Category Archives: Kids

Just Read: The Teenage Brain + 10 more

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a book recap and it’s long overdue. I try to ping-pong back and forth between fiction and non-fiction, just to break up my intake. The year started off impressively with All The Light We Cannot See and you can add me to the long list of people who loved this book. If you haven’t read it yet, you can believe the hype.

Scanning the list of books below, you might gather that my non-fiction reading has been hijacked by parenting topics. Maybe this is what happens when one’s child is leaving the cozy nest of elementary school and about to enter the wilds of middle school. It’s my first time, so don’t laugh too hard.

books read in 2015

2015 Books

Since we’re traveling to Amsterdam, Berlin and Iceland this summer, I added Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Iceland: Land of the Sagas by David Roberts & Jon Krakauer to my reading list. After finishing Anne Frank, I passed it along to our daughter to read and will be very interested in her thoughts on it. She knows how the story ends already — I felt like I need to tell her that from the get-go.

Quick Reviews:

  1. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper. (Darkly funny, dysfunctional family, death + divorce, made into a movie)
  2. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer. (WWII historical fiction, told through two characters, a German soldier and a blind French girl)
  3. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. (foster care system, a flower whisperer and the chance to heal old wounds)
  4. The Teenage Brain by Frances Jensen (what kids do during these years has a lasting impact on their brains, i.e. alcohol, drugs, technology habits and sports concussions)
  5. The Myth of the Spoiled Child by Alfie Kohn. (Are modern parenting practices really making a generation of spoiled kids? The evidence says NO.)
  6. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller. (Great book for setting boundaries around digital creep. Excellent reminder and strategies for carving out time for renewal. Spiritual/Religious but not overly so.)
  7. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. (Powerful and incredibly well-written.)
  8. The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato. (Armchair travel to Venice with semi-interesting love story + historic intrigue)
  9. Iceland: Land of the Sagas by David Roberts. (A younger John Krakauer supplies the photography for this book. Part history, part travelogue. Just so-so)
  10. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. (10 years on this book seems very relevant to today’s news. Perfect for music lovers. A slow burn.)
  11. The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart with Money by Ron Lieber. (Excellent book with thoughtful ideas on how to help kids navigate money, responsibility and sense of self in the broader world.)

My favorites of all of these was All the Light We Cannot See, The Opposite of Spoiled, and Sabbath. The rest were plain good, except for The Glassblower of Murano. That one just didn’t do it for me at all.

Lastly, if you have any recommendations (books, sights, restaurants) for Amsterdam, Berlin, and/or Iceland, please let me know! I would love to hear them.

x Laura

Nothing New – Day 4

NothingNew-4

NothingNew-4b

I don’t know, what do you think of this cowgirl-meets-Asian-watercolor print? I completely forgot to accessorize in my haste to take pictures, but I’m a chronic under-accessorizer anyway. Does anyone else have this problem?

Wearing: Anthropologie top / Lucky Brand jeans / Sam Edelman boots (similar here)

Because it’s Friday, I’m going to throw a 5 Random Things into today’s post as well.

  1. I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this concept. Tween bras that aren’t sexy, push-up or sparkly. And the creator is 18 years old. Bravo!!!
  2. My favorite is the infinity scarf with the secret pocket. Check out 7 Ways To Wear Your Valuables While Traveling.
  3. We all run into ruts when it comes to creativity. Here are 10 Ways to Boost Creativity by Doing Less
  4. The best website for fashion & beauty I’ve come across lately is Rank & Style. YOU. MUST. GO. SEE. IT. It has reviews and Top 10 lists for everything.
  5. Lindsey over at Thrift and Shout puts together amazing outfits that can cost as little as $17. She always looks cool and proves that you don’t need to spend a lot of cash to have style.

Have a great one!

Laura

Postcard: Las Vegas

There’s probably a debate on whether or not Las Vegas is a good idea as family vacation. The reactions to us going with our kiddo were either extremely lukewarm or people would excitedly tell us how much fun they had on their family vacation. And I get it — it’s called Sin City for a reason. Well, we went and here’s how we tried to keep it classy.

Probably one of best decisions in keeping it family-friendly, was to stay at the Vdara Hotel and Spa. It’s a non-smoking, all-suite, non-gaming hotel, so we skipped the long, smoky walks through casino rooms and the 24/7 noise. It’s a quiet, wonderful retreat from the Strip, equipped with its own Starbucks, spa, market & cafe, outdoor pool and bar. Our room was well-appointed, with a luxurious 5-piece bathroom, kitchen and sitting room. And so quiet. I never heard another guest on our floor, even though the hotel was at 90% capacity.

Day 1:

About 3 minutes after arriving to the Vdara, our daughter asked how soon we were going swimming. While my husband was on a business call, I scrambled into my suit, and grabbed our tiny, TSA-approved tube of new sunscreen. If you’re thinking of buying the new CeraVe SPF 30 Invisible Mineral sunscreen — DON’T. It was so horrible. Invisible, my eye! We arrived at the pool with a ghostly, white cast of impossible to blend lotion. I’m sure everyone was so impressed.

After swimming and a quick shower to regain normal skin color again, we took the free tram over to the Monte Carlo for dinner and the all new Blue Man Group show. Pretty good show and we were glad we brought ear plugs for our kid (and me too). She loved it, especially the end, which I won’t give away. On our way home we swung by the Bellagio fountain display and also the Conservatory Garden for the new flower display. Definitely see this if you’re near the Bellagio hotel, it’s an artistic marvel and smells wonderful.

