April 29, 2011


Who knew that getting rid of clothes that scream "final days of 90210!" and buying a few new duds that scream "WEAR ME" could stir up something big in me? The fashion makeover/wardrobe overhaul a few weeks ago that rocked the nation (okay, maybe just my nation) seriously revved up my design senses from head to toe, inside and out. It made me think not just about my own appearance, but the design or lack thereof, that's going on in my home. I've been divorced for 2 years, living in an apartment with so much potential and beauty, yet have done nothing about it. I live here, yet I don't. I haven't. I haven't settled in. Caught up in work, boy(s) (young and old), and finances, I haven't made this my home and invested in it's style.

But THEN I organized my closet, threw on a couple of fab new accessories and something changed. My dear friend, Rebecca Orlov of Loving.Living.Small. was here for the process... As she surveyed my apartment and all it's white wall glory, she got me thinking about how I could better use my space. Rebecca has come up with a fabulous new series called Design Cycle and right now, I am seriously in a CYCLE. I have great space. Some decent furniture. A huge desire to decorate and LIVE here, but I am on a SERIOUS budget.

Well, Rebecca help me come up with a few simple solutions for the time being that not only maximized my space, but would really make this place feel designed (even without a new pillow from Dwell Studio... currently being shipped... but I digress).

For starters, I switched my son's room completely around. I moved his bed, which is now actually a big boy bed (that story to come) to the other side of the wall (away from the loud neighbors).

I also completely went through his toys which also needed an overhaul. (Really, he's 3.5. Does he need a teether in the same bin as his "shooter gun?!")

I organized his baskets of toys which I moved to another side of the living room and also moved his easel into his "art corner."

The biggest change was moving my dining room table OUT of the actual dining room and in to my living room. (see above) I have a huge window- why not use it?! AND why not turn the dining room into my office AND a little area for Jonah. (I moved his little table and chairs in there too so that he can "do his work" (aka, art, stickers, playdough etc), while I work (yah, good luck).

This is still very much a work in progress but I feel so very excited and hopeful. I haven't felt like this in a long time and it feels great. Stay tuned for more updates, including the new couch that is beyond needed and a few DIY projects that I have planned.

Fun fun fun. Send cash.

Click HERE to see Rebecca's post about this Design Cycle!

April 28, 2011

FAMILY FINDS: 61% Off Family Vacation at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

$795 for a 3-Night Stay!

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort is a perfect family vacation spot. It's within driving distance of LA, so you don't have to spend big bucks on airfare. It's on the beach (complete with the resort's Beach Butler and Surf Concierge), so it's convenient for families. You can relax on the soft white sands while a personal attendant arranges everything from towels and umbrellas, drinks, and snacks. (LOVE that!) And it's just minutes away from LEGOLAND. Just enter promo code FF100 at FamilyGetaway.com, and you'll save a whopping 61% off the retail price. $795 for a 3-Night Stay!


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April 27, 2011


For three days straight, my LEFT EYE has been twitching. Though my instinct is to spiral into a state of hypochondria and declare the worst, I know better.... for this twitch, this incessant, annoying, want-to-punch-my-own-eye-out feeling is NOT a first for me. In fact, last year, I'm pretty sure I visited an internist, an ENT, an allergist, and an optometrist (oh, and for shits and giggles I suppose I should mention the neurologist too) to rule out "the worst...."

Well, my friends. Thanks to the intra-web, I don't need to visit these doctors again. Every possible reason for this annoying eye twitch has been listed below..... For twenty cents, I'll let you figure out which (every single) one I have... Wink, wink. (With the right eye of course). ;-)

Why Does My Eye Twitch?

Stress: While we're all under stress at times, our bodies react in different ways. Eye twitching can be one sign of stress, especially when it is related to vision problems such as eye strain(see below). Reducing the cause of the stress can help make the twitching stop.

Tiredness: A lack of sleep, whether because of stress or some other reason, can trigger eyelid spasms. Catching up on your sleep can help.

Eyestrain: Vision-related stress can occur if, for instance, you need glasses or a change of glasses. Your eyes may be working too hard, triggering eyelid twitching. Computer eye strain from computer use is also a very common cause of vision-related stress.

