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Travel theme first birthday party ideas

Travel Themed First Birthday Party: A Festive Unisex Bash for the Twins!

I don’t even know how to approach a post about my twins turning one: No words can begin to adequately sum up the intense and wondrous and wild year after our family of two became four. All parents know this feeling, of course.

So how about if I focus instead on the babes’ travel themed first birthday party? That seems like a reasonable scope and scale. And I’m kiiiiiinda obsessed with the way it turned out.

For this party, David had one request: He wanted to host it in the backyard of our home, our first house, where we brought our babies after we left the hospital, a place to which he, in particular, has a deeply visceral connection (which is very sweet to see).

As for me, I had a few more ideas. After we got the babes their first passports and I saw how bonkers cute/hilarious the photos looked, I had this idea to make a sign that said “Oh, the places you’ll go!” and post those photos somewhere on it. From there, I loved the idea of a travel themed first birthday party. And then I thought of a “Here comes the airplane!” sign for the food table. Of course we’d have a taco cart, the crowd-pleasingest, budget-friendliest, easiest way to feed a group.

Along those lines, I was inspired by a couple of recent trips to Mexico (Punta Mita/Sayulita and Tulum), plus the availability of such great Mexican-style decor in Los Angeles. I was also pretty obsessed with this photo on Pinterest. But I knew I didn’t want the party to be too theme-y in any way. And that was about where my opinions and expertise on the matter ended.

Fortunately, I have friends in very convenient places — namely, in the event industry. My super-talented pal Sarah Granger-Twomey of PIE Productions got on board with helping me plan (never mind she’s in the throes of planning her own daughters’ celestial-themed joint birthday party in a few weeks), and helped me bring it to vibrant life.

Aaaaand her in-demand photographer husband, Sean Twomey of 2Me Studios (who also shot our maternity photos!) offered to shoot our day (while he also managed his two kids). Double score!

So after a super fun afternoon shopping for decor with Sarah in downtown Los Angeles, we were all set to go for an 11 a.m. backyard party. And then just as Sarah and our friend Rachel (who is among the most naturally festive people I know) were arriving to help set up, we heard thunder, and rain started falling. Out of absolutely nowhere. Um, what? People: It’s mid-July in Los Angeles, during a drought of biblical proportions. This cannot and does not happen. The Day After Tomorrow. Alanis Morissette. Etc.

And I would have panicked without my two seasoned event-industry friends, along with my event-industry husband, who rolled up their sleeves, pounded the coffee, and got to work.

Another thing that seems relevant here, before I go on with all the photos: As Sarah, Rachel, David and I stood in the living room formulating a rain plan, our friend (first) and neighbor (second), Dwayne, ran up the front walk in his jogging clothes talking about, “Hey, I have an E-Z Up tent. I’m bringing it by.”

This to me was a moment among so very many — nearly infinitely many in our love-filled first year — that have crystallized the idea of “It takes a village.” And we’d be absolutely lost without ours. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the helpers and everyday heroes in our lives. 

(By the way? The rain held off during our party’s exact mid-day window.)

Now onto the photos… Read more…

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Mom Atlantic City August 1946

3 Fun Things in Honor of Mother’s Day (Including a Fab Giveaway for One Lucky Mama!)

Wow. I’ve been a mama for nine months, meaning those twin babes have been on the outside now for as long as they were in.

Any parent out there knows there are no words to describe the enormity of it, the massively additive power of parenthood to expand your life and love and reinvent many parts of everything you just thought you already knew.

But instead of using this post to wax self-indulgently philosophical (or self congratulatory) about motherhood, I’ll use it for three breezy, fun things I think everyone can get behind:

1) …to send big love and appreciation to all you moms out there for Mother’s Day! You are all goddesses and super heroes. Imagine me telling you this every day, forever.

When traveling on business this week, I gave an unsolicited hug and shared spontaneous tears with a mom sitting on the floor at LAX administering oxygen to her baby who was having an asthma attack, while the mom tussled with an unsupportive airline staff person. If I see you, and you need a hug, I’m going to hug you and cry with you too — mark my words. I stand with all of you mamas. We are a team.

2) …to share the above epic throwback photo of my mama (Atlantic City, 1946), who [did not have an easy job with my obnoxious behind and] has my back no matter what. I could never thank her, or call her, enough. But I am trying.

Bonus: Scroll down for more throwback mom-and-me photos (featuring epic ’70s fashion! world traveling! wedding joy!)!

And…
3) …to reward one very lucky mama among you with a killer giveaway! Read on…

Read more…

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Mother's Day gift for pregnant wife

Need a Mother’s Day Gift for Pregnant Wife? Friend? Yourself?! 9 Ideas Here…

Last Mother’s Day, I was edging into my third trimester. No, I didn’t have babies yet, so technically I wasn’t a mom. But I’d already been working hard: Twin pregnancy isn’t always a walk in the park!

Because my family is superstitious, we didn’t really do gifts. But if they had been inclined to honor me with gifts as a mama-to-be, here are a few things I think would have made perfect choices. And they might be just right if you need a Mother’s Day gift for pregnant wife, friend, daughter, sister — and definitely yourself! Read more…

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Photo: Dan Hallman Photography

How to Style Curly Hair: You Asked For It!

I recently wrote a story for Today.com about why I’d never want to look 25 again, and about celebrating beauty at all ages. In spite of myself, I read every comment following the social media promotion of that post — which was meant only as rah-rah women in tone, but was taken in all kinds of ways.

A significant enough subset of those comments focused on my hair. [Bats lashes prettily!] Women of various ethnicities, ages, and hair lengths wanted to know how to style curly hair. Specifically, they asked me which products I use on my signature long, blonde curls.

