KEEPING THE KIDS BUSY THIS SUMMER

06/27/2017

Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-13Last Tuesday marked the first official day of summer, and the signs are all around, especially in my household. My big kids have left to visit their dad in Florida until August, and my littlest ones have begun their summer school program after two weeks of vacation. For me, the summertime is always a bittersweet season. On one hand, our house grows especially quiet without teenagers and their friends hanging throughout the house, playing piano, and showing us the latest viral videos. We miss Julian and Plum so much while they’re gone. On the other hand, some of our favorite pastimes circle back around this time of year—running barefoot through sprinklers, afternoon barbecues at the river with friends, local farmer’s markets, and evening walks through our neighborhood, just to name a few. For Birdie and Sailor, the summer also can mean long, hot days trying to fight off boredom. If you’re a mom with small kids, chances are, you’re familiar with trying to keep busy minds amused in the summer months (because the plethora of toys they have just won’t cut it, most days).

Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-2Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-7Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-9Luckily, both Birdie and Sailor have a deep love for coloring—especially when it comes to printouts. Are your kids as obsessed with printouts as mine are? It seems like a daily occurrence that they ask Aubrey or me to print off their favorite characters—most recently, outlines of popular cartoons like Moana, Pokemon, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Growing up in the height of the digital age, our kids are incredibly tech-savvy. The minute they come home from school and drop their things to the ground, they grab for our Acer Spin 7, and start browsing their favorite sites for new pictures and characters to bring to life with the touch of their crayons. Their little hands love using the Spin 7 because it’s simple, quick, and user-friendly. Everything they need is right at their fingertips, uncomplicated, and easy to navigate. And, because it can handle sticky fingerprints and a fall or two, our lives as parents are a little easier as well. They can do what they love, and we don’t have to worry. We send their selects off the printer and done—instant entertainment.

Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-8Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-14After a good hour or more, we have a floor full of Birdie and Sailor’s creations—colorful, scratchy, and beautiful. The kids select and hang up their favorites in their room. If the kids are growing tired of coloring inside the lines, we head back to the drawing board (i.e.—The Spin 7) to brainstorm, get even more creative, and make additional masterpieces of our own. I love seeing the ideas and images that come to life at the touch of their small hands and huge imaginations. You can see the pride radiating from them as the hold up their latest and greatest sheets of scribbles. In these moments, I always try to remind myself that even though life gets busy or quiet or hectic at times, it’s nice to know you can rely on your tech to work with your hectic schedule, bring out your kids’ inner creative genius, and enjoy your family in any season of parenthood.

Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-15Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-20Mother-Hoods-Gardiner-NY-17This post is in partnership with Acer, but the words and opinions are my own. Check out Acer’s great product line-up at Acer.com/KeepAsking

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TEN THINGS

06/23/2017

MaryDennis-022I wanted to extend a warm thank you to everyone who has reached out about yesterday’s health scare. Every call, text, and DM meant so much. I tried to respond to every single one. Thank you! For those who don’t know, I went into anaphylatic shock early yesterday morning, but am feeling much better now. The whole experience has really taught me that food allergies are no small matter! I’m going to see a specialist on Monday to get some clarity, but I am assuming it is related to Alpha-Gal Syndrome, which I have been dealing with for the past 10 months. All that said, I hope your weekend is filled with family, fun, and good health. Here are this week’s ten things…

1. Why Amazon Bought Whole Foods.

2. I love the new limited edition SEE SUN x Jenny Pennywood collab. I bought 2 hand towels immediately.

3. 15 Life-Enhancing Podcasts You Must Subscribe To.

4. The summer solstice began this past week. Why not try this veggie-heavy frittata recipe from Sqirl to lift those solstice spirits.

5. Instagram introduces its new archive feature.

6. What are your predictions for Emmy Season 2017? Check out showrunner’s favorites here.

7. How cute are these tennis players?

8. I’ve been testing out a some new products from Drunk Elephant and so far so good! I especially love their C-Firma Day Serum and the new Sukari Babyfacial.

9. Here’s a list of books to read when you’re pissed off at the world. Because hey, sometimes you need that.

10. Coconutgate. Is coconut oil no longer good for you?

Photo above via Diane Villadsen.

SUMMER STYLE: WHAT I’M WEARING ON REPEAT ALL SEASON

06/21/2017

4SummerLooks_BleubirdI recently redid my closet with California Closets. I’ve shown a few peeks on Instagram, but plan on sharing the before and after very soon. I had to take everything out for the remodel and, of course, after it was complete, I had to put everything back in—the exciting part! I took this opportunity to go through every single item I own (clothing, shoes, and accessory-wise) and I cannot believe how much I decided to part with. I filled SIX giant lawn-sized bags will clothes. Some to sell and most to donate. I plan on holding a one-day clothing sale pop-up at my store here in Nashville with some of my friends who also have things they want to part with within the next couple of months. Anything that’s left over, I will either sell online or send to donation. If you’re local, stay tuned for details on the pop-up!

