Category Archives: Fashion

Twinkle Toes Trots off to Boo at the Zoo

It was a special UGG boots & Halloween kind of Saturday in Wired Momma-land. A most unusual Saturday, as a matter of fact.

But before we get to the details, you should know that shoes and Halloween rank as two of my greatest loves. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to love Halloween more because it requires very little of moi in comparison to other holidays. I do not need to wrap elaborate gifts, purchase said gifts or cook large meals for this holiday. Plus it comes hand-in -hand with the arrival of chocolate into your home. What’s not to love?

Now, about the shoes. There was a formative moment in my childhood that revolved around shoes. Back in the 80s, we lived overseas. For this particular memory, we were on vacation in Spain one summer, the summer before I went into the 6th grade. My Aunt Elizabeth flew in from Philadelphia to join us on said vacation. On this particular day, we were strolling around this fabulous seaside Mediterranean town and my Aunt stumbled upon some espadrilles in a little shop. She was in love. But she didn’t just leave the store with one pair, she bought them in every color. She casually noted that you can never have enough shoes.

This made a deep and profound impression on me. I knew she was right. I was but 12, maybe even 11, but something seemed intuitively correct about what she was doing. Sure,  I knew there were bigger problems in the world but I also knew that shoes can make you happy. Along with other more important things, of course, but shoes are still something special.

Fast forward to the early 2000s and my weekly Sex & The City viewing parties with friends. Remember those? When having a Flirtini was all the rage.  Remember that scene when Carrie Bradshaw spotted a gorgeous pair of shoes in the window and her response was “Helllloooooo lover.”

She spoke to me. My heart sang. Suddenly I was back in that seaside Mediterranean village and I wondered why I didn’t have a pair of espadrilles in every color.

#IStillWonderThis

The truth is, Carrie spoke to millions of us in that scene.

Today, I am grooming my girls to love shoes. Sparkly shoes, fancy shoes, casual shoes, sandals, flip-flops, boots, you name it, shoes shoes shoes. You can find great pairs at Target or Payless for kids, they are everywhere, and your shoes never know if you’ve got a muffin top.

Imagine my utter joy last week when UGG Australia emailed and invited me and the family to attend Saturday night’s Boo at the Zoo, of which they were a corporate sponsor,  but first, with a stop at their store in Georgetown (1249 Wisconsin Ave, NW) to pick out a pair of shoes for each of us.

Umm, hmmm, let me check my calendar…

STC_YesC’est vrai? An evening with two of my great loves, shoes and Halloween? (Oh, ahem, umm…and of course my kids and Mr. WM)

#Bliss

Now, to further my confessions here, until Saturday, I wasn’t an UGG boot owner. I have a pair of UGG slippers that I love and have held up beautifully through a few winters. Disclosure: I am really hard on shoes. But that’s it in the UGG department. I also had no idea UGG makes beautiful leather boots for women along with fashionable shoes for men, I was pretty unfamiliar with their lineup beyond the standard boots you see many people wearing. I really just didn’t know.

I know now. We spent well over an hour in the Georgetown store on Saturday before hitting the Zoo. I’m the gal who struggles to pick a nail polish color for a pedicure because I treat each one as if it’s my last, who knows why (I’m a freak), imagine the struggle in picking out a pair of shoes.

#EpicFirstWorldProblem

Me and the girls were like kids in a candy store with all the options and the little baby UGG shoes? Adorable.  Below is a sampling of what I admired or considered as my first choice options. I still am thinking about those raspberry colored ones just because the 5th grade me, she would have pounced at the chance for a pair of pinkish boots with fur lining. They really call out to that version of moi.

