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The Dirty Martini Diaries

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The Big 3-5

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:00:00 +0000

5 years ago today, I tuned 30 and published a blog post with some larger than life goals attached.  I had decided to participate in a 101 in 1,001 challenge, which consists of setting 101 goals for yourself and living them out over the course of 1,001 days (2.74 years, to be exact).  I remember drafting the list one sweltering afternoon in the passenger seat of my minivan, AC blaring in the muggy Wichita heat.  Waverly napped in her carseat, and Ryan walked around used car lots looking for a Tahoe to get us through the snowy Kansas winter.  I remember the feeling of excitement and commitment I had the moment I pressed 'publish', and could so clearly see all of the adventures that lay before us. 3 months later, I found out I was pregnant, and the majority of that list went RIGHT out the window.I went back to my original post last night, and decided to look over the list for posterity.  I was surprised to find this sentence floating among the resolutions:"I don't want to wake up, be 35 with a 5 year old child, and feel like all I have to show for it is a well-refreshed Facebook feed.  I need to start living life again."THAT certainly gave me a chuckle. I don't think I gave "35 year old me" a second thought.  I remember so many details about my 30th birthday- what I wore, what I ate, what we watched during the Summer Olympics, what I bought with my mom at Von Maur as impulse birthday presents.  Life is SO DIFFERENT now- another child, another state, a dog, and a new job that I would have confidently bet you $10,000 5 years ago I would never have on my resumé.It's been 10 years since I moved to New York City, and my baby girl starting Kindergarten next week...  the milestones are building up all around me, and I hate the feeling that I'm slowly becoming too attached to checking Instagram to put the phone down and fully LIVE life.  Looks like it's good timing to get this thing going again.Here is what the next 2.74 years of my life is going to look like (in no particular order): 1.  Take a yoga class 2.  Take a cooking class 3.  Learn to can a food (make jam or pickles?) 4.  Go camping 5.  Finish my KonMari decluttering process 6.  Have a garage sale 7.  Plan a vacation with my childhood girlfriends and their families 8.  Read 1 new book every month 9.  Drink 100oz of water every day for a week10.  Create and complete a capsule wardrobe11.  Take a closet inventory and build a wardrobe look book12.  Do the Bolder Boulder 10k run13.  Attend a CU Buffs football game14.  Take a watercolor class15.  Take an Irish step dancing class16.  Go flyfishing17.  Take a vacation to the beach and collect seashells18.  Visit Carlton Landing, OK19.  Take my children to San Juan Island for a weeklong nature vacation20.  Throw a game night party21.  Plant a cut flower garden and give bouquets to friends22.  Put in a vegetable garden23.  Take a vacation to our family ski condo in Keystone, CO and finally teach the kids to ski24.  Start a nature journal25.  Visit a farmers market once a month26.  See Hamilton27.  Learn how to make a pie crust from scratch28.  Sew mysef a dress29.  Get a blog redesign30.  Record an oral history of my mom and dad31.  Research and put together a family tree for the Mr and I32.  Read for 30 minutes every night for 1 month33.  Go social media-free every weekend for 1 month34.  Pay off Ryan's student loans35.  No iPhone in bed for 1 month36.  Put together a master birthday calendar37.  Send each person on the birthday calendar a birthday card *before* their birthday starting in January38.  Embroider a needlepoint hanging for each child39.  Make 10 Christmas presents for friends and family40.  Throw a dinner party41.  Make one of Julia Child's famous recipes42.  Learn how to tie a tie43.  Learn how to tie [...]

Fri, 19 Feb 2016 03:46:00 +0000

I really miss this space.I miss coming back to this blog, this tiny little bright, cozy corner of the Internet that was all mine and was such a big part of my life for so long.  I miss taking a few minutes out of my day to pull up my laptop, drink a glass of wine (or 3) and keep track of the big things in my life, and the little things in my life, and the completely mundane things in my life that would have been completely forgotten about had I not recorded it for posterity.Wading through the sometimes pointless, sometimes obnoxious, and often cringe-inducing (what is with the third person references, Lulu?!) posts in these archives allow me to look back and really marvel at some of the things I've done in this short life of mine.  Sometimes I sit at a stoplight in my 2011 Town and Country minivan, The Adventures of Peabody and Sherman blasting from the travel car TV behind my head, and can't believe there was a point in my life where I lived in New York City for 3 solid years.  I'm happy that Instagram is a "thing", and that is allowed me to microblog, if you will, over the last few years to capture some day-to-day snapshots.  But I came back to this page for the first time in a looooong time- it's been almost a year since I even typed in the URL-  and am sad I didn't take the time to recap my trip to visit Ryan when he lived in Prague during grad school.  I'm sad I didn't rehash what it was REALLY like to semi-solo parent a destination wedding trip to Mexico with 2 small toddlers (newsflash: mostly not very vacation-y).I'm not the journal writing type (good Lord, you should SEE my handwriting in real life), and I'm not good at keeping up on photo albums in this digital camera/camera phone age (the kids don't even HAVE baby books yet, which makes me feel guilty on a regular basis).  This has always been that little space in the world I have to catch little snippets of life and save it for later.But bringing yourself to actively start blogging is a hard thing to bring oneself to do these days- there's this self-imposed pressure to have the most bright, clear, professional photos and the most spectacularly styled house and curated closet; a second-guess that the post you want to put together on your favorite recipe is somewhat "less than" because the cutting board is sitting on the brownish-greenish-grey granite of the house you rent, instead of on the crisp Carrera marble counter of that modern farmhouse of yours people can't seem to stop pinning photos of.But that's just not who I am- I don't spend piles of money at Resto Hardware, and I can't DIY crown moulding into my rental house.  I can't do seasonal posts on the greatest new children's clothing, because right now I only shop for the kids once a year.  Nobody is going to be moved by my fashion posts because a) aloof fashion poses were never my strong suit (my modeling career abruptly ended at the age of 8 after a few print ads and a commercial for the local cable company), and b) I've mostly transitioned to a capsule wardrobe so I wear similar versions of the same thing each week.  Part of me feels like if I'm not doing those things to the Nth degree, or if I don't have a gimmick or some focused blog theme than I'm a mess and have no business posting on a public website.But I'm kind of a mess- I'm trying to navigate this messy world just like all of you are, and I like weird, disparate things (I'm pretty sure I'm the only person on earth who was gifted the new book from Dita Von Teese AND a book on soil composition called Teaming With Microbes).  I'm ready (again... I think...) to get back to putting my chaotic, messy, awesome life back on my website, and have a place to come back to in 6 months or 6 years and cringe and laugh some at more.[...]

