Bye Bye Summer - my favorite look of the season

Monday, September 24, 2018

I'm such a "throw on a dress and go" girl in the summer. Maybe I just don't have the patience to get creative with styling during the warmer months, so if I find an amazing dress that can take me from an event, or dinner and drinks out with the hubs, and I don't have to think about it too much - that's a winner to me. I love this white lace dress I found at Nordstrom Rack. It's so feminine and pretty!

Astr the label lace dress

I skipped right over the first day of fall (I've been way too crazy busy to blog like I used to) but wanted to document my summer style for 2018. So looking forward to what's next - my favorite time of year for holidays and fashion!

Lemon Cake Recipe

Saturday, April 28, 2018

I'm a serious citrus lover. Maybe it's because I'm allergic to so many other fruits, and since citrus is my friend, I'm always trying to find ways to incorporate it into recipes. (This allergy came later in life, oddly enough, and I did use to enjoy my homemade banana bread and strawberry cake very much. Le sigh...)

As I said in my Instagram post, my baby dude is the sweetest little guy ever and always picks flowers and lemons for me when he walks the dog with his daddy. It recently inspired me to bake a lemon cake when we were having friends over for a BBQ.

I found an awesome recipe here, which I adapted slightly, and it turned out so great that I had to share!

Lemon Cake 
Cream Cheese Butter Frosting 

2 cups baking flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 & 1/4 cup sugar
1 stick of butter (softened)
3 large eggs
1 cup cream or buttermilk 
(*See below on how to curdle your own milk)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1 large lemon

Preheat over to 350
Spray two 8-9 inch cake pans (I used coconut oil)
Combine Dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside.
Cream the butter, sugar and eggs together. 
Alternate adding in the flour mixture and buttermilk.
Lastly add lemon juice and zest. 

*To create your own buttermilk, add one tablespoon of lemon juice (how convenient for this recipe!) to one cup of milk. Stir and let it set for 5 minutes. It will thicken up right before your very eyes, like magic! 

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup softened butter
4 oz - 8 oz cream cheese to taste
2 TBS lemon juice or more to taste
Fold softened butter into powdered sugar. Mix on low speed.
Add lemon juice and mix well. 
Add Cream cheese last, adding more powdered sugar if needed.
Sprinkle some leftover zest on top of the cake.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did! 
Happy Spring! xx

Stripes, Red Lips, Red Nails, Bold Lashes

Monday, April 2, 2018

There are certain looks I gravitate towards over and over again. I admittedly have about six gray cashmere sweaters. In my defense, they are all very different. A drop-sleeve cashmere tee, a simple pullover that I can throw in the wash, a cardigan that used to be a pullover, but when a moth devoured the neckline - I cut it right down the middle because I couldn't part with it and now it's a favorite makeshift cardi! An oversized wrap that feels like I'm wearing a luxurious blanket... I could go on.

I think it's all about finding your style and things that make you feel most you. (Obviously I feel good in gray cashmere.)

A few other things that are unabashedly me? Red lips, red nails, and stripes. 

I love me some stripes. I've been through several versions of the long sleeve, striped tee because I always wear them to shreds. My current fave is a cozy, soft, fitted-just-enough tee in the perfect black and white stripe. I got it at Hautelook on a flash sale, but there are always versions of this tee out there. It's that classic.

I like to try new red lipsticks but always go back to this one: Nars Semi-Matt Lipstick in Heatwave. 

The polish here is gel, but when I'm doing my own, I reach for Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Scarlet Starlet. 

I'm saving the best for last because YOU GUYS... I've done it. I've found THE BEST mascara. If you love big, bold lashes - look no further. It adds length, thickness, and separation, and it doesn't flake! It's pretty much the Mercedes-Benz of mascaras. Pricier than the drugstore brands, but totally worth it: Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara.  I curled here and added two coats. 

When Inspiration Strikes

Friday, March 23, 2018

The craziest thing happened to me this morning. I had a dream last night about a friend who passed away about a year ago. It was vivid, and beautiful, and comforting. When I woke up I had a song in my head. Melody & lyrics came out of me, flowing fast at 5am. Inspiration like I have never felt before. 