Teaching them from an early age to love shoes

UggBootsAnd seriously, the leopard print baby booties. For real? #Swoon

In the end, though I loved the brown riding boots featured above and I struggled with this decision, I came away with a pair of elegant and timeless black leather boots with a simple heel but that can be dressed up or down. I reasoned that I legitimately needed a new pair of black boots whereas my chocolate-brown boots, though several years old, are still in great condition. Mr. WM came away with a hip pair of chocolate-brown leather boots, the youngest WM’ette came away with a gorgeous pair of bright blue boots with ribbons on the back and my oldest settled on a pair of purple boots with trendy, edgier studs in the shape of a heart on the front. Really great choices. Overall we had an excellent experience with an extremely patient and helpful store employee, considering we must have sent her back a dozen times and tried on multiple pairs of boots each.

#HighMaintenanceFamily

Now that I actually am fully aware of all the great choices in the UGG line for every  member of the family, I just might be addicted and you better believe I have a new pair of warm fuzzy slippers on the brain (hint hint Mr. WM for Christmas).

Packed into our warm, fuzzy shoes, we set off for the National Zoo. We last attended Boo at the Zoo two years ago and had a great time but even then I worried the kids were a little too young. When you have an almost 3-year-old and almost 6-year-old and darkness falls, it can be really stressful to keep track of them through all the excitement, and throw kids into costumes, under the cover of darkness in wide open spaces, with large crowds, and the fear of losing your kid does become a little overwhelming.

Last night, we had a great time. At almost 5 and almost 8, we’re past the erratic movements of toddlers and we had a reallyBooatZoo relaxing and enjoyable evening. The National Zoo always does such a creative job of decorating the zoo and some of the animal houses for the celebration. We especially enjoyed a trip into the invertebrate house to see the octopus and spooky decorations. We also noted the meerkat had a pumpkin in his house inside the small mammal house. From the perspective of my little ones, the question wasn’t why does the meerkat have a jack-o-lantern in his house, the question is why wouldn’t that meerkat be so festive?

The kids enjoyed trick-or-treating at each of the vendor stalls mixed in with the decorated animal houses on what really was a perfect fall evening for an outdoor event. Typically I wouldn’t wear brand new shoes on a two-hour walking excursion, especially for the little ones, but I had no concerns about our warm toes tucked into the new UGG boots as we cruised through the zoo.

I think our only real complaint about the event was the lack of a real meal offered. In previous years, we had enjoyed dinner before hand at our fav Mexican restaurant in Cleveland Park and then ended up at the Zoo only to wonder why we’d spent money on dinner. This year, there wasn’t anything substantive (that we could find, at least) and we left at the end of the evening on a quest for a quick dinner.

If you’ve ever wondered about Boo at the Zoo – my advice would be to consider the ages of your kids. I really think it’s best and less stressful on parents when the kids are older, almost or fully elementary school aged. Normally I also wouldn’t pick the Saturday night event because I’m not a huge fan of crowds, we usually opt for Sunday night for that reason. Saturday night, however, was truly a lovely evening but it definitely got crowded. We left around 7:45pm and wondered if next year when they are almost 6 and 9, our better strategy wouldn’t be to hit dinner before hand and then plan to arrive to the zoo around 7:15, when the parking lots are starting to thin out along with some of the crowds, and hit the tail end of the evening party.

#Strategery

Bottom line – we had a knock out Saturday chez Wired Momma and we are super grateful to UGG Australia for the amazing opportunity and to the National Zoo for throwing a fun and festive Halloween party. Now off to keep my twinkle toes warm in my new boots……

Disclosure: UGG Australia invited me and my family to be their guests at Boo at the Zoo and to receive a pair of shoes. My opinions here are all my own.

 

 

 

 

Summer travel with kids & fashion for moms?

Today’s post isn’t going to solve world peace, resolve hunger crises or help reach a consensus on the sequester. But it will  – or rather should  – solve some last-minute packing crises that most women face when prepping for a trip. Especially summer travel with children. Particularly if your summer travel has you going on a physical endeavor. Example – are you headed to Walt Disney World?  Prior to our trip last month I am not ashamed to admit I put quite a bit of effort into assessing my shoe choices.  I knew we were going to be walking miles a day. I knew it was going to be humid. I knew I was going to be sweaty and grumpy and need comfort. But I just couldn’t toss my running kicks in my suitcase with a pair of white socks and call it a day.

