Monthly Archives

March 2014


10 Everyday Things I Can’t Live Without

10 Everyday Things I Can't Live Without // Little Gold Pixel

It seems like every time I see a product roundup online, it’s full of really expensive beauty products or obscure gadgets or super organic products. I don’t know about you, but I really can’t relate to them. I’m not very fancy. I keep it pretty simple over here.

Wearing makeup is a very rare thing for me. I know I’m probably in the minority on this, but pretty much all of my selfies are makeup-free, and no, I don’t consider a bare face to be “brave,” sorry. Fighting cancer is brave, fishing for compliments is not.

Last week I kept tabs on the things I use on a daily basis. Here are 10 of my most beloved products. To be absolutely clear, I was not paid to mention any of this stuff, and there are no affiliate links. This is just my arsenal of handy (mostly affordable) everyday objects.

1. Toddler wipes. I might be the crazy mom who keeps a package of these in my bag at all times. I can’t tell you how often they have come in handy outside their original purpose. For anything from cleaning up a random mess to an impromptu tissue.

2. EOS lip balm. Alexa and I are both attached to this lip balm, which we keep at home in a spot that’s easy for the little one to access (I like for her to feel empowered to put it on by herself). Aside from the obvious use, I like the design of the package, and Alexa likes the shape.

3. Nivea lip balm. I have a tin of this in my car at all times. It smells and feels amazing.

4. Suave dry shampoo. My scalp gets really dry if I shampoo in the shower every single day, so on the days I skip I use dry shampoo to keep my hair from looking limp and lifeless. This inexpensive option does the trick just as well or better than some of the other salon-grade options I’ve tried in the past.

5. Secret gel deodorant. It hasn’t failed me yet.

6. Youth activating oil. This is the fanciest beauty product I use. I originally tried it when a colleague gave me a swag bag from some random event, and I love it. It really does make my skin feel nicer and look brighter. I think you can find it at Sephora.

7. iPhone 5s. The few times my iPhone was out of commission, I felt like I was missing a limb. I’m not proud of my addiction, but it’s definitely an item I use daily, if not hourly. … Fine. Every few minutes some days.

8. Bluetooth. If your commute is as long as mine, you’ll understand.

9. Jergens lotion. When I was growing up, my family always had the aloe version at home. Somewhere along the way I grew to love the original scent, a mix of almonds and cherry. I do use and adore fancier lotions from time to time (my favorite being Aveda’s Rosemary Mint), but Jergens always will be my old drugstore standby.

10. Bath & Body Works coconut vanilla body mist. Some people do not like smelling like suntan lotion, but I do. It takes me to my happy place just thinking about it. When I run out of this bottle, I might try Oahu Coconut Sunset next.

What about you? What are your go-to personal items?

Fashion Forward: Inspired by Morocco

In the past three days I’ve window shopped at three different stores that have a Moroccan-inspired spring line. So I do not feel like I’m jumping the gun by calling it: Moroccan fashion is in!* I am finely attuned to notice all things Moroccan because my husband is Moroccan (and he, unlike fashion, is never out of style).

Fashion Forward: Moroccan Fashion 2014 / Little Gold Pixel

The first place I saw Moroccan-inspired clothes was Anthro, which shot its March Lookbook in Tangier. Would it be uncouth of me to say that I adore the setting just as much as (if not more than) the clothes? I mean. So much pretty cobalt blue.

Fashion Forward: Moroccan Fashion 2014 / Little Gold Pixel


Then I found out that Tea Collection was also drawing inspiration from Morocco, in particular Essaouira. They had some cute tunics for women and tons of adorable clothes for kids. And then I saw some stuff at J.Crew, and well, the rest is history.

Fashion Forward: Moroccan Fashion 2014 / Little Gold Pixel

Later I stumbled upon this Anthro blog post about the staff souvenirs. When I finally get to visit Morocco, I will spend about a million dollars on customs fees to cover all the stuff I will buy, I’m sure, including but not limited to numerous rugs, a wedding blanket, shoes, knickknacks, clothes, and a tea set to replace our old one that got misplaced somewhere along the way. Not to mention the assortment of food items I will no doubt hoard.

Fashion Forward: Moroccan Fashion 2014 / Little Gold Pixel

What do you think of the Moroccan trend?

*I’m not the first to notice this trend; obviously there is an entire fashion universe more aware than I am!

Do You Remember the Sweet Dreams Book Series?

