On Mothering

I’ve occasionally experienced a dream that feels so real, I sometimes find myself questioning its truth.  This particular dream revolves around never actually having a Masters Degree, and is always a variation of accidentally missing one required course or being informed years later that my hard work was just a futile attempt at nothing.  

I’m well aware of what this dream is rooted in.  Sometimes the questioning of my role and what is best for my family feels heavy on my shoulders.  I once worked in a field with communities so marginalized, that each and every day felt purposeful.  I stopped working when Lucia was 14 months old, yet the phone calls for more work steadily came in.  Slowly they stopped altogether.

The decision to be home full time has been a great blessings for my family.  Yet, it is often easy to lose that perspective when the kiddos are arguing, there is still hardened play-doh on my floor, the awesome company benefits are long gone and so is my steady paycheck.

It recently took a family bout of a horrific flu/plague to remind me of the importance of my role as mama and the magnitude of our collective role as mothers.  In our own sickness, we mamas hear through plaster walls and white noise makers.  We rise to lessen fevers and soothe scared little ones.  In the middle of the night, we move in whispers, back-pats and sways, to the natural rhythm of our homemade lullabies.

We listen intently to stories of hurt feelings and attempt to ease physical pain with magic kisses.  We are the first ones called  upon early (usually too early) in the morning – and the pow-wow always seems to take place on our side of the bed.

In mothering, there is no dissertation to defend, no articles to co-author in scholarly journals and sometimes judgement even within our own families.

Yet there is unparalleled joy, humility and abiding love.  With children to raise and send off into this world, and characters to build and gratitude to help sow – our roles as mothers (in whatever form they come in) should never be doubted.

Sometimes perspective comes in the most unexpected ways.   


My Best Self and a Tailor and Stylist {Giveaway}

I’m turning what feels like a lot older frightfully soon and am determined to step out of this dichotomous style conundrum that’s seemed to rule my stay-at-home-mama years.   I usually feel sloppy or glamified and I’d like there to be a bit more variation. 

I love getting dressed up and feeling like my best self, but it actually only happens when the occasion calls for it.  I’m vowing to try a bit harder to venture outside the black yoga pants and grey hoodie daily ensemble.  I’m trying to avoid looking like the crazy-train for a quick jaunt to the market, and I’m thinking about daily alternatives to the ponytail/folded over ponytail/side braid, hair-do options.

Tailor and Stylist an online boutique, is graciously helping me with these efforts with a few of their lovely pieces, including this timeless Allessandra Wool Coat.  Even if I do have a bit of slop going on underneath, this coat’s ultra feminine Bateau neckline and whimsical large buttons instantly add a touch of old school glamor to my life.  

I also really love their take on an invaluable wardrobe staple – the classic riding boot.  Their equestrian-esque Audra Riding Boot offers an effortless and comfortable way to dress up many outfits.

Want in on the goods?  Tailor and Stylist is giving away a $75 credit (which goes a long way with their modest pricing!) to one lucky reader.  Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below and a winner (US only) will be selected next week.

Want to shop now with a 10% discount?  Just enter code:  marinobambinos10 at checkout

a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Tailor and Stylist provided me with clothing and accessories to help facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.   


Shorty Woes and an eShakti {Giveaway}

I don’t know about y’all but I’m not a perfect standard size.  I’m just over five feet tall and as described by my wedding dress designer (during my pre-pregnancy existence)  – I sport some childbearing hips.  MmmK. 

This often makes shopping a challenge.

Enter eShakti, an online boutique that uniquely customizes sizes and styles with a request to make me a customized garment.

This shorty’s dream come true.  

I decided to put eShakti to the test with their shirred denim chambray maxi dress because I love wearing long dresses, but you know what I don’t love?  Hemming.

Dress – eShakti,  Necklaces – House of Harlow 1960,   Bracelet – Slinky 1950 Special Edition

I went with a standard size 2 (instead of entering my measurements), and when I clicked a little box indicating 5 feet, I seriously felt like I had won a prizeThe length was perfect with just enough room to wear with a bit of a platform flip.  A dress I’ll most certainly wear the life out of this spring and summer (and it has roomy pockets!)