If your eyelid twitching is persistent and very annoying (like the problem experienced by my patient's wife), you should have an eye exam, because you may need vision correction. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, you also should consider talking to your eye doctor about special computer eyeglasses.

Caffeine and alcohol: Many experts believe that too much caffeine and/or alcohol can trigger eye twitches. If your caffeine (coffee, tea, soda pop, etc.) and/or alcohol intake has increased, cutting back is worth a try.

Nutritional imbalances: Some reports indicate a lack of certain nutritional substances, such as magnesium, can trigger eyelid spasms. Although these reports lack scientific evidence, I can't rule this out as a possible cause of eyelid twitching. If you suspect a nutritional deficiency may be affecting you, however, I suggest talking this over with your family doctor for expert advice rather than randomly buying over-the-counter nutritional products.

Dry eyes: More than half the older population experiencesdry eyes, due to aging. Dry eyes also are very common for people who use computers, take certain medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, etc.), wear contact lenses and consume caffeine and/or alcohol. If you are tired and under stress, you also may develop dry eye. It's best to see your eye doctor for a dry eye evaluation, because many treatments are now available.

Allergies: People with eye allergies can have itching, swelling and watery eyes. When eyes are rubbed, this releases histamine into the lid tissues and the tears. This is significant, because some evidence indicates that histamine can cause eyelid twitching.

April 24, 2011


I must confess: Up until last week, though I was fairly interactive and engaged in conversations through social media, I never considered my "followers" my actual friends. Sure, I told them about the silly fart and poop talk my 3 yo spews, but would I tell them about the serious conversation I have with my loved ones? NO. Sure, I uploaded adorable pictures of us having a lovely Mommy & Me baking session, but would I share a picture or video of him tantruming and me losing my mind? NO. Sure, I've declared how hard I worked out, but would I declare how much weight I want to lose? NO. It's private! And for private matters, I have my FRIENDS. My FAMILY. My THERAPIST. My TRIBE.

But then last week, my feelings changed... Glancing through my twitter feed I got immersed in a conversation.... Gripped by a story.... A blogger, Summer Stone had written a suicide note on her blog. Disturbing doesn't even begin to describe how I felt reading it... (Which BTW, just minutes after I read it, it was pulled from her site). Thankfully, Summer's attempt failed. I don't know the details of her attempt and actually don't know much about this mother of 3 or her blog. (To my knowledge, she is in treatment and doing okay). But what I do know is that there was a community that heard her and prayed for her. There were women, perhaps strangers, terrified and touched that reached out to authorities... In a moment of crisis, of seriousness, she did have a community. She was surrounded by a tribe who echoed her heartache and understood just how troubled she was.

Though I am a single mom, I am certainly not alone. I have a support system in every sense of the word. Loving parents, delicious and sweet friends, an incredible therapist, and a nanny that saves my life on a daily basis. I have a village within a ten mile radius. I'm very, very blessed. But now I realize my tribe is even stronger and connected than I had imagined. I discussed the importance of tribe this week with Leslie Gail of newmomfocus.com and Heather Spohr thespohrsaremultiplying.com on Momversation. Who makes up YOUR tribe?

FAMILY FINDS: 80% Off Frozen Yogurt at Menchie’s

$1 for $5 of Frozen Yogurt at Menchie’s

Treat yourself (or your kid!) to a delectable dessert at Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Santa Monica or Redondo Beach, where you can get $5 worth of frozen yogurt and toppings for just $1. Imagine that -- for a buck, you get up to 12 ounces of yogurt goodness. You could get the fat-free option and top it with fresh fruit and almonds. That’s practically breakfast. Or hey, get the chocolate-cake flavored yogurt and cover it with crushed Thin Mints and hot fudge for the ultimate splurge. Why not?