A Year In Our House

Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:00:00 +0000

One year ago today, Ryan flew out to Carlsbad, CA to start his first day in his new job.  I woke up at 5am, packed up our hotel room, and grabbed some drive-thru McDonald's breakfast on the way to meet our moving crew and semi truck full of personal belongings.

I stepped foot in our empty house, put down the kids and my coffee on the hardwood floor, and turned to lock the door behind me.  Wilder crawled over to my hot coffee and spilled it all over the floor before I had the chance to take one sip.  No caffeine, no paper towels, no backup.

That's when it dawned on me that I'd be facilitating an entire move into a new house without my husband, with 2 small babies in tow (and without caffeine, no less).  I'm a very capable and confident person, but in that moment I wasn't sure how I would survive another relocation, the settling of another home, and more importantly surviving the next 6 months being a stay-at-home mom so close to the old job I loved, all while Ryan commuted to California every other week for work.

The move went great, the house was settled faster than any we've ever had, and most importantly, we've had a really, really great year.  Here's to another summer of greyhounds fresh from the pink grapefruit tree in the backyard that is now one of my favorite places on earth.


101 in 1,001 List - An Update

Mon, 13 Apr 2015 23:11:00 +0000

Well, that was embarrassing.

I just remembered that I was "actively" engaged in the big 101 in 1,001 List project I set out for myself in August of 2012, just a few months after we relocated to Wichita with a newborn in tow.  It's so funny, because I can picture where I was (waiting in the minivan while Ryan looked at a used car to buy) when I started drafting the list, and even remember the excitement of pushing Publish on the post detailing my list.

But now, I review the list, and can't help but snort (frequently) at some of the lofty goals I had set for myself-

No. 86- Watch AFI's Top 100 Movies of All Time?  Fairly cool in theory, but what do I do if they're not on Netflix?  It's not like I have a Blockbuster around the corner anymore, and I certainly don't have the motivation to start stalking them all on the local library website.

No. 87- Read 25 books from my AP English book list from 2000?  Another goal I've had since... well... since  I actually took AP English in 2000.  But I can't even re-prioratize my time to get through the pile of 50+ "I traded frequent flier miles I couldn't use for free subscription" magazines I've been hoarding in the garage for the last year.  And let's be honest- if I finally did carve out some reading time, the October 2014 issue of Food & Wine magazine would easily trump Dostoevsky.

Many of the items were centered on getting to know our new-to-us-at-the-time state of Kansas (visiting the Plaza in Kansas City at Christmastime, drive through the Flint Hills, take a family river fishing trip to Missouri like we used to do when I was a little kid).  We were actually able to hit more of those than I expected, but the rest went out the window when we relocated to Phoenix a year ago.

I'm a little bummed that some of the ones focusing on philanthropy (No. 65- donate to a diaper bank one a month) Waverly (like No. 49- save $100 a month for the baby, or No. 62- writing a letter to the baby every month on the 31st) all fell WAY short of expectations.  But I'd say that the (wonderfully) impromptu addition of No 102 to the list - Have a Second Baby- kind of threw everything out the window there.

For you-know-whats and giggles, I think I'm actually going to try and finish out the last month as strongly as I can.  I'm hoping to catch up on blogging about the other items I did manage to cross off my list, because a) that'll be fun to look back on in 10 years, and b) it will make me feel slightly better about one more grandly drafted list that I was too lazy/busy/overwhelmed to complete.  C'est la vie.




One Year in Phoenix

Sat, 11 Apr 2015 01:05:00 +0000

(This post was originally posted on my Instagram account, but in true Lulu fashion I got the date wrong so am memorializing it on the blog)

365 days ago, we took a couple of one-way flights from Wichita back to Phoenix. As we boarded our layover flight from Dallas to Phoenix, I ran into a half dozen of my old US Airways coworkers who were commuting back home in the thick of the merger with American Airlines. 

I felt a little lost, if I'm completely honest, as I could have been on that work trip myself but had left the company one year prior (working virtually part-time was hard with a 1 year old and no child care, but a 15 month old and newborn in the same situation would have been way too much to handle).  Here I was, surrounded by peers I respected on an airplane filled with the sounds of my fussy baby boy...  I will save an actual story of boarding that plane to Phoenix for another time, because it's still two comically painful to tupe right now.  Suffice to say, I was moving back to AZ with a completely new identity as a stay-at-home mom, and had no idea what being in Phoenix would be like as a mom and not a hard-charging corporate go-getter. 

I've had some growing pains, but am closing out this first year feeling so blessed for my current job and raising these sweet babes in our amazing home in an amazing neighborhood alongside my best friend. Phoenix- you've been good to us.



