Friday, August 30, 2013

i think i lost my mind for a minute

Remember THIS POST? Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking!!!!! I can't wait four more weeks to decorate with pumpkins and leaves!!! Sherry the Cherry tree won't allow it, what with her changing leaves that crunch and crinkle with each step you take across them. Nope, I just can't wait.

It WILL have to wait for Sept. 2, though, because my in-laws are coming and will be here during the 1st, and I just don't think they'd be jumping up and down when entrusted with the large responsibility of setting up my scarecrows "just so." Reasonable folk! So I'll postpone Fall one day. ;)

And if you don't know what Fall Day is about, it's the day when "You've Got Mail" plays on the tv, quickly followed by "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" as you swap all your summer scents in the Scentsy burner to pumpkin ones, you buy the largest mums you can find and set them by your front door, your berry wreaths come out to play, and two pumpkin pies go in the oven: stat. And if we're being honest, you're probably eating apple dumplings for dinner. (If you need more explanation of Fall Day festivities, the last two posts at the end of this are for you!)

Sooooooooooo, wanna come play, too? :)

And if you like fall time, here are a few more posts from the past, in celebration of all things autumnal:

Apple cider

Misadventures of pumpkin pie making

Why Fall Day is the 3rd best holiday ever: the original Fall Day post

Fall Day 2012: how to top this!?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

throw back thursday, blog style

In honor of "Throwback Thursday" I thought I'd take you back to my favorite blog post to have ever been inspired by our lives. It involves two boys and a baby walker...and makes me belly-laugh every time. Enjoy :)

Click HERE.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

the It's Becker Style fall wardrobe

Holy craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap do I love fall clothes shopping!
See. Can't contain it.

So finally, after much deliberating, below are some of the items I have chosen to drop into the mix.

1. a fitted, filled-with-spandex-so-it's-actually-comfortable jean jacket. NOT CROPPED. Cropped= too trendy. A standard-length jacket will see you through this season and all to come. And I chose to get the light wash. It's less 90's to mine ojos.
Link to mine HERE.

2. a green canvas military-inspired jacket. Good for layering when it's chilly and good alone during the transition.
Link to mine HERE.

3. a panama hat. because duh.

Link to mine HERE.

4. a white blazer.
Link to mine HERE.

5. a slouchy, pocketed, white tee. a basic for layering that i have been looking for.
Link to mine HERE.

6. tapered ankle pants. I got three because they were $25 each and fit like a dream: green, black, and navy with a black tuxedo stripe....which may be swapped out for the white pair with the black stripe.  Dear neighborhood Super Target, please get the white ones in so I can see whether they show my "girlie drawers."
Link to mine HERE.

I think the hardest thing when deciding what trends I would embrace this fall was identifying the pieces I loved and would wear well, from the pieces that just weren't realistic for my actual life. For example, I have a massive and almost uncontrollable desire for a pair of leather pants.

Pause. Your mind just went here, didn't it?  

If not, it really should have and I feel bad for you.

Moving on. Leather pants are amazing. And they need to be in my closet. The problem is, I don't live in the city and I have kids. That pretty much removes any opportunity for acceptable leather pant wearage. Tragedy. But since I know that, I won't be paying $115 at Express for them. Meanwhile, my city-living, child-free friends need to get a pair, pronto, and allow me to live vicariously through you. coughAndreaandNicolecough.

And "the one that got away"- a leather baseball hat. Like THIS ONE.

Because this is adorable:

I do, however, have a way around it: I plan on wearing Jerry's baseball hat with blazers and jeans while grocery shopping and preschool drop-offs. I have loved it since I scanned through the J.Crew catalog a few weeks ago. Can we say "Hello, easy hair day?" Why didn't I get the leather one? Because something had to give! I had a budget to stay in, and I wasn't willing to part with anything else. So the baseball hat had to go. waaaaaaah.

And finally- most importantly?- THE ITEM you're going to need for the fall/winter 2013 season if you don't already have it: a leather "moto jacket."

Pretend it's a blazer and wear it, peeps. Quilted, "blinged out," or not. Just get one, already!

Do you find yourself interested in them but don't know where to start? Click HERE for the h&m version, HERE for the Aeropostale jacket featured in InStyle, or HERE for Express' jacket. They're all at different price points, so you can pick the one you can afford.

So, now it's your turn. What did you get, or are you getting?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


So. Life with two toddlers is easy. How easy? Allow me to give you a glimpse into the 10 minutes of my life- a mere glimpse into the day.

