Posts in August, 2010

My Shoe Rack

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Not sure how to organize all of your shoes so they aren’t just a huge heap at the bottom of your closet? Some people like to keep their shoes in their original boxes and put pictures of the shoes on the outside. I know others who buy clear plastic shoe boxes and stack those up in their closets. In the magazines you see photos of phenomenal closets where Kimora Lee Simmons, Mariah Carey and every other super star has these amazing custom built in shoe closets. We can’t all live like Carrie Bradshaw, but I must admit it is very important to see all of your shoes so you can make the best decision every morning when you walk out the door.

For the last 10+ years I have opted for the open air shoe rack. (I think I bought mine at The Container Store but any organization store should have them.) It is the only way to go. I can see every pair of shoes I own so nothing gets burried at the bottom of the heap. My son likes it too because he can hide his Matchbox cars here and there, sliding them into any available peep-toe, and he can easily help me pick out a pair to wear when we are getting ready to leave the house. His first choice is always my hot pink silk Kate Spade mary janes with these wonderful big bows (over on the right, 2nd row from the top).

Let’s just say that this shoe wall of mine takes up a large portion of one wall of my bedroom. My husband knows it will not go away until he is able to build me my very own Carrie Bradshaw fantasy closet one day. Until then I will have all of my treasure on full display…

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Black & White

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

I am totally mortified! I have no idea what happened to all of my white socks. I swear – they were absolutely nowhere to be found. And I have a lot of socks…at least I thought I did.  I actually left my house to go on a little power walk (just trying to get a little exercise and fresh air) in my neighborhood wearing black socks with my silly white sneakers. I had no other choice. Of course it was the one time that almost every person who lived in a 3 mile radius of my house happened to be out on their front lawn, walking their dogs, getting the mail or just waiting for the crazy lady with dorky blacks socks to walk by. I was so busted…

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Books (Mostly) Without Words

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Ack! Trying to find good children’s books while your toddlers are running wild through the library shelves? Never fear. We’ve got you covered. My dear friend, fellow Stanford alum, writer, Silicon Valley mom, and book lover extraordinaire, Susan has kindly offered to write regularly for Sweet Peas & Stilettos and share some of her insightful tips on wonderful children’s books with all of us. Thank you so so so much Susan! Here is the first in what I hope is many more great posts from Susan:

I’m a writer, so some of my favorite children’s books are wordless. That’s right. Wordless. Or with just a few words sprinkled among the pages, like chocolate chips.

You see, my two boys are as sharp as Google engineers. If I change a sentence in their favorite book, or cut a paragraph or so – because, guys, it’s really, really late, and I mean it! – they don’t hesitate to take me down a notch. They think a book should say the same thing every time.

But something wonderful happens when we can’t depend on printed words to tell a story. My children and I have to do it ourselves.

In my favorite wordless books, the illustrators have risen to the challenge. Some have gone a little crazy with the freedom of it all, crowding their pages with drawings, such as a hundred hamsters running rampant through a bedroom. Others go the opposite route – seeding subtle clues to reveal the emotions behind one “simple” story, such as never showing a parent in a lonely boy’s house. Either way, it usually takes many, many readings to understand everything that’s going on.

That makes a nearly wordless book wonderfully flexible. It’s like my perfect little black dress – I can dress it up or down, wear it on fat or thin days, and it’s still fashionable, year after year.

Trying to entertain both my boys? My toddler can search for a red-haired girl on every page, while my five-year old asks why a city crowd is made up of people with lots of different skin colors. Racing to naptime? We follow just the path of a Santa Claus motorcyclist through a busy German town. But if we’re stuck on a plane for hours, we figure out exactly how that town changes over a year.

I like being able to describe storylines in a few words, or in hundreds. Best of all, my children can narrate the story to me. And what they see changes every time. We’re not just reading. We’re creating. As a writer, that’s where the fun lies.

10 Minutes till Bedtime, by Peggy Rathman. A troupe of hamsters parades through a boy’s house at bedtime. Many of the hamsters have their own “shtick,” which children can follow from page to page, such as the hamster always kicking a soccer ball or the one always climbing up high. It’s also fun to find the visual references to Rathman’s more well-known book, Goodnight Gorilla. As a bonus, the website shows the photographs taken by one of the tourist hamsters!

Wow! City!, by Robert Neubecker. It’s fun to find red-haired Izzy on every page in these books about a little girl from a mountain town who goes to the big city. The illustrations vibrate with energy and color. Each page is chock-full of people and objects for kids to notice, including people of many different ethnicities. It’s also refreshing to have a book with a close father and daughter relationship.

Rainstorm, by Barbara Lehman. A lonely boy finds a secret tunnel under his house that leads to a lighthouse – and to a group of other children who become his friends. The clues about the differences between the children are understated – the lonely boy lives in a large house with many toys, while his friends’ clothes are worn – but show that friendship can overcome many obstacles.

In the Town All Year ‘Round, by Susanne Berner Rotraut. The four sections of this book follow the changes in a German town over a fall, winter, spring, and summer. Each section opens with a page suggesting specific characters or plots to follow, but the whimsical drawings are so wonderfully detailed that you’ll find hundreds of other things to notice as well.

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

Kids Party Invitations

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I can remember so many of my birthday parties growing up. I loved birthday parties! My favorite was probably right after we got back from spending the summer in China and Japan when I was about 10 years old. My mom bought all of my party favors and decorations while we were on our trip and I wore my favorite pink silk Chinese outfit. It was the best. In college my best friend Marya and I had birthdays exactly 2 weeks apart so we would make it non stop celebrations for at least those 2 weeks. Yeah for the Glass Slipper Inn in Palo Alto!

Anyhow, now I no longer celebrate my own birthday but I love celebrating my son’s birthday. On his actual birthday we go to Buck’s of Woodside – just the three of us – and we plan on continuing that tradition for a very long time. We also throw a big party for all of our friends. I think birthdays are the perfect excuse to get friends, old and new, all together for an afternoon of fun and laughs.

I’ve just added a new page full of adorable kids birthday party invitations so you will be ready for your next bash. This modern monkey is from Whitney English.

Kate Spade Nell Flat

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

These shoes were made for me. I can’t wait to go try them on (and buy them!). My never ending love for Kate Spade continues.

3 Tiered Dessert Stand

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

I was out shopping in Los Gatos and picked up this fabulous 3 tiered cake stand from Anteo Home. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I just had to have it because it looked like 3 little crowns and it has just a very subtle hint of glitter in the silver paint. I just knew it had to be on display somewhere in my home. It was made for me! It quickly became the perfect jewelry box. I have lots of long colorful necklaces that I simply curled up like little cinnamon buns and alas! I love it! It is a great way to quickly get at all of my favorite necklaces and it looks so pretty on my dresser too.

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