Cool Backpacks for School


August 17, 2013

As a mom, we all have to draw our line in the sand somewhere, a place you’re not willing to go beyond. For me it’s many things: I won’t let my kids wear Crocs, I won’t drive a mini van, and I won’t let them have a Dora the Expolora backpack. I’m a meanie, right?

My 6 year old daughter is starting first grade in the fall and needed a proper backpack. Because her taste level cannot be trusted,  I had to scour the internet for some non-princess choices to present to her.

Here were my top pics:


cool backpacks for school

1. Watermelon backpack by Lazy Oaf x Nasty Gal

2. Coral Peaches by JanSport

3. Herschel Supply Co. for crewcuts

4. Herschel Supply Co. for Tea

5. Denim-dye by Mi-Pac

6. Fjallraven Kanken 

We already have the Fjallraven and offered that to our daughter, but of course she snubbed her nose at, because I need something neuw mooomm! So finally she made a decision on the pink striped Herschel one from JCrew.

Done and done and no Dora.

Everybody wins.


I don’t have a child, so maybe this is where the difference lies. I cannot see spending $55 on a kids backpack, when they would be happier with a $18 Dora one. No one will judge you based on your child’s backpack… and if they do, they have a serious problem. I do agree that the choices offered to your daughter are significantly more pleasing to the eye than any Dora back pack I’ve seen. AND I suppose that if you have to look it and having hanging around your house for an entire school year, it might make a significant difference in what even i would allow. 🙂 Ok, FINE, I see from your perspective.

by Rachelle on August 17, 2013

Yes, Rachelle!
and I totally agree, $55 on a kid’s backpack is steep. It’s nuts. But I think it’s a small price to pay for sanity, and she will use it until it falls apart. And then I’ll duct tape it back together and she can keep on using it. That’s the plan at least…

by beckey on August 19, 2013

OMG. A watermelon backpack? So great!

by melinda on August 19, 2013

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Summer is for Lovers


August 8, 2013

When I was little I used to bite my fingernails. A disgusting habit that carried me well into my teen-years. I finally broke free of it when I started wearing acrylic nails. I’m embarrassed to even admit that I wore them. I would endure the layers upon layers of toxic chemicals and an hour every week in the nail salon just so I could point at things with a casual authority. Oh look, the directions say to go this way, and then my hand would manage to find my chin while I stroked my jaw line with all the awkward conviction of a child wearing an oversized glove. I’d strum my long thick fingernails on the table, just to really drive the point home that I paid for these pieces of plastic on the ends of my fingers, and I was going to draw as much attention to them as I possibly could.

Thruuump, thruuump, thrummp.

I remember I got talked into wearing them on my wedding day, and every time I looked down at my hands that day, with new nails and a ringed finger, I kept thinking that they didn’t belong to me. Those must be someone else’s hands. They belonged to someone older, someone classier. We went to Paris on our honeymoon, and I pointed to something, a piece of art at the Pompidou maybe, and it all felt so foreign; the hand, the country, the marriage.

I’ve since come home, and my hands and marriage feel like my own, but I have started biting my nails again, along with the hardened pieces of skin around my nails that just beg to be gently torn off with my teeth.

I blame this on summer. Summer with it’s promises of greatness, it’s lazy cadence, and warm and carefree breezes have all catapulted me into a new type of crazy.

I think for me, summer has really convinced me that I am a mother to three children.


You know for some people when something crazy, or great, or unreal happens to them they say, “It still hasn’t sunk in.”

Well for me, it has finally sunk in. Three people call me mommy, and while I am in love with each of them, and and adore being a mommy, all three of them at once is really starting to cramp my style.

Lately the hardest part has been the constant arguing from my 6 and 3 year old.

At the beginning of summer when school had just got out, they relished in being near each other. They would play for hours upstairs building forts and dressing up, turning doll shoes and trucks into fake food, or they’d do a series of artistic renderings of my face on watercolor paper. And on a rare occasion they would pause and do something thoughtful for me: sweep the bathroom floor or feed the dog. I thought summer was for lovers, and I was in love.