I'm a writer, not a songwriter, but I suppose it's all poetry, right? Not sure if it's any good, but I'm FEELING good that my soul is awake enough to create and put on paper, what's inside of me. (And it felt a little bit like a hand from a friend... Thank you, Greg.) 

It's feeling like magic on this rainy day and I'm thinking about how souls can be connected, in this life and beyond, especially if it's done through love. No matter what you believe in, if even just the thought and the image from my dream could bring such inspiration, then that's connection. The spiritual, bigger, grander kind - on a much deeper level than we can even comprehend. 

Rainn Wilson said to Oprah in an interview "the making of art is no different than prayer..." 

And I believe it. 

Maybe someday it will all make sense. Until then, let's keep making our art. 

With love, 

T xx

*An addition to an original post I wrote on Facebook, 3-22-18

Studded Jacket, Striped Turtleneck & Fedora in Chinatown

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Today we decided to take the fam to Chinatown via metro to downtown and it was so fun! We kept meaning to make it there sooner for Chinese New Year, but just now got the chance. And the bonus was that it was super mellow there today, sunny with a slight chill, quiet, and perfect.

It almost felt like a mini-vacation. An entire day just us, wandering around, having lunch and doing some shopping. 

We have to keep reminding ourselves to take these moments... because our kiddos will only be this small once. We're so incredibly proud of them. Although Stella is still a bit shy about it, if anyone speaks to her in Chinese, she absolutely understands and will converse back. Bodhi is so outgoing and brave about it, that he speaks without fear, in his limited, only-one-year immersion training. When I doubt myself as a mama, I have to remember all that we're striving for - well rounded, worldly, good little people, and I think we might just be accomplishing that. 

Happy Year of the Dog! 

See links to what I wore below: 

Vintage hat - similar here for a steal

Self Care + Other Necessities (Like Adidas)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

When I made my resolutions and intentions for this year, at the top of my list was self care. I've never put this down on paper as an actual TO DO before and it looked a little funny, sitting there next to the list of other obligations... But I decided to just commit to it, and the impact so far has been profound.

The truth is, I've always put myself way down on the list of priorities. Sure, I'll squeeze in some time between work, clients, kids and household to get a mani-pedi, or get my hair done (blonde takes hours), but for the most part the events that center around "me time" have always been more of a forgotten afterthought to all of the "more important" things that need to get done, the "more important people" who need attending to.

Why is it that as women (and especially mothers) we feel so guilty about doing things that are solely and exclusively for ourselves? And I'm not just talking pedicures and highlights. I'm talking about the real stuff. The things that feed our souls and make us better. In those quiet moments when we can remember who we really are and what brings us peace and happiness, (separate from all of the outside noise and obligations), that's when true joy happens.

Caring for myself makes me so much better in my work, makes me more thoughtful and courageous on the creative side of things, and more positive and energetic on the business side. Caring for myself makes me a better mother, wife, lover and friend and I know that it will prolong my life.

Committing to practices like pilates and mindful meditation has taught me that for anything to really work - you have to, well, commit to it! Put it on a list, put it on your calendar, make time - just freaking do it. So I am. I give myself writing deadlines. I read my book on the hammock for that 20 minute break instead of scrolling through instagram while I scarf down lunch. I showed up at a friend's house last weekend and said "we need to paint." So we did. I reconnected with another friend and took the time to have dinner and really catch up, really listen, and really share with him how much his friendship and support has meant to me through the years... and as we sat across from each other and chatted and laughed through tears, I was filled up. It was a reminder to me that these things need to keep happening. Little pockets of moments for me.

Next on the agenda: MORE MUSIC. MORE ART.

I also have to keep reminding myself that these things are actually the least selfish thing I can do - because it makes me a better version of myself.

I hope you can do some of the same this year. Let's be kind to ourselves!

With Love,

T xx

Side note - Adidas (because, fashion). A long time fashionista friend of mine recently shared about purging some of her shoe wardrobe in exchange for shoes that actually feel good and are comfortable! It inspired me to take a look at my own shoe wardrobe and make some cuts, and purchases. These Adidas Cloud Foam sneakers are a DREAM. I have been wearing them every day since I got them. Talk about self care... they are sooo comfortable! (They have memory foam in them!) I can't wait to wear-them-in even more, and pair them with skirts and dresses come spring.

