Books: Big Little Lies

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Hi there! I met with my book club earlier this week (our hostess had creepy Halloween candy for us!) and I asked my bookworm amigas to share a sentence or two for MFBS readers!

My quick summary: The three Australian women in Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies might remind you of people you know in your town. A carefully plotted book about school gossip, strained family dynamics, new friendships and character’s private struggles. it is light and funny but quickly turns to serious matters that affect us all…all over the world.

Here’s what the ladies had to say…

PV said: “For me, the book was less about the murder mystery and more about the relationships in our lives. Friendships, mother-daughter relationships, exes…they were all so relatable.”

MZ said: “I kept waiting for the backstabbing to happen between the three main characters but I was surprised! I loved the story about friendship and the character development. It was honorable. It showed me that new friendships can be really strong.”

MM said: “It was so relatable and funny! So realistic.”

DP said: “It was a fun read! It kept me going. It was about real relationships, jealousy, admiration…”

Of course, we said so much more! Grab this book with your girls and be ready to talk all night long. We surely did over creepy chocolates and wine!

Let me know if you have read Big Little Lies or plan on picking it up! Enjoy!

Long Hair, Do Care

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When my first baby boy was born, I chopped my hair off! I had a short angled bob that was supposed to make my life easier, but after having my hair over my face during non-stop diaper changes, I was so frustrated about not being able to pull it back with a hair tie!

Growing up, I always heard my mom say that shorter hair cuts were better and easier for “aging mothers.” Although I love my mom and the years of advice she has given me, after that short bob experience,  I completely disregarded that piece!  I like to think that mothers are not “aging”  anymore either! I believe women should be able to feel and look stylish, beautiful and young with any outfit and with any hairstyle…at any age.

I am wearing my hair long (it hasn’t been this long in ages!) and I’m blowing it out smooth to wear it loose even when on mom duty. Thanks to products like the Dove Advanced Hair Series Pure Care Dry Oil System, my hair is not weighted down despite the longer locks. My favorite of the hair line is the Dry Oil. I pump one or two drops of it to my palms and rub it in to my hair’s ends after I blow it out dry. It smells delicious too!

Dove Pure Care Dry Oil collection is ideal for all hair types and delivers five times silkier hair after just one wash. That’s 5x silkier hair when using the system of shampoo, conditioner and treatment vs. non-conditioning shampoo. It is also proven to absorb quickly. The dry oil features a blend of African Macadamia oil and Coconut oil.

I’m challenging all madrecitas to wear your hair as you please and to take the Dove Silky Hair Dare! Dove Hair is daring women everywhere to try Dove Pure Care Dry Oil, risk-free now through December 31, 2014. My mom might think my hair length is too young, but I’m keeping it anyway and I’m keeping it smooth and healthy!

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*If you are not completely satisfied with the Dove Advanced Hair Series Pure Care Dry Oil system, Dove will refund your purchase (from 9/21 – 12/31). Visit hairmoneyback.com for details.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

images: CR Photography

Ofrenda: Day of the Dead Altar

 

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Last week, I received a super care package from my great-aunt in Mexico! She is the sweetest tia who has known that I have been wanting to set up a proper Day of the Dead ofrenda for years!

My maternal grandmother passed away when my mom was a teenager. As a little girl, I would listen to stories of her on special days throughout the year. My aunts, uncles and mother would dedicate a mass for her on Mother’s Day and on her birthday and they honored, remembered, and spoke of her on those days. On el Día de los Muertos, a day that honors loved ones who have left this world, my mother would build an altar, an ofrenda, of fruit, pan de muerto (sweet bread), bright candles, a glass of water… and would place a framed picture of her in the middle of it all. The mood was always a little somber on every November 1st and 2nd and I remember lying in my room adjacent to the kitchen and watching the candles flicker in the night, wishing I would have met my beautiful grandmother.

Remembering loved ones who have died is always heartbreaking, but there is something so festive about this tradition many Mexicans practice. The preparation takes weeks!  Sugar skulls to create, bread to bake, tamales or other favorite foods to prepare…! My aunt sent me little sugar coffins and tiny Catrinas (with paper handbags and all!!), She also sent the pan de muerto you see here and jamoncillo candy (a pumpkin seed, milk and sugar bar).  I placed it all on the altar along with my Frida Kahlo Catrina from Puerto Vallarta, apples, tamales and candles.

We have been reading Day of the Dead for weeks and the boys were excited to see the contents of the special box from my Tia Lucina. They will hear stories of a special woman too but for them, it will be all about Aunt Liz. Gracias Tia Lucina in Cuernavaca and Mami in Chicago for instilling such beautiful Mexican traditions I can pass along to my Jersey boys. Las quiero.