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FAMILY FINDS: 66% off Photo Scanning Services at PhotoBin

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Spring clean your photos with help from PhotoBin. We know you have good intentions of someday organizing that dusty box of prints under your bed, but why not let the experts do it for you? PhotoBin offers scanning services, a personalized site for viewing, and photo gifts so that you can rediscover your favorite memories time and time again. Your $34 voucher gets you $99 worth of photo scanning -- that covers the cost of the "Value Pack 500," which allows you to scan up to 500 photos at 300 dpi. PhotoBin will send you: shipping box, bubble wrap and padding, pre-paid UPS label, and packaging instructions. Then, specially trained techs at PhotoBin's facility carefully scan your pics and send back the originals along with a digital CD or DVD -- your choice. You'll also get a free trial of PhotoBin's online photo storage and sharing account so you can share images with friends and family. For just $34, you can preserve your memories for future generations!


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April 20, 2011


Finally, a sign I don't have to lie about....

FAMILY FINDS: 57% Off of a Birthday Party at Scribble Press

$129 for a Birthday Party at Scribble Press ($300 Value)

Throw a one-of-a-kind birthday party at Scribble Press, the first-ever make-your-own-book store for only $129! This deal is so fantastic for children who love crafts AND love to read. The birthday boy or girl can bring 5 guests; each child can make their own book, cards, notepads or even a group calendar. This is an a la craft/carte, so each child can pick what he or she wants to make. Don’t get jealous, moms, because this voucher can even be used for an adults only night too! If your kiddie’s bday has already come and gone, why not put together a fun night for your friends, or maybe a special night for a bride or mom to be. Right in the heart of Santa Monica, on the trendy and quaint Montana Ave, you can host a party that will literally send your guests home with memories. Forget the indoor playgrounds or the parks you have to go to at the crack of dawn to reserve a picnic table! Do something different and book your BOOK party today!


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April 18, 2011


Manners Monday: Do You Have FOMO? from lisagache on Vimeo.

According to a recent NY Times article, social media can induce feelings of being alone, left out, a loser... It's called FOMO. Fear of missing out. And personally, every time I see a #hashtag for a fab event (that I haven't been invited to), or a best/funniest/charming blogger of the world list published (that I'm not on), my FOMO sets in. Oh, and don't get me started on the facebook status updates spewing marital bliss or tropical vacations for weeks on end. One word: FOMO! Well, Lisa Gache, my partner in all things manners, and I got to chatting about this syndrome and how it relates to manners...

Do you have FOMO? Are you mindful of what you post so as to protect other's feelings?

Here are Lisa's tips:

Don’t rub it in. If something wonderful happens that you want to share, at least have the decency and sensitivity to announce it in a slightly self-deprecating manner. This might help to make the bitter and jealousy pill (another person might be feeling) easier to swallow.

Keep it short and sweet. Do not write a dissertation. A few simple brief sentences about what is going on will suffice. No one needs to hear every last piece of minutia. Save your most intimate details for those face-to-face conversations with your nearest and dearest.

Word to the wise. On the flipside, if you are constantly consumed with what everyone else is doing, you can’t possibly enjoy your life. Do yourself a favor. Shut off your phones, computers and any other technological devices that connect you to the world and reconnect with the most important person there is, YOU!

Create a new destiny. Rather than letting FOMO control you, your time would be much better spent creating a new and exciting future that makes you happy and that you can control. Make a conscious choice to become interesting, find a passion, start a new hobby, travel, get cultured, the list is limitless.

Give someone a fighting chance. The incessant checking of email, texts, Facebook updates and tweets is enough to drive anyone crazy. These tools only serve to validate the FOMO hysteria. Don’t be a slave to them. Instead be present to your relationships and give those you interact with in person your undivided attention. Trust me, they will thank you for it.

FAMILY FINDS: 53% Off 4-in-1 Deluxe Combo Bouncer Rental

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A bouncer turns an ordinary party into a bash to remember. Rent a Combo Castle 4-in-1 or Pirate 4-in-1 Bouncer Combo (normally $149) for $70 from Awesome Bounce with this voucher.