Well, ladies? That’s all the encouragement I need! Here in plain terms are my easy-to-duplicate instructions for how to style curly hair. I know as well as any curly-haired queen that our hair is very specific to each of us, as are the methods for making it look its best. But this is my personal method, practiced over a whole adult lifetime, in case it can help you, too! Read more…

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after pregnancy body

After Pregnancy Body Shocker (Or: Beware the Korean Spa)

Hey Pregnant Ladies:

I hope very much that you, like a celebrity, look Us Weekly-cover ready a month after you deliver. Looking and feeling hot and sexy as a new mom would make for a few less things to worry about during that emotional, exhausted, insane first few weeks. And I want that for you.

And maybe that will happen. But just in case it doesn’t, I’m here to tell you a couple of personal tales that I hope can prepare you, in the event that you find yourself still looking pregnant for a really long time after you deliver. (If this is news to you, sorry I’m the one to—ahem—deliver it!)

Here’s the real deal: You’re probably going to look pregnant for a while, even a long while, after delivery. Here are stories from my first three months postpartum, after delivering my full-term twins, that still make me cringe deep in my soul — the trauma may never fully fade, in fact. But now that I’ve lost all my pregnancy weight (50-plus pounds through hard, protracted work — no magic involved), I have the necessary distance (and confidence) to tell two tales from the trenches. Read more…

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matzoh ball soup

Happy Hanukkah! (And the Gifts I’m Getting for the Twins Slash Myself)

It’s babies’ first Hanukkah around here this week, and I’m feeling very jolly.

First of all, it’s been a week of nonstop holiday parties, both of the family-friendly and heavy-boozing varieties. Beyond that, I (mostly) honored my vow to myself to taper off my write-aholism in the last couple weeks of the year, so that I could find time for such things as braving Whole Foods on a rainy afternoon, followed by lighting a fire in the fireplace, and making homemade matzoh ball soup and latkes for my guy. That night, the first night of Hanukkah, he held a baby in each arm while I lit the candles and my heart exploded. It’s been quite a year.

Overall, I’m celebrating the abundance in my life, and I’m so very grateful to be surrounded by so much love. I hope I did something good in a past life to deserve all of it.

Of course, a few awesome new material things around holiday time are the icing… Read more…

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St. Regis Princeville Hawaii at Christmas

Holiday Gifts For Pregnant Ladies! 16 Fab Finds That I Personally Covet

Last holiday season, I’d just crossed the second-trimester threshold, my pregnancy was public, and I was feeling so full of joy and promise at such a festive time of the year. (That’s us at the St. Regis Princeville in Kauaii last December — I realize it doesn’t read “holidays” per se, but it’s how we do it.)

This year, help the mama-to-be in your life celebrate such a momentous and special time. From pregnancy pampering products and services, to maternity fashion, to thoughtful ideas for the baby-on-the-way, I put together my (unscientific, but real-mom tested!) list of amazing holiday gifts for pregnant ladies. Even if—or especially if—that fab lady you’re buying for is you! Read more…

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Thanksgiving pregnancy announcement

Thanksgiving Pregnancy Announcement (Or: Holiday Bombshell!)

Last Thanksgiving was one for the books.

Just two days before, we’d learned I was pregnant. We figured there’d be no better time to tell our families than on a day devoted to gratitude and togetherness, and on a day when both sets of parents would be in the same room.

Because I was overall so nervous and jittery while processing the news, I didn’t want any big to-do—definitely no Thanksgiving pregnancy announcement that would be destined to go viral. I just wanted my husband to share the news unceremoniously and succinctly, so that it would be out there. I’m bad at secrets, and carrying this one for even those 60 hours felt like a burden to bear!

After a few late arrivals and a bunch of flitting around the kitchen, at last everyone was sitting down on the sofa for hors d’oeuvres at my in-laws’ house, and my husband seized the moment, blurting out: “We just want to let you all know that Alice is pregnant.” Read more…

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Photo courtesy of Simple Stylings

38 Fun Ideas for Thanksgiving Decorations, Food, and Crafts to DIY and Buy

Here in Los Angeles, we don’t have many weather-related indications that summer is turning to fall, so we have to embrace the signs wherever we can find them — so basically, in Starbucks.

For me, the special sense that fall is creeping in comes with the annual flood of lifestyle writing assignments that turn my attention to the season’s decor, food, crafts, and all the other good stuff. These stories are like pumpkin spice lattes for my laptop. They make me kind of giddy. My job doesn’t suck.

Allow me to share the joy! Following is a little roundup of some of the stories I’ve written in the last couple of weeks, in which I rounded up some of the best ideas from around the Web for Thanksgiving decorations, food, crafts, flowers, tabletop, and plenty more to buy or DIY: Read more…

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nude and gold negative space nail art

2 New Mom Beauty Tips (Also Known As: Aint Nobody Got Time)

Here’s the deal. I have two infants. I have no time. This is literally true now, as compared to when I used to be like “OMG, I have no time” before I had kids and what I actually meant was “I’ll really have to write this story lighting fast if I want to make it to my favorite Equinox class at noon.”

Nevertheless, three months postpartum, you won’t catch me with chipped nails or too many visible grey hairs (ugh, I just put that on the Internet). Postpartum beauty is a key self-esteem tool for me at a time in life when so much is new and scary. I may not have the magic touch that can make my baby stop crying instantly every time, but I can have amazing nails with a little advance planning and a couple hours a month of family/hubby willing to run interference. That much I can control. And I’ll tell you what: In my world, conversation-starting nail art is key to faking it til I make it.

So I’ve modified a couple of my key beauty routines to suit my life as a new twin mom. Here are the two new mom beauty go-tos that work for me… Read more…

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