Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Yesterday I talked about the idea of uniform dressing. Today I am drooling on these red and navy jacquard slim pants from Brooks Brothers (who else). This is also very close to the winter version of my uniform. I have a navy wool turtleneck and navy blazer. I'd do sleek navy loafers instead of pumps but you get the picture. They are quite pricey so I'm thinking this purchase through carefully!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mary Poppins

Every summer the kids spend time at my parents house on the coast. They have an amazing musical theater company and this year the production was Mary Poppins. Everyone has seen the movie of course but the stage play was really, really good. Above are my twins, in the white dress and yellow button down and my sisters two, with the yellow polo and pink head band. The twins will be 12 next month and my sisters two are 10 and 7. We went down on Saturday morning and the kids played around the house. My folks live on 25 acres of apple orchard that backs up to a creek, so there is plenty to do. Sunday we went to lunch and the theater. Really a fun weekend!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Having a Uniform

I went to Catholic school growing up and always wore a uniform. Now, of course I'm getting dressed for work and not school. However, I still find that I have a daily uniform. I've changed and refined it  a bit over the years but the trend remains. I work in a business casual office as the Director of Compliance for a hedge fund in the Bay Area. No jeans but pretty casual otherwise. Recently, I have had some serious foot and ankle issues that are a combination of arthritis and a bunion. My doctor ordered that I try and reduce the stress with flats. And, since I like being able to walk without pain, I've complied. My current uniform is similar to the above. Slim, usually ankle length pants (I love the sloan style from BR) I then wear a silk shell, a Tippi sweater, nice tee or some other top layer and a blazer. My shoes are flat, upscale loafers. I wrote about my favorite ones here a few days ago. I'll add a scarf or necklace to perk things up and there we go. I also tend to always have the same colors. They are navy, Khaki or camel, gray and I use green and red as accent colors. What about you, do you have a uniform?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Taking Ownership

The older I get, and the older my kids are, the more important the lesson of taking ownership for things, especially in life seems to be. Late to a meeting? Fail a test? Life isn't mean, if just means you weren't prepared. I do notice in my kids friends, a tendency for things never to be your fault. Sometimes it is. You don't study? Well, you fail the test. It's a lesson I want to impart to my kids and yet find important in my own life too. It sounds easy to say that you want to make a change or do something new and different. But if you don't own it, it won't happen. I think Ownership, with a capital "O" means:

Ownership, in my opinion, means....

If you want to change, you have to make it happen:  This seems like and easy thing to say but it's absolutely the hardest thing to do. I think there's a song that goes "Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying" Well that's not enough, you have to do.

– Other people are not the problem: You weren't late to school because of traffic, it's because you stayed up to late playing games or reading and slept through your alarm. Fail that test or get a bad review at work? Buckle down and study (or work harder). Making excuses is easy and it's hard to pullback and look at what really caused the problem.  

What you do matters: This can actually be motivating. At my new job I planned, scheduled and managed a major audit of our company's IT systems and we got a great report. I felt awesome and my hard work paid off. Being able to see something like that is only possible when you take ownership.

Know the goal: You can't strive to achieve something if you don't know what you want. Think hard and figure out what's REALLY important. It's usually not what you think but being able to recognize what your goal is and to move towards it is a major part of ownership.

You've got to stand for something: Don't be afraid of what you believe. You don't have to shout it from the roof top or be aggressive and arrogant about it but you have to know what you believe. If you do something wrong, admit it and learn from it, do something right? Feels good, doesn't it?

Remember you:  As a working mom to three kids in 6th, 7th and 9th grade, I find this one hard. I have to remind myself to take a break. Most recently this has taken the form of making sure I get to yoga class twice a week and do a kindle yoga video I like 2 other days. But you have to own taking care of you.
Do you take ownership of your life? How?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Going Digital

OK, I confess. I've always been a paper person. I loved back to school as a kid, frankly even in college and law school. New paper, binders, pens, calendars. I have stubbornly clung to my paper organizer and address book as well as my note books at meetings. Then, an amazing app called One Note entered my life. I know it's not new but it's new to me. I have it on my lap top, I-phone, tablet and it syncs across devices. I have note books for personal things, family, work. It's really cool. Now I have to admit, I do not store personal information like social security number, credit card numbers etc in it. But as far as a note taking device. I'm a convert!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Perfect Shoes

I love these shoes. I have them in the red/navy/white combo above and also in a cognac/cream/white combo. They are from Brooks Brothers but a few years ago. All leather, super comfortable and well made. I wear them with jeans and blazers on the weekends and trousers to work. They are more classic and stylish (at least to my eye) than brogues or wingtip type shoes. Love, love, love!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Once again, it's Brooks Brothers for the win!

I've written before about how I feel J Crew and Banana Republic have gone down hill in terms of quality and also classic style. Well, I was in Brooks Brothers over the weekend and I could have bought the whole store! Their prices may be high but their items are classic and last forever. I have a size 16 boys navy blue blazer from there that I bought in college. I won't tell you how long ago that was but it's been a while. My now 15 year old son wore it to several events when he was that size and now my 12 year old daughter has appropriated it. It still looks great. 
 This dress is even more gorgeous in real life. The colors are vibrant and the fabric crisp. The details are lovely too. The front is pin tucked and the sleeve buttons have silk knots like a man's French cuff shirt.
 I'm torn between these two tunics. On one hand, I like the navy gingham with the white collar and cuffs but I do love the navy window pane below.