Bell Sleeve Jacket  - Zara
Adidas Cloud Foam Sneakers - avail at Khol's and Nordstrom Rack 
Adidas Slide Sandals (top pic) - avail here

Why my 2017 sucked (and why it didn't) + a printed suit (because, fashion)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

I got a fan letter the other day. At first I thought it was a prank. I really did. It's not just because it's been a long time since I've been in a movie or TV show, but because that pretty much sums up my knee-jerk reaction to any sort of kindness or goodness in 2017. I just don't trust it. If you know me, you know that I'm mostly an extremely positive, see-the-good-in-every-situation kind of gal, but 2017 changed me. It was a hefty year that changed a whole lot of us.

I have bad-ass, straight-talking friend from Boston who always chimes in on any sort of complaint by her caucasian, middle-to-upper class mom friends by saying "first world problems" and I know she's right. (Although I'm half Mexican, I was gifted the genetic pool of looking like the ones who have it a whole lot easier.) I have a tremendous amount to be grateful for, and even more to be genuinely joyful about; Work I love, two healthy, brilliant children, if-I-do-say-so-myself, a solid marriage going a decade + strong, and a big house to wrap us all up at night. But I'm more than a bit weathered from a year that was suffering from the consequences of the aftermath that was 2016.

I know I'm not alone, and I know I'm in the company of many who endured so much more. But man, I'm so happy to say goodbye to one of the toughest years yet. Friendships were tested (the true ones remain) some relationships built in business in 2016 were built up with hopeful naivety, only to crumble drastically in the light of day, sharp fangs being revealed after the first disagreement. I parted ways with people I didn't necessarily want to, but knew there was no other way around it, in order to move forward, having grown tired of pulling dead weight for so long. Some decided to see the worst in me as well, instead of the years of service, love, and opportunities I created, including a family member who I once considered an iron-clad confidant. This was where my 2017 started, and the residual effects continued throughout the year.

I look back and feel as though 2017 was full of so much hard work. One mountain after another to climb, climb, climb. One obstacle after the next, to overcome. I think collectively we all got hit, at times it felt as though the whole world was turned upside down. I could see it on the faces of strangers passing by, deep sighs of a mutual understanding was all the communication needed. Wrong was right, and had won elections. Natural disasters raged with fury. Senseless killings. One news story after another, as the world fell down around us.

But small miracles happened as well. My favorite aunt survived rigorous cancer treatments and surgery. I held her hand as she went from resilient warrior, to the fragile elderly, back to her warrior self again. Two friendships in particular bloomed exponentially, digging deep into that hidden part of myself, and pulling out the sunshine with a gentle reminder - some people can be trusted - some people will recognize my good. My five year old son taught himself to be brave in the face of new challenges, not to mention a new language, and I found a reason to keep going in business, realizing that only I possess the key, and having the confidence to stand on my own is exactly what I needed to learn.

Banana Republic Suit, Vintage Silk Blouse, DVF Leopard Pumps

Things were rocky, but there were moments of sweetness as well. I suppose it was the necessary dark to make the light beam loudly with its brilliance. Even in the hardest moments, I could still keep my head above water somehow, finding comfort in the knowledge that nothing lasts forever, the good or the bad.

In those heart clutching moments when I thought I couldn't take anymore, a moment of relief would always come. Like the time my kids both found me slumped over my computer in defeat, dinner burning on the stove, tears welling up in my eyes, absolutely frazzled, burnt, burned and heartbroken to the core, and they wrapped their arms around me and said "You're a good mommy. You're doing a good job, mama." and I knew it would all be ok.

It took a lot of work to get here. Over one year to be exact. But through love, and meditation, therapy, and prayer, I've survived. Back into my warrior self again, and ready for what 2018 throws at me.

One thing I know for sure - things are different. Very different. And they'll never be the same. But I'll survive this new normal.

We all will. If we just keep swimming. Happy New Year!

T xx

Photos by SKCN Design