Three- It's The Magic Number

Wed, 01 Apr 2015 15:03:00 +0000

Ryan's on a red eye flight to San Francisco for work, my mom's asleep in our casita, the kids are (finally) fast asleep, and I'm sitting in the quiet living room with a greyhound in hand, reveling at how a 3 year old's birthday could somehow be the best non-wedding, non-baby delivering day of my entire life.

Today was so low-key and basic and laid back (Waverly's first visit to the Fisney store, lunch in the mall food court, a visit to Ryan's office, and a quick stop at the dance wear store), and yet it was just bursting with magic and excitement and joy.  

I haven't properly slept in about 3 years (not counting pregnancy insomnia before that), and I'm about as scattered and disorganized as they come these days, but I just feel so lucky that my little world of chaos involves stewarding this little girl into a happy, respectful, loving person. 

You're a great kid, Waverly Spencer, and I'm so happy to call you mine.


Learning How To Coupon...?

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:22:00 +0000

I'm surprised that I didn't add "Learn how to coupon" on my 101 in 1,001 goal list, because I've always been fascinated by the idea of clipping out a little piece of paper out of the newspaper in exchange for getting groceries for free.  I'm all about searching out a free shipping code when shopping online, but the act of physical couponing is SO foreign to me.

I attempted to "coupon" the first summer we lived in Wichita, since I was a new mom with zero friends, working from home and having fair amount of free time on my hands.  I spent $35 for a subscription to the local newspaper, and went crazy bookmarking all of those blogs with the catchy "Couponing 101" photos on Pinterest.  I honestly found the whole process to be pretty overwhelming, with the huge binders full of inserts to have on hand and all of the pop-ups associated with the online coupon printing websites.  The more I looked for deals, the more I realized that none of the products we seemed to buy had coupons available to use (and I wasn't about to start eating entirely out of prepackaged meal boxes just to save 35 cents at the grocery).  Needless to say, I did not make back my $35 invested in the newspaper subscription that summer.

Fast forward to our situation today, where we have 1 more mouth in the family to feed and 1 less corporate salary to feed it with.  We're still readjusting to to the cost of living increase we've had by coming back to Phoenix from Wichita.  Though our family is even less interested in eating process foods now then we were 2 years ago, we're more open to finding ways to pinch a penny or two around the house.

I've found some interesting blogs related to eating healthy on a budget lately, and recently subscribed to Money Saving Mom's newsletter.  I've been impressed with the newsletter content so far, and have actually implemented a few of her ideas, so when she announced that she had just acquired the rights to Grocery University, I was intrigued.

It's an online audio course that promises to teach you how to coupon.  Fair enough, right?  What struck me is that a) it's inexpensive, and b) it's supposed to help beginners coupon well from the beginning, and teach seasoned coupon pros how to save even more money.  Oh, and did I mention that it's inexpensive? hahaha

I've signed up to give it a shot, and hope I'll have some good tips to share with you (along with some extra cash in my grocery budget to show for it).

Do you coupon?  Or are you terrified of the process like me?  Either way, I'd love to hear from you!(image)

Waverly's First Day of School

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 03:55:00 +0000

Today was Waverly's first day of preschool!  

She's doing M/W/F half days at a local private church school.  Ironically, Pomp and Circumstance came on the radio on our way to her first day.  God sure has a sense of humor sometimes!

 I could barely handle the sight of a bunch of toddlers and little kiddos running around in uniforms, it was just the best.  I was also thrilled that one of my sorority sisters has a daughter in Junior Kindergarden there, it's nice to know another family right off the bat.

Waverly had a great day, save for the fact that she used a red Crayola marker as "lip-tick" and came out looking like a bit of a mess.  But that's what preschool is all about, right?!  We celebrated by picking up her favorite doughnut at BoSa Donuts, which she ate in about a minute and a half.

I asked if she had fun, and she said she did but that she "was cryin' because she wanted Mommy to be with me but Mommy went to California". (?!?) What. A. Doll.  All in all, it was a great day.  I can't wait to see how she grows and develops in the next year ahead!(image)

On My Radar, Vol. 1

Sat, 16 Aug 2014 05:12:00 +0000

I've been playing around with the idea of doing a weekly snapshot of life after coming across this fun snapshot format my friend D.O.N. posted a few months ago.  Here's a little catch up of my first week as a 32 year old:Watching:  Peppa Pig and Sid the Science Kid streamed onto our Smart TV via YouTube.  Peg + Cat and too much Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on Netflix.  My old Fantasia 2000 DVD, finally discovered by the kiddos.  (Thinking I need to throw in a good old fashioned Netflix documentary so I can say I watched ONE thing this week that wasn't developed for a primary audience under the age of 12.)Reading: French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le BillionThis book was an impulse purchase made during a 2am nursing session during Wilder's first few sleepless weeks of newborn life.  I'm only 1/3 of the way through, but I'm really enjoying the story and subsequent "Food Rules" Le Billion has laid out thus far.  I have not actually reached the part where one learns how to make your own child eat everything though, so will reserve final praise until I've finished.Wanting: An entire new closet (I'm just being honest here).  In all seriousness, I'm working on slowly transitioning my closet into a capsule wardrobe.  It's a great concept - a small amount of clothing you mix and match to create a larger number of outfits (think those chic 'how to pack for Europe in a carry-on suitcase' pins you see on Pinterest, only using that as your full-time closet for the season). Fantastic Capsule Wardrobe Example courtesy Color Me CourtneyThe hard thing about paring down to the essentials in your closet is realizing how many pieces you own that you'd like to swap for more useful items when your shopping budget is $0.  Pulling a Tim Gunn here and "making it work".  More on this later. Needing: To not want to buy new clothes.  The kids to both sleep through the night more than once every 6 weeks.  To finally create a good house cleaning schedule.Buying: I was a good mom and put all of my birthday money towards Waverly's new school uniforms (hello,  cutest toddler saddle shoes on the planet!), but did splurge on a neon pink messy bow head wrap for Waverly from Ruby Blue.{image here}I discovered the brand after seeing my blog friend Fancy Ashley's daughter rocking some amazing messy bows on Instagram over the past month.  It turns out that they're water/pool safe too, so I decided to get myself an adult sized head wrap to hold back my hair when I wash my face.  So fun.Listening To:  Jamie Cullum Pandora station.  Wilder crying through the baby monitor because he's refusing to go down for an afternoon nap (for the 4th time this week).Planning: Waverly's first day of school next week.  Setting up my own printed weekly calendar/planning binder, as my Whitney English Day Designer finished in July.  While I loved (looooved) my Day Designer, I need something smaller/lighter to tote around in my purse/diaper bag for 2 still in diapers.  Also, I'm trying to spend money more responsibly (aka not buying something just because I want it).  I already have a printer, paper, and access to the Internet (all wonderful things I'm trying not to take for granted), so will just go with a pretty, free printable until I come up with a better solution.So far, this free printable from The Handmade Home takes the cake.Googling:  Recipes for easy to make party hors d'oeuvres made with ingredients that are supposed to be "good for your skin".  I'm hosting a little cocktail hour and fundraiser this weekend with some sorority sisters to celebrate the launch of my Rodan + Fields business.  The idea of skin-friendly apps to go along with the skincare party theme could either be really adorable, or really dumb.  The [...]