Everybody likes clean laundry. So while getting a clean, WHITE {this will be important later} load of laundry from the basement to fold, Roman decides life would be more fulfilling if he dumps his snack cup upside-down on the couch. I have goldfish in the crevices. Let me tell you something: the very people who enjoy loads of clean, white laundry are the very same folk who treasure couch cushions that are absent of orange cracker crumbles, glorious bounty though it may be.

After WE {boo-yah, son.} clean that up, I sit down to fold my clean, WHITE laundry. So naturally, Liam dumps my cup of ice water onto the tray sitting on my coffee table... Which of course spills out through the cutout handles in the sides and soaks into the fabric top of the ottoman below. Naturally.
I kid you not, I am IN THE VERY ACT of cleaning up the mess when I see Liam climb into the clean, WHIIIIIIIIIITE  load of laundry and smear his mouthful of dried cherries all over my used-to-be-white clothes, as I run like this toward him, to no avail:

(Seriously, guys, you've got to watch that video...)

So I scrubbed the cherry bloodshed out of the clothes, which I will relive in my dreams for years to come. And though the story should just end already, it's worth adding that I had just sat down again to fold clothes... when I see Liam grab the entire bag of those gosh-durn shiveled little suckers and dump them out, manna-from-heaven style.

I am a tired and weary woman.

And also, I think George Bush was right. I'm about to declare my own war on terror....

Monday, August 26, 2013

when the school year is both empty and full

This time of year has been hard on my heart the past 3 years. I am content to be a stay-at-home mom most of the time, but when I start reading the "back to school" facebook statuses, my heart twists a little bit. Okay, a lot. Last year, I walked around the house crying constantly for a good 48 hours. This year we are making progress- I have only had 4 tear-filled hours. That's progress.

Fact: It is a joy and a privilege to stay home to raise my chillens. I am aware that not everyone has this opportunity (nor does everyone want it!), and beyond that, I feel called to this for this season of life. I am often asked whether I think I'll return to teaching, and I have no idea what the answer is. I know 1)high schoolers MUST be a part of my life. My heart feels a little shriveled, a little raisin-y without them. And I know 2)singing must be a part of my life. This has been helped by teaching private voice lessons and singing in community choirs wherever I go. But there is something about conducting the music that is even more fulfilling... Part of me hopes that I can go back, and another part of me knows that life would be pretty sweet if I was able to continue being free to help in the classroom of my babes and go on field trips, and run in a change of clothes with no problem if they tore their jeans in gym class or forgot to have a form signed for class. My mom was available for me like that, and I would love to do the same. Who knows.

Roman, however, is enjoying his FIRST fall-triggered school beginning, and I am beyond excited for him. He tells me every day that in 3 weeks, he is going to school and "Mommy and Liam can't come with me. It's just me. And I'm going to learn and play and have snacks." I don't feel sad yet, but we'll see if a tear throws a surprise party in my eye when I'm driving away without my firstborn that first morning. Maybe I'll just plan on squeezing the stuffin's out of poor Liam. And then going to get a doughnut.

Let's be real, after all. You and I both know it's going to take some serious amounts of sugar and fats to cope with that leap.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

how to read the suckers

So I've been trudging skipping and dancing my way through a bazillion fashion magazines these past few weeks (Ok, technically only four. But Instyle was 716 pages and Vogue was 900+ so I think we can all agree that total is more like a bazillion and less like four.) and I've been thinking a lot about the ways one can read through the pages of these suckers and make it out alive.

With the release of every major season change, I inevitably read posts on fb about how people looked through the whole InStyle and didn't like one outfit- thereby assuming that either they, themselves, aren't very current in their style choices or that the fashion world has gone off its rocker. Understandably! And I'm totally not trying to make the reading of fashion magazines something profound, but I also think that one should walk away with some yield, some return on their investment of time and pennies.

So if you have always wondered what could possibly be worth your time inside those fashion mags, read on. And if you have anything to add, please! Add on!

1)Look at the adds/runway pics as art, not literal style demonstration. The runway is like an exaggeration of real life. If the point of the outfit is to say "leather is in" the model may come down wrapped in strips of leather like a mummy who belongs in the final scene of Grease. The point of the artistic demonstration is to say "Hey, leather is in. A leather baseball hat or motorcycle jacket will totally work for you."

2)Pay attention to the footwear in the ads, as well as in the articles. All mags have some to-the-point style tips, but you can also gather other stuff by looking at the ads. Like heel thickness (chunky heels are in this season- but so are pointy toe pumps, again.), eye shadow colors and nail polish colors (oxblood red for your nails and a good, smokey eye, like always.), and the fit of clothes (swingy skirts, a la 1940s.). Ads are art, also, so even those should be filtered with your best set of MoMA eyes.