#QuelleHorror

I also knew that the kind of bag needed for such a trip was a dilemma. When one is hot and walking and dealing with hungry kids, you can’t have the added weight of a shoulder bag on your body. Yet you also need to pack water bottles, snacks, cameras, phones and the inevitable swag the kids make off with in the stores.

What does a gal do?

Here’s what I did.

I first raided DSW. I went to the biggest one I could find. And I went alone. I needed razor like focus and time to deliberate. I knew I wanted to look somewhat stylish during the day and I knew I couldn’t deal with lame looking sneakers. I also knew that if my feet hurt, then that is just stupid. If you know you are going to walk a ton, and you have small children, and it’s going to be super hot and humid, your feet need support and your feet need comfort. I was hoping to find a brown sandal that offered some cushioning and support but didn’t have any straps between my toes. Those bother me unless I am in flip flops. And flip flops do not meet the criteria of offering support all day long unless you are sitting in a beach chair.

For reasons that escape me entirely, it is not easy to find the kind of brown sandal I was looking for but  when life gives you lemons……I found what worked out better for moi. I found these New Balance ballet sneaker flats. They have remarkable cushioning and support, they slip on and off easily (read: airport security), and they pretty much go with everything. You can wear them with a casual summer skirt or shorts. Since purchasing and wearing them almost daily, I regularly am given compliments on them and asked where I got them from. Good old DSW.

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But if you share the following trait with moi: packing lightly is not in your vocabulary – then obviously you need more than one pair of shoes. Again, today’s post is about pairing comfort with style, and without realizing, it’s also quickly becoming an ad for DSW and New Balance because I also stumbled upon these kicks:

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They are trendy with their neon brights, they are incredibly light weight and take up little room in a suitcase and they meet my criteria of offering much needed support for hours of walking and crowds.

Moving away from shoes, now what about the purse? I settled on two choices. My daytime purse and my evening purse. The evening option required I pack fewer things, which really is a challenge for moi (again: packing lightly is not something I do. Ever).

For the daytime, I went with a Camelbak backpack. First, the reality is, if you are trekking around all day with children, you need a backpack, like it or not. And if you find one that looks somewhat gender neutral, your husband will carry the load as well. Also, if you are headed in the heat, you need water, lots of it. The Camelbak gives you not only padded shoulders for the backpack, but the ultra convenient zip down the middle so the other person can access whatever is needed without you taking the damn thing off is really a brilliant idea, and then there is the easy access of the water in the back. True, I felt a bit like people in my family were milking off me when they would stop to access the water from the Camelbak but this pack was the saving grace for me every day. Also, I suffer from migraines and dehydration is a serious trigger for me – so the truth is – I need an obscene amount of water on any given day, but especially so when wandering the humidity of Florida for hours on end.

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Back to the theme of me never packing lightly – however – clearly when we headed out the door in the evening for dinners, I wasn’t going to toss the Camelbak over my dress. The question was – what sort of purse would suit evening summer dresses? I am beginning to worry you’re thinking I’ve transformed into Sporty Spice between the sneakers and the backpack. Fear not.

As luck would have it, when shopping alone with my hawk-like focus at DSW, I stumbled upon a super fun bright yellow Betsey Johnson purse. I could wear it across my chest with the long strap, it was small enough that it packed easily and it forced me to put only essentials inside for evening outings. Never one to settle on practical colors when shopping for purses, I was tempted by the lovely cream colored one but reasoned that the bright yellow is just more fun and would add a great accent color to really anything I was wearing – and it certainly did.

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I also liked the small exterior pocket for storing a hotel key card or a cell phone for easy access. Naturally, I am also a sucker for interior design and you can be sure a Betsey Johnson purse never disappoints:

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Right? It was a most excellent score.

