What to do in Portland

What to do in Portland, OregonPortland. Have you been? My husband and I recently spent 5 days there and got to explore. And eat. Mostly eat. When I knew I was headed to Portland, I reached out to a blogger I know from the area, Sam Rosen. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing some of her favorite spots with me. Because she is awesome, she put together a really comprehensive list of places for me to try, organized by neighborhoods! Check out her Portland recommendations here.  Be sure to pin it to save it for later! And today I am sharing “What to do in Portland” with you based on our favorites from the trip including tons of spots from her list. [Read more…]

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Five Songs Friday

Straw hats, ginger beer and rad straws = weekendYeah! It’s Friday! I’m so glad this week is over. Last weekend I got to celebrate a good friend’s birthday in Palm Springs. Well, I got to spend 4 hours there until I had to head home for an emergency. The time I did get to spend there was sun, pool, friends and music. Totally relaxing. I’m really hoping that this weekend holds a little more of that, just closer to home. And in case you are hoping for the same, here is what I’m in to right now.

Five Songs Friday

1. Lower Dens: I have shazamed this song about 12 times in the last two months. I think I like it.

2. White Sea’s voice MAKES this song by Big Data for me.

3. This Talking Head’s song might be my all time favorite.

4. My head bobs every time I hear this Night Riots song.

5. My kids have been watching a lot of Ghostbusters 2 lately and this Bobby Brown song still holds up I think.

 

Art Projects for Kids

Kid's art project for home decor.I’m always looking for ways to add new decor pieces and art to our house. I love the way that adding even a small new piece can change-up the feel of the room. And I love to get the kids involved. Art projects for kids where you display them in the home is a great way to introduce them to interior design. I did this project as a party activity, years ago. I found the leftover canvases and thought I would share it with you. It’s my favorite kind of craft: simple, non-messy and lot’s of personality. This art project, on DIY fabric canvases, also make a great gift for their young friends. We’ve done this several times and the recipient always loves their custom, one of a kind gift.

DIY fabric canvases for kid's art projects. The fabric canvases are really easy to make. You can use a ready-made flat canvas and just cover it with fabric or you can find a sturdy piece of cardboard and cover them like I did here. I just used Super 77 (my fave spray adhesive – use gloves or you’ll stick your fingers together. Forever) and smoothed on the fabric. Since I made at least 30 of them, with all different fabrics, I used cardboard boxes cut to all different sizes. I found this great Ed Roth Stencil Book (but I love this one too!) but you can always just set out the Sharpies or fabric markers and let the kids free hand something. I really loved using patterned fabric for these canvases because it added so much interest and color. I just made sure to choose prints that would work with a large graphic image, and weren’t too busy with too many colors.

Art project to do with kids.The kids really loved making these! I just helped tape down the stencil for them and let them go to town with the marker.

Stencil art project for kids.It is a quick project that leaves them with a piece of art that they created from scratch. I loved seeing the sense of pride as they finished their canvases.

Easy kid's art project with cute patterned fabric canvases.I love using the markers because you don’t really have to worry about dry time and you can add them in to your decor immediately. This worked great as a party project because it was also the favor that they got to take home with them.

Easy kid's home decor art project.The canvases are also really light so they hang easily on the wall with a little DIY string hanger situation on the back. You can even make these for different holidays and add them in as part of your holiday decor.

These would also be great for a playdate or sleepover!

St. Patrick’s Day Craft

Easy St. Patrick's Day Yarn Bracelet DIYThere is not a lot of green in my wardrobe. So every year I roll my eyes at St. Patrick’s Day. I’m a grown up, so people should not pinch me. But I like to try to at least play along for my kid’s sake. I followed an old tutorial of mine and made a super easy St. Patrick’s Day craft. This green yarn bracelet means that I now comply with “the rules.” It didn’t take any time at all and I already had the yarn lying around so it was super inexpensive. It really is the perfect way to get green in your outfit without putting out a lot of energy. Save that energy for adding green food coloring to random foods and drinks. This would also make a great craft to do with friends at an afternoon playdate!

See Yarn Bracelet tutorial here.

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Rap for Moms #StreamTeam

My FAVE new show on Netflix, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I don’t know if you know this, but TV is my favorite hobby. I love to watch the shows. All of them. I prefer reality TV and comedies, but I’m obsessed with Revenge, Nashville, and Hindsight as well. As a member of Netflix’ #StreamTeam, I got the chance to check out a new series last week. BUT YOU ARE IN LUCK BECAUSE THE SHOW, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, STARTS TODAY!!!