3)It's all up to you to apply the current trends. For example, one hot color this season is a bright, deep blue. It can be a dress, a shirt, or even a pair of earrings. You do it the way it fits into your style. The point isn't to do what you're told, it's to take what's happening and make it personal.

You know, this whole time I can't help but remember a scene from Devil Wears Prada:

Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?
Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothing's... You know, it's just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I'm still learning about all this stuff and, uh...
Miranda Priestly: 'This... stuff'? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff. {Italics mine.}

So read the articles, scan the ads, and giggle at the runway photos. I find it fun to personally translate current trends however the heck I please. And I'm not saying that being trendy is the end all, be all to life. I just figure that we are all going to dress in it eventually, whether it's full-price, or sale rack at the end of the season, or the second-hand store in a year or two. So we might as well make it good, right? ;)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

An uprising

You know it's bad when two children, ages 3 and 1.5, make fun of you. I'm talking full-out, make-an-exaggerated-face-while-mimicking-your-voice, comedic impersonations. The kind you do about your school teacher who just yelled at you for passing a note again but all you could see was the fury in their eyes and the bulging blood vessel in their forehead. Don't tell me I'm alone on this one, homie.
And I'm telling you- it has already begun. An uprising, you guys.

I'll set the scene: Last night, while at the dinner table, Liam begins shaking his (lidded, thankfully) milk cup up and down like a 5th grader trying to make a tornado from two soda bottles together. To which Jerry deepens his manly-man voice and says sternly, "Liam, do NOT spill your milk."

To which Roman furrows his brows, pushes out his lips, and says, "Liam, don't spill your milk!"

And Liam laaaaaaaaaughs.

And so the comedy continues. For five, whole minutes! For 300 seconds, people, Abbott and Costello go back and forth; Roman copying Jerry with a funny face and silly voice, and Liam rolling with the deepest of belly laughs.

YouTube Video

We couldn't decide whether to high-five the friendship that is victoriously blossoming between the two, scold them for making light of a serious rebuke, or go hide in a closet somewhere while hoping against hope to make it out alive in 16.5 years.

So we high-fived.

And then we laughed.

And then we laughed some more. Because if you can't beat them, you join them.

mind: blown

Hi, this is your neighborhood finger-pointer and I just need to make sure we all know: H&M HAS A HOME STORE ONLINE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Click HERE, with jaw hanging.

Holy baloney, Batman. This biz just. got. real.

Fall Day: postponed!??!


It's August 22nd.

Not that that's a big deal or anything, but it's almost September 1! And you know what that day is, right? All together now: FALL DAY!!!! 

Except, here's a thought...what if we postpone my fourth-favorite {and self-created) holiday until the first, real day of fall?? I know, I know, I just heard gasps. I think my scarecrows just disowned me. Sorry Andrew and Alex, I can explain. (shut up. normal people can name their scarecrows.)

I know there are some who think my early entrance into fall is silly, and so this consideration of making Fall Day the real first day of autumn seems finally realistic. But after careful analysis as to why my heart is content to wait a few more weeks, I've discovered it's because I actually get to enjoy a real, long fall again. Sweaters. Chilly weather that isn't too cold to keep you locked inside. Pumpkin everything. And ooooooooooh, the colors. Living in Cali, we had a real fall but it was shorter (it took longer for the cool breezes to blow) and more mild. And living in Hawaii meant no fall weather at all. So while I lived in those places, I embraced oranges, browns, pumpkin, and twigs with determination. In Hawaii, it also served to mark the year for me. I had a hard time with one, albeit glorious, temperature.

But now, I don't have to try so hard. Fall, with it's hay rides, pumpkin patches, spiraling leaves, and more will arrive when it's time.... and while I can't wait to get there, I am content to wait. Because I get to have a real, east coast fall again.

Oh, full heart of mine, be still. <3

And just in case you weren't aware.....fall, she is a'coming!!! Get ready. I know you can't see it well, but the yellow and red leaves are starting to appear on Sherry, the Cherry Tree..... and it's glorious!!

shut up. normal people can name their trees, too.....

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cats and kittens

As I wandered between the glossy pages of Vogue tonight, I ran across a spread of mothers. And I was grateful. I know it sounds corny, but I felt so much freedom looking at these women and their children.




Raising others yet expressing themselves.
Maintaining identity.
Or perhaps finding a new identity.

I've been feeling, lately, the heavy, unspoken-yet-irreverent demand that you surrender yourself as a woman when you are also a mother. I feel it in my bones. I have seen its shadow creeping along the walls. And as I cling with bloodied nails to the resolution that I will both keep my own person AND raise humans, I acknowledge that the battle is bloody and the determination flickers and even wanes at times.