101 in 1,001: #72- Take Swimming Lessons With The Baby

Fri, 15 Aug 2014 04:04:00 +0000

I stopped working my corporate job last March, and had 4 solid months to be a full-time stay-at-home mom with Waverly before her little brother made his grand arrival.  Wangling a 1 year old isn't easy for anyone, let alone a waddling 6 month old pregnant lady.  I wanted to spend some good quality time with Waverly while I could, but winter was still in full force in Wichita so there weren't a lot of great activities to choose from.I decided to look to my 101 in 1,001 list for ideas, and thought that enrolling Waverly in swim lessons could be a good option.  Also? I love that  After I got over the initial freakout about having to wear a swimming suit in public (not a pregnant lady's favorite thing in the world to do), I signed us up for the April session.I wasn't sure what to expect when we showed up at the Wichita Swim Club for our first session.  When I opened the double set of doors into the club, I was assaulted with a blast of hot, humid, chlorine-filled air and the sounds of high pitched kid squeal echos. I wasn't a swimmer growing up, so I felt WAY out of my element.  And even moreso realizing that I would have to parade around all of these kids and parents as the preggo in the swimsuit. Thank heavens- it turned out that the baby swimming lessons took place in this fully enclosed kiddie pool.Better yet- the pool was heated to about 85 degrees, so the minute I waded in I felt like I was in a giant bathtub.  Pregnant lady bliss.  Let me tell you what- baby Waverly may not have been a huge fan of these swim lessons, but it was a dream come TRUE for this uncomfortable pregnant mama. Sidebar- I initially choaked a little when I paid full price for the Carmen Marc Valvo swimdress I'm wearing in the photos, but it has seriously lasted (and streeeeetched itself) through 2 pregnancies and beyond, and is still in great condition.  Worth every penny. We sang all of those classic swimming songs I had forgotten all about (Motorboat, Motorboat, anyone?) and played a few rousing games of "throw the Koosh Ball and pretend to swim after it!".  We even tried to get the littles to float (supported) on their backs, which Waverly apparently thought was the equivalent of waterboarding.  Though she may be little, her lungs may be fierce.  She even grabbed at me so hard in fright that she snapped the removable strap clean off of my suit.  So much for poolside modesty.I'm telling you, I would have paid GOOD MONEY to sign up for being able to float around in that glorified bathtub of amazingness with other pregnant gals for an hour or two a week (kid-free, of course).  I think their marketing coordinator had better get all up in that profit stream.All in all, I'm really happy that I had that little bit of bonding with my little girl, and hope I get to do the same with Wilder soon.[...]

An Update On My 101 in 1,001 List

Thu, 14 Aug 2014 04:12:00 +0000

In 2012 (man, that feels SO LONG AGO, doesn't it?!) I started a 101 in 1,001 list, committing to complete 101 lofty goals  in the 1,001 days after my 30th birthday...  Little did I know that less than 2 months after posting this list, I would add a 102nd goal to the list- have another baby 15 months after Waverly was born.  So much for goal setting and long-term planning.

There are a few things on the list I've already accomplished and blogged about, like getting a new blog redesign.  There are also a few thinge I've completed but haven't blogged about yet (visiting my parents' hometown of Salina, KS comes to mind).  The good news is that I now have 267 days (starting tomorrow) to finish off the remainder of my list.  Will I watch AFI's Top 100 Movies of All Time?  Considering the only thing I seem to watch lately is Fantasia 2000 or Peppa Pig videos on YouTube, I'm guessing that's a no.  But hey- 10 movies checked off of the list is better than none, right?

My theme for 2014 is "Progress over Perfection", so I'm going to dust this list off and see what I can make of it.

Wish me luck!

Back To School

Wed, 13 Aug 2014 03:52:00 +0000

Waverly will be starting half-day preschool three days a week, and has her first "big" school event tomorrow- meet the teacher day.  I've had a hard time figuring out just how much to talk about school leading up to her big first day next week.  I didn't want avoid mentioning it at all, and then sneak attack her with a "Hey, guess what?  You're going to be spending 12 hours a week here now!  See you later!" method.  On the other hand, if I mentioned it too much, I knew she'd ask every 5 minutes if it was time to go to school yet.  I decided to do a paper countdown chain to show her how many days she had left until she started "schoo-yul".

