This, a Yearbook

Reaching one-thousand posts, although I know in the scheme of things isn't anything major, has piqued my curiouity enough to want to delve curser first into the retrospection of my several hundred captured moments. Seeking, in a way, guidance toward I don't know what. Direction through rear-view mirrorship is something I often find myself seeking, if only to bring me back to the knowledge that now is where all the action is.

Still, one post by one I've gone through the past five years wincing and cringing and wanting to punch myself in the face. But after the initial embarrassment, I found myself amazed by how much changed. In my tone and voice and especially happiness. Slowwwwwwwwwwlllllly but still totally wow.

We're so afraid of thinking small - pushing ourselves instead toward lottery jackpots and drastic measures for change when on a personal level, it seems to me that time means more to happiness than anything. Every day we become a little more interesting. A little more balanced. A little more successful in our ability to understand and know and care and love and come to conclusions about things.

Like gardens and how you can't tell how fast they've grown until you return from vacation.
We're all of us growing up. And every day we challenge and accept what that means. And many days I've come here to write about it. And that has given me the ability to push forward (or at the very least reflect backward). Close my computer and go back to what it means to feel alive: living amongst exclamation points, question marks and the occasional dot-dot-dot...

When I started this blog in October of 2005, I struggled with what it meant to have a family. To be a sudden wife and instant mother - to change, sometimes not, redefine, become, sail on.
So many of the things that once scared me have left me unafraid.

And it's all here in the pages of what has become a sort of yearbook. Have a bitchin' summer. Class of 2010 rules.


The Post Birthday Word

Last Sunday we celebrated Archer's 5th birthday. We celebrated in our backyard with dozens of our closest strangers friends AKA Archer's entire preschool class. And also other people that are friends in real life.
This is something I'd like to talk about for a second. Archer happens to have an adorable class full of cutes but still - the idea that one HAS TO (as not to be busted by the school itself) invite an entire class to their kid's birthday party is a little much. I understand why. I understand that kids would feel left out. I do! I do! I never got invited to anyone's birthday party when I was a little kid sans for my cousins'. And yet, somehow? I lived to see another day!

Archer's class boasts twenty-five kids. Which means, in order to have a birthday party we must expect to host at least fifty people - considering ONE parent shows. In our case, we had seventy people at our house. SEVENTY. And we knew, maybe twenty of them. It felt kind of like high school and how you invite a few of your closest friends and then the entire school shows up. Except in this case we had to invite the entire school as not to get our asses wedgied. I think we even had to sign something in red ink when we enrolled Archer in school, pledging our agreement to "invite all classmates in case of party." Not kidding.
So. Seventy people and six-hundred-zillion dollars later... our low-key backyard birthday party ended up ... well... not being all that low-key, Except somehow, (and I say, somehow, because I usually HATE hosting parties, cry all the way through them and/or throw up) I had more fun than perhaps ever in my entire life...

More, here...



This marks my one-thousandth published post on Girl's Gone Child. On behalf of GGC and my entire family, thank you x infinity for reading and supporting and agreeing and disagreeing - for being real and honest and coming back to read more. Thank you for making it possible for me to do what I do. You bless.


Sunday, 2:48pm, Our Backyard

For his 5th Birthday Party, Archer wanted a "power line" theme. Which is one of the more difficult themes to work with. But thanks to Ben the Balloon man's genius? Totally doable.
(that's my dad)
(...and my grandpa)
(and my very happy five-year-old.)


re: the mcdonalds ads that have been running all morning

It was just brought to my attention that McDonalds ads have been running on GGC all morning. I reject these ads ALWAYS and was shocked to hear that for the last few hours they've been running nonetheless. I have pulled all ads until the issue is resolved. My sincerest apologies. I'm beyond mortified.


*Updated: Issue resolved. Still very sorry and embarrassed.

Re: the Jillian Michaels thing. three weeks later. (I know! Sorry!)

Ed: If you're not familiar, the following post/momversation ep is in regards to this. And this. And this. Okay then...

I know many of you skip the videos when I post them but I encourage you to watch this one if only to hear what Alice says. I wish her entire statement had been included in this video because it was so eloquently put. She's one perceptive cookie, that Alice Bradley. I love her a lot.

