Category Archives: The family

Stitch Fix- Teen Fashion Edition

Stitch Fix- Teen Fashion Edition

Piper (aka Lil’Mayhem) has been wanting to up her wardrobe game, and since I barely know how to dress myself, and I know a teenager does not want clothing advice from her mom (no matter how wise and awe-inspiring it may be), I set her up with a Stitch Fix.

If you don’t know, Stitch Fix is a subscription styling service, that, for a reasonable fee, sends you items based on a profile you create.  If you choose to purchase an item, the styling fee ($20) is credited towards your balance. You can also get a $25 credit if you use someone’s referral link when you first set up your account.  Here is my link if you have any interest in trying this for your daughter or yourself.

Once you click through the link, you will set up an account and build a profile by answering questions about your style preferences.  You can also create a Pinterest board with samples of what you like, if you are into that sort of thing. Based on her profile, which indicated she liked casual, boho inspired clothing, this is one of the outfits they sent.

Isn’t my little Gen Z hippie cute?  The top is called the Peasley Cold Shoulder Cotton Top (Collective Concepts), the necklace is the Knox Chain Lariat (Berry Jewelry) and the Margery Printed Wide Leg Pant (Boom Boom Jeans).  Despite the pants being comically long, these items look perfect together, kudos to Kathryn the stylist who put the look together.

She also received this adorable summer dress called the Joseline Knit Dress by Nine Britton.  The fabric is really soft and heavy enough that the dress has a quality feel to it.  Saving the best for last, she also got this Callie Denim Jacket by Kut from Kloth.  The sleeves are a little long, but otherwise is looks fantastic on her.

If you are like me, at this point you are saying, how much, right??? I am not going to lie, the prices are a little steep.

As you can see, the total price before discounts is $252.00 which is a lot more than I would ever spend in one shopping trip.  Once you apply discounts, the price drops to $144, which is $28 per item, that’s a little more reasonable.  But those pants were a non-starter with her, so we’re not getting the 25% discount for buying everything.   Decision Time.

Here’s what she did, she kept the blue top which was her favorite piece. She also kept the dress because it was cute and reasonably priced.  I talked her into keeping the jacket, it looks so good on her and she has already worn it at least 10 times.  And, finally I bought the necklace because it is perfect and I love it. So bonus incentive to the Moms out there, if you do this for your daughter, you may also find something you love in that box.

You can see she got $25 credit for using my referral link which you are welcome to click through and use as well.  If you are going to give Stitch Fix a try you may as well start off with $25 in the bank.  Once you schedule your first Fix you will get a referral code that you can share, and each time a person uses it, you get a $25 credit, pretty cool, eh?

In the end, we had a really good experience with our mother daughter Stitch Fix and would highly recommend you try it at least once to see if it is right for you.  Let me know how it goes in the comments.

Leprechaun’s visiting children on St. Patricks’ Day, Really?


Alright all you over achieving moms out there, we need to talk. It has come to my attention, through my elementary school connections, that some of you are upping the ante on St. Patrick’s Day.

According to my informants (who will sell you out for a snack size bag of Cheetos) “leprechauns” have been visiting the homes of children and doing a variety of unsavory acts like leaving behind green pee in the toilet, dumping trash cans and scattering magazines and shoes all over the floor. (that may just be my living room)

But, they are apparently also “good,” because they leave treats for the children like gold chocolate coins, and other assorted knickknacks and candy. Yeah, spoken like a person who does not have to clean the toilet, great deal for them.  Well, this outrage has to stop.

First of all, you are bastardizing (I said it) a sacred holiday.  Everyone knows St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by eating boiled meat and vegetable products, which soak up the cheap, artificially colored beer you consume in far to large quantities.  Do you regret it almost immediately, yes you do, but we don’t just quit on traditions, we are Americans (pretending to be Irish).

This is how you celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

This is how you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, in an understated and dignified manner.

Second, real leprechauns are terrifying and we should not be encouraging our wee ones to trust and love them.  How do you plan to explain that the leprechaun doesn’t have to flush, but your kids do? Why, because he’s a guest, do you really want to set that precedent? Don’t be surprised if the birthday party invites start to dry up if this is what you are teaching.

