Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gym, Tan, Laundry, Socks: Bombas

This post is sponsored by Bombas, making our workouts look good and bringing socks  to those that need it.

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I did something pretty big last week--not big because it's a big deal, but big because I've been telling myself I'm going to do it for a long time. I joined a gym. Now, even if I never actually work out there, I can at least drop "my gym" in conversations.

There was a period in my life where I spent a lot of time at the gym, and all I have to show for it are some wedding photos of people that look nothing like us now. I'm not going to lie--we didn't go to the gym to "be healthier"; we wanted to look buff and tan for our wedding. The gym took care of the buff; the spray tan that bled bronzy stuff all over my wedding dress took care of the tan.

Nineish years later, I joined a gym for the right reasons--childcare and an hour watching HGTV uninterrupted. There's an elliptical machine and some weights in there somewhere too, I guess, but they're not important.

Where were we?
Gyms stress me out. Back in my homeschool days, my mom used to take us to the gym at University of Michigan's Flint campus. There were a lot of young people there. Cool, good-looking young people, and I spent the entire gym hour stressing about who was looking at us because it only takes one time of your  mom sitting on the Nautilus equipment backwards, making her body go all cock-eyed to pull the weights down and a hot guy walking up to tell her she's using it wrong to scar you for life.

Thankfully, Heidi joined the gym with me this year, so if we're using the equipment wrong, there's two going down in the ship.

Here's my overcompensation tip for my returning-to-the-gym fear: look cute. This isn't exactly the soundest advice, but it works for me. If I'm going to straddle what I thought was a leg bench only to be told it's where your head goes, pray tell I'm doing it in some cute little workout outfit.

"Let's get new workout clothes to help us get excited," Heidi suggested.

Yes. Let's do that.

So we owned the gym last week. Walked in that place in head-to-toe perfect workout clothes which, sure, says GYM TOURIST, but at least we showed up. And we worked out. And we're going to do it again. And we're going to drop OUR GYM in lots of conversations. Gym, tan and laundry, baby. Scratch that, I'll never conquer laundry.

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Here’s what I promise: no “Hey look, I’m working out” selfies. Okay, that’s a lie. I’m totally posting a gym selfie because if it didn’t happen on Instagram, it didn’t happen. I kid, I kid.

Now let’s move on to the Gym Socks. I gotcha covered here, and you’re going to like it. There are so many great companies giving us opportunities to use our purchasing power to help others—the socks didn’t want to be left out of the game. In fact, socks are the number one clothing request at homeless shelters.

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Enter Bombas (as seen on Shark Tank!). Bombas are athletic-leisure socks, re-engineered to look better, feel better and perform better, with a mission to help those in need. For every sock purchased, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need (like Toms or Warby Parker for socks!). Bombas has donated over 300,000 socks to those in need since launching in Oct 2013.

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Bombas spent two years researching and developing their socks—bet you never knew how much goes into a comfortable sock, eh? These socks are like Willy Wonka’s secret Gobstopper recipe for comfort. They stay up, don’t slip, are the perfect balance of snug and thickness, have a back tab to prevent blisters (ankle socks), are made of Long Staple Pima Cotton, cool in the summer, warm in the winter—basically so comfy, Bombas has a 100% happiness guarantee. If you don’t think they’re the most comfortable socks you’ve ever worn, they’ll refund your entire purchase. Really.

Order Bombas and get 20% off your entire order of any size with the code KELLEHAMPTON20.

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I’m going to ace this new workout thing because: sock game.

Thank you Bombas for sponsoring this post, and thank you readers for checking out the sponsors that help make keeping up this blog a little easier. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Hungry Eyes Tourist Challenge

The beach is dominating my photos lately, but that's a good thing because I promised myself when I moved down here that I'd drink up this landscape as best as I could and never become one of those people who lives four minutes from the beach but never goes. "Those people" is a trigger-sensitive term in social media so please understand there are, of course, good reasons that might keep you away from the beach. Like maybe you have no transportation to get there or a horrible sun allergy or you once saw a pelican viciously attack a crab and it traumatized you from all things sea and sand. Y'all are exempt from the "those people" umbrella, but the rest of us? Giddy up, we have to go. An influx of family and friends escaping the north definitely helps our beach commitment. They give us tourist eyes which are kind of like Hungry Eyes except no dancing and no Patrick Swayze but still swoony.