If you have your ofrenda ready, take a picture and upload it to Mommy Maestra’s Facebook page for a chance to win a lovely prize! Click HERE for all the details! Good luck!

Images: CR Photography

Everyday Mami

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If I had to pick an outfit to wear every day this month, it would have to be something like this: A chunky ribbed sweater with just a little hint of interesting, some really soft and worn-out skinny cords, and super comfy and cool flats. I would grab my lovely cross-body bag that goes with everything and do my usual mom duties. Ah…mom duties. Driving back and forth to school, hiking through soccer (and baseball!) fields with a couple gorgeous boys attached to my hip, and sitting in the car during piano lessons…

The colors would be dark (all black if I could!) to match my changing moods. One day I’m loving the beautiful colors of the changing leaves, and then the next day I curse the bone-chilling rain and startling thunder. Cold nights. Warm fireplace. My Cozy. Every day. Mami.

What’s your favorite, every day, fall mommy outfit?

Textured Zip-Neck Pullover
Skinny Cords
Flats
Cross-Body Bag (old) WHY did I see THIS one?!?!
Sunnies (metal rim)

Images: CR Photography

Number One Pencil Skirt

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I had a pencil skirt I wore for my 21st birthday that I LOVED. I remember I wore it with a black tube top! Ah! How times have changed. The pencil skirt trend comes and goes and I have finally found another one that I love just as much as my old one. It’s great to grow with fashion and found that this look, fits my style, my attitude and it’s reliable for many, many occasions.

I’m thinking I can wear this outfit to the countless of holiday parties that are just around the corner. You can even pair the skirt up with a cropped sweater or a button dress shirt. Do you remember an outfit piece you wore when you were “younger?” Please share!

Gunmetal Pencil Skirt
Cropped Top with Kimono Sleeves
Studded Pumps (old, similar HERE)
Crackle Clutch
Portia Bracelet
Linked necklace (old, similar HERE)

Images: CR Photography

Awesome All Day Everyday with FabKids

 

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Santi received a complimentary FabKids outfit for this review. However, all opinions and statements are my own.

Santi is such a little ham! He’s also fun, bright and super funny. When I pick out clothes for him, I make sure it all matches his personality. This FabKids outfit was absolutely perfect!

You might have seen my last FabKids post featuring Diego’s sporty style. This is how the kid’s line works: You first stake a style quiz for your child. Once you answer a few questions, the website will take you to a personalized FabShop (a handpicked selection!). All that’s left to do is shop and consider the weather! I’m loving this fitted long sleeve because of the color standing out amongst the typical fall colors. It’s colorful and fun…just like my Santi. The jeans are slim fitting yet super soft and comfortable for him.  Middle kids should get new outfits too!

My boys are growing up so fast and as Diego gets older, his “hand-me-downs” are not working for Santi anymore. Diego comes home with holes in his pants and extra dirty shirts. I don’t mind at all! Kids will be kids and in  my opinion, the messier they are, it reassures me that they are learning and playing a lot.  Signing up for the monthly $29.95 VIP Membership with FabKids is smart as it allows you to receive your child’s first outfit for $15 plus FREE shipping, save up to 50% OFF retail prices, receive exclusive VIP pricing, skip any month and earn FabKids reward points. Just visit FabKids by the 5th of every month and shop or skip! The selection for boys AND girls is super cute and designed with every type of kid in mind.

Have you tried FabKids? Please let me know if you do!

Images: CR Photography

Enough Time to Read and Eat this Weekend

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Happy Monday! Are you off from work today? I hope so! Because the majority of our family is off today, I, um, sat for 8 hours straight on our rainy Saturday to read THIS! I only stopped to check in on the kids and feed them! Horrible, I know, but I couldn’t help myself. The book was that good. The rest of the pile you see in this image taken by the lovely woman behind CR Photography, are other books I’m working on. I was so excited to get Oprah’s new book.

I also ate a lot this weekend. On my last post I told you that we were going to celebrate one of my BFFs’ 40th birthday and oh we did. We went to this awesome place in Jersey City. 15 Fox Place is a normal looking house turned into a private restaurant on a residential block, a place that would look like your grandma’s house. And guess what? Grandma is really the person who does all the cooking! Plate after plate of delicious Italian food keeps rolling out of the kitchen! The whole house is used as a restaurant but you and your party are assigned a room beautifully decorated as a private dining room. Grandma and grandpa have a small staff and when I peaked in the kitchen…a little Italian woman was actually hand washing the china! It was really a fantastic experience. Hubby and I can’t wait to take out-of-town guests to this amazing place. Thank you L & S!

