The one that got away

Yesterday I was invited to go to a Nordstrom Rack Opening in Orange. The store actually opens tomorrow, but they let a few of us bloggy-types in to be the first to shop. I had the most fun in the world, because A, they gave me a gift card with free money, and I love free money. It’s basically the best thing ever. And B, they gave me vodka and lavender macaroons, and C, the DJ kept playing Britney Spears songs.

So in between refrains of “Keep on Dancing ‘Til the World Ends,” I got to shop with free money and without a stroller for two hours straight!

After I loaded up my wheeled basket with pretty things, I headed to the dressing rooms.

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Next.

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I don’t think so.

…But then I came across this red Rebecca Taylor skirt.

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I loved it the very most, but for some strange reason* I put it back.

*That strange reason is called lack of money, the fine people at Nordstrom did give me a grip of cash to run wild with around their store, but this skirt was still expensive, yo.

While the skirt didn’t make it into my bag of purchases, I drove away dreaming about it.
So I came up with a style board of all the pretty things I’d wear it with, to maybe ease the pain of not actually owning it.

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Nope, didn’t work.

Instead of easing the pain, it just made me want it more.

Crap.

 

Clockwise from top left: blue sweater, yellow sweater,  leopard shoes, jean jacket, lace top, black booties, gold charm heart, boots, cardigan lace sweater

Bunco 80′s Coma Party

The ladies in my neighborhood host parties once a month. When they started these gatherings a few years ago, before I moved in, they actually played Bunco. Which if you’re unfamiliar with that term, it means you haven’t started menopause yet. Congratulations, you’re still fertile and relevant. They would sit tastefully in wooden folding chairs and roll dice with the other women on their block. But as the years wore on, and their children grew, they stopped playing Bunco, and started drinking their body weight in wine. Which was about the time I moved in. And I think I deserve a, “well played, Beckey” and a pat on the back for the timing on that, because subjecting myself to Bunco every month sounds about as awesome as getting a Snoopy tattoo on my calf.

The tradition of the monthly neighborhood party remains, but the Bunco part has been tossed aside much like their party cups with the scant remnants of a Cab Sauv.

And this month was no exception. Oh there was a party alright, an 80′s prom themed party to be exact.

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And because I don’t like to disappoint, I dressed in an authentic prom dress that was worn by my friend’s sister in 1986.

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1986!

I was five in 1986, and at that time, I was probably walking around with a runny nose, holding a Rainbow Bright doll, eating an Otter Pop, wearing a shirt that said, “What’s Happening?!” with Alexander the Grape satins on it, and finally letting my hair grow out of that charming (albeit frustrating for my mother) phase when I cut it myself.

And since Pat doesn’t like to disappoint either, he shaved his beard and groomed this outstanding mustache.

I can’t decide if it’s more of a low budget fetish film mustache,

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Creepy van with a crescent window and a viking princess airbrushed on the side mustache,

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Or European dictator mustache.

But whatever it is, I find it both creepy and sexy at the same time.

For me, getting ready for the night was a dazzling display of glitter and Aqua Net.

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And as I was plucking a particularly stubborn upper lip hair, a thought occurred: If I ever get into a terrible car accident because I was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my kids while driving, but my kids were fine, and I barely made it to the hospital, and there was blood and peanut butter everywhere, and I escaped death by falling into a coma instead, I would need to hire someone to groom me.

Isn’t this something I should put in a Will? Or let my spouse know? Or a the very least write on a little piece of paper and stick it in a jar labeled “in case of emergency”? Well I’m letting everyone know right now: If I go into a coma, I need a groomer! I’m sure my co-pay will handle the cost of that.