Although I understand that women in positions of power and celebrity should watch what they say, they also deserve to be respected for their willingness to speak candidly and honestly about insecurities, fears and yes, body issues. We are far too easily offended by people's personal matters and far too quick to judge and criticize each other's choices. Myself included, I will not lie.

Before I was pregnant I was consumed with the fear that childbirth would make it impossible for me to ever be sexy/sexual/sexually active again. I was paralyzed with fear that my vaginal-situation would stretch beyond recognition and I would spend the remainder of my sexually active life unable to enjoy sex and very sad. Many a pregnancy nightmare I spent dragging my girly bits all around town c/o a modified jock-strap for postpartum 'ginas.

It was awful but I felt silly talking about my fears openly. Instead? I spent months (quietly) freaked the fuck out.

If someone were to have interviewed me pre-pregnancy or even DURING pregnancy, more than likely I would have said far more offensive things re: motherhood/body/life change than Jillian did. I don't think I'm the only one. Because HELLO!?? It's fucking scary! For most of us it's terrifying! And yet? A woman's fear of motherhood and childbirth, body changes/life changes is something, even today, we must whisper about amongst friends at the risk of being blasted by peers, or worse; friends.

Truth be told, I wish more women had the balls (labias? labi-i?) to speak candidly about their insecurities no matter how seemingly bone-headed and neurotic. Because, let's face it! We're all kind of bone-headed and neurotic sometimes! Sometimes even MORE than sometimes. Because, duh! We're emotional humans who laugh, cry and occasionally feel and say disagreeable things! Far more interesting than being a plant, I'd say.

And no, my vag doesn't need a jock strap after two kids. However, I did pee my leggings mid-leap on Archer's Birthday Bouncer:


...So there is that.



The following song goes with this post. And also, this post re: a video I made for Archer way back when. It's one of my all-time favorite songs and has always made me a pinch weepy. Now for very different reasons than it did before I had kids.

Sad + time = happy. Happy + sad = time.

48. With Whom to Dance by: The Magnetic Fields



Archer Sage, age 5

A few weeks ago, I took Archer to get new shoes after school. Moments after entering the shoe store he disappeared around the corner and quickly, decisively returned moments later clutching a purple and orange high-top.

"These," he said. "I want these."

"Awesome. Done."

So we bought them, and out the store we went.

The next day Archer wore his new shoes to school, excited, he said, to show them to his friends.

"I bet everyone's going to think they're so awesome."

"Of course they will. Hello!"

Except they didn't.

"Nobody liked them," Archer said, getting into the car after school. "Nobody liked my shoes."

"What? Are they crazy? Those shoes are way the coolest!"

Archer shrugged. "I know," he said. Nobody likes them but it's okay mom. Know why? Because I like them? I think they're cool."

That was the last we ever talked about the shoes. He's worn them every day since. Happily and with pride even if the boys at school think "they're for girls because they're purple and boys don't wear purple! Girls do!"

At first I wanted to take credit for his ability to be unaffected by the criticism of his peers. But I could never do what Archer does. Even now, try as I might, I care what people think. Not as much as I used to, but its there. But not for Archer. Not even slightly.

It blows my mind. It blows my mind when he says things like this. It blows my mind that not two years ago he was just starting to speak. That he was timid and shy and unable to express himself vocally. It blows my mind that every night before bed, he tells ME a story. (Tonight's was about a turtle who moved his treehouse to Mercury.)

A few months back Archer said to me, "everyone's going in a different direction but know what? Everyone's trying to get to the same place."

He was referring to the cars at the four-way stop sign. But he was right. So completely and totally right and now? Whenever I find myself frustrated or angry at people, friends, strangers, even family - I remind myself that we're all going in different directions, trying to get to the same place. And then I feel better. Am able to empathize with people I used to misunderstand.

Archer does that. He empathizes and understands and guides and says crazy perceptive things that change the way I see myself and the world.

Today, Archer is five. An entire hand of years and time that has slipped by and slowed my every moment all at once. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

My sadness mourning my baby gone can only be matched by the joy I feel watching him grow into a self-assured, life-loving boy. Every day he wakes me up with love and kindness and new ideas.

When I gave birth to Archer, I was suddenly changed. He changed me. He changes me. I tell him this all the time and he pushes me away, rolls his eyes, shakes his head. But then? He hugs me.