They are magically delicious, and their mine you thief.

They are magically delicious, and their mine, you thief.

Leprechuan can’t be trusted, we have all seen the Lucky Charms commercials. That fellow does not have those children’s best interest at heart he just wants their food. Further, have none of you seen the movie Leprechaun, does this look like someone we should be encouraging our children to adore? I think not.

Hi kids!  I've been in your house and used your toilet.

Hi kids! I’ve been in your house and used your toilet.

Finally, it is exhausting trying to keep up with all the holiday traditions as it is, do we really need to add one more thing to remember?  I think I speak for most moms who struggle just to remember to send their kid to school in something green, preferable clean, to avoid them being pinched all day (which by the way, I forgot this year).

We don’t need you making us look bad, so cut it out.  Try the green beer and boiled food, trust me it is much easier and it usually requires less cleaning up afterwards. Thank you for your time.



Zombies and Wookies and Droids, Oh My. San Diego Comic Con 2013


Comic-Con, what can I say, its an experience.

Upon arrival we realized something was different about this place as we pulled up behind a pedi-cab and Mr. Mayhem says “hey, that looks like the chair from Game of Thrones!” Having not seen the show, I said no, I think it looks like a Thanksgiving turkey, why someone would be driving a Thanksgiving pedi-cab in downtown San Diego in July I could not surmise.

But, as we got closer I had to concede, it was in fact a Game of Thrones pedi-cab.  Only at Comic-con. IMG_0541 (2)

We parked the car and paid a very reasonable $50 for the priviledge, why not, and waded into the madness. Everywhere you looked there was craziness, at every street corner people thrust swag items into your hand which you just accepted because at some point you realize it is futile to explain you don’t need a Defiance key ring, a True Blood rubber bracelet or an Ender’s Game button.  My prize possession of this free crap bonanza is the Sharknado t-shirt.


Street view of the madness that surrounds San Diego’s Comic Con.

We continued on to the actual convention hall.  Now, we did not have tickets to get inside, but this did not matter, the spectacle surrounding the place was more than enough to entertain almost anyone. Behind the convention hall was a life size display of The Shire made completely of legos, the actual mystery machine from Scooby doo and three story tall inflatable Teen Titans, it was madness.

IMG_0549 (2)

Lil Mayhem with her lifesize lego friend.

After taking in as much as our midwestern sensibilities could comprehend we made our way back to our car in its very expensive, tiny resting place.  We made quite a haul that day, and saw many unusual sights but the highlight of my daughter’s day was captured in this picture, which she is now lobbying to have made into our Christmas card.


Yes little one, this is the droid you have been looking for.



Training SEALs on Coronado Island.


If this is the view from your window, you are not allowed to complain about anything, ever.

For those of you who haven’t heard, we recently stayed on Coronado Island for vacation. A fun fact about Coronado is that it is home to a Naval Base which hosts Navy SEAL training. This is certainly more interesting than the fact that Orville Redenbacher died on the island, which is equally true.

After a little research, I found SEAL is an acronym for “Sea Air and Land” teams which confused me, because the correct acronym should be the SALs.  This is possibly not be the vibe they want to put out, hence the Navy’s liberal interpretation of acronym rules.  Regardless, Navy SEAL training is notoriously brutal, with something like a 90% “wash out” rate.  Sounds pleasant.

During our stay we rented bikes, because we pride ourselves on being an active family, and pedaled around the island.  As an aside, the bike rental company had an incredibly clever name, our hotel is known as “The Del,” and the bike rental was called “peDels.” Brilliant, right?  OK, so they took a little liberty with the spelling of pedal, but its cute.


If only all parks could be so scenic, the world would be a better place.

So, as we bike around the island we come to this beautiful park. What makes this particular place extra scenic were the gorgeous physical specimens jogging around the park, shirtless and sweaty in all their 3% total body fat glory.  My goodness, even my 10-year-old daughter immediately realized these are not the normal humans we are accustomed to seeing in our world.  Even the fittest amongst us do not come close to the degree of physical perfection these guys have attained.  For this, I salute them and thank them for their contribution to my vacation.