Do You Remember the Sweet Dreams Book Series / Little Gray Pixel

Gather around for a summer field trip to the community library. It’s 1989. What to read? You’ve already blazed through all the Sweet Valley High books, and you’re looking for the next adventure.

The circular wire rack near the Fabio-covered romances is beckoning, but you know there is stuff in those books that might make you blush. You’re 10 going on 17. That’s why you read Seventeen magazine. So it’s the Young Adult rack for you. It’s filled with Sweet Dreams paperbacks.

Formula: Teen girl becomes fish out of water and must prove herself to her peers. Boy notices her. But will they be torn apart by circumstances?


I’m tempted to go back and read all 233 of these books, one by one (assuming I could find any of them). I randomly stumbled upon this Goodreads page, which jump-started my memory of the Sweet Dreams book series. Honestly I had forgotten that I had ever read them until I saw the book covers. The “P.S. I Love You” cover is giving me serious flashbacks. I remember how that book felt in my hands!

Did you ever read this series?

P.S. This site has a great reference guide to all the best 1980s teen series. Soooo many memories.

How My Toddler Makes Me Tap Into My Inner Artist

Art Inspiration from Kids • Little Gold Pixel

We love preschool. We love it mainly because Alexa loves it. She has blossomed so much in the past month, playing with kids her age, learning new things, and, most of all, being encouraged to create on a daily basis. She has gone from drawing circles and lines to drawing “people” and “palm trees.”

And I, being the proud parent, am loving every little doodle she brings home. It tickles me to see how her minds works and to ask her questions about the art she has created.

I’m taping Alexa’s art all over the walls of our living room. I see it makes her proud when I hang up one of her creations. Eventually I’d like to curate my favorites and frame them, so that they have even more prominence (example of what I’d go for here).

Art Inspiration from Kids • Little Gold Pixel
Art Inspiration from Kids • Little Gold Pixel

I’m trying to remember when the cultivation of creativity dies.

Is it in junior high? Is it in high school? I know at some point along the way to adulthood art is discouraged and we steer ourselves in different, more profitable, directions. Maybe the uber talents continue, maybe they receive the lion’s share of the support. The rest of us eventually stop taking art classes and forget how to draw or create with a pen/brush/crayon/marker/glue and paper.

How sad.

Creating is powerful.

Art Inspiration from Kids • Little Gold Pixel
Art Inspiration from Kids • Little Gold Pixel

The candle that burned out of me in junior high is being reignited by Alexa. She urges me to collaborate with her. I draw boats. She embellishes the sails. I sketch out Jake and his Neverland Pirates with her markers. She admires them and says, “Wow, Mama, that’s Jake! That’s Cubby!”

She thinks my art is amazing. That I created something that should be admired. Honestly, from the extent of her praise, you would think I were Picasso.

Shouldn’t we all feel that way? That we can create something worthy of awe, even if just by a few people?

I go back to that very early feeling of drawing princesses with long veils and pink dresses. To the time in junior high when I drew a pretty accurate self-portrait. To the times when my friend Angie (a truly talented artist) and I used to sketch in our notes back and forth to each other.

At work, I feel painfully shy when it comes to sketching out art ideas, but I think it’s something I need to get over.

We’re all artists. Art inspiration is just beneath the surface. We should tap into our inner talents again.

9 Best Female Rock Singers (A Highly Subjective List)

I was in junior high when I grew interested in my dad’s record collection. The stereo system resided in the downstairs family room that was literally 3 feet from my bedroom door. So I would sit night after night (ahem, well after my bed time) in front of the stereo, giant headphones on, transferring my favorite songs onto cassette tape.

That’s when I fell in love with Janis Joplin’s voice and she first made it to my list of best female rock singers. That raspy purr, like a drunken lion growling in the night. I would emulate it with my friends, entertain myself with this incomparable voice. In college, I would attempt to sing her songs at karaoke, and I’m sure some people appreciated my renditions, but I’m also fairly certain I came nowhere close to her nonchalant rock ‘n’ roll greatness.

Last year I shared with you the Best Male Rock Singers (A Highly Subjective List), and this is the female counterpart. Where I was inspired by the men for the rocker lead in my novel, these are the women who inspired the protagonist, and who continue to inspire me with their voices.

 Best Female Rock Singers • Janis Joplin • Little Gold Pixel

The raw energy of an effortless cool that cuts right through you with its howling.

Best Female Rock Singers • Annie Wilson • Little Gold Pixel

A driving powerhouse. Melodic. Operatic, even. And the range! Oooh, barracuda.