So far, it has worked pretty well, save for the fact that I'm about 5 days behind in actually removing the paper chains at night before our bedtime routine.  It's the thought that counts, right?

One of the things that just kills me is that all the kids wear uniforms at her new school.  I'm just dying over the idea of a bunch of little 2 year olds romping around in saddle shoes and navy pleated shirts.  Dying.  Here are some of the things that we'll be stocking up on over the next few days.  Who would have thought that a limited dress code would be so fun to shop for?!

Go figure that Waverly's already setting up a killer fall capsule wardrobe before I am!  Cannot wait to see my little student all decked out!


Things I'm Digging Right Now: TINY

Mon, 11 Aug 2014 23:21:00 +0000

We had one of those wonderfully rare Sunday afternoons last weekend, where the sky was overcast (a rarity during the blazing Arizona summers), and brought out the laziness in all of us.  The kids napped for hours, and we were able to have a quiet few hours watching documentaries on Netflix.  After we finished Forks over Knives (which I loved, and will be writing about soon), I scrolled around for a new title while Ryan went to visit a family member in the hospital.

My next choice- TINY: A Story About Living Small:

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You guys, this was a total game changer for me.  Not only was it filled with some of the sexiest, most jaw-dropping photos of my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, but the entire concept just blew my mind.  Don't get me wrong- we don't plan on breaking the multi-year lease we just signed 3 months ago, dropping a zero from the square footage we currently reside in, and moving into a little home on wheels with 2 toddlers (though, I'd be lying if I said I didn't fantasize about it a few times a day since watching the documentary).

Rather, thinking through some of the themes discussed in the film has really given a boost of energy to the clutter busting and general rightsizing I've been doing since we settled down her in Phoenix.  In addition to making me incredibly homesick (it's certainly interesting to watch someone contemplate what their sense of 'home' looks like while using your former home as a backdrop), watching TINY has really helped me reset my priorities and look at all my past and potential purchases through a new lens.

Have you watched TINY, or read anything about the tiny house movement?  I would love to hear your thoughts!(image)

Happy First Birthday To My Son

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 07:01:00 +0000

On The Night You Were Bornby Nancy TillmanOn the night you were born,The moon smiled with such wonder That the stars peeked in to see youAnd the night wind whispered,“Life will never be the same.”Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.So enchanted with you were the wind and the rainThat they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.It sailed through the farmlandHigh on the breeze…Over the ocean…And through the trees…Until everyone heard itAnd everyone knewOf the one and only ever you.Not once had there been such eyes,Such a nose,Such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes.When the polar bears heard,They danced until dawn.From faraway places,The geese flew home.The moon stayed up untilMorning next day.And none of the ladybugs flew away.So whenever you doubt just how special you areAnd you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,Listen for geese honking high in the sky.(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.(Listen closely…it’s whispering your name again!)If the moon stays up until morning one day,Or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,Or a little bird sits at your window awhile,It’s because they’re all hoping to see you smile…For never before in story or rhyme(not even once upon a time)Has the world ever known a you, my friend,And it never will, not ever again…Heaven blew every trumpetAnd played every hornOn the wonderful, marvelousNight you were born.Happy first birthday, our sweet baby boy.[...]

Our Personalized Beach Towels from Lattice & Ivy

Mon, 16 Jun 2014 18:50:00 +0000

I recently ordered the kids personalized beach towels from Lattice & Ivy, and am totally flipping over how adorable they are!  Can we even talk about how darling their setup for the summer is?!?!

The towels are huge - 30" x 60" - and are made of a super soft microfiber velour.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when our pool towels take up so much room in our beach bag that I have to pack a separate tote for sunscreen, sippy cups, etc.  I love that these are thin enough to fit in my bag while still having room for everything else I need for the pool.  Waverly hasn't stopped carrying her towel around since they were delivered on Saturday.

You can order basic patterns and colors like Wilder's here (just follow the Personalization Steps dropdown boxes on the right of the screen), or towels in our fun summer Designer Collections pattern series, like Waverly's  beach towel in the Flamingo - Sweetheart pattern here.

If you have any questions about our colors, patterns, fonts, or Designer Collections patterns, just drop me a message on my Facebook page!

Hooray for summer! 