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April 14, 2011


I have a new theory. After my wardrobe overhaul, I realized my clothes had more of a personality than I thought. It occurred to me today as I went to put on a newly styled outfit, that my clothes had voices and lives a la Toy Story... I had this vision that every time I opened the closet door, my oldest and most pilled sweater prayed for me to put it on.... My old jeans, slumped over some hanger, knowing their days were numbered and I was just keeping them around for sentimental purposes, probably muttered "F you" under it's breath as I pushed them aside for my skinny jeans... A pair of gold wedges, that maybe got worn ONCE, shot out their best sparkle in hopes I'd see their value. Alas, they were as cheesy as I thought they might be when I bought them (anyway).

Which brings me to...
The New, Old Me- Part 2: THE LOOKS

Okay, so after 4 plus hours at my house with Robin Saperstein, the stylist who I might slightly be Single White Femaling, we set a date to hit the stores. OH, and did we hit it hard....

When Robin shops for/ with clients, she's on a mission. After looking through my wardrobe she had a clear idea of what I needed and what would work well with my body. Our goal was to find clothes that I could wear from day to night... clothes that could be worn on a play date, dinner date and even on camera. I let Robin pull everything and anything...

Stationed in a massive dressing room, and wearing my nude ("charming") underwear and much-in-need of a wash (trash) nude bra, the trying on began.... Oh, there were plenty of automatic NO's. Like this ...

I like to call this look "Whore-y Chic." I think my cracked out look really seals the deal doesn't it?

Once we had our final faves, (we went to two stores- Niemans & JCrew), keeping in mind with our budget, we purchased our must-have/ LOVES. And then..... Back at my house, ROBIN DID HER MAGIC. Using my new clothes and many of my old clothes, Robin shopped my wardrobe and put together THE LOOKS. Here are some of my favorites:

A From-Day-to-Night look:

Blouse, Joie (new), Shorts, JCrew (new), Shoes, Steve Madden (old), Necklace, JCrew (new)


Cardigan, Lily McNeal (old), Shorts, JCrew (new), Wedges, Stuart Weitzman (new), Jewelry, JCrew (new)

Great looks for Everyday (Play date, running errands, movies, etc)....

LEFT: Sweater, JCrew (new), Necklace, Forever 21 (old), Bracelets, JCrew (new), Jeans, J Brand (old), Shows, Dolce Vita (old)
MIDDLE: Tee Shirt, Anat B. (new), Scarf, Banana Republic (new), Cargo pants, JCrew (new), Shoes, Steve Madden (old)
RIGHT: Cardigan, JCrew (new), Tee Shirt, JCrew (old), Necklace, JCrew (new), Jeans, J Brand (old), Shoes, Sam Edelman (old)

And finally, a couple NEW Looks repurposing only OLD clothes:

LEFT: Cardigan, Forever 21, Tank, Anthropologie, Jeans, Flying Monkey (Anat B.), Wedges, Steve Madden
RIGHT: Jacket, JCrew, Striped Tee, Gap, Jeans, Flying Monkey (Anat B.), Wedges, Steve Madden

Clearly, there were a few "toys" that got to stay. The ripped JBrand skinnies, my brown wedges... They're my Woody and Buzzes... Pieces that I'll grow old with.... Or at the very least, grow out of....

Stay tuned for the final installment to this process, my closet! Thanks to Robin of High Heel in a Haystack and Rebecca of Love Live Small, you'll be inspired to Design Cycle too!

FAMILY FINDS: $3 for 1 Movie Ticket to See "Rio"

Up to 82% Off 1 Movie Ticket to See "Rio" - Opens April 15

"Rio" is one of the cutest kid flicks of the year -- and now you can catch it for just two bucks thanks to FamilyFinds! "Rio" (rated G) opens April 15, and stars the voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, and George Lopez. Captured by smugglers when he was just a hatchling, a macaw named Blu never learned to fly and lives a happily domesticated life in Minnesota with his human friend, Linda. Blu is thought to be the last of his kind, but when word comes that Jewel, a lone female, lives in Rio de Janeiro, Blu and Linda go to meet her. Animal smugglers kidnap Blu and Jewel, but the birds soon escape and begin a perilous adventure back to freedom -- and Linda. Fandango sells tickets to more than 16,000 screens. See you at the movies!


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April 13, 2011


Waiting patiently for the Red Sea to part....