Best Female Rock Singers • Stevie Nicks • Little Gold Pixel

Raspy, pleading, soul-baring. She pours her heart out and asks you for your love, that is all.

Best Female Rock Singers • Shirley Manson • Little Gold Pixel

Husky. Controlled. She can distort and contort her voice to bring the rawk.

Best Female Rock Singers • Rachel Nagy • Little Gold Pixel

A 1950s rebel half a century removed. With a sexy alto croon that is unwavering.

 Best Female Rock Singers • Karen O • Little Gold Pixel

She believes it. You believe it. I’m sure what “it” is, but I want to be her.

Best Female Rock Singers • Debbie Harry • Little Gold Pixel

She’s got balls, man. She doesn’t give up. She’s gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha.

Best Female Rock Singers • Cyndi Lauper • Little Gold Pixel

She’s so unusual. Her signature staccato vocal stylings are unparalleled. She might be the only person who’s ever turned the word “fun” into two syllables.

Best Female Rock Singers • Pat Benatar • Little Gold Pixel

I’ll end with my very first girl rock crush (pre-Janis, even). Her voice can be supernaturally pretty and melodic. But then, in an instant, she turns urgent, insistent. Don’t you mess around with her, no no no.

Who would make your list of favorite female rock vocalist? Don’t be shy … 

10 Plush Fox Toys Your Child Will Love

I can’t talk to you about chocolate right now. I mean, I could, but it would be kinda pointless because I am not eating it for the foreseeable future. You want to know something funny? I don’t really miss chocolate. And I’m actually relieved that I can’t have it. Half the time when I think I’m hungry, I really just want chocolate (stress eating, check). Life is much easier now that I’ve taken the possibility completely off the table. Maybe this no-chocolate thing will become permanent.

Oh, who am I kidding? I will have to make an exception for holidays. Easter just wouldn’t be the same without a Cadbury creme egg. You are either with me or against me on this.

Alexa’s basket will contain some chocolate, too, but because I am a modern mom and do not want to encourage my daughter to go crazy on sugar overeat, she will have non-food-related items in her basket. Last year she had a puzzle. The year before she had Stewart Sunshine the fox.

Foxes are the best. They are still cute (if you forget about them tricking the Gingerbread Man and Henny Penny), but they are not overplayed like bunnies.

Here’s a roundup of foxes any kid would love to see in their Easter basket. Tip: If ordering from a handmade shop, check for turnaround time to ensure the fox will arrive before the holiday.

(I can personally vouch for Nos. 3, 6 and 9, all of which have played starring roles at one time or another in our bedtime stories.)

10 Plush Fox Toys Your Children Will Love // Little Gold Pixel

Click on numbers for more info on each fox:
/// 1 /// 2 /// 3 /// 4 /// 5 ///
/// 6 /// 7 /// 8 /// 9 /// 10 ///

Just a Typical Weekday

Every time someone decides to do a “photo every hour” post, it usually ends up being a day that seems atypical, or at least more exciting than most. The last time I did it was the last day of my maternity leave, and those times are ones I remember fondly.

I’m sure it’ll be that way with these days soon. Everything is more exciting in hindsight, right? Right now it feels like a workweek blur, scurrying from one thing to the next, trying to enjoy every brief minute with my family before work and before bed and counting down days and hours till the (much less regimented!) weekend. But, just as these things do, someday my everyday will shift, and the monotony I’m used to now will give way to a new routine.

So, without further ado, here’s a very, very typical day in my life. For posterity’s sake.

7 a.m.
A sliver of morning light, and I’m awake.

8:20 a.m.
Dressed, lunches packed, on our way to school/work. Alexa stops to talk to all the plants on the way to the car. The bracelets she made in school are a must, or she does not feel fully dressed.

8:55 a.m.
I fire up the engine for the commute. I just loooove commuting.

9:55 a.m.
I have arrived at the office after a particularly gnarly crawl on the 405. Luckily I have been listening to talk radio. So instead of cursing at traffic, I’ve been laughing and ignoring my plight … and my apparently enormous claw of a hand (thanks for nothing, distorted garage mirror!).

11 a.m.
Already plotting my afternoon coffee run after unearthing this bad boy in my purse.

I couldn’t wait any longer. Quick run and back to my desk.

1:15 p.m.
I take a few minutes to heat up my lunch in the cafeteria and talk with a friend. I like watching the cars that weave in and around the alley.