Later that evening we were sitting at a restaurant when we noticed some people stringing yellow scene tape, cordoning off a section of beach around some big rocks.  We asked our waitress what was going on, she told us there was an injured seal washed up on the beach.  Turns out she was totally making this up.


Don’t drop the boat, wouldn’t want it to get wet.

In reality, they were setting up for nocturnal SEAL training.  As darkness settled in, rubber boat loads of cadets paddled onto shore.  Once they landed, they did a variety of pointless, but really difficult, exercises like lunges with the boat held over their heads, push ups with their feet up on said boat, the kind of stuff I rebel against, which is why this whole boot camp exercise trend will have to carry on without me.

After they finished, they came to our side of the rocks where some guy on a bull horn yelled instructions at them.  At one point he made them run into the water, (have I mentioned how cold the ocean is), roll around and then run back, it was kind of weird.  He warned them that if they did not complete these tasks perfectly, they would be “recycled back to Instructor Wilkowski” who must be a real tool, because nobody seemed to want that to happen.


Mount Wilkowski

We found out why Instructor Wilkowski was to be avoided.  He was the guy that made them climb over the huge, slippery rocks, in the dark, with their boat held over their head.  Gads!

The whole thing was exhausting to watch, which is why we left and went for ice cream.  We did have the decency not to eat it in front of the SEAL trainees.  Frankly, I was afraid Instructor Wilkowski might  see us and take our cones.


This is what a night landing looks like.



Is that a cheetah? Adventures at the San Diego Zoo.


A hippo lifeguard, seriously? Are they familiar with the video of the hippo attacking that guy on the Amazon?

In my ongoing series about our recent vacation in San Diego, I would be remiss if I did not cover our trip to the San Diego Zoo. Clearly, the reputation as one of the world’s best zoos is well deserved, this is place is phenomenal.

We have a really good zoo in Toledo, Lil Mayhem practically lives there in the summer because they offer camps for kids and I think she has attended them all. In fact, she is designing new zoo habitats at this very moment. The number one attraction for us at San Diego was the panda exhibit, but I approached the Panda Trek with some trepidation, Toledo hosted the pandas from the National Zoo a few years back, they were a really big deal.

The day I went the line was ridiculous, but I patiently waited to see these rare creatures. The line moved surprisingly fast, when I got to the front I realized why. The panda had been asleep in the far back corner of the exhibit for hours, so basically I saw an immobile spot of black and white fur. The experience was not unlike driving past a dead skunk. Needless to say, I was a bit underwhelmed.


I call this one “Panda, in Repose”

The San Diego pandas were amazing. The exhibit allowed you to get really close, they had three different sections so the line moved along, there were a lot of bears and they were very active.  But the cherry on top was the baby panda, he was adorable. Now this is what a panda experience should be.

They also have a huge koala exhibit called Koalafornia. It was right across from the giraffe exhibit which we exited quickly as one of the male giraffes was feeling particularly randy and I felt at any minute it could turn into a scene I would prefer my kid not see.  So, thank God for the koalas!


Fun fact, koalas are members of the suborder, Vombatiformes, sounds violent, perhaps the reason they keep them sedated.

The koalas are really cute, part of their charm is their sleepy, sloth-like attitude.  This seems less adorable when you learn their lethargy is caused by malnutrition.  Yep, as it turns out, the eucalyptus they are always eating has zero nutritional value.  Makes you wonder why they don’t feed them supplements, maybe an active koala would present a danger to the public so unfathomable, they don’t dare. Reminds me of a line from Burn Notice, “I like my psychotic killers a little sleepy, thank you.”

Finally, our favorite story comes not from the animals, but the people on display that day.  When we arrived at the park they were doing a demonstration featuring a real live Cheetah. They gave all kinds of interesting facts about the Cheetah and described how the Cheetah hunted and why the Cheetah is endangered.  After the demonstration the women asked if there were any questions.  This kid raises his hand and honestly asked the following “Is that a Cheetah?”  This, of course, became our catch phrase for the day, because even my 10-year-old immediately recognized the comedy gold in that one.