Foley catheter………………………………………………………………………………………………..2,576.00

Personal groomer…………………………………………………………………………………………..4,500.00

Mesh underwear…………………………………………………………………………………………….1,200.00

(Little unknown fact, those hospitals are making a killing off mesh underwear)

Here’s what my groomer would have to be in charge of:

Waxing my eyebrows and upper lip (twice weekly)

Flossing my teeth (daily)

Scalp conditioning treatment (weekly)

Cuticle removal (weekly)

Blackhead removal (weekly)

Back-zit popping (daily)

Heel callus removal (weekly)

Trimming toenails (weekly)

Making sure my toenails don’t appear to be yellowing by painting them a seasonally appropriate color (weekly)

Oxyingnating facial (twice monthly)

Shaving my arm pits, legs, and lady business (weekly)

Spritzing my body with Evian spray so I can retain a healthy moisture and glow (hourly)

French braid my hair so I don’t get bed-head-dreads (every other day)

Applying deodorant (daily)

Grooming knuckle hair (daily)

That about sums it up, but I’m flexible, if my groomer sees something that needs to be kempt, I’m comfortable with a little artistic freedom; just not too much, I don’t want to wake up with a Pat Brumfield, creepy van, fetish film, 80′s prom, but in a weird way hot, fascist dictator mustache.

Venice is Cooler than you.

When our weekends aren’t subjected to birthday parties and a varietal of events, we find ourselves confused. And we wander. Sometimes we just pile everyone into a stroller and walk the trails in our neighborhood, look at nature and get excited over bugs.

Look kids a worm!

Oooohh…

Other times we go to the beach or buy mama pretty things at the mall.

But the mall is for people who don’t like sunshine and aren’t bothered by kids having meltdowns over lost balloons.

So on Sunday afternoon we found ourselves confused, and instead of bumping into each other all day at home, we leisurely made a trip up to Venice. I’m not talking about the wacky and weird boardwalk of Venice Beach, I’m talking about the quiet and laid back Abbot Kinny Blvd.

It’s like a hipster paradise, that Venice. From the moment I stepped out of my car I felt like a loser. Everybody is an artisan. And the people there just feel creative and way more informed. While talking to a local the word “bespoke” came up in our conversation. When was the last time you just threw a word like “bespoke” around in your everyday dialogue? Me? Not so much.

And as we were passing a coffee shop, I overheard a British woman tell her friend, “Oh! This is kind of an institution. We may have to queue for a minute.”

Queue!?

Love.

So I judge an area based on the number of British people walking around.

That’s fine.

And then there are the men.

The men are amazing in Venice.

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They can get away with holes in their socks, because, hey, they’re wearing suspenders, so they’re kind of dressed up. They all have various degrees of facial hair, and all exert a quiet, cool confidence.

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They’re basically my husband. Except two Christmases ago I bought him a pair of suspenders and he laughed and threw them on the ground, and then he stepped on them, and then I cried, and later I had to return said suspenders, and he got an X-Box game instead.

Interview with Berlyn

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Me: Alright Berlyn, are you ready for your interview?

Berlyn: What’s an interview?

Me: I’m just going to ask you a bunch of questions.

B: Why?

Me: Because I think you’re interesting.

B: Oh, okay.

Me: What’s your favorite thing to wear?

B: Sparkle heart dress.

Me: Why?

B: Because it’s sparkly, and I like sparkles.

Me: What do you think is beyond the stars?

B: The moon, and the planets, and I don’t know.

Me: Do you remember your dreams?

B: I don’t dream anymore.

Me: Oh.

Moving on…

What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?

B: If we went to a butterfly garden and there is butterflies everywhere.

Me: What about when we went to the Redwood Forest?

B: It wasn’t very beautiful.

Me: *Blink, blink*

B: *Shrug*

Me: *Squinty eyes*

B: *Shrug*

Me: What is the grossest thing you can think of?

B: Worms! Worms in trash can.

Me: That’s pretty nasty.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

B: A mommy and adopt babies.

Me: How many babies do you want to have.

B: Three.

Me: Why three?

B: I have to find someone who has three babies that they don’t want anymore and adopt them.

Me: Okaaay, you still didn’t answer my question, but whatves, what would you do if you were invisible for a day?

B: Go on rides at Disneyland

Me: Do you think any of our neighbors are scary?

B: No.

Me: None of them, not even that creeper on the corner?