FAMILY FINDS: 50% Off Annual Pass to Underwood Family Farms

50% Off Annual Pass to Underwood Family Farms

Underwood Family Farms has it all -- petting zoo, train rides, pony rides, tractor-drawn wagon rides, pick-your-own fruit, and more! And on April 23 and 24, there will be Easter egg hunts, egg-dyeing, and visits with the Easter bunny -- perfect for photo opps with the kids.

And Underwood Family Farms is a fantastic family destination anytime: Animal shows and tractor-drawn wagon rides every weekend, admission to the Animal Center with pigs and ponies kids can touch and feed, a wooden train play area, kids' corral with sandbox, and more are all included. Take your family to Underwood Family Farms for guaranteed fun all year round!


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April 11, 2011


More often than not, when it comes to a 30 lb. boy with sparkly brown eyes, I have a hard time saying "No." To be perfectly honest though, I think I may preempt his protests with an automatic cave in.... Take yesterday for example... We had just left an incredible birthday party at Giggles and Hugs. Jonah had his face painted, a balloon blown into a dragon (er, dinosaur?), a big piece of cake, two kinds of ice cream and even a life size bubble blown around his body. To quote his new favorite television show, The Fresh Beat Band, "We had a great day, it was a super way, to spend some time together." Btw, side note- if you don't watch this with your child: Please do. Share in my horror. With lines like "hip hop and pop, my legs just won't stop," I feel very alone. Join me.

ANYWAY, there are these carts, these fire truck carts, outside the market... And on our way out, as I was schlepping a shopping bag with a dozen apples and grape juice to make Charoset for Jonah's preschool Seder (this I'll save for another post), the gift bag from the party, and the dinosaur (er, caterpillar?), the 30 lb. boy's eyes twinkled just right and his voice sang just so:
"Mommy, can I go in the fire-"
Am I sucker for his cuteness? Yes. But in less than 3 seconds of him asking, I saw life without this firetruck cart flash before me. It was a hard 10 minutes. One where there would have definitely been tears, tantrums, and a fancy balloon getting popped. We would have eventually made it to my car... but along the way, it would have been gnarly, tough and all around unpleasant.

I took out my credit card.

Yes, credit card. These carts cost $7.




My purse went in the bottom compartment with the dangling green worm. Our groceries, his gift bag went into the front seat, and the batman painted fire chief went on the top seat.

"Here we go!" I said.
"Thank you, Mommy. Thank you."
Wha-- whaaat? He gets it? He gets THIS?
"You're welcome, baby. Let's go for a ride."

It was a short ride. The market and my car... very close. In fact, I even asked him if we should go for a spin around the mall since we had this cool car. He said no, he was ready to go home. So we did. 10 minutes tops in this cart. $7 on my Visa.

For me $7 was a small price to pay for 10 minutes of calm. The rest of the night was flawless. No protests. No drama. Was it the cart? Does saying "yes" do the trick? What things do you give in on or pay for, for the sake of keeping the peace?

April 6, 2011


The day Robin Saperstein of High Heel in a Haystack contacted me about doing a Fashion Makeover, I was convinced we were having a kharmic, psychic fashion connection. Here I was, having just shot a video on how Appearances matter when it comes to Manners and how my American Apparel pullover and Lululemon yoga pants could take my son to preschool on their own if need be-- and an LA based, celebrity stylist and former designer contacts me about working together...?! Well, to quote Lady Bananas: I. DIE.

The deal was Robin was going to come over and give me a Wardrobe Overhaul. Together, we would examine my wardrobe from top to bottom. We would remove pieces that no longer worked, and discover how I can wear existing items in new ways. Based on my lifestyle and individual needs, we'd discuss what items I'd need to purchase to complete my wardrobe. After that (4 hour session!) we'd pick a day to go shopping (2 hours!). Talk about getting off on the right "heel!"

