"One Million Dollars."

Coach to Coach: Sitting down with Jasmin Manke

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Jasmin Manke, a European life coach, who helps her clients "discover their purpose and step into their true power". Jasmin helps individuals to live and create a life they love and is about to launch her online course!  While on a quick visit of Chicago, Jasmin, boldly, (as we laughed about later) sent me a DM via Instagram as she saw the parallels between her work and mine and thought it'd be cool to meet up and chat. Indeed it was! 

I was fascinated by the common themes that run through her work and mine despite the different demographics we work with. It just goes to show that if you can learn some of these concepts we discuss (“NATO” for example) at a young age, they will serve you throughout all phases of life. 

I put together a “highlight reel” of our conversation and hope you enjoy her as much as I did!

XX,
Andrea 

Creating an affirmation from a place of truth

this content was written by me but originally published on Best Kept Self

This past weekend I had dinner with a friend who was going through a tough time.She felt her relationship was in turmoil because her finances were tight. As a couple they were having hard time navigating the choppy waters.Understandably, she was experiencing some uncomfortable emotions.As she explained her situation in detail  she told me about a wonderful affirmation she had created to help her out with her situation. Yet when she spoke it, I could tell by her body language that there was a part of her that didn’t believe it. I knew she was still locked in judgment of her situation.

How many times have you tried to gloss over something that is really bothering you for a rosier, prettier outlook? I’m certainly guilty of that.I know from personal experience that you can have the loveliest affirmation in the world, but if you have judgment underneath it, you can write it, memorize it, and sing it but it wont make a bit of difference.

So how do you know if you have judgment? If you are stuck assigning a “right” or “wrong” to a situation or find yourself thinking about how things “should” be, you are in judgment.If you find yourself there, don’t worry! We are human, after all.Forgive yourself for buying into the story of what’s happening and let the truth sink in.

The truth is the events in our life and our relationships don’t define us. We can have bad days, bad years, and speak words that we don’t really mean to our spouses and it does’ t make us terrible people. They don’t change who we are at our core. For my friend, and for everyone, the truth is we are all doing the best we can at any given time.

After I coached my friend and she cleared up the judgment that her husband should have made a different decision and that her finances defined her as a person, she was able to  create a statement that was free of any false beliefs. She acknowledged her discomfort and dug in to see what it was really about. She was able to free herself from her story.

This time when she spoke the words of her affirmation she took a breath and relaxed. She finally KNEW it.There is a subtle difference between thinking and knowing and before she was just saying the words without believing it. She was keeping her statement in the realms of her mind.

Think about it, it’s only when you truly know something to be true, that it becomes true!

Affirmations are a wonderful tools to align you with what you are looking to create, but you can’t bypass what’s going on underneath with beautiful words.If you have an affirmation for your business, relationship, or life, my encouragement to you is check in to make sure you truly believe what you are saying. If there are any judgments you are harboring, make sure you clean those up.

By letting go of all the stories you are telling about yourself or situations you can align yourself with the truth and make room for miracles to occur.

 

XO

Andrea



 

 

Why nurturing your creativity is so important

* this content was written by me but originally published on Best Kept Self 

As a mom and an entrepreneur, when I get busy, time for my creativity is normally the first thing to go. Distractions are abounding in my world. There are the obvious ones like Facebook or Instaface (my less than tech savvy husband’s name for Instagram). Yet we each have in our lives a set of meaningful distractions, things we value on some level but that need to be prioritized occasionally when it comes to expressing our creativity.

Recently, I had arranged for my kids to be picked up from school one day so I could do some creative writing for my business. Yet, as the time came for them to get out of school, I closed up my laptop and began to get ready to go get them. A mix of guilt and a need to accomplish a task crept in…

“I’ll get them today; I should do that” I thought to myself.

I hadn’t finished what I was working on but it wasn’t due right away and I was feeling low on inspiration. I had hit a creative block and instead of taking a break, I gave up and cancelled the arrangements I had made.

There are no shortages of “shoulds” in anyone’s life.

It dawned on me later that day that as soon as I picked them up I was sucked into a whirlwind of distractions. Snacks requests, moderating quarrels, potty duty and so on. All the things that come with the role of parenting and all the things that I had purposely tried to avoid on this particular day so I could nurture myself!

I realized I was neglecting myself to care for others and the payoff for me was I got to avoid pushing myself to reach a higher level of creativity.

You see it’s comfortable for me to pick up my kids every day, I know how to do that very well. I’ve got sitting in that carpool line listening to 90’s rap down. There’s nothing better than seeing them jump into the car and get excited to tell me about their day. On the flip side, there’s nothing worse than having them fight the entire way home. Yet, I’m very clear as I grow my business that sometimes I need help with that, so I can focus on getting things done.

Once I was able to get clear on the story I was telling myself about what I “should” be doing with my free time, I was able to evaluate to see if It was even the truth. You see I had in my mind that outside of having a full time job, being a good parent meant picking your kids up from school.

The truth is, I feel very energized and awake when I work on my business and my creativity. When I look at my life holistically, I know how important my creativity is to all the other roles I have in my life.

When I am not showing up for myself and my creativity and expression, it’s really hard to show up for my family in a way that’s healthy. Sure, people still get fed and their basic needs met always, but when I’m thriving, my family also thrives. Furthermore, when I feel that expansive energy of creative expression I tend to take things less personally with my family and more patient with my kids.

My encouragement to you is instead of trying to separate all of the different roles you might have you in your life, look at them holistically. Consider that nurturing your creativity, whether or not it’s for your business or just for fun, IS a form of self-care. Further, to neglect that creative side is a subtle form of self-sabotage.

Are there areas in your life that you are neglecting out of guilt or attachment to an old story?

Here’s to paying less attention to the distractions (even the meaningful ones) and more attention to what we want to create!