It's cliche for me to say I don't believe in fate and I don't, but Archer, for me, personifies the brilliance of the unexpected - the poetry in the unplanned. He is the unlikely path, unpaved. He is what it means to go with gut. To persevere no matter what people say. To change and grow and redefine. To follow LEAD one's heart. And looking at him, for me, means looking at what happens when life interrupts with beautiful knocking hands.

I may hold his hand when we cross the street but the truth is? For the last five years it's been me in need of assistance from one side of the road to another. And Archer who has led me in all the right directions.

He is my shepherd. The bow to my arrow. The bearer of possibilities endless and good.

The other day, we were building Legos together and after five frustrating minutes of me looking for the hook he asked me to find, Archer threw up his hands and found it for me.

"What would I do without you?" I asked.

"Well?" he said. "You probably would have a hard time building a lego fort."

"That's true..."

"But don't worry, mom." he said. "I'm here to help you."

"Buggy?" I said. "You have no idea."


Happy Birthday, Archer, sage. Thank you for giving me five.


Extracurricular Activities

This summer we have plans. And by plans I mean classes/lessons/extracurricular activities. Trouble is? I think we may have booked too much. Or maybe not. I have no idea actually.

In the past we've spent much of our summers in San Diego, hanging beachside with my parents. But this summer, we're going to be spending much of it here and after researching summer camps and finding few affordable options, we decided to do three days of summer-school a week (at his preschool) and extracurricular activities on other days.

Swimming lessons were obvious. I've been slacking getting him into swimming because he "doesn't want to go!" except he HAS to go because duh. So I took him to the YMCA, introduced him to the "giant awesome so cool" pool and signed him up for swim lessons twice a week starting next month. And then I signed him up for Basketball. And Taekwondo. And music lessons. All of which were Archer's idea which = awesome! I'm all for it! Except I fear I may exhaust him. And myself trying to shlep him all over L.A. to various lessons and thises and thats all the summertime long.

As a kid I was always busy. Piano lessons, softball (which I sucked at) soccer (which I also sucked at) ballet (which I loved but probably sucked at) tap dance, zoo-camp (I was obsessed with all things animal) horse-back riding, various farm camps where my parents paid top dollar for me to pick up cow poop all day in the middle of nowhere... the list goes on. I LOVED activities but remember equally loving staying home and kicking back with my mom, toys and neighborhood pals.

The thing is? I work. And although my work isn't particularly conventional it still exists and I can't really take more than a few days off. Which means? I have no choice but to keep Archer in school (at least partially) during the summer. And I figured booking Archer in tons of fun extracurricular will lessen the pressure for me to saddle up every day with picnics and plans for grand adventuring...


Saturday, 4:48pm, Downtown Los Angeles

And then? A spontaneous dance.

I love them.


Inside/Outside: Bedroom

Two weeks ago, I posted some early pictures of our mostly-unpacked house and thought I'd follow up with some posts re: the shape of things interior. The house is a work in progress, obviously. It's expensive to fill a home - especially as we've doubled our square footage. So! I've been experimenting with the things we have as we plan to slowly (when finances permit) acquire the things we need/would very much love.

Here's how the bedroom's shaping up:
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The mirror is ten years old - I bought it for my first apartment. It's the least flattering mirror of all time - which I have grown to love. This way? If "it" looks good in the mirror? It looks DAMN good in real life.

The chair is a cazillion years old. I bought it on consignment years ago. The dresser belonged to my dad when he was a little boy which I love because my dad is the coolest.
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Re: the painting (which, if you've read my book you may recall?) - it was something I painted for Hal when I was pregnant and didn't know it yet. Like, I was literally four weeks pregnant when I painted that sucker. And. Had. No. Idea. Crazy, right? It's kind of silly looking but it will be treasured always as one of the reasons Hal and I agreed on becoming parents when we did. Three months of dating, mere strangers, totally in over our heads.

The silly painting with the blue Hal coming out of "my" belly button? Was a sign. Even Archer knows all about it, loves to talk about how he helped me paint it when he was in my tummy.

Indeed he did, that little monkey.

