The Trouble with Living in the City

We’ve had the most lovely summer. Like it’s the nicest summer in the 11 years that I’ve been in DC. Most of the days have been in the low 80′s with zero humidity. It’s almost too cold for this Florida Orange to think about bringing my boy to the local pool. As you know I am a city girl. I love the bustle, the noise, the proximity to do anything, and I love taking Uber when I can’t get there fast enough. But I have one gripe, my sweet little local park, with a pavilion that houses a green roof (so cool right?!) has been tagged by some complete dummies. Look, I actually like graffiti. I appreciate seeing how a city has it’s local politics and flavors. But I’m a little pissed off at the profanity, drug references and general un-artistic-nature of this rubbish. On a bright side, Jack didn’t seem to care. But as he gets older and can actually understand what these words mean, I’d prefer him not learning them from the safe haven our neighborhood park is meant to provide.

WHAT TO DO?
1. I’ve called DC Parks and Rec. Someone put me through to an anonymous voice mail. I haven’t heard a peep and that was four days ago.
2. I tweeted the above picture to Muriel Bowser, my Ward Representative, and candidate for mayor, whom I have a sign in my front yard supporting her! No response either.

I’m not really sure what my options are other than getting in the car and going to a park in a better neighborhood. I’d love any suggestions if you have them.

Sexy Maternity Dresses for your Summer Holiday

Today marks 20 weeks into my pregnancy! Where does the time go, because that means I’m half-way there! I’m going to a wedding in Baltimore next weekend and it’s been sort of looming in the back of my thoughts all summer long. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to wear something I already owned. Up until this point, I’ve been squeezing into my regular summer clothes, but I do finally believe it’s time to get something with a little more room in the belly area. My girlfriend Rylee has been raving about ASOS’s selection for like years, so I checked out the maternity line and was amazed at how many different styles and items in general they have! Most of which aren’t insanely expensive like other maternity shops. So like a crazy, shopping-obsessed lady, I bought four options for this wedding (see above). I’m hoping at least one will work. If they do, I will surely be back for the rest of my fall wardrobe. If you are looking for cute, modern options that aren’t insultingly expensive, check out ASOS for some fresh new duds and let me know what you think! (BTW, this is NOT a sponsored post! It’s straight from my heart to yours.)

THE GOODS:
floral sweetheart dress | ivory shift dress
cobalt blue sexy french dress | printed floral with peekaboo back dress

Some Newsy News … Can you guess?

We are elated to share the news … You see, it would seem that I am going to have another baby! Yes indeed. I’ve been quiet as a mouse these last several months, I wonder if anyone besides spambots even reads this thing! Baby Mac 2.0 will be on his or her way this Christmas 2014! Yes, another Christmas baby. That would mark Jack on the 23rd and Daryle on the 25th. My money is on the 24th, wouldn’t that be fun?

I had a tough first trimester, and felt way worse than I did with Jack. For 10 weeks, I pretty much spent the entire day with morning sickness. I couldn’t handle the smell of cooking and hated the thought of anything besides toast. So after my long winded promise that I was Miss Number One Paleo Girl Forever and Ever, I’ve done a total 180 and am back to my old ways. Now that I am at 16 weeks pregnant though, I have so much more energy and have my normal appetite back. I suppose I should cut back on the ole breads, but they’re just so good!

Jack has been a sweet boy these last few months. When I ask him “what’s inside mommy’s belly?” he replies with glee “a baby!” My sweet angel, bless his heart. Every day I pray for a healthy, happy baby. We are beyond excited and a little bit freaked out by how we will juggle the babes. But at this point, we are more consumed by love for the new addition to our family!

 

Give Us Money, We Are Pretty

Wow, I’ve been m.i.a. for over a month and this is what I come back with? Well yes. Hi. I am alive, I assure you. I’ve been in la la land. No literally dreaming of living in LA for like forever. I’ve been looking at jobs, houses, schools. Yes, dreaming, hoping and praying. We shall see if anything bites.

Sometimes I think about loosening my Sunshine+Design posts to be a bit more free, and include some random imagery like this. It caught my eye while I was looking at a job board of an ad agency based in LA. I have no idea what the context of this picture is. It’s disturbing and weird. Plus the look on those ladies’ faces is miserable. I love it for it’s bizarreness.

So yes, I’m here. If you ever want to talk about Los Angeles anything, I’m all ears. And if you’d like to see more gems like this picture, follow me on Pinterestisito!