While these are my most triumphant purchases, there’s more. What about the mom headed to the beach and pool this summer? What if your travels take you water bound instead of walking bound?  Look, I am a HUGE fan of the Scout beach bags. Why, you ask? Simple – they are super stylish, come in a great array of colors and patterns and have 6 exterior pockets for easy access to sunblock, water bottles, sunglasses, phone, whatever you need – without losing time wading through the big deep bag.

photo(80)Finally, how about communications with families during your trip? And photo documentation?

My sister went away last summer and all of a sudden, these adorable postcards with pictures of her and her husband started arriving in my mail box, including a different return stamp style picture of themselves, and then their personalized messages – all sent from her phone. It’s brilliant. Don’t send postcards in 2012, instead send a Postagram. 

The app will send pictures from your phone or Facebook straight to your family or friends – an easy and fun way to personalize your trip and share it with friends! Even my mom used the Postagram app during our Disney trip.

My other new fav app is Story by Disney. We first learned about it last month at the Disney Social Media Moms conference and it’s a beautiful app. It’s free to download and offers you a quick, convenient and simple way to transform an experience into a photo album and share it via email or post it on Facebook. You can add video, change the text, change the background color and then post it on Facebook and share via email. It’s that simple and it really does make anyone a storyteller. I tried it out a few times after our Disney trip and loved the results. It’s a fabulous way to pair a series of pictures or an entire afternoon and share it with family and friends with pizzaz and personality instead of just posting individual pictures on Facebook.

There you have it — I believe you can pair some style with comfort while traveling this summer with the kids. Not a deep or profound topic today but a great way to kick-off a rainy Monday, right? For the “best time you ever did have” be sure to hit “Like” on the Wired Momma Facebook page.

Godzilla meets the Lion Tamer…an epic tale of surviving summer break

In prep for schools letting out in the next two weeks….I offer you a retro WM post….my piece to mark the beginning of summer break last year and a retrospective on surviving previous summers….it covers kids of a variety ages so you probably will find something for yourself in here and I also get to my fav summer accessories:

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This week marks the end of school. The beginning of summer. What better way to kick it off than with a walk down memory lane?

First Summer Home with 2 kids: Sink or Swim?

My baby morphed into Godzilla that first summer....

Spoiler Alert! I sank. I didn’t even have a chance. I was drowning, I was gasping for air, I hated that summer. DD1 was 3.5 and horrible. DD2 was 6 months old and suddenly gained her mobility and morphed from sweet drooling baby into Godzilla, a super human creature who’s only purpose in life was to mercilessly terrorize every Little People village her sister had carefully arranged, chew on each book her sister wanted to read and destroy any block tower that might have just been assembled. It was war. I lost every battle.  And to boot, one of life’s great unsolved mysteries emerged: exactly how does a 6 month old crawl so quickly and why are they magnets for elder sibling’s toys? So I headed into the next summer with a whole new plan, armed with tactics, prepared to win and enjoy the summer. This battle worn soldier couldn’t lose again.

#notwinning

Summer 2 home with the kids: Life vest

Spoiler Alert: my life vest mocked me. All summer long.

This time I boarded the ship prepared. My life jacket purchased in the form of 4 beautiful words: CAMP. Lots and lots of CAMP. But see, what I failed to anticipate was that much changes in one year of the lives of these little people. My wounds were still open and fresh but the children had moved on. How could I fail to realize that Godzilla can’t really survive for one year with an older sibling? Think of the eldest like a lion tamer: breaking the beast, taming the savage soul and maybe assaulting them a few times. Godzilla morphs into a different kind of species when she is 18 months old. True, a child

Can anyone else relate?

headed straight for the 2s is still part-human, part-beast but at least they have more control over their motor skills when lingering around block towers. And the eldest is more adept at handling younger sibling assault on their world. Another lesson for me:  3.5 year olds don’t stay that miserable argumentative nasty way forever and as it turns out, at least chez moi, 4.5 year olds are fun and fabulous companions. So there I had shipped her off to various weekly camps only for me and DD2 to look at each other, and wonder where our playmate was, especially DD2. I had naively shipped off the companion who kept the 18 month old entertained, busy and tired her out for naps. I PAID to send away our buddy. What the? My life vest deflated. I was beat again. When will I not suck at anticipating how to manage for a great summer home?