So yes. It's totally silly looking. But also? A sort of masterpiece as far as kismet is concerned. (Ah, well. It is to me.)
Other items shown above include an old Claire Luce/Julie Haydon reading of Colette's Music Hall Sidelights. A photograph an old friend gave me that says, "stop thinking about sex" which = haha! Oh, you! and a hand-sewn little number my mom bought for the kids that I am currently borrowing.
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Many have asked about my bedding. It's from Anthropologie (Surprise!) and is no longer available. (It was a birthday gift from years ago. They have a few similar options but unfortunately not the same.) The painting is also something I made. I used to paint all the time but haven't since Archer was born. I'm hoping to get back into it. It's meditative for me and makes me happy and yes, I know, I shouldn't quit my day job.
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Having no bed stands, I thought to use a couple of errant chairs my friend Frank found for me years ago in someone's trash pile. They work beautifully as book-stands and match the whole vibe of the room, me thinks.
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The gold sequined-jacket belonged to my grandfather's mother, Frances. (or Mimi as my mother grew up calling her.) I wear it often when I do dressy things and don't have the heart to store it in a closet with the rest of my coats. So? There beside my bed it currently resides. Inspiring fanciful dreams.
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Outside our bedroom lives my office, and (soon-to-be?) studio for painting/creating/eventually sewing my own clothes. Okay, so that's a dream I have little time for but boy, do I dream. I dream real hard.
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The opposite wall was empty for about a week before I had an idea. I collect hats and have many (typically men's) that are difficult to store. So? I made a hat wall! (Several of these belong to men in my life who have passed away, so they're very special things haunted by loving ghosts - even more reason to hang them happily on display ... much like the gold sequined coat!)
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And... that's all she wrote! For now. Eventually I'd like to acquire a new bed frame (something cool and canopy-ish) some cool mega-pillows, a whimsical little ruggy number for the foot of the bed and some funky bedside lamps but for now? I'm feeling all sortsa cozy-like.

Next up: the dining room! Where we dine by candles and books! Where Archer spends all day building things out of legos!


For bedroom inspiration c/o someone who actually knows what she's talking about? Check out Making it Lovely. Hers is a new blog to my radar and I want to marry it - so many great ideas + pretty things. Also? She's a mama whose daughter totally rocks like-minded frocks. That rhymed.

Food, Think

One of the reasons I'm starting an "Eat Well" section here on GGC (soon! I promise! in fact? my mom has already sent me ten pages of recipes she wants to teach the Internet. Literally. The woman calls me every day with another idea. Good luck to me who will be editing these videos for the rest of my life!) is to get people (myself included) excited about cooking, specifically, cooking cheap, healthy (meat-free! whoopee!) meals. Some of these meals will feature gluten-free alternatives. Some will boast vegan feasts, free of animal products. All will be delicious, low-calorie, and very, very good for you.

I've written about my disdain for fast food before - even went so far as to claim I'd rather my kid smoke cigarettes than eat at fast food restaurants regularly. People thought I was crazy. My point? Fast food is just as bad for you. Environmentally? It's waaaaay worse.

In the meantime, there's this.

Personally? If I had any kind of control in this department? I would tax the shit out of some bad food. One dollar per 100 calories? Would McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Wendy's, etc survive? Probably not. I mean, if tobacco has to pay hefty taxes, shouldn't the fast food industry? Shouldn't the manufacturers of processed food? All are deadly. All are addictive. All are socially, physically, environmentally and everythingelseally irresponsible. Oh, to be queen!

There are plenty of ways to eat on the cheap*. That are healthier. That won't kill you. That won't kill our planet. Let's fix this, ladies. Show our bodies who's boss.



*Beans, grains and/or rice-based dishes for example are tasty, veryvery cheap and veryvery good for you. I make quinoa-based dishes weekly as well as bean-soups in the crock pot that provide lunches during the week as well. Also? EGGS!!! Egg-based dishes = ftw. In fact, our first "Eat Well" ep will feature an egg-based recipe to die for that will feed your family of four for FIVE DOLLARS! TOTAL! Hooray! Not to mention include handy tips re: ensuring the purchase of free-range eggs. Go, mom!


This song goes out to you. Whoever, wherever, however you are...

You're lovely. Know it.


47. Song No. 6, Ane Brun featuring Ron Sexsmith


Gone Style: Swimsuit Yourself

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uh, oh...

Last week I did an insane thing: I bought a bikini for the first time since High School. To be clear, I've never had an amazing body. I've always been insecure about the way I look in a bathingsuit, even as a teenager, especially as a teenager, actually. Size H breasts will do that to a person. So will being a size 8 in less-than-size-zeroland.