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Then slowly at first, there was a sea change. The hours of uninterrupted play time turned into 30 minutes tops before I heard shrieking, crying and the unmistakable hollow sound of a blow to the back.

I guess it was inevitable. I actually thought I had highly evolved children. Like somehow I was the exception, “Oh my children never fight. They are each other’s best friends.” Well the egg is now on my face. Turns out they are not highly evolved, but instead Hudson is a cry baby, and Berlyn is a tattletale.

So my nails get shorter. I munch them while waiting in line at Trader Joe’s as I watch Hudson rearrange all the candy bars and Berlyn slap his hand and tell him not to. I tear off a large piece of skin while they violently argue over who gets to open the automatic door at Nordstrom. I’m out of things to do. We did VBS, we did the library, art projects, lemonade stands, nature hikes, beach, pool, water park, we did picnics, farmer’s markets, zoo, lunch with friends and park dates. Now I’m out of activities, my kids are out of patience, and my fingers are out of nails.

Summer can end now.


The onion plant has a fan of hollow, bluish-green leaves and the bulb at the base of the plant begins to swell when a certain day-length is reached. In the autumn the foliage dies down and the outer layers of the bulb become dry and brittle. The crop is harvested and dried and the onions are ready for use or storage. The crop is prone to attack by a number of pests and diseases, particularly the onion fly, the onion eelworm and various fungi that cause rotting. Some varieties of A. cepa such as shallots and potato onions produce multiple bulbs.`*-..

Have fun

by Lakeshia Singco on August 13, 2013

I totally agree. We brought our kids to Sharm el Sheik (Egypt) for their summer hols (I’m in Dublin, Ireland). You wuold think that they would be grateful. NO. Our little darlings (aged 11, 10, and 7) fought the whole first week. So much so that I text my Dad and Mum and told them I was miserable and he called them and gave them what for on the phone. After that the 11 year old stepped back from her brothers and the 10 year old stepped back away from his brother a bit. I love them dearly but BRING ON THE SCHOOL TIME!

by Alison Behan on August 18, 2013

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Brigade Parade


August 1, 2013

Things have been happening over here at the ‘ol Brigade lately.

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Like the ridiculousness of my face in the above photo.

Additionally here are some other fun things:

I got an award from the Orange County Press Club for the cover story I wrote in the December issue of OC Family.

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Which OH WOW, I was floored that I even got a nomination. It was an honor to be recognized and attend the Press Club event. Plus, I got to eat a fancy dinner with 5 forks, and perfect my golf clap as other writers were awarded too.

I wrote an article for the Orange County Register newspaper that was published on Tuesday:

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And I’m featured on the talented and always adorable Curly Girl’s blog today!



Now I’m going to hibernate under a rock because this is all too much for me.


Holy cow. I am a die hard Curly Girl fan- even to the point of ditching Boston on our very first visit to go find her lovely shop in Belmont (about 30 minutes outside of the city). Once there I practically drooled over every single card/magnet/cutting board with her cute designs on them. (I may or may not have required a really large bag to carry all of the goodys I could not leave without…) Now to hear that you guys have teamed up? Mind blown. Congratulations! I look forward to reading your funny/inspirational/honest posts in 2 places rather than just one. Go girl!

by Amanda on August 1, 2013

Awesome Beckey! So proud of you!

by Debbi on August 1, 2013

SO proud of you/thrilled for you! You are my hero.

by Rhea on August 1, 2013

Not surprised, not at all, your writing is witty and awesome! One of the view blogs that I follow and actually read! 😉

by Lisa J on August 1, 2013

It’s always the ones who don’t pay attention in class who are the secret geniuses. Take that, Torrey Programers (unless you were secretly a part of them, too).

by Erin Huckaby on August 1, 2013

Curly Girl Design is how I found you!!! (Those flyers or post its on the side – whatever they call them). And I am so glad I did. Congratulations on your achievements. It was only a matter of time really. Don’t cha think?

by Jessica on August 6, 2013


by Emma on August 7, 2013

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