Five on Friday

Fri, 13 Jun 2014 14:43:00 +0000

I thought I'd jump in with the 5 on Friday link up crew to download a few random thoughts and get caught up to speed around here!ONEWilder's birthdayOur little Wild Man is turning 1 in less than 3 weeks, which is just totally blowing my MIND.  This entire year has seemed like a giant fuzz of moving and travel and change, it's hard to absorb that he's already turning 1 soon.  Every time I pour a new sippy of formula, I can't help but feel a little sad that this will be some of the last formula in the house.  Then I remember that formula costs us about $5 a day right now, and I do a little internal jump for joy that the end of that huge expense is in sight.  We're planning a low-key brunch fiesta with family and a few friends in town, plus my best friend and her family are flying in for the weekend of the 4th.  I'm thrilled that they're coming to visit and celebrate with us, so we have lots to look forward to in the next few weeks.TWOLattice & IvyI've recently started repping a brand new gift and accessories company called Lattice & Ivy.  All of the items they sell are completely customized, so you can mix and match colors, patterns, monograms, names, and decorative frames to design the cutest things for yourself or for gifts.  I'm loving it so far, since I'm getting all the satisfaction I received from making personalized gifts with the kids clothing company  I used to run on the side, without having to spend 18 hours a day camped out in front of the embroidery machine. The company hasn't even officially "launched" yet, so it has been so neat to start at the ground level and work with their Corporate office to fine tune things.  An added bonus is that they're actually based just outside of Phoenix in Glendale (the town where Ryan and I lived when we moved back to Arizona from New York City when he got his MBA at Thunderbird), so I was able to pop by the Corporate office yesterday to meet the team and see the warehouse and production facilities.  Such. Cute. Stuff.  THREEGordon Ramsay Cooking Tutorials on YouTubeI'm a HUGE fan of cooking shows.  You should have seen the Oscar award winning hard sell performance I  put on to try and convince Ryan we needed to go on the MasterChef cruise with Graham Elliott this fall (verdict: too expensive. BOO.)  Since we don't have cable, it's hard to get my fill of Top Chef and the like right now.  It dawned on me last night that there had to be a few good tutorials on YouTube to stream on my laptop and get my fix while I washed the dishes.  A few quick searches, and I hit the jackpot- Gordon Ramsay's YouTube channel.(Image found here)I'm a big fan of Mr. Ramsay's cooking and overall vibe (even if I'm not big on some of his more dramatic TV shows like hell's Kitchen).  I've only watched 2 videos, but have already learned a half dozen new tricks for the kitchen.  Pressing play on one of these little videos makes late night sippy cup washing so much easier!  I think this garlic and saffron mayonnaise will be my first recipe attempt.FOURSummertime BluesIt's hot here in Phoenix.  Hotty, hot hot.  I'm having a hard time figuring out just how cool to keep our new house without breaking the bank (last month's power bill was in a very uncomfortable 3 figure range, and in's not even "summer" here yet!).  I came across these pyjamas, and think they'd be a darling way to class up my PJ collection and keep cool(er) at night!They also came in a really pretty blush color, which appears to be sold out... Sad I didn't scoop them up before they were gone!FIVEJuicingI watched t[...]

The Great Plague of 2014

Tue, 27 May 2014 06:20:00 +0000

One of my best childhood friends got married in Puerto Vallarta last weekend, which was seriously one for the record books.  The little neighborhood girl gang I grew up with now has 5 children under 2 (Waverly being the oldest), with more little blessings on the horizon (and NO, I'm not pregnant.).  Since the bride's little sister is counted among the moms in our crew, it was only natural that children were invited along on this destination wedding.  I'll be recapping how I survived taking 2 kids 2 and under to Mexico for almost a week, travelling without the husband (hint: there were grandparents attending and a LOT of tequila involved). Just after the most spectacular beachside ceremony.Giving my best "Dear God, please stop trying to jump out of my arms so we can get at least one decent family photo" faceWilder came down with a runny nose a day or 2 before the trip, which I chalked up to yet another round of teething.  The child drools like a St. Bernard (he literally leaves a little puddle trail behind him wherever he goes), so I figured we were just in for some teething mess.  The poor kid was fussy throughout the trip, which I just figured was a part of the drill for shaking up a baby's routine so much in the past 4 weeks- a big move, a new time zone, and now new country?  That'd be rough for anyone to adjust to. I woke up with a frog in my throat the day after the wedding, I got a little panicky.  Sick and taking care of 2 fussy, out-of-sorts kids under 2 in a foreign country largely by myself?  Thanks, but no thanks.  My friend's mother-in-law had developed a terrible head cold by Monday evening, so I just figured there was a little bug going around our group.  I mean, given the amount of germy air travel and hugging (there were almost 80 people who flew in for the wedding!) and toddlers grabbing each others' water bottles for drinks by the pool, somebody HAD to have picked up something. Someone dust off the Mother of the Year Award for me please, because the day after we got home one 103 degree fever and a trip to Urgent Care later revealed that my poor man child had double ear infections.  No wonder he was a hot mess for part of our vacation.  Relieved to have antibiotics on our side, I thought we were in the clear.10 pm pity portraits in the UrgentCarePoor buddy passed out before we even got out of the door in the morning to take Daddy to workBut wait- it only got better from there... The next day, Waverly started a slow decent into illness over the course of just a few hours: Going... going(ish)... Gone.(Also hereby known as the only night she ever fell solidly asleep before dinnertime) A few texts around the group later, it turns out that somehow our sweet little group of babies was exposed to Hand Foot and Mouth disease.  Which it turns out is A) way more common than I expected, and B) TOTALLY AWFUL OMG.  High fevers, blisters, the whole 9 yards. We've felt like we've had the flu, which is apparently only the beginning of the "incubation period" of this madness. We've "lucked out" a bit since we're not covered in sores (WHY DOES NOBODY MENTION THIS KIND OF STUFF TO YOU BEFORE YOU BECOME A PARENT?!) but that hasn't made much of a difference in our overall misery.  We're all still not sure just where it came from, as we haven't been around other kids and nobody else in the group has knowingly come in contact with HFM before the trip.  Which leads me to think irrational, over-the-top mom thoughts like whether we all got it in the kiddie pool in Mexico or something. {shudders}I can't tell i[...]