I just love the classic colors and the great fabrics. What do you think? Been to a Brooks Brothers lately?

Friday, July 10, 2015


Doesn't that look yummy? It's a New England style lobster and shrimp dip. I found it on a neat web site called Your Party - Tuned Up. You can see it here.

16 oz. cream cheese, softened
Fresh lobster meat from two lobsters (or about 6 ounces of canned or frozen lobster meat)
2/3 pound cooked shrimp (about a cup chopped)
1 Tablespoon horseradish (real horseradish, not sauce)
3 dashes Tabasco Sauce
3 Tablespoon Milk
2 scallions, sliced
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
One sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed
4 Tablespoon Butter, melted
Chop lobster meat and shrimp; put in bowl.  Toss with scallions.
Sprinkle mixture with sea salt and pepper to taste.  Toss again.
In separate bowl, whip the cream cheese until fluffy.
Note:  I whip the cream cheese in my KitchenAid, then add the following ingredients and blend on low.
Add horseradish, tabasco sauce and milk; blend well.
Add shrimp and lobster mixture to the cream cheese mixture and stir (by hand).
Spread into large pie plate or flat casserole dish.

Mix Ritz cracker crumbs and butter in a bowl.
Spread over lobster-shrimp mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until light brown.
Let sit about 15 minutes before serving so it cools down a bit and sets up.
Serve warm, lukewarm or room temp with Pita Chips, Bagel Chips or crackers.  Yum

I see snacking on this around the fire pit near the lake (actually in my back yard) while sipping wine. A happy Friday thought!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Saying No

I hate saying no, it's hard. However, along with the supposed to's I talked about yesterday, saying no is something I'm working on. My inability to say no has led to me being PTA president, Little League President, Chair of 8th grade graduation and other fun things. In case you forget, I have three kids and work full time at a fairly demanding job (I'm an attorney). Anyhow, it's not that I haven't enjoyed doing those things or that I regret saying yes but those things did increase the stress of my daily life. I have 3 new rules for when I might say no to  something.

1) I will not say no because I am afraid.
2) I will not say no if I have already committed.
3)I probably won't say no at all but I might modify or negotiate the ask.

Now, before you think I am amazingly clever for coming up with this, I must give credit where credit is due. I found these new "rules to live by" if you will on an older post by the fabulous blogger, The College Prepster. You can read her original post here. But it really struck a chord. I have long tried to make everyone happy, I'm a pleaser by nature. It's the modify or negotiate the ask piece that I'm most interested in trying. What about you? How do you say no? Or do you?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Letting go of the "supposed to's"?

Having just had my 45th birthday (which I really don't like telling you all) I've been doing some reading and thinking about what I have accomplished and what I still want to accomplish. I've also been talking to my kids as they get older about their lives. My oldest son will be a freshman in high school this fall and is starting to think about college.

In thinking and talking, one thing that struck me is my allegiance to the what I was always "supposed" to do. I was supposed to take AP classes in high school, play sports and get into a good college. There I was "supposed" to also get good grade and get either into graduate school or a good job. I chose law school where I was "supposed" to get good grade and ultimately a good job. Along the way I was "supposed" to get married and have kids. I was also "supposed" to quit my job to stay home with those kids, which I did for a while before the 2008 crash required me to go back to work.

Would I change any of that? So deeply engrained was the idea that the steps I took were the only ones open to me, that I don't even ever thought there was another option. I certainly wouldn't have considered any other paths. Also, society has changed immensely since I graduated, especially from a technology standpoint. The idea of being a professional blogger or something similar just didn't exist. Today I see opportunities that I could never have imagined.

Am I unhappy with my choices? I don't think so. I love my family and while I don't always love my job, I do very well at it and it allows me to provide for my families future. Maybe the things you are "supposed" to do aren't so bad?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Worthy Cause

Every now and then you stumble on something so amazing that you have to pass it on. I read Town and Country and this month there was an amazing article about a girl named Mary Grace who started a philanthropy aimed at helping girls in Africa get an education when she was only 12. She asked for a sewing machine for her birthday and began making reversible headbands and bows. She's now a senior in high school and below is a summary of her accomplishments (from her web site):

 66 girls in 4 countries
  • We’ve funded 154 years of school fees
  • Our students attend 21 different schools
  • 37 of our students are in boarding schools which keeps them safe and increases their academic success
  • Every single student who boards is fed three meals a day
  • Our funding includes textbooks, uniforms, shoes and school supplies. We also cover national testing fees
  • Though our focus is funding secondary school costs, we also fund primary school students at risk of early marriage. We currently have 8 primary school students
  • We’ve shipped over 250 lbs. of sewing supplies to Uganda and have encouraged students to begin their own entrepreneurial ventures
  • 50% of funds we earn through sales of my International Day of the Girl Limited Edition Collection are shared with their student commitments
  • With help from The Barat Foundation, we've funded a pre-school teacher's salary at Shining Hope School for Girls in Nairobi's Kibera slum
  • We’ve funded LifeSkills Workshops in rural Kenya that teach important health and sanitation practices. These educational workshops also focus on a girl's right to attend school and on ending the illegal practice of FGM

  • Really this is an amazing thing! My daughter will be 12 next month. Her girl scout troop is going to write letters to the girls that Reverse the Course sponsors and try and get involved in other ways. Truly, a role model for young girls. The Reverse the Course web site is here. Check it out, you'll be amazed. The fact that the headbands and bows are adorable is simply a bonus!