Wuvy wuv kittens!
Katie

Pretty dresses you can get dirty in

Here’s an idea I wish I had thought of: design a line of dresses that are stretchy and sturdy so that you can get on the floor and play with your kiddo, but then stand up and be wrinkle-free, put on a cute necklace and earrings, and off you go to meet your friends for a girl’s night out. Sold! Wait, but not only that, a dress that will grow with you, say if you are growing a little one inside of you. Hello my dear Sonnet James. I’m loving everything on the site: color block, stripes, navy and gold. They’ve got my name written on each item. And the prices are quite nice as well. Check out the entire line right here!

Paleo | Gluten Free | Strong Mind

I haven’t been blogging a ton lately. I’ve really been focusing on Me. Nearly eight weeks ago I began what I called a detox cleanse. I reset. I was dying inside for something new. I was sluggish, in a very bad state of mind. I’m constantly wanting a change, a big change. I’ve been obsessing about our family relocating to a new city and searching for jobs and houses. I’ve just been all over the place emotionally. And I was feeling fat. I was fat. I never really lost all of my “baby weight” and there I was two years after having Jack. It’s hard to look in the mirror every day and think “so I guess this is just what I look like now;” and almost surrender to that. I hated that feeling.

I started that cleanse with determination. I needed something new. I followed the guidelines, I shopped the pre-set grocery lists and ate the meals, falling in love with every bite. I did keep snacking because I had that bad habit as part of my daily ritual. I barely lost a pound in the first week. But then the second week we weren’t supposed to snack. We could eat big meals, until we felt satisfied, but no grazing! I took that rule seriously and stopped. Then, the pounds started coming off. Seeing results only made me feel more determined. I would eat a large meal yes. And then in between for the longest time my brain would say “feed me” but I wasn’t actually hungry. It took many many weeks to re-train my brain to not want to snack. But it really worked! Now, I eat three meals a day, and that is it. Occasionally if one of the meals is small, I’ll make myself a smoothie to tie myself over (usually almond milk, banana, peanut butter, flax seeds  and ice cubes — so yummy, it’s like a milkshake.) So now, almost eight weeks in, I’ve lost nine pounds which is thrilling! I feel fantastic. I feel happy inside! I have more energy and I’m sleeping better at night. I’ve retrained myself to eat less and to eat earlier (I used to eat at 10pm!!!). I’d love to lose more weight which I think would be better attained through more exercise. I’ve just never worshiped running or going to the gym. I never found the “zone” that other people talk about. I do attend yoga classes in a studio near my house or use the website YogaGlo when I can’t get away. My goal is to develop a better routine and with exercise, I’m quite certain I’ll be on top of the world. One thing at a time though.

The diet I’m loosely following is the Paleo diet. Don’t worry, I am not going to preach the Paleo mindset, because I haven’t really read about the whole hunters and gathers thing. Essentially I don’t eat dairy, gluten or sugar. The only oils I consume are Olive, flaxseed, avocado, and coconut. I do still eat the occasional potato and corn however, neither of which are allowed on Paleo. At this stage, I can’t argue the theories for or against it. All I can say is, I feel really good. I am happy, I have energy and I am nine pounds lighter!

Eating anywhere outside the house is hard at first. There is sugar in everything. There is soy in everything. There is canola oil, soybean oil, and corn oil in everything! These are cheap cheap cheap ingredients that are fillers. Even my beloved Trader Joe’s has tons of those ingredients in most of their packaged food. The hardest part of this diet is that you will be in the kitchen a lot more. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but I generally didn’t feel like I had the time to cook. Well, I’ve had to make cooking a priority because I’m so invested in this lifestyle change. For me, the only way to be successful is to have a menu planned in advance. You have to have food on hand. I’ve re-used my Reinvent-21 recipes tons of times. I also bought the Winning at the Kitchen cookbook by the same nutritionist I did the initial cleanse from. I still love Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good cookbook. And now I scour Paleo blogs for recipe ideas. Nom Nom Paleo and Paleo Grubs are my new favorites.

Going forward, I feel like I’ve come so far that I imagine introducing any of those items back in to my life. I do still crave sweets. But there are a ton of crazy-delicious desserts you can make with coconut or almond flour and honey or maple syrup. As a double chocolate-chocoholic, believe me, I was skeptical at first too. Have you seen my lemon blueberry cake with icing on top? Another good one is this Paleo brownie recipe. Gahh, they’re so good I’ve made ‘em twice! The other day I was craving some thick and creamy Greek yogurt, so I allowed myself to have a small bowl. Other than that, I don’t want to eat slices of cheese or sandwich bread. Those habits have gone away. And the alternative is clean, nutrient rich, whole foods that fill me up, give me energy and a happy outlook on life!