2:20 p.m.
A quick break to get some fresh air. Working, working, working.

3:05 p.m.
Water and coffee. Work and work.

4 p.m.
The mouse is getting a workout.

5 p.m.
Freeway conditions. I check in with H and Alexa. They had a good day, and they’re heading home. We talk about what we need from the grocery, and I plan to stop on my way home.

6:29 p.m.
Time to join the masses on the freeway.

7:20 p.m.
I text this photo to H, along with a few other options. I almost check out without picking up the most important thing on my list: milk.

7:50 p.m.
Alexa shows off the Dr. Seuss hat she made in school. We spend an hour talking and playing and giggling before I read her three stories and tuck her into bed.

That’s my typical weekday in a nutshell. What do your days usually look like?

Gif Me a Break

Gif Me a Break • Little Gold Pixel

Don’t you love it when you find the perfect Gif to sum up a situation?

On Easter, when all bets are off on chocolate, I’ll be like:

When people print something at work, it’s like:

When people talk shit about my alma mater (go Shocks!), I’m like:

When I see bills in my “to do” folder on Saturday, I’m like:

When I try working on a blog post late at night, I’m like:

When I’m stuck on the 405, sandwiched between a gajillion cars, it’s like:

When it’s time for afternoon coffee, I’m like:

Click here to check out past funny Gif posts. (Hilarity awaits.)

Plan the Perfect St. Patrick’s Day

Plan the Perfect St. Patrick's Day • Little Gold Pixel

If you came here looking for party props or green beer recipes, I’m sorry to say you’ll be sorely disappointed (no green beer is a good beer). See, I spent my 20s figuring out that St. Patrick’s Day parties or bar hops are a ridiculous idea. As friends have pointed out, St. Patrick’s night is amateur night. Let’s just say that I know far too well what green beer looks like both before and after it’s consumed.

Instead, I say the perfect way to celebrate this holiday is with fun food, fun clothes and a little cheesy Irish entertainment. Best of all, feel free to drink all the Guinness you want. You’ll be safe and sound — on your couch.

1. Start the day off right with Lucky Charms. It’s childish (which makes it perfect for kids), but that doesn’t mean an adult can’t appreciate those marshmallow shamrocks.

2. What to wear, what to wear … green pants, obviously.

3. Or, if green pants are a no-go, you could always craft a cute little pin to keep the pinchers at bay.

4. Make your kid a cute lunch. Oh, heck, make an identical lunch for yourself while you’re at it.

5. After work/school, make a rainbow collage with your child. Crafting with children is actually one of the most gratifying experiences ever because they think everything you do is magic.

6. Eat Irish beef and stout stew for dinner.

7. Cuddle up on the couch with a really really really bad book. One that is so bad it’s good. Dublin, faeries, other random Celtic mythology. What are you waiting for?

8. For dessert, have a scoop of Brown Bread & Irish Whiskey Ice Cream. Bonus points if you make a Guinness float with it.

Now that you’re content, full and slightly slurry from that float, you might feel sentimental enough to watch P.S. I Love You and weep into your beer. It was a good day.

Parenting Truth: Mischief is Just Around the Corner

Adventures in Parenting • Little Gold Pixel

In this installment of Adventures in Parenting, let’s talk about mischief.

If you were to visit my childhood home in the mid-1980s and open one of the books in the built-ins, you might notice something strange in Stephen King’s “Carrie”: my autograph scrawled on the inside cover in crayon, loud and proud as if I were the author myself.

You might be tempted to open the Danielle Steel books to see whether they, too, were autographed, but I’ll spoil the hunt for you by saying that yes, yes they were.

Everything I touched I wrote my name in.

I also used to “borrow” my mom’s jewelry. In my defense, she kept her jewelry box within reach, and it’s not my fault she didn’t sort the costume jewelry from the valuables!

Now it’s payback time.

Alexa hasn’t autographed too many books yet, but she’s definitely becoming mischievous. One night H caught her rifling through my necklaces. I should probably clarify this a little, because it’s not like my necklaces are at toddler level like my mom’s were. They are hanging high on the wall, away from little hands (or so I thought).

And tonight I walked into the bathroom to find her mopping the floor with the toilet brush.

It’s true what they say. Every time it’s quiet, it’s reason to panic. A mess is just around the corner. ♫ Dun, dun, dun …..

What about you? What was the most ornery thing you did when you were a kid? Do you have kids who are pulling similar stunts?