Now, since my great purge, I have realized that over the years my style has changed, a lot. I tend to lean towards neutral colors, ease and comfort, and most of the time, I kind of look like a tomboy, which I don’t mind in the slightest. Jeans, pants, and tees are my jam, with a pretty vintage blouse, dress, or blazer thrown into the mix when I want to feel a little more fancy. Shoes on the other hand, I have most-definitely grown to love shoes and think a killer pair can dress up old vintage Levi’s like no other. So, I decided to talk about what I am wearing on repeat this summer.

Vintage, vintage, vintage. If you have been following me over the years, you know my love for vintage. I sold it online for ten years! I have a pretty hefty collection of beloved old tees, jeans, overalls, dresses, blouses, and more, and tend to grab for a white tee and pair of baby blues most days. I think I have a denim addiction. This is my favorite place to score vintage denim. Please help me stop buying more jeans and buy them before I do.

For all things girlie and to channel Jane Birkin, I turn to Dôen. They just launched a new collection and it’s nothing short of perfection. My favorite pieces in rotation this season are: the Anise Top (shown above, top right), the Isle Top (so cute with vintage overalls!), the Rosemary Dress (Size up, this one runs short. I like to wear it with cut-offs.), the Juniper Top, and for shoes, the Ballerina Slipper and the Asymmetrical Gladiator Sandal.

For that perfect tomboy-chic, I turn to Fortune Goods. It’s a men’s line that is just too good to be “just for boys”. I live in my Indigo Stripe Surf Pants (shown above, bottom left) and Plum Stripe Pants.

Another staple that I just can’t quit is a pair of Kamm pants (shown above, bottom right). They are so flattering and comfortable. I have a feeling I’ll be wearing them for years and years to come, which is good because they are definitely an investment piece.

Now back to shoes. Here are my top three other than the Dôen ones I mentioned above: Vans Classic Slip-Ons, Beatrice Valenzula Sandalias, and the always classic Gucci Loafers.

What are you wearing all summer long?

TEN THINGS

06/16/2017

m6nm9gMI5w1rqndjco1_500Happy Father’s Day weekend! Do you and your family have any plans for this Sunday? Aubrey has requested brunch and a relaxing, laid-back day at home. On Saturday, we plan to hit up the Farmer’s Market, and I have a couple of special birthdays to celebrate. I hope you have a great weekend celebrating all the amazing men in your life. Here are this week’s ten things…

1. Have you seen the new iOS 11 updates? It looks like a lot might be changing at Apple.

2. I stopped into Lemon Laine for the first time last week, and was so impressed! It’s beautiful, Beyoncé themed, and perfect for my summer of wellness.

3. Speaking of summer, I’ll be living in these pants all season long.

4. I’ve also been obsessed with matcha lattes lately. It’s been a lot of experimentation, but this recipe looks promising.

5. A portrait of Baltimore after Freddie Gray.

6. In the middle Tennessee area? Check out Dinner Belle, a food-delivery service made with wholesome, organic ingredients. It’s delicious!

7. The most beautiful cookbook. Seriously, it’s unreal.

8. Puerto Rico votes for statehood.

9. Some beautiful quotes on fatherhood via Mother.

10. 52 Places To Go In 2017.

Image above A Well Traveled Woman.

SUMMER BAKED SALMON BOWL

06/15/2017

BakedSalmonBowl_BleubirdOne of my favorite things to prepare as of late is salmon. It’s simple, quick, delicious, and healthy. For the longest time, I was intimidated by the thought of cooking fish, but once I tried it and realized just how easy it was, I started making it a few times a week. This bowl is filled with bright and fresh veggies, and is full of nutrients. Of course, you can adapt the recipe to include whatever you have on hand, and many things can be prepped ahead of time, so you can easily assemble your bowls on the fly without the heavy knife-work. Enjoy! xxJ

Summer Baked Salmon Bowl

Ingredients: yields one portion

3 oz. wild caught salmon
sweet paprika
dill
zucchini
cucumber
purple cabbage
lemon
fresh mint
olive oil
apple cider vinegar

Start by washing your veggies. Next, peel carrots and cucumber and then chop, or with a spiralizer (I have this one), spiral your carrots, cucumber, and zucchini. Chop or slice the purple cabbage and mint. You can prep your vegetables any way you prefer. Mix in a bowl and set aside. Preheat over to 400 degrees. While the over in preheating, place you salmon skin side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can put a little olive or avocado oil under your salmon if you’d like to, but I don’t because I like that the skin sticks to the parchment after cooking, so I don’t have salmon skin in my bowl. Squeeze lemon over the salmon and then season with sweet paprika, dill, salt and pepper. Bake salmon for 12-15 minutes. Depending on how hungry you are, place a desired amount of your prepped veggies into a dinner bowl. I like to chop a lot extra to use the veggies for quick meals over the next few days and they keep nicely in the fridge. Dress your salad with dressing of choice or use a drizzle of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Once salmon is done baking, slide a fish spatula (I have this one) between the fish and the skin. It comes right off. Place salmon on top veggies and enjoy!

I added sliced radishes, pickled onions, and sesame, ginger carrots to my bowl (you can really add anything to your dish: sliced avocado, roasted veggies, brown rice, etc.). I’ll share the quick and easy recipes for pickled onions and sesame, ginger carrots soon!

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