Okay, so Robin and I talk. What I'll need: 1) To leave my closet the way it is. Clothes hanging on wire hangers, stained shirts in drawers inside out (ie. as is), jewelry everywhere, shoes everywhere. 2) NEW hangers. Robin suggested I purchase the Real Simple Slimline Hangers- they hold even the silkiest of tops and look fabulous in a closet. (I ordered the white). She also suggested I have trash bags standing by so that I could bag old stuff to donate or sell. 3) Wear a Nude bra (and charming underwear - I added this), as we will try EVERYTHING on. DONE.

So last week, Robin showed up and honestly, it kind of was love at first site. Of course her style was ADORE but she also came with a wardrobe rolling rack which would be used to organize and determine what stays, goes, and needs some serious consideration. She meant business!

Joining us, was my dear friend Rebecca Orlov of Loving Living Small, who was covering the Overhaul from the design perspective-- Obviously, an overhaul means brand new closet, new space, new style and new inspiration! The minute we started, I could feel the new, old me dying to come out!!!

And now... The overhaul.... OY. Where do I begin. We started with my drawers and with the exception of my underwear and bras, went through everything and determined what could get tossed and what would stay. As you can imagine, there were many a "house pant" that got bagged....

Speaking of pants... UM. Let's take a moment to tip my 40 to a slew of jeans that have seen it all. From my first pair of 7 for All Mankind Jeans...

Yah, apparently the no-pocket thing was cool 9 years ago....

....To my first (and only) pair of True Religion Jeans...

Ladies, when pockets are pulling, your hips look large and in charge.

....To a pair of white jeans that still have the tags on it....

Two words: Camel T- (You get the Picture).

...To my beloved Rock N Republic Jeans, that I could have SWORN would be a keep...

At this point, I prayed to God to wire me cash.

I also said goodbye to Paige Jeans, James Jeans, oh, and a barely worn pair of Hudsons.... But you know what, this was the easiest break up I ever had.
Why: Robin. I trusted her. I trusted the process. While there were many things that got an automatic "Take it off" or "NO," Robin carefully examined me in my clothes and explained why it wasn't working and how we could move forward or revamp a look.

Obviously, it was my call to keep the things that I loved or wear all the time. Like this hoodie (Right), which wasn't exactly cheap. Personally, I think it's fine. Robin said the print is too young for me. Rebecca said it was very Real Housewives of Orange County (Yah, so?). Hard to believe, but I'm pretty sure that was the only thing I kept despite their feedback.

In fact, there were many awesome discoveries along the way... For example, when I threw on an Old Navy long sleeve cotton dress BACKWARDS (that I would have bet $1000 bucks on that she would vomit over), she stopped me-- "Leave it backwards for a sec....," Robin said. One pair of black t-strap sandals and cute jewelry (MY cute jewelry) later- I had a total look!

By turning the dress backwards, we made a darling boat neck line with a scoop in the back. The length is short, but my legs, I think, (with a good self tanner) can handle it. Even better, I don't have to suck in for this. (Speaking of sucking in, the first thing I purchased post overhaul was a yummy tummie tank. More on this later).

In addition to my clothes, we tackled my shoes... OY. My shoes. It wasn't too terribly difficult to bag most of them, and I appreciate her letting me keep my cowboy boots circa 2001. (You never know when you might need to put together a little cowgirl outfit... Right?) Going through shoes was pretty painless- though there was one pair I couldn't part with...ones that I wore to my 10 year high school reunion.... That night, I wore an Express, plain black wrap dress (that I already had), but invested in these fab tweed and suede Gunmetal heels. At about $400, I considered them an investment and statement... Shoes that would make heads turn... I'm not sure that anyone looked or cared, but I felt fabulous that night.... 7 years later, the tweed is tearing and the suede is scuffed, but I just can't say goodbye... Those are a keep.

Four hours may sound like a lot of time, but let me tell you. We could have gone on for 4 MORE hours! My closets looked amazing (we still have to tackle my jewelry, belts, scarves, and purse collection-- Oh, when it comes to style, Robin leaves no accessory unturned!) The next step: SHOPPING. We put together one of two outfits, like the Old Navy tee, based on what I had in my wardrobe already, but now we need fill in the holes. (This post was written before our shopping excursion. Stay tuned for Part 2!)

