A Simple Kind of Life Series

Monday, November 25, 2013

My ENTIRE makeup collection.

If you feel like clutter is taking over your space and your life, you definitely need to read all about my decluttering experience and how it's changed my life.

It's really ironic that I'm dispensing advice about decluttering, because I was always the most messy, sentimental, disorganized person in my family.  But I have truly changed, and I will never go back.

Check out my posts here on Hellobee!
Sisi's books. 

Sisi's toys.


Sisi's Semi-Homemade Boston Terrier Costume

Sunday, November 17, 2013

 One proud puppy!

Last year, Sisi was a piece of sushi.  This year, Sisi was a Boston Terrier.  Dogs are one of her great passions (along with fire hydrants, ducks, and snakes).  Every day, she asks to wear a tail made of ribbon or string of some sort, and begs to wear Pesto's collar.  I just knew it would rock her world to transform her into a dog for Halloween.

She wore a velvet leotard on sale from the craft store (8.00 I think?) and I sewed some white velour onto the chest.  Her mittens were from amazon, and I sewed on the little black spots to make them paws.  I bought the leather trim for the collar from the craft store, and we went to Petco to make Sisi her very own "Siena" collar.  The mask is made from starched felt and elastic. The characteristic zig zag tail is made of starched felt as well.  So cheap, so easy, and uber cute.

We had such a great Halloween!  She trick or treated about 7 or 8 houses and then was over it. We went to our friends' house for dinner, then I asked her to trade all her Halloween candy for a paleo brownie with coconut milk ice cream.  She somewhat hesitantly made the swap, but I have a feeling next year it will be really hard to pry the candy out of her little paws. I may need to up the ante even more.  We'll get there when we get there, I suppose!


No Birthday Party This Year?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Last year, in lieu of a birthday party, Sisi helped me make paleo cake with chocolate frosting. We gave Sisi a party hat, sang happy birthday, and that was it.  She totally loved it!

Contrast that with her 1 year party. I swore I'd keep it simple. Relative to many of my friends' kids' parties, it WAS simple.  Just light lunch, desserts, doggy themed decor and some baby toys and blankets thrown on the lawn.  But somehow I still ended up spending a lot of money, and hours and hours of time crafting all the little details.  Simple is very hard for me, especially when decorating and crafting is my passion.
onesie wall art

I'm extremely torn about what to do for Sisi's third birthday.  Part of me wants to throw her a small and simple no-fuss party. Part of me wants to scrap the party, and just take Sisi to the aquarium and have family meet us for dinner at a restaurant.

I need to ask myself the following questions:
1.  Am I capable of throwing a small and simple party?? 
2.  Which option is cheaper?
3.  And most importantly, which option will Sisi like better?  

Off the top of my head, my answers are "No, I'm not capable of keeping it no-fuss," "The aquarium will obviously be cheaper," and "Sisi would rather be surrounded by fish than at a party."  All signs point to the Aquarium.

Except there is something inside me that wants to throw her a party anyway.  Perhaps I want to show my love by putting time and creativity into her special day.  Perhaps I feel guilty always attending amazing parties but never throwing them.  Perhaps I just want an excuse to bust out my Silhouette die-cutter machine.  But even with harsh self-imposed rules (like no goodie bags, no more than 10 kids, no centerpieces, no massive dessert table) I still can't help but want a face-painter, buttload of balloons, clever games, pretty linens, and specialty cake.  All those things cost money and effort. Have you ever blown up 100 balloons and tried to hang them from the ceiling?  I have.  Never again.  

While I totally love and appreciate the extravagant parties Sisi attends regularly, I've come to realize they are just not for me.  First, I'm a minimalist now. I can't stomach the idea of a bunch of wasted food and decorations that will end up in the trash.  Plus, presents are so fun, but we are really trying to keep our house clutter-free.

Also, being paleo makes parties even harder.  Lots of parents can simplify their parties by doing pizzas, cake and punch. But there are really not a lot of cheap paleo options. If I'm going to throw a party, I want to feed people nutritiously.  I can only think of a few restaurants that would really fit the bill, and they aren't necessarily cheap.  Oh, and me cooking for everyone?  Not even an option.

So, I don't think I'll be throwing a party for Sisi this year. Even though this fact causes me a bit of guilt and grief,  I'm pretty sure Sisi won't care.  Joe even said we could use some of the money we would have put into a party, and go on a special little getaway instead.  Maybe a night in San Diego or Santa Barbara for the three of us?  Sounds amazing to me.

All this got me thinking back to childhood- I never chose parties for myself as a kid.  Being the introvert that I am, I always asked to take my two best friends somewhere special for the day, like Disneyland.  Then we'd go home, have a Baskin Robbin's ice cream cake, and call it a splendid day. Sisi is so much like me, I have a feeling that's what she'd pick, too.  Nothing wrong with that!  

How do you guys feel about kids' birthday parties?  Do you enjoy throwing them?  Any tips for keeping them simple and stress-free?


East Coast Trip Part 3: Gloucester, MA

Joe's parents have an amazing and kind of spooky home on the Gloucester Harbor.  It's our 3rd time visiting this fisherman's town, and we love it.  In the early morning at sunrise, the lobster fishermen are sailing out to sea, I reckon there's no better coastal view.  

Morning coffee and a 40 foot drop... 

 Gloucester cousins!

Buns and bouys...

The dangerous grassy balcony with no walls. 

As Joe pushed Sisi around town in her stroller, someone actually yelled to us across the street, "I've never seen that before in Gloucester!"  We were so confused.  He said he'd never seen a dad push a stroller in this town before.  I guess Italian machismo is alive and well there??

I gave her a mint, and she was stoked.

We took a day trip to Boston, and pretty much walked the entire city. So awesome that Sisi still fits in the ergo carrier! 

Holocaust Memorial.  What an elegant and poignant monument.

Seaweed and sardine snack break at Quincy Market.  It was at this point several Asian tourists began to take pictures and videos of Sisi, and I'm not sure why.  Was it the Hello Kitty sweater?  The fact that she was eating seaweed and sardines?  The fact that she is part Asian?  


Back in Gloucester..

Strolling through Rockport, a picturesque coastal town...

And of course, a seafood feast on our last night! Lobsters, crabs, clam steamers, and more. Thanks to our Gloucester family for hooking it up!


East Coast Trip Part 2: The Berkshires, MA

Monday, November 4, 2013

We actually intended to stop by Vermont on the way from New York to Gloucester Massachusetts. Then two days before my trip, Joe asked, "Did you even map out the route from Montauk to Vermont?  It's like a 9 hour drive."  Whoops!  I just assumed Vermont was on the way to Gloucester. We ended up cancelling Vermont because a 9 hour drive with a 2 year old is not my idea of a good time. Just not worth it for a few days of Vermont (as stunning as Vermont is!)

Instead, we spent two relaxing days in Western Massachusetts where we had our fill of woods, farms, and gorgeous "ponds" (what they call ponds, I call huge lakes!)  It was exactly what we craved.

On the way to the Berkshires.

We got to stay in this amazing cabin in the woods, which I found on AirBNB.  I highly recommend it for a fun getaway!  No TV, but beautiful scenery, funky retro modern furniture, and a wood stove that we gathered around each night.

Wandering around Gould Farm. Sisi's saying "Moo!" 

Ice cold water!  Joe swam all the way to the trees in the background. Such a stud!

Hand tied wildflower bouquets.  I think Sisi has a talent for flower arranging!

Next stop: Gloucester, Mass!  Coming soon!!