 

Easter in the Sun

Easter is my mom’s favorite holiday. Actually Easter and Thanksgiving are her favorites. So for the most part, it’s a lock that we’re heading over to mom’s house. She’s got the best yard with tons of space to lounge or run around. It’s your pick really. It was my sister’s last day in town before heading back to her motherland (France) and we were blessed with a gorgeous day, a day we wished we had in Ocracoke (see below). Naturally we had a big Easter egg hunt for Jack and and we took about a million pictures trying to mark the day when the whole family was together. My sister promises she’ll be back for Thanksgiving which will give us all something to look forward to. Until then I suppose. Hope you had a lovely day!

From the archives:
Easter 2013 with the Fam
Jack’s first Easter

Spring Breakin’ on Ocracoke Island, OBX

Have you ever been to Ocracoke Island before? Strike that, have you ever heard of Ocracoke Island? It’s the last, most southern island within the Outer Banks, which is off the coast of North Carolina. My folks have been going there during spring break for the last 15 or so years. This year, the was extra special, the entire family – my sis and her husband, my brother and his girlfriend, Daryle, Jack and I all came under one roof of a grandiose rental on an inlet. Some serious relaxing and family time was had.

Ocracoke is a special place, it’s unlike your typical beach town as it doesn’t have all the surf shops and fast food restaurants that I’ve grown accustomed to. Oh no. Instead it’s a quiet place with only one stop light on the entire island. You can ride your bike from corner to corner in less time than it would take for you to even begin to feel winded. (It’s small.) Most roads are still unpaved, so you can hear that wonderful crackling sound of rocks beneath your shoes. There are a handful of unique shops selling local and/or unusual finds. I bought myself a beautiful hammered gold ring, from Secret Garden. I also couldn’t live without a charmingly sweet hand knit zebra stuffed animal that was all the way from Kenya at the shop Over the Moon. The island is so small and hidden, these shops don’t even have websites. They rely on people meandering down a dirt path to keep them afloat. There are also probably about eight or so restaurants to choose from running the gamut of a beachy watering hole like Howard’s Pub, a staple to the island; to The Flying Melon which offers a more refined selection of local seafood and ambiance.

Visiting during spring break, the weather is always iffy. We pray for warm sun and which only sometimes we actually get. In fact, it was way colder in Ocracoke than it was in DC. And since it’s an island it was windy too. We got two days of good weather and we spent them entirely outside. The men surf fished at the beach while the gals chitchatted and built sand castles with Jack and his two adorable cousins. The other day of warmth, the men (again) went clamming in the bay and unearthed 10 dozen fresh clams! Yes we spent the week enjoying chowder, clams casino, and steamed clams, plus an ice filled cooler full to bring home.

Ocracoke has become a place of stability. We go and live our lives, we grow a little older, we have new experiences. I’ve changed so much since the last time I was there. I’m married and have a young child. And whenever I go back, it hasn’t aged a bit. It’s waiting for me with open arms. The locals are sweet, the coffee from Ocracoke Coffee tastes just the same, and sunsets never unimpress.

Spring Style – Black is the new Black

I bounce between admitting that I need to wear more color, and then come to my senses and say plain and simply: I love black. I feel confident in it. And with the exception of a spring, summer (or even fall) wedding, it pretty much works for all occasions. Do you agree? Lately I’ve been complimenting friends on various outfits and you know what the reply is? H&M! Yes, my old standby when I worked across the street from one. Over the years I’ve stopped shopping there because it’s just not right under my nose. But that said, it’s just SO cheap and SO cute, I ordered myself a big ole shipment of the stuff above. Am I too old to wear a kitten across my chest? Be honest!

Here’s the goods: J’aime tank; slim fit pants; eagle earrings; black-n-gold earrings; grey with black sleeves sweatshirt; fringy purse; kitten tank; lace bra; twill skirt; zebra loafers

Wouldya? Tunics & Wide Leg Pants (But not together.)

Two totally different styles that I’m feeling right now: Silky, flowy, printy wide leg pants and a crisp white tunic with some jeggings. To die for right?



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