I seriously cannot say enough wonderful things about Robin and this experience. First of all, how AWESOME to get the chance to work with someone who was recently mentioned on Ryan Seacrest morning show, or styles celebrities like Denise Richards, and has been a guest stylist for Zap2it.com giving her best and worst dressed for the 2011 Oscars! Secondly, as a woman who loves fashion but is so overwhelmed in life, I needed this!!! I want to feel good about myself ALL the time- not just when I have a babysitter and get to shower. This overhaul helped me get centered in a way that I haven't felt in a long time and discover things about myself and body that I wasn't aware of... Like the fact that everything I own is perfect for a day at the beach. Um. Yeah.


Join me at the Lucky Shops LA event this week to shop 'til we drop! Use promo code "PERFECT" for 10% off on tickets!

**Stay tuned for Part 2 and 3 when I share details about what we bought, the looks we put together, and my newly organized and gorgeous closet!**

April 5, 2011


Could you go one day without shoes? Around your house, sure... But around your city? Throughout your day? Your week? Your year? Could you imagine sending your children to school without the proper clothing, including, perhaps the most essential item: Shoes? It's almost impossible to imagine...

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining a couple of bloggers that I know and admire (Heather Spohr, Rebecca Woolf and Nanette of Say It, Don't Spray It ) at the TOMS Shoes Headquarters in Santa Monica. Walking through their incredibly unique and downright hip space, it was easy to see how passionate TOMS employees would be about their company.

Though I didn't own a pair, I knew and liked TOMS stylistically, but honestly, had very little awareness of Blake Mycoskie, the founder and "Chief Shoe Giver" of TOMS shoes. Blake came and shared with us the mission of TOMS: with every pair purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. Through this One for One program, as of April 2010, TOMS had given over 1,000,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need around the world.

It goes without saying that Blake is one cool dude-- and listening to him was inspiring. Every year, they take their philanthropic efforts one step further... Today, April 5th is One Day Without Shoes (#withoutshoes). It's a yearly global action event to raise awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child's life. Millions of children grow up without shoes and are at risk of disease and infection. In Ethiopia, approximately 1 million people are suffering from a debilitating disease called podoconiosis, which is 100% preventable with basic hygiene and shoes.

During our visit, we were each given a pair of plain, off white canvas TOMS and equipped with a ton of fabric paints, encouraged to Style our Soles. (Click here to see how you can host an event like this!).

(Um, Rebecca's shoes turned out ADORABLE. She's goddamn stylish, that girl)

Here's what I walked out with... Pretty cute right???

Okay, so my plan for One Day Without Shoes? Spend 3 hours at home this morning without shoes-- that includes chores like moving my car for street cleaning, taking out the trash, and dealing with my ice cold hardwood floor while my coffee brews. It pales in comparison to the terrain that some children have to bare, but it's a start.... Thank you to everyone at TOMS and the always lovely Ketchum team!

Here are more ways that you can get involved:

On this day, families, friends, parents, strangers, and co-workers host or participate in events without shoes. Some go without shoes for an hour, some for the whole day, but all become a part of a greater movement toward change.

· On April 5th , pledge to spend the whole day, or do even one daily activity, without shoes

· Join the #withoutshoes conversation on Twitter

· Spread the word any way we can

· Host or attend a One Day Without Shoes event

FAMILY FINDS: Half-Off Family Membership to The Petersen Automotive Museum

$35 for a Family Membership to The Petersen Automotive Museum ($70 Value)

The Petersen Automotive Museum is one of LA’s treasures, and it has something for everyone: For car enthusiasts, it has a phenomenal collection of rare cars. For history lovers, it offers a fascinating look at how the car has changed and shaped so much of our culture. For Angelenos, it gives interesting insight into the way much of our city was built around cars. For hosts, it’s a great new place to take out of town guests. And for parents, the third floor Discovery Center provides a wonderful playspace with lots of interactive opportunities for kids 2 to 10. Get your voucher today to see The Petersen’s newest “Supercars” exhibit! “ Your family membership admits two adults and four children. Again and again, for a full year... That’s an unbelievable value for only thirty-five bucks!


Refer a friend to FamilyFINDS.com and get $10