#definitelynotbiwinning

Summer 3 home with the kids: Lifeguard

And so begins summer 3 home with the kids. We’re off to a good start, we are miraculously diaper free chez moi, they are now 2.5 and 5.5 (have you seen the new spring in my step as I bypass the diaper aisle at Target with an extra $20 to blow on something dumb?) and after my steep learning curves the past two summers, dare I say I am heading into this summer with an all new plan: the pool. We are super camp light and planning on lots of pool time. But will I fail to anticipate again? So far, I have a huge ding against me because DH is headed off to a new job that puts him in San Fran 4 days of every week through the summer. I wasn’t counting on that when I signed them up for basically no camps this summer . . .Will I sink or swim this year? Stay tuned, you know you’ll be hearing about it.

#winning?

Until then, let’s cover what accessories  a gal needs to survive the summer.

The first is the appropriate pool or beach bag and that bag is the Scout bag. This bag changed my pool/beach experience because it’s stylish and has 6 pockets around the outside of the bag. Never has it been so easy to store sunglasses, iPhone, camera, sun block, kid’s trash,  snacks, water bottles and actually FIND these things with ease. Naturally the bag was created by a local DC mother who has 4 kids, so it’s no wonder it’s a miracle worker.

Speaking of miracle workers, what I need is the right swimsuit. I tend to go for halters but is this really a good idea when children are climbing all over you and creating multiple chances for a wardrobe malfunction on any given day? My youngest likes to shove her pool toys down the suit as if it’s her own personal pocket.  Does style need to be compromised in favor of practicality? Have you found the perfect swimsuit that is stylish but functional? I’m desperate here, friends. Speak up. Links encouraged.

And my final summer survival necessity for those of you who are beach bound but don’t live steps from the beach: the Wonder Wheeler Deluxe (WWD). The minivan of beach carts, this thing screams dork, flashes parenthood in bright lights, earns you mockery from teens for being  lame, but when a beach trip heads south (and really, how often do they not), you can toss all your gear and chairs and umbrellas into this thing (and sometimes I think a few kids) and clear the beach in record time.

So with that, what are your plans for summer survival? And did you find a great suit? Let me know.

For more fun, survival tips and accessories gossip…..”Like” the WM community FB page.

Dog Days

Though the media would have you believe we’re like 2 days into our second heat wave of the summer, the rest of us living it  realize that we’re like 8 weeks into a perpetual, ongoing, never-ending, horrendous, humid-suffocating summer. Each day I think it’s got to break and each day it doesn’t….and suddenly I’m realizing….I have bad hair, a bad attitude and cranky kids acting like this.

Is it winter, minus the bad hair part? Oh and the heat. Because I sure am feeling the similarities…..we are stuck inside because the weather is too horrible to go outside, we are getting sick of indoor activities, and we are getting really CRANKY.

I’ve also decided my blog is aptly named…not because I’m all hip and tech savvy and cool but because my hair has looked like a lion’s mane every day since Memorial Day.

But not a brave roaring lion queen.or a sexy pool goddess…instead I look like this.

Is that hot?

I didn’t think so.

Am I alone in longing for fall? The crisp mornings, the warm afternoons, the cords, the fabulous fall sweaters, I’d even happily rake  leaves right now if it were only October. I am beyond living in the moment, I am officially over summer 2010.

I am certain that come Fall 2010, my hair will look like this and my children will be seen acting only like this.
Are you with me?