Since Archer was born I've worn a one-piece. A lovely retro polka-dotted one-piece but four years is a long time to rock the same bathingsuit, so I decided, last week, to treat myself to a new one.

I dared myself to try on a bikini. A triangle-top at that. Risky business considering I still have some pretty visible breast-reduction scars in the cleavage-area and along the sides.

After spending a ridiculous amount of time scrutinizing myself in front of the mirror I bought the bathing suit, with the intent to try it on at home, away from Target's mirrors-of-deceit, to see if I could pull it off.

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ED: both top and bottoms (Zac Posen for Target) purchased in size *large.

*I'm typically a size 8/M/34C, 5'8 tall.*

top = $18
bottoms = $18

I told myself I could remove the tags so long as I promptly re-joined the gym. Something I have been meaning to do for the last nineteen-months. Something I finally did last week. Bikinis are motivational like that. So are posting photographs of oneself half-nakes on ye olde blog. (Important, me thinks to be real about these things.)

I get loads of emails requesting bathingsuit recommendations for real women with real bods, specifically those of us rocking some postpartum soft spots. I've written about swimsuits before, years ago, so thought an update was necessary.

Here are a few I recommend, both of the two-piece varieties and one, based on cuteness, flattery and cuteness.


1. I'm OBSESSED with this suit. So Betty Draper:

Buy @ Retrodress = $65.00

Gotta love a sexy two-piece love covers up the belly in a non-granny retro-sexy way. Well played.

2. String bikinis are FAR more flattering than most bikini bottoms because we can make adjustments to the sides as not to flaunt our (ahem) roll-over minutes. Exhibit this:

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(*This is why I always buy bottoms on the larger side - more material to work with. Nothing worse than a too-small swimsuit. Especially when strings are involved)

I love the print of the one I purchased (above/here) but I also love the mix-and-match. Victoria's Secret has some nice options if you're not easily distracted by otherworldly bodies. It's hard for me to envision myself in any of the suits when staring at bodies like this and this. And this:

Alas, its a cute pairing. Love the rainbow top and pink bottoms. And yes, you'll need a Brazillian for this one. And a size small vagina. After two kids, I'm afraid all the working out in the world won't affect my larg...ina. Sorry. That was kind of gross.

top = $15.50
bottoms = $14.50

3. I can't tell if I'm in love with this suit or the girl who's wearing it. The bottoms are also extremely flattering to those of us with childbearing hips. A little on the spendy side, however:

top = $98
bottoms = $98

4. Ditto on this hot little number, if you're (once again) looking to splurge:

Buy @ Anthropologie:

top = $78
bottoms = $78

5. And this, which would look especially hot on those with darker skin. I could never pull this off because I don't tan and the color would fetch every thigh dimple to come and play unsolicted:

top = $98
bottoms = $98


6, 7, 8. Esther Williams suits are SOLID. They also run a pinch small. Here are a few of my favorites:

buy @ Retrodress: $65

buy @ Retrodress = $65

Buy @ Retrodress = $65

9. Hi. This might be cutest bathing suit of all time. That is all:

And yes, it is ALSO from Anthropologie. No one can compete with their selection of bathingsuits and yes, I know they're pricey. (Anthropologie should sponsor this blog for the amount of times I link to them. So should Target. Hint, nudge.)

10. I love this so, so much. It doesn't suit me (I don't think) but I wish it did. The belted style is so flattering and stripes are always sexy:

Buy @ Anthropologie: $128

11. I chose this for you skinny minnies with flaunt-worthy hips. My friend, Jasmine, for instance could easily pull this suit off, even after two kids. (Me? Hahahaha, no.)

buy @ American Apparel: $45

12. This is actually a two-piece. So flattering and so sexy. Ideal for those stacked with major cleav. The color is perfection:

buy @ target: $45

13. I call this? The perfect all-ages all-bodies suit. It's out of stock until next month when I plan to snatch one up for myself. A bikini's rad and all, but a one-piece is kind of mandatory for building sandcastles with the kids at the beach. Which I plan to do often this summer.

buy @ Anthropologie: $148

What about you? What will you be wearing this summer? Where do you typically purchase your swimwear? Any recommendations for lovely friends and strangers? Lend me your links, summer-lovers.