Blue Man Group procession

Blue Man Group procession

Conservatory at The Bellagio Hotel

Conservatory at The Bellagio Hotel

Day 2:

We made the joke that today we woke up in Vegas, had breakfast in Paris and lunch in New York. There’s a cute sidewalk cafe at the Paris hotel called Mon Ami Gabi, where you can get an espresso, eat crepes and watch people go by. It’s a good idea to reserve a table in advance, because it’s popular. Then, we went up the 1/2 scale Eiffel Tour at the hotel and got a bird’s eye view of town — which probably would have been very pretty at night. After that, we walked down to the New York, New York hotel, went to the arcade, had lunch, loaded up at M&M World and bought new sunscreen.

That night, we had tickets for David Copperfield and I was pretty excited about it. I know he’s been around for a long time, but there’s a reason that he’s still selling-out shows and has an estimated fortune of $800 million dollars (and owns 11 private islands in the Bahamas). He’s simply great at illusions. His show was fantastic AND my husband got called up on stage to assist. To cut to the chase, the illusion ended with a real-deal, vintage turquoise car appearing on top of Daniel, who was on his hands and knees (made sense at the time). He didn’t hear it, see it or feel it, until he crawled out from under it. Amazing. Smoke and mirrors, baby!

Paris in Vegas

Paris in Vegas

Day 3:

Enough of the Strip already, this was the day we headed out of town for some nature. An hour northeast of Las Vegas is the remarkable Valley of Fire National Park. It’s a visual feast and photographer’s dream, filled with red rock sculptures, windswept sandstone and ancient petroglyphs left by the Anasazi Indians.

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire

Petroglyphs by the Anasazi (Valley of Fire)

Petroglyphs by the Anasazi (Valley of Fire)

Arch Rock (Valley of Fire)

Arch Rock (Valley of Fire)

Lake Mead is only 5 miles away from this National Park, so you could easily combine the two for sightseeing. A random fact about the Valley of Fire, is that the Mars scenes from the movie Total Recall, with Arnold Scwarzenegger, was filmed almost entirely here.

After emptying the sand out of our shoes (bring Teva’s for hiking around) and heading back to Vegas, we re-calibrated for a stop at the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay and a gourmet dinner at Lupo by Wolfgang Puck. The aquarium packed a lot of exhibits into the space and yet it only took 30-45 minutes to get through (which I liked). After our amazing dinner at Lupo, which included the best caprese salad of my life, we called it a night.

Desert Cactus in bloom

Desert Cactus in bloom

Hope you liked the kid-friendly version of 3 days in Las Vegas!

x Laura

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The Goods: New Spring Accessories

This week’s hunt for the best of what’s new in stores brought a lot of accessories. Spring footwear and bags are trickling into stores, so if you find one you love, grab it now, because they probably won’t last long. Everyone is dying to break free from winter boots and switch their dark-toned bags for a lighter one.

  1. Zara Ethnic Messenger Bag, $159 via Zara
  2. Splendid ‘Perfect Sling Back’ Sandal, $120 via Shopbop
  3. Kate Spade ‘Bar None Huggies’ Earrings, $58 via Piperlime
  4. Elliott Lucca Colorblock Zip-Around Wallet, $88 via Nordstrom
  5. B Brian Atwood ‘Dakoda’ Platform Wedge, $350 via Shopbop
  6. Timex Originals Easy Reader, $65 via Piperlime
  7. Rachel Zoe ‘Gladys’ Sandal, $235 via Shopbop
  8. Miansai Rope Bracelet, $68 via J. Crew

And something adorable for the little girls in your life. This spring green, polka dot dress is cute enough for everyday, but also special enough for dress up. Check out those bows on the neckline. Cute, right?!

Zara Polka Dot Dress with Bows, $39

Enjoy the weekend!

xLaura

Mommy and Me

My daughter does not really care about clothes. As long as it’s comfortable and not ugly (always changing), she puts on whatever is at hand. With two functions to dress up for last week, we both rummaged our closets for clothes. I guided her slightly, because I like to interfere and also because the red sparkle tights would have blinded my eyes. Here’s a visual on how we pulled ourselves together:

Mommy & Me

Flocking To Swan Lake

We were quivering with excitement over seeing Swan Lake, performed by the Colorado Ballet in Denver (so fantastic!) She’s agreed to be my new ballet-buddy, which now lets my husband off the hook for a few years. Check out her colorful ikat dress, next to my menswear-inspired tweed skirt. Style points are definitely awarded to her. My outfit was a bit safe and I think I can be more inventive next time. We had hot cocoa at the Limelight Supper Club before the show and that was a great way to start. All-around, a wonderful day.

Dinner Party

Friends invited us over for a festive dinner for 22 people (with kids included). Everyone pitched-in on cooking and it was a truly fantastic meal. My daughter picked a striped, sweater dress with leggings and I went the 70’s route with wide-leg pants and silky, voluminous top. I love this top, not only because it’s thrifted from local boutique, Common Threads, but because it’s slouchy with a quirky print. Inspired by the 70’s, but not too literal.

Hope you like our Mommy & Me board. We definitely had fun getting girly and going out. Feel free to click through for details/similar items from Gap, Gap Kids, Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Gymboree, and Target.