B: No.

Me: Okay, well, you just stay away from them as a precaution. You got that. Even if they say they have a bounce house and cheese crackers in their backyard.

B: Alriiiight.

Me: If you could change your name, would would you change it to?

B: My brother’s name. Because I like that name. I would be called Hudson.

Me: If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

B: Hawaii.

Me: What’s in Hawaii?

B: Ocean and sand and beautiful girls dancing.

Me: And lastly, because it’s President’s Day, who is our President?

B: I don’t know.

Me: Think about it. Barack…?

B: Barack Burama

Mom Shoes

One of my favorite readers wrote in and asked this question:

“If it’s too hot for boots, but too cold for Rainbows, and I’m tired of wearing my stinky holey Toms, then what do I wear? I need something like a tennis shoe, without feeling like I’m 80. I can’t rightfully wear my high school pair of VANS, right? I just love Toms but they wear out so fast. So where does that leave me? Keds? I have no idea. Please advise.”

First of all, it’s never too hot for boots.

Second of all, you still have your high school VANS? Dude.

And third of all Rainbows should only be reserved for the beach.

So here is my list of mom savvy shoe wear that is casual enough for errand running and cute enough for an impromptu lunch date with friends.

Plus, all of these shoes are super affordable.

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Since Keds, Vans, and Toms were mentioned in the question, I thought it would be appropriate to include them in my list, because they’re kind of the perfect footwear for hanging out with toddlers.

1. Oxford flats from Nordstrom

2. Woven loafers from Urban Outfitters

3. Vans

4. Toms ballet flats

5. Keds

6. Suede ankle boots. I’ve been wearing these every day for more time than I care to admit.

7. Loafers from JCrew These are my one splurge on the list and I think they’d go perfect with a pair of red jeans and a chambray top.

Hope this list was helpful.

Happy shopping.

Bonnie Bear

If you love your ears, do them a favor and listen to this. Just push play and make a sandwich or mop the floors. It’s 25 minutes of bliss. Yah, that’s long time to look at one thing on the internet, but it will be good for you. Promise.

Hippo Style

These last few weeks of winter are irritating me. Because I want it to be spring so I can be done wearing my holey and snagged sweaters (thankyouverymuch, Zoey).

But since I’m not quite ready to abandon my trusty sweater yet, I thought pairing it with a cute pair of spring shorts would snap me out of the dressing doldrums.

So I’ve decided to put together a little winter encouragment for your wordrobe. A style guide, if you will. Mostly because I just learned how to use photoshop, and this is my lab rat.

 

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1. Glasses from h&m

2. Alexander Wang sweater from Barneys New York

3. Madison Shorts from Anthropologie

4. Leg Warmer from American Apparel

5. Frye Boots from Zappos

6. Mulberry cross body bag from Net-A-Porter

Now we can be twins!

Unless it’s snowing where you live, and in that case I would pair this outfit with a floor length puffer jacket from The North Face.

 

Valiant Nines

We do minimal celebration over her at the Brum Casa for Valentine’s Day. Mainly because I’m lazy and I can’t be bothered to do extracurricular activities like shop for French ingredients at the expensive market or buy a dozen mylar balloons. Do you know how hard it is to drive your car with a dozen mylar balloons shoved into all the extra space? It’s basically a required class in Clown Car College, and since I was a bad student in college, I would fail that class. And failing means getting in a car accident and breaking a femur or dying. And this Valentine’s Day I choose life. So no. No mylar balloons for us.

Our first Valentine’s Day had much more fanfare. That’s because I cooked lobster and wore an apron and heels. And nothing else.

I’ll give you a minute with that visual. It’s a good one: Me with some side boob, wrestling a lobster.

Yowza.

Then we decided to go out to dinner somewhere, but that was a hot mess when every place was booked, and when we finally found a spot, we noticed they increased their prices by 100 percent.

Ouch.

Since then, we decided that only schmucks and d-bags celebrate Valentie’s Day.

So, we’ll be here, eating our bucket of chicken hissing and booing at all the losers who send their mates flowers.