And tonight, between those slippery, style-filled pages of Vogue, I found my resolve again.
Mother and Lauren I will be.
Dear Vogue, I don't know if you meant to do it or not, but I needed you. "They've taken their toll, these latter days."
And it's nice to see these photos. They remind me what I am free to be, not only who I am blessed to be.

Which is good, because I just ordered this great Panama hat... You'll see.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

what the heck, social media!

You know, it's hard to be a good blogger.

There are all different bloggers, fitness bloggers, style bloggers, parent bloggers, field-specialist bloggers, "mean girl" bloggers, bloggers who just use it as an outlet to voice their opinions about anything because no one can stop them, motivational bloggers. All kinds. And I have been having trouble blogging the past year or so- heck, even Facebooking!- because of a dilemma. I am conflicted about how to use social media. Like Blogger, Instagram, or Twitter.

Like Facebook.

I find myself conflicted because part of me thinks, "It's my page. I'll post what I think about ______ (pick any popular topic in the media)______ and screw it. I don't care if others like it. It's my page. Don't read my page if you don't like it. I am who I am. Take that!

But that particularly gravely voice has a mid-air collision with the angel on my left shoulder saying, "Dude, (Okay, well maybe the angel starts out by calling me "honey child" actually...) what a huge opportunity to make the world a better place. What a cool opportunity to live out grace and mercy. What a perfect way to bring humor to the days of others so that they can smile about something. What a way to live out a heart for others. What a way to live a testimony in a genuine way."

And I guess I've decided to live somewhere in between.

I think that Facebook/social media is a great way to, in a sense, control the media. I can help determine which stories get out by what I share. And I like to think that voicing my opinion in a respectful way could sometimes cause the people on my friends list to roll around issues they may have thought otherwise about. Because that's what I enjoy from others who have found the appropriate ways to communicate other viewpoints than my own!

It's also a way to better the world. And if we are so caught up in spewing opinions just because "It's my page, I can do what I want," then I think that's just a mean way to live. There are many people I like when face-to-face but cannot stand on a social media platform. More than just a few, actually! There is a respect missing. A censorship missing. A lack of "if you can't say anything nice, don't say it at all."

And dang it! I want to make days brighter; not just add to the noise. 

I don't want to hide behind a misled, self-important cloak. I want to make life better.

Such a dreamer, yeah?

But I think that dreamy inspirational content has to be mixed with the real life stuff to actually BE inspirational. But the kind real. The gentle real. The considerate real. Because I want to be those things in person- where I'm forced to be real. Ya heard?

And I guess it's the jumble of all that which has kind of caused a dilemma in this-here piece of cyber space because I don't pretend to be a style demigod, nor do I want to get stuck on the merry-go-round of "talk just to fill the space." But seriously! I've been asking questions. When does a person blog? Why does a person blog? About what does a person blog? For whom does a person blog? I don't have a tragic story of beauty-from-ashes to walk through. Though I know the makings of great outfits, my daily outfits aren't always worthy of an instagram because sometimes my job requires that I dress to jump in puddles, or to be a superhero trying to destroy the world. (Side note: Why am I always the bad guy?? I always have to die! Trust me, when you die no less than 15 times a day, you start finding creative ways to bite the dust. I've gotten really good at kicking the bucket. "Keep the euphemisms coming," I always say.)  I don't ascribe to the hopes of passing this along to my children as a way to know their mother more intimately when I'm gone, as some daily-writer-bloggers I read do. And I don't want to write just to fill the space and have another entry posted. I write when I write because....well.... I really, stinking love to write!! I love grammar so much I should be embarrassed. I love the creativity of writing. I love the puzzle of finding a better way to say something. And I dream of inspiring. I long to impact, to encourage, to call us all to something Greater than ourselves. And so I blog. Sporadically, though it may be.

You see? I told you. Hot mess over here.

Who knows how we are to use social media. I doubt there is one answer that works for everybody. But snap, son, I want to do it right. I want to do it honorably. I want to still have friends when I'm 60! Not just "friends." And it would be icing on the cake if I could have made the days of others better.

Having said all that, I do know I'm sure about this: For the people who wonder, "Gosh, can't this chick talk about anything other than kids, food, and clothes" (because, let's face it, there have to be some who feel this way! That really is all I talk about... ) my answer will continue to be: "It's my page. This is who I am. You're welcome to not come back."

But I'll say it nicely....

......Does that help??? Even just a smidge?