Is this really such a frequent occurence that it necessitates a permanent sign?



Going to the park, California syle.


This is not something you are likely to see in the Toledo-Lucas County Metropark System.

Now, we have a great metro-park system where we live, and I am no stranger to them.  They all have nice woods with paths for walking and biking. You will also find the occasional bench with a vaguely scenic view, and a few boardwalks which meander next to a creek.  But nothing in my park going experience could prepare me for Balboa Park in San Diego.  I can only  presume this is what Shangri-La is like.

The day we were there was the last day of the LGBT festival, so I am not sure if the other park-goers are always so flamboyantly festooned in costume and fancy dress, but I choose to believe that they are. Given that we indirectly attended both the LGBT festival and Comic Con in the same week, I am inclined to believe that in San Diego cosplay is an everyday thing. This may not be true, but it makes my vacation more memorable and therefore, I elect to perpetuate this legend.


Having never been to Shangri-La, I can’t be sure, but expect it looks similar to this.

Balboa Park is more that just a park, there are museums, botanical gardens,  fountains and trails. There is a huge Botanical Building, full of plants and fish ponds and all manner of flora. There are gardens galore; cactus, Australian, Japanese and a seriously impressive rose garden that makes you re-think why you are trying to grow them in Ohio.

My favorite place was the Prado restaurant, I think it may have been my favorite meal of the whole week. This could be because we had just come from the airport and it had been almost 8 hours since I had eaten and I was ready to chew off my own arm, but in truth the food was really good and the setting was beautiful. In Ohio, if something is served, “California style,” it is code for “with avocado”, well I can confirm that it is true, almost everything in California is served with avocadoes, but they just call it food.


Mr. Mayhem and Lil’ Mayhem at the Prado restaurant in Balboa Park, food and fountains, both California Style.



Who takes their dog to Seaworld?


“Sorry folks the park’s closed, the moose out front should have told ya”..
(only funny if you’ve seen Vacation.)

This is not a question I ever thought needed to be asked, but I pose it now, who takes their dog to SeaWorld? While in San Diego, we did what most families would, we went to SeaWorld. As a member of the animal welfare community (I am on the Board of a low-cost spay neuter clinic), I suffer a bit of a moral dilemma when it comes to attractions like the circus and SeaWorld, but in the end, let’s face it, those whales are super cool.

But back to my original query, why would a person take their dog to SeaWorld? I saw it with my own eyes. This was not a service dog, it was a small, white fluffy creature, if I had to guess, I would go with Bichon Frisee. It had no orange vest or other visible credentials which would lead you to believe it was on the job. Frankly, it looked just as confused to be there as I was seeing it.

Of course, I irrationally obsessed on the dog all day, it was at the Shark exhibit, which could not have been pleasant.  I was uncomfortable around all those sharks, but the dog was even lower on the food chain than me.  I saw it at the Penguin Encounter, it was still not impressed, probably because it was dark, people were almost stepping on it, and it couldn’t see the penguins over the wall. All in all, I suspect this dog did not have the great time that I was most likely promised by its owners that morning.

We had a few other observations about SeaWorld.  First, it is apparently a must see destination for Swedish people.  I don’t know why, but there were a lot of Swedes there.  Attractive, fit, healthy people, I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but they seemed nice.  I wonder if it is the fish theme that draws them.

Second, the sea-lion show was fantastic, it made me forget I was sitting in the unrelenting southern California sun for an hour.  Third, the Blue Horizon show was strange, almost like watching a live version of a David Lynch film, it did not make me forget about the sun.


I know how you feel buddy, sometimes trying to get out of the pool makes my dorsal fin flop too.

Lastly, the whales were amazing.  There was a young whale that swam along with two adults in the show and while I won’t kid myself into thinking they were having a great time entertaining us, they were truly awe-inspiring to see.  A few years ago, one of the trainers was killed by a whale, it was a big deal here because she was originally from Sylvania.  It was tragic, I heard someone on the radio questioning the propriety of training these animals, he said one thing that stuck with me, “they are not called Tickle Whales.”  Point taken.