And stuffed bears.

And cards.

And candy.

But I can’t help getting a tiny bit sentimental. Maybe it’s because I really like the candy part. Or maybe it’s because I’m secretly a schmuck.

And I’m kinda okay with that.

So I did a few festive things:

First, we made a fun Valentine’s Day card for Berlyn to take to school. Last year I made a crayon heart and gigantic mess in my kitchen. It was adorable, but a lot of work. The valentine was a collage of Berlyn art work photoshopped together and printed on glossy paper and then glued to scrapbook paper, and just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap.

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So this year I was fine with the simplicity of her valentine. And who doesn’t love a pencil?!

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But apparently pencils were the hot ticket this year. So now we have about 12 valentine pencils from her class. Yay.

 

Then I made some chocolate dipped strawberries.

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And I threw them in a jar and brought them to Pat’s work for an afternoon snack.

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But then this happened.

Sneaky Strawberry Stealer.

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And I gave myself a hair cut and color so I’d be semi-presentable when my husband came home. It’s no naked apron, but it will have to do.

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Happy Valentine’s Day.

If you’re into that.

If not, happy whatever.

 

Pancake Party!

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 We had a pancake party for Berlyn, and yes, it was at a petting zoo.

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The pancakes were lovingly grilled on a barbecue. What, you don’t BBQ your pancakes? That’s weird.

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 Milk for the kiddies

…And then the cake.

It was a monument of deliciousness and sheer beauty made just for Berlyn by the coolest and talented Grace at Grace of Cakes.  And people, if you’re in Orange County, you NEED to get your cake from her. Not only did she do a beautiful job, but it tasted amazing, a mouthful of heaven and delight.

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Seriously?

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Yup.

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At the end of the day Berlyn was a very happy girl.

NO TV

We decided to cut the cable.

And when I say we I really mean Pat. Just Pat. Not me, because I am not that foolish. No. I am sensible and outstanding and would never dream of doing a thing like that. No, because I dream of the Thunder Cats, Jamie from Small Wonder, and Jessie Spanno getting all jacked up on caffeine pills. That’s how my world works, and it’s splendid, and I like it.

But we were looking at our life, and all the stuff we fill it with, and TV felt extraneous. And I started to understand the necessity for shutting it off. It became like a hemorrhoid. That’s right, TV is a bloody bubble dangling from your pooper. And when I look back on my life am I going to say, “I’m so glad I watched 14 hours of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network, that really impacted my life in a positive way. I think that was the turning point for becoming a better mother, wife and human being…” ?

Although I agree with our, ahem, Pat’s decision, the transition has still been very hard on me, because you see, I do this very important ritual everyday. I call it a ritual because I am a bit compulsive about it. I stick the children in their bedrooms, shut their doors, turn on the washing machine, as to give myself the allusion that I am at least partially productive, and watch TV. I could usually squeeze one show in before Berlyn would come down the stairs and say something like, I’m all done in my room, can I come down now?

Uh, ya, hang on. I would reply as I shoved the cookie crumbs off my sweater and clicked the mute button on the remote.

This was my coveted time in the middle of the day where I wasn’t responsible for any little people, and I just got to sit. And rot my brains a little bit. And my belly, because, you know, all the cookies…

It would refresh me, after I got off the couch and brushed the ass-print and crumbles out of the cushions I was ready to conquer the next part of my day. But now I don’t have that brief pause anymore. And at first, I was like a confused chimpanzee in a lab experiment. I smacked the top of the TV, scratched my ear, and threw the remote down the toilet. I honked and squealed at the blank screen, pulled my pants down, and pooed on the useless cable box.

Just kidding. That’s gross.

So now I have this time where I used to watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but now I look out the window and do a water color painting of the rich landscape I see before me. Nope, I’m lying. Instead I take a nap. I get all cozy in my bed and fall asleep for exactly the recommend time an adult is allotted to nap . Nope, that’s not true either.

I actually just switched screens. Now instead of the TV its the computer.

Patato, Potato.