With incredibly moderate prices and retro-modern styles, I’ll definitely be back for more.  Especially since their custom capabilities ensure a flattering fit.  Here are a few vintage inspired pieces that I currently have my eye on:

1. Black and White Nautical Dress  2. Bow Neck Chevron Print Top  3. Color Contrast Strapless Dress

4. Birds Eye View Dress  5. Her Fifties Colorblock Skirt   6. Collard Swan Print Dress

Now for the exciting part: eShakti is giving away a custom garment of choice to one lucky gal!  Their sizes range from 0-32 W and customizations such as an increased bust, shorter/longer hem and modified sleeves/neckline can all be specified.  Enter to win in the Raffelcopter below and a winner (US only) will be selected in one week.  Entries are verified.  Best of luck to you all my lovelies!

a Rafflecopter giveawayeShakti provided me with the above dress for the purpose of review.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own.   


Shabby Apple {Review & $75 Giveaway}

This weeks giveaway caters to the vintage-adoring fashionistas!  Shabby Apple creates feminine clothing with an old-fashioned flair for the modern day woman.  They have everything a girl could want, including dresses, skirts, blouses, swimsuits, fitness wear, maternity clothes, shoes, accessories, and home decor.  While their Shabby Baby collection has gorgeous frocks for the wee-ones to preteens.  I especially love that Shabby Apple is women-owned and operated and donates a portion of their proceeds to help other women start their own businesses.

1. Music Hall Skirt  2. Sirena  3. Starlit Skies  4. Blue Eyes  5. Young Love  6. Starry Night

When Shabby Apple informed me that they were sending me a dress to review, I nearly lost my mind in indecision.  I had so much trouble narrowing down the plethora of loveliness and almost made a power point presentation to have my husband help me decide (because he cares as much as I do, right?).  I finally came to my senses and ordered the Spanish Steps dress in a size XS, in black.  

I’m loving this feminine dress and know that I will get a lot of mileage out of it.  It has such a flattering fit, with a generous bow at the waist.  Please note that I stitched up a quick hem as I do with nearly everything that I purchase – since I’m just over 5 feet tall.

Here I am posing for the camera. 

Spanish Steps – $88

Now for the fantastic part – Shabby Apple is giving one of my readers a $75 gift card!  Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below.  This contest is open to US only, and a winner will be selected at random next week.  Please note that I do verify entries. Thanks for entering and Good luck!

Shabby Apple is also offering a 10% discount code, with the code marinobambinos10off at checkout.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Shabby Apple provided me with the above Spanish Steps dress for the purpose of review.  As always, all opinions are my own, including my new found love for all things Shabby Apple.


Kickers {Review & Giveaway!}

Are you guys familiar with the Kickers brand?  A French shoe line created in the 1970’s, inspired by a poster advertising the musical Hair.  Daniel Raufast the creator of Kickers, revolutionized the shoe industry by creating footwear for this jean-clad, free-spirited generation and his brand was brought to the limelight by many music industry icons.

The Kickers brand is still bringing it today, with innovative, colorful and diverse models.  I recently had the chance to view their 2013 line and want to outfit my entire family in them! I’m impressed with the quality of materials, range of designs and bold colors.  Detailing like contrast stitching and engraved eyelets help make the shoes so unique. 

Kickers was kind enough to send me their KIFRANGE boots in dark brown.  It’s a fun above-the-ankle-boot with a 2 1/4 inch heel and fringe detailing – unlike anything I’ve ever owned.  I have to say that these boots took me out of my comfort zone since I’m usually a tall boots kind of gal.  I love wearing a heel when I can, but on most days comfort pretty much trumps style.  I’ve been wearing these all week and can’t believe how comfortable they are.  They are even flexible enough to wear while pushing a stroller and chasing around my bambinos.  I’m loving the much needed change and interesting element that they add to my wardrobe!

Here’s lil’ ole me rockin’ my Kickers:

Kickers just happens to think that mamas deserve to be rockstars too and is giving away a pair of KIFRANGE boots to one lucky reader! Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below.  A winner will be selected in one week (US only)Stay in touch with Kickers via their Facebook page and Good luck!

Kickers KIFRANGE – MSRP $174.00 – Image via Kickers

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Kickers provided me with a pair of KIFRANGE boots to facilitate this review.  All opinions are strictly my own.  


Sometimes You Just Need to Fold The Sheets Together.

The parental crank factor was running high this morning, with nighttime sick kiddo wakeups, a mountain of yesterday’s (washed but unfolded) laundry and arguments revolving around who would go to the gym first.  Our intervention came in the form of collective sheet folding.  Meeting in the middle with a kiss gave us a strong dose of much needed Saturday morning perspective.

Sometimes you just need to remember where it all began.