I hope you had enough time to read and eat yummy food this weekend! I’ll help you with the weekend links. Enjoy!

Discovered THIS new book for kids.

THIS pumpkin smoothie!

6 signs you are burnt out!

Hilarious. We’re well into the second month of school…and I never accomplish #8 on this list.

Carlos Slim proposes a 3 day work week. See what New Yorkers thought HERE. Thanks, Ana!

When the boys eat fruit with their cold cereal in the mornings: success! Take a look at what kids around the world are having.

6 Decisions You’ll Never Regret Making

Wondering what you think about THIS parenting strategy. Thanks, Caro!

Does your family go “ghosting” or “booing?”

THIS bag!

Have a great week!

Trendy at Any Age

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Hi! Are you ready for the weekend? I am! A great friend of mine is celebrating her 40th tomorrow night and when I bought these leggings, I decided…I’m wearing this! This look is classic, comfortable, and just the right amount of trendy.

Since last year, I loved the leather (and faux-leather) look I saw so many younger girls stylishly putting together, but I couldn’t bring myself to wear pants in ALL leather. BUT I do appreciate when I see other mothers do it! When I saw these leggings, I thought, “perfect…for me!”  I also came to realize that 1) moms can be trendy too and 2) if done right, one can rock the trends no matter what age.

For me, it’s really about subtlety. I wanted these leggings because it had just the right dose of faux-leather, a trend that you are seeing everywhere.  I want to make a sexy statement without going overboard.  Paired with a detailed silk top like this makes the whole look elegant. Just remember to pick one that is long enough back!  I found a necklace in the Juniors department (can you say, trendy at a lower price?), a chic clutch I know I’ll use a lot this season, and I always stick with a classic heel.

My piece of advise: If unsure of how to rock a look, always stick to one trendy piece. Try to balance the rest of your outfit with neutral, classic, and chic pieces. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Side Stripe Black Legging
Ann Taylor blouse (sold out but similar HERE)
Clutch/Crossbody
Pumps (similar HERE)

Necklace

Link Bracelet

Images: CR Photography

Garments for Good

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It’s such a great feeling to shop and do good at the same time! When I saw this tee at J.Crew, I loved the idea and of course, as a former teacher, I know that every little bit counts.

This tee supports DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit that makes it easy to support public education teachers. It’s very simple, really. Teachers post what they need (books for their class, art supplies, etc.) and people like us can help out. I found a middle school teacher who needs 90 copies of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. I know what that’s like. I once bought 30 copies of Romeo and Juliet from my own pocket for a classroom library…and that wasn’t enough. All 90 of my students had to share those 30 copies.

It’s great that through this platform, I can share what I find with lots of people. 100% of proceeds of this tee I’m wearing goes directly to DonorsChoose.org. J.Crew also has this one, that helps Teach for America.

I love supporting companies that are doing good things for many communities. And I especially love teachers! Don’t you?

DonorChoose.org tee
Cardigan
Boyfriend Jeans
Booties (last season, but loving THESE)
Bracelet

Images: CR Photography

Weekend on the Go

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Hi! Did you have a good weekend? I have to confess…I really don’t know how to do absolutely nothing. On Saturday morning, it was raining and we didn’t have to be anywhere but after only a couple of hours of flipping through magazines and reading on the couch, we spontaneously decided to go into New York City. We went to try tortas at a Mexican place that sadly didn’t pass our test. We are always on the search for great Mexican food and feel so disappointed when we try a new place and it isn’t very good. Sigh.

So on Sunday, I just decided to cook myself. Jajaja! I usually get the weekend off from preparing tons of food for four hungry guys but I have been missing the variety of Mexican food Hubby and I grew up devouring…I just don’t know if we’ll find it around here. I might have to open up a place myself ;-) Or wait for my mami to visit in November!

The rest of the weekend was probably much like yours…go, go, go! Organizing the house, laundry and prepping for the week takes up all of Sunday! As always, I have rounded up the best I found on line and in my magazines. Enjoy!!

10 Tips for Raising Problem Solvers

Holiday traditions starting now!

Halloween Banana Treats

Funny. Very funny.

6 Ideas to Pull Yourself Out of a Bad Parenting Day

The Intellectual Woman’s Heartthrob

Loving this ankle boot!

Because every lady looks great in a poncho.

You might have seen this a dozen times, but did you click on it? #1, 17, 34… and I’d like to add: Mexican food!

The perfect party platter.

Have a great week!