Back In The Saddle

Wed, 21 May 2014 20:36:00 +0000

     It's so bizarre how much my life has changed in the almost 6 years I've been writing this blog.  I started The Dirty Martini Diaries as a way to keep my friends and family in the loop with my life in New York, City, as well as a way to journal planning a long-distance wedding.  Maybe I'm just wound too tight, or take myself too seriously (both of which I have been accused of over the years), but I've never been much for journaling or diary keeping since I tend to go back and be really embarrassed by some of the "in the moment" things I write.  Hanging on to this blog has been different- I've really enjoyed having a written archive of some of the cool experiences I've had over the last 6 years (like attending a taping of Saturday Night Live), and some of the not-so-glamorous experiences (like when I was living on unemployment in NYC and battled with a grocery store clerk over cans of soup on sale).  I've been introduced so some of the funniest, kindest, smartest women that I now feel honored to call friends, and have been able to discover new products and fun events and helpful advice I never would have been exposed to otherwise.  I can honestly say that the only real regret I've had in keeping this blog is that I didn't do a better job of keeping it updated and logging my life more thoroughly.I look back on all of these posts and wonder "Where in the hell has all this time gone?"  I still remember what it felt like to wake up next to Ryan in our full-sized IKEA loft bed in Manhattan, take the first shower shift before my 3 other roommates, and sit in the dark at the writing desk under the loft bed to blow dry my hair while Ryan slept since our tiny, moldy bathroom had no electrical outlets.  I still remember exactly what it looked, smelled, and felt like to ride the express 2/3 train down from 96th street to 14th street, walk down the platform to the specific spot the door to the 1 train would open up, and watch the rats do a little morning scurry from the trash bags piled up on the platform to a little hole they'd chewed in a metal service door at the end of the platform.  I still remember what the knot in my stomach felt like as the doors of the 1 train opened up at Chambers Street, and the sound of CSS's "Music Is My Boyfriend" blaring through my iPod headphones as I stepped in time with the beat in my 4 inch heels, walking the slow morning death march towards a corporate job that made me constantly feel like I could barely keep my head above water.And now here I am.  I'm a stay-at-home mom with 2 kids, and have just completed YET ANOTHER move (the 3rd across state lines and the 6th address since this blog began) back to my adopted hometown of Phoenix.  I have to pause and close my eyes when I'm at a checkout counter and the clerk asks me for my zip code, as I have a hard time remembering which one I'm currently living in.  Hell, I have a hard time remembering what day it is, now that I'm not showering every day and referencing my Outlook calendar 30 times.  The only thing keeping the date straight in my head is when I can remember to post something on a daily gratitude journal I've been trying to keep on my Instagram feed.  I juggle diapers and bottles and sharing a messy minivan with Ryan and trying to make healthy food without breaking the bank and keep us from paying off our debt.  I've donated most of my corporate maven work wardrobe, and favor t-shirts from Target and Gap Maternity yoga pants even though I have no plans to have another baby. This life isn't any b[...]

Come See Me On Bloglovin'

Wed, 02 Oct 2013 20:43:00 +0000

PS, Have you followed my blog yet on Bloglovin'?

I'm hoping to get back into the posting groove soon(ish), and would love for you to join along!


About A Boy

Wed, 02 Oct 2013 20:14:00 +0000

It may have taken me 3 months to introduce him here on the blog, but it's entirely because I've spent every waking minute kissing these adorable, rapidly expanding cheeks.  On July 1st, we welcomed the most amazing little tub of love.

This is my son Wilder, and he's pretty fantastic.

Welcome to the world, Wild Man.

The Great 2013 Hair Chop

Wed, 11 Sep 2013 17:34:00 +0000

Is this thing on?

(Taps into the mic....)

The last time I blogged, I was 7 months pregnant and contemplating a hair change.  Let's say that life has changed juuuust a little bit since then...  I've never really found a good way to properly catch up on this blog after my many extended absences, so I'm just going to jump right where I left off.

The hair, for one?  It has been chopped.

I made an impulse appointment at a local salon here in Wichita for one Saturday morning in April, and had the Mr. snap this pic before I headed out the door.

Insanity, that hair.

I don't think the sweet stylist was expecting to do a chop quite this drastic for a practical walk-in appointment...

(Photo courtesy Wichita's Gina Dreher Photography, whom I A.D.O.R.E.)

I'm totally obsessed with the new 'do, and feel like a person again.  I may wear it up on a French twist 90% of the time, but that still feels de plus chic compared the big limp hair donut previously affixed on the top of my head.  

Also?  The cut cost a whopping $28 before tip.  That's like a one-way cab ride in NYC.   

I love you, crazy cheap Wichita cost of living.

To Chop or Not To Chop?

Fri, 12 Apr 2013 19:46:00 +0000

We have a hair situation going on over here, and I need some advice.  I'm going to take you on a little hair tour, and would LOVE your two cents!Right now, I'm suffering from a serious case of what I like to refer to as SWH - Sister Wife Hair:I mean seriously, look at that mop.  Hair for days over here.  I'm afraid some polygamist family is going to come up and proposition me to become their next wife or something.  I feel like sister wife extraordinaire Nicolette Grant from Big Love-image courtesy hereTo the best of my memory, I have had my hair cut twice in the last 36 months.  For real.  And it would be one thing if I actually did anything with it each day, but it is so long and unruly that it gets worn on top of my head in a sloppy clipped bun thing. The true look of motherhood around these parts.  My poor husband.I actually like my hair best when it's on the short side, which I had about 3 years back-(PS, check out that smile on my mom's dog Talulah, is that not the funniest thing ever?)This was an impromptu "I've got a fancy new client-facing job, so I best get a sassy professional haircut" phase, and I actually couldn't have loved the cut more if I tried. Sadly, let's just say that my dear husband didn't share the same affinity for the new 'do.  He started gently making comments a few weeks after the big hair cut like "You know, I sure do love your hair long..." and "remember when you had that cute shoulder-length hair when we were dating?  I really liked that."  Bless his heart.  This is what my hair looked like when we were dating (ohmigosh who are those two young, skinny kids?!), which I think is what my husband keeps referring to-While attending the BlissDom conference last month, I saw a girl with what can only be described as the most perfect hair in existence.  I found out that this gal was none other than Kate from The Small Things Blog- little did I know that I was just way behind the times and basically the whole Internet already knew and loved her (and her hair). Photo courtesy hereSee? Amazing.  Do you know about Kate?  Because if you don't, you should check her blog out now and read like every single post there is. And no lie, Kate's hair looks even more awesome in person than it does on her blog.  I die. So now, instead of doing responsible things like sweeping the house and organizing the office during naptime this week, I've just been looking at hair pictures online.  Great use of productive time, Lulu.So, riddle me this- how logical is it to make another big chop and transition to a haircut that actually requires styling, mere months before baby #2 arrives and my life gets thrown into (even more) chaos again?  Do I continue to sacrifice style (and let's face it, any semblance of attractiveness in general... haha) for the convenience of "let's take the large wig 'o' hair and clip it on top of my head again", or finally do something productive with my hair and take Tim Gunn's sage advice to just Make It Work?[...]