You HAVE to watch this show! It is my new favorite and not just because I got to see it before everyone (that was super cool though). This show, starring Ellie Kemper as Kimmy, is produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (who also produced 30 Rock!) and is comedy gold! I burst out laughing on several occasions. And binge watched the 6 preview episodes I was given in one day, ignoring my children as needed.  The basic premise is that Kimmy, and three other gals, were taken in to a cult about 15 years ago and kept in an underground bunker by a very misguided religious leader on the premise that they are the only survivors of the apocalypse. Long story short, they are found and Kimmy chooses to start life over in New York City. She does everything she can to conceal her past (shown through amazing flashbacks) and fit in to present day society. And the hilarity ensues. The supporting cast is SO good, including a genius guest star, an almost unrecognizable Martin Short, in the role of a crazy town plastic surgeon. The dialogue is fast and witty and just so so good! The show is full of heart, a wacky cast of characters (Jane Krakowski! Carole mutha effing Kane!) and off the wall scenarios that make for a really fun show. And while there are lots of smiles and bright colors, there is some darkness as well which makes it really intriguing. I will be watching the rest of the season this afternoon.

Watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix right now!

Chicken and Waffle appetizer on a DIY gangsta rap tray.But the show got me thinking. Although I was not kept in a bunker for the last 15 years, having kids sometimes keeps you from staying up on what’s cool, new and in style. I’ve accepted that my clothes aren’t always going to be in fashion since I can’t afford to keep buying the newest styles (I’ve got mouths to feed and my youngest has grown out of his toddler bed – we’re just telling him it’s super cozy and that he’ll be able to straighten his legs when he sleeps again soon) and I have to go sit outside in parks for playdates. It’s all about comfort, fashion just sort of falls by the wayside. But one thing that I had to give up was my love of rap music. By the time my oldest was 2, I realized that I would pretty much no longer be able to listen to it. Especially when he started chanting, “f**cker” at the grocery store.

The first two cassette tapes I got were Beastie Boys and Salt and Pepa, at around 8 years old. Yo MTV Raps introduced my sister and I to Kool Mo Dee, Rob Base and we knew every word of Young MC’s Fastest Rhyme. I can’t tell you how many times we played ‘Me So Horny’ in junior high. And high school gave me Too Short and Ghetto Boys on the way to basketball games. I went back to more old school stuff in college with Eric B. and Rakim, Grandmaster Flash and Doug E. Fresh. And while dating my husband we listened to Slick Rick, Biggie, Mace, Beatnuts, Mos Def and Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice.

Gin and Juice Cocktail for your next girl's night.These are gin and juice cocktails, served in brown paper bags, for our gangster rap sewing class years ago. Above are the chicken and waffles appetizers I made served on a “gangster rap” tray I made complete with gold chains.

Thanks to super explicit lyrics and adult themes that still make me blush, I had to give up my rap. Especially since I have Sirius and, as a result of giving up the commercial breaks, I get unedited versions of my favorite rap songs on the rap channels. I am so out of touch in the rap game. My listening stopped just after Kanye’s ‘The College Dropout’ dropped. Do people still say that? All I know is that when I say something about “sipping the sizurp” from ‘Through the Wire,’ no one knows what I’m talking about. Fast forward, he’s now pretty much a Kardashian and goes by Weezus or something and has made 150 more albums that I’ve never heard.

So I decided to reach out to my friend, Jazz, who is about 15 years younger than me and doesn’t have kids. She knows what’s up. I asked her to make me a playlist of rappers that I need to know about to catch me up. I thought I’d share the playlist with you so you can get a rap primer if you need it too. I know there are many more songs that I have missed in the last 6 years of being pretty much rap-free. But Kimmy didn’t conquer New York in a day, and I’m not going to be rap fluent that quickly either. Listen on if you enjoy rap and if you have other songs or artists to share, leave them in the comments!

WARNING: THIS PLAYLIST IS UNEDITED AND HAS SWEARING, SLANG THAT I DON’T UNDERSTAND, AND REALLY FILTHY LYRICS. DO NOT PLAY THIS AROUND YOUR KIDS. THIS WILL NOT AUTO PLAY. I WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THERAPY BILLS IF YOUR KIDS HEAR THESE SONGS (Just kidding, my mom let us listen to whatever we wanted and we learned many lessons from them in terms of not repeating things, not using words if you don’t know what they mean, etc. We grew up in the suburbs and did not turn to a life of crime, because of rap, like Nancy Reagan suggested). Oh! And I added Fastest Rhyme because it’s awesome. You’re welcome.

Now, for serious, go watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. So funny. Although this post is in conjunction with Netflix, I was not required to post about this. I legit fell for this show hard. Thank you for supporting the companies that let me find cool products, services etc. that make my life better. Laughing is always a good thing. #StreamTeam