A Giveaway, with Paisley Wren Designs!

posted on: Saturday, August 29, 2015

By a show of hands who here agrees that being able to match your clothing to your kid's is pretty much the number one reason to even have kids in the first place. No? Just me? Well, when my friend Caroline offered to send me this matching set of mother/daughter headbands from her new fall collection AND offered to give away a $25 credit to her shop for one of my readers I could not have said yes fast enough. We love the headbands from Paisley Wren Designs and own a bunch of her other ones. You can see Ever wearing them here and here too.  But I gotta say, this matching duo (aptly named the  Emily by the way ;) has got to be my new favorite. 

To enter to win a $25 shop credit simply follow Caroline's shop on Instagram and leave a comment here (or on my Instagram) telling me what you'd choose with your $25! Giveaway ends Tuesday September 1st and we'll choose our winner then! Check back to see if it's you. Thanks, Caroline!

*** Links! ***

Good Luck!

A Camp Out Birthday!

posted on: Monday, August 24, 2015

Wes asked for a backyard campout for his birthday party this year and we were so excited to pull this night together for him. We had hotdogs, s'mores cupcakes, a homemade campfire cake and Abby's famous hand pies. We pitched a tent in the back yard and had a piƱata for the kids and of course those who were game were welcome to join us for our annual water balloon fight. After it got dark those of us who were camping out sat around the fire making s'mores then gathered in the tent for a couple kid-friendly "scary" stories and snuggled into our sleeping bags for the night. The next morning we awoke a little sore, a lot tired and ready for some coffee and a big pancake breakfast. It was one of the best birthday parties we've had and camping out in the yard for the first time with all the kids was so much fun. Thanks to all who joined us and helped with the party, we made so many great memories because of all of you. 

What I'm Reading, the #blacklivesmatter Edition

posted on: Sunday, August 23, 2015

Racism and the systematic oppression of our black american citizens is a tradition in this country that is almost as old as our country itself. In the news lately we have seen case after case after heartbreaking case of how the lives of our fellow black americans are so devastatingly undervalued. Before the emergence of social media how many of these type of incidents have gone unnoticed or unreported in decades past? How many Michael Browns and Sandra Blands have come before? I suspect the number would be staggering. I suspect we would not want to know. I want to be one less blissfully ignorant white american and in taking one tiny step forward to better my understanding of the problem at hand I have been reading books on the subject of race in America.  

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a fantastic and refreshingly eye opening view on race and culture in America from an outsider's point of view. Fiction, the story follows the life of female protagonist Ifemelu, a Nigerian transplant living in America, as she learns to cope with what it means to be black in America when you come from a country where you have never before been a minority. Near the end of the novel she returns home to Nigeria for the first time in over a decade and says something along the lines of how strange it was to step off the plane and forget for the first time in years that she was black. How much effort it is here for black americans to deal with race -- how freeing it was for her to go back to a place where her race was not her defining characteristic. It was just very revealing and insightful. There is also a beautifully written love story woven into the book and I found it to be an all around outstanding read. Highly, highly recommend this one.

When Toni Morrison is quoted on the cover saying this book is required reading you really have no other choice than to get in line for your copy now. This book is a hard, hard read. Not hard to follow or understand, quite the contrary. It's hard because Coates pulls no punches whatsoever. All of our country's dirty laundry, the inherent and systematic racism we hold so dear is laid out in all it's painful clarity. Written as a letter to his fifteen year old son, it is a devastatingly honest and brutal account of what it means to grow up black and male in America.  There is no sugar coating, there is no happy ending, there is just the hard, unfair, honest truth. 

Ghettoside is probably the best book I have read all year. Non-fiction, the author, Jill Leovy, is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times who embedded herself for years in the LA police division responsible for dealing with the bulk of black on black homicides in the city. Leovy follows the story of the murder and subsequent investigation of 18 year old victim Bryant Tennelle. The book is compassionate and intelligent and backed up with an astounding amount of research and statistics. Leovy really cracks open the issue of black on black crime and shows it for the epidemic that it truly is.  Please read this book, I cannot recommend it enough.

What else could you recommend in this vein? The more I read the more I want to know.

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