101 in 1,001: #102- Have Another Baby...?!?!

Thu, 11 Apr 2013 19:59:00 +0000

After spending hours upon hours plotting what I'd like to accomplish over the next ~2.74 years for my 101 in 1,001 list, there was one major item that honestly never crossed my mind - have another baby.

But lo and behold, here is where we find ourselves today....

Surpriiiise...  A whopping 7 months pregnant with a bouncing baby boy!

I know... right?!  I'll be having a baby in less than 3 months, and am just now announcing it on the blog.

Why the secrecy, you ask?  What gives?

A few reasons, I suppose...  At first, I needed to keep a lid on the surprise while I figured out how on earth I was going to juggle 2 kids under the age of 15 months (gulp) AND still be able to do my job.  Once that decision was sorted out (at which point I was already 6 months along), I guess it's just been a matter of habit not to mention it.  Frankly, this pregnancy has been 180 degrees different than the last pregnancy, so unless I feel this little man-child ninja kicking my internal organs I *completely* forget that there is a human growing inside me.

I've "outed" myself to family and close friends, as well as on Instagram and Twitter, so am not actively keeping the secret any longer.  However, I still have yet to make any official mention of the little mister on Facebook yet, which I guess is a little odd, since that is the one social media platform I have which consists of all real-life friends.  At this point, I just find the thought of an additional Martini baby magically popping up on my Facebook feed to be pretty comical, so we'll see how that goes.

After 2012 brought us a new baby, a grad school graduation, 2 job changes, and a relocation to another state, I fully expected 2013 to be nice and mellow.  I guess I should have known better! haha

I'm past the feeling of being completely overwhelmed (most days), and we're both fully excited to bring another little nugget into the world.  Stay tuned for another adventurous chapter!


Happy First Birthday to My Daughter

Sun, 31 Mar 2013 09:41:00 +0000

On The Night You Were Bornby Nancy TillmanOn the night you were born,The moon smiled with such wonderThat the stars peeked in to see youAnd the night wind whispered,“Life will never be the same.”Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.So enchanted with you were the wind and the rainThat they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.It sailed through the farmlandHigh on the breeze…Over the ocean…And through the trees… Until everyone heard itAnd everyone knewOf the one and only ever you.Not once had there been such eyes,Such a nose,Such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes. When the polar bears heard,They danced until dawn.From faraway places,The geese flew home.The moon stayed up untilMorning next day.And none of the ladybugs flew away.So whenever you doubt just how special you areAnd you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,Listen for geese honking high in the sky.(They’re singing a song to remember you by.) Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.(Listen closely…it’s whispering your name again!)If the moon stays up until morning one day,Or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,Or a little bird sits at your window awhile,It’s because they’re all hoping to see you smile…For never before in story or rhyme(not even once upon a time)Has the world ever known a you, my friend,And it never will, not ever again…Heaven blew every trumpetAnd played every hornOn the wonderful, marvelousNight you were born. Happy first birthday, our sweet baby girl.[...]

Hi! I'm Lulu.

Wed, 27 Mar 2013 23:49:00 +0000

After meeting so many fabulous new blog friends at BlissDom this weekend, and realizing that I probably have a few new blog followers that have joined along these last few months, I figured it's high time I do another post to properly introduce myself!A few things about me:I'm Lulu!  I grew up in Boulder, was a Kappa Kappa Gamma at Arizona State University (go Devils!), and am now a wife and mom living in Wichita, Kansas with my hard working, fun-loving husband (I usually refer to him on the blog as the Mr.)I go by Lulu on this blog, because that's a nickname my husband has called me for some time.  I'm sure that may initially confuse those of you who have met me in real life under a different name...  I'm not actively trying be anonymous on The Dirty Martini Diaries, as even my former work Vice President reads the blog (hi JG!), but I guess I like that it makes me slightly less Google-able?I have a daughter named W, who will be 1 at the end of this week (insert standard comment about time flying too fast here).  She's known on Instagram for her insane  mop of hair and scrunchy-face smiles:We relocated here to Wichita in June 2012 for my husband's job (moving to a different state with an 8 week old baby? An adventure all on its own), and are getting used to life in the Midwest.  In the past 7 years, I have lived in Phoenix, New York City, Phoenix again, and now Wichita, Kansas.  Believe me, I'm still getting used to the transition of going from New York City to Wichita in 2 years' time.I started this blog in 2008 as a way to keep up with friends while I was living in New York City and planning my wedding.  Needless to say, the content around here has changed a little bit in the past 4 years!  The bottom line is that no matter the topic, I try to be honest and try not to take myself too seriously.I just transitioned to being a full-time stay-at-home-mom this month, and am trying to figure out exactly what that means to me.  I do know that I shower more and am finally catching up on paperwork I should have done last year, so that's a good start?I turned 30 last year, and decided to commit to doing 101 things I've always wanted to do over the next 1,001 days.  I'll be focusing a lot more on that over the coming months, because I'm having a lot of fun with it.I'm a firm believer that there are very few things an extra dirty martini (or 3) cannot cure.Now, it's your turn!  Please take a minute to introduce yourself and let me know where I can find more fun things about you (Blog? Twitter? Instagram?)  I look forward to connecting with you! [...]