Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ponder: Keeping Up Appearances

SPONSORED POST: This is a paid post. The Road to The Good Life chose to work with McDonald's for their commitment to providing nutrition information about their food and offering families choices that accommodate allergens and stretch their budget dollars. I am part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network. All opinions presented are my own.
 

Growing up I wanted so much to fit in. At home I was happy, at after school activities I was happy, but during school hours I struggled to keep up appearances. Nowadays, I have no problem pulling back the curtain and revealing the magic: how I manage "The Good Life" on a budget (including the times I've almost exclusively eaten McDonald's to stretch my dollars).
 

 

We're taught from a very early age the importance of keeping up appearances. Our "lessons" come not from parents or educators, but rather from our peers under their unrelenting teasing. But, we need to stop keeping up appearances and start being real.
 

Do you keep up appearances?
 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Building Confidence with Color: Starting with Your Purse

Fear. It can be a constant companion, with such a strong presence it almost feels like you have another person walking beside you. It can overwhelm you, leave you gasping for air. For me, fear often brought me to my knees through panic attacks, until I started standing up to fear and building confidence. Tackling fear is a momentous feat and one I began by choosing a purse (a purse you can win).
 

 

I used to never give my purse a second thought, after all it's just a convenience to hold one's phone, keys, and other stuff. I'd typically pick up one or two good sized bags in a neutral leather (brown or black), a small crossover purse for going out - also in a neutral leather - and one or two clutches for more formal affairs not necessarily in leather but in neutral colors with maybe a bow or some crystals for embellishment. Then came a bold BCBG Magenta clutch, and my life started to change.
 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ingredients: Summer Squash

SPONSORED POST: This is a paid post. The Road to The Good Life chose to work with La Crema Winery for their dedication to handcrafted wines at reasonable prices. All opinions presented are my own.
 

Summer squash is one of those vegetables available year round in California, and similar to peppers and tomatoes is best when eaten in late summer/early fall. Right now there are many varieties of yellow squash and Patty Pan available at your local Farmer's Market.

 

My love affair with squash didn't begin until I was in middle school, and it began because my mother paired summer squash with bacon and tomatoes and served it over Ala (cracked wheat bulgur). (Seriously, my mother was a genius. Want to get a kid to eat their vegetables or try something new? Try my mom's trick: add bacon or substitute bacon grease for butter or oil. Because, let's face it. What kid doesn't love bacon? But, I digress.) I primarily love summer squash for the color it adds to food, but I also love it because of its flavor and its texture.
 

 

What's your favorite summer squash preparation?
 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Make: Engaging Activities from Kiwi Crate that Spark Creativity

Everywhere you turn as a parent you are warned about too much device time for your kids. Yet despite all the warnings, there are few realistic alternatives offered, leaving parents to figure it out as they go. So, I'm constantly researching and preparing activities for Gates, and was excited to try out Kiwi Crate, a themed monthly subscription for 3-8 year olds that includes all the materials and inspiration for two to three activities - art, science, games, imaginative play, and more.

August 2014 Kiwi Crate My Barnyard Friends Finished Puppets

 

How do you keep your kids away from the screen?
 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Pairing Chocolate with Champagne, Wine, and Beer

My favorite treat when I need a pick me up or when I'm celebrating is chocolate, usually paired with one of my favorite red wines, a Pinot Noir or a Zinfandel. So I was curious to try See's Candies paired with champagne, Merlot, a dessert wine, and a stout last week at their new Church and Market location.

Making Time to Indulge with See's Candies

 

What do you pair your chocolate with?
 
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