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A Hungry Eyes Tourist Challenge for You:

1. Visit a cool place within 15 miles of where you live--a place you've been to many times before--a beach, a snowy forest, a pretty hill, a desolate corn field, a mountain trail, a neighborhood creek, a bustling city street corner.

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Now pretend it's your first time there. Pretend you've only ever lived in the opposite landscape and have never seen anything like it. Pretend you're a travel writer selling this place to new tourists. Take pictures. Make it look good. Describe it with the best words. Save it all in a little journal. In fact, maybe you'll add more places to it later--a beautiful tourist guide of where you live to pass on to your children. Have it bound. And if you live in Campbell, Nebraska, treat it like it's Paris, France. Make it a best-selling coffee table book.

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2. Try something new in your own town. An antique shop, a plaza coffee bar, a tiny museum you've driven by wondering how in the world it gets any business, a sandwich shop, a walking trail.

Now I realize there's more winter storms headed to some places that have already had it bad, and I'm sitting on a beach passing out advice on how to love where you live when I too have complained that I'm hot/bored/tired of Florida. This is the part of the post where I give you permission to imagine kicking me in the shins--real hard, with wooden clogs.

I'm just sayin.

If the challenge didn't work for you, just get some popcorn and watch this. Johnny and Baby Forever.

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My yoga boy. Dash frequently contorts his body into weird positions and then looks to see if anyone's noticing he's being a little weird because he knows that we love weird. So it now goes...

Weird Forever.
Johnny and Baby Forever.

Repertoire of possible tattoos grows.

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Cosmic forces (also reliable airlines) bring me and my friend Meg together when the universe knows we need it. Like she fell from the heavens (and I'm sure that pick-up line has been used on her many a time) after Nella was born, becoming my lit agent but more important, my friend. She helped make Bloom a book and has been in our lives ever since. It was so nice having her in our neck of the woods this weekend. "She has beautiful eyes and her hair smells like cinnamon!"

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Where were we?

Meg Thompson Forever.
Weird Forever. 
Johnny and Baby Forever.

I'm going to have to roll up my sleeve and make some more room here.

Wait, there's more.

Nella wouldn't give up this bag of pretzels on the beach the other day.

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"Nella, let me hold those while you play."
"No."
"Nella, how about I put them in a little cup for you?"
"No."
"Nella, that looks a little dangerous. Why don't I take the pretzels so you can climb."
"NOOOOOOO."

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So, Rold Gold Forever.
Meg Thompson Forever.
Weird Forever. 
Johnny and Baby Forever.

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As much work as it is to keep an eye on our kids at the beach, it's getting easier. They entertain themselves a lot, and they're happy. And I'm happy watching them be happy.

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Wait, I got it. One more tattoo. I mean, it's not very original but still.

A big heart. With an arrow. Mother. 

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Followed, of course, by Rold Gold and Meg and Weird and Dirty Dancing. My shoulder's going to be so flashy.

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Warning: The girls Easter dresses arrived the other day, and it's all I can do not to go broke on flowers and waste my day writing a song about pink and bonnets and chicks and stuff. Pastel enthusiasm soon to be unleashed. #holidaygeneprobs Stay tuned.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Soul Food

During the witching hour of my home, my brain and my "calmly breathe and be grateful" strategies the other day, the noise became all too much. The kids, the chaos, the roofers pounding nails above us, the trucks in our driveway, the alarms in my head that pointed out messes and things I had to do, the voice of "pick up your shoes" and "put your lunch box away" that came out far more naggy than I intended, the phone that rang, the cries for more juice and go outside and mom, watch! watch this!. It was loud and chaotic, and in an attempt to quiet and calm, I piled everyone in the van and headed to the pool. Floats and pool toys blocked my mirror view on the short drive, and we turned around not once but twice to retrieve forgotten goggles and juice boxes. I clutched my poetry book--Soul Food--in my hand as I unloaded kids and dragged foam noodles across the parking lot to the pool where I'd soon sit on the step and watch happy splashers while Mary Oliver whispered me back into calm.

The water was warm and inviting, the pool patio almost vacant except for an older gentleman who looked up from his book only for a moment to confirm that we too wanted peace and that none of my kids looked like the cannonball type. Give Dash six more months.

Gracefully and barely disturbing the surface of the water, Lainey filled her lungs and slipped into the shallow end mermaid-style, a blur of blond hair and long legs disappearing underneath the water until she reemerged in the deep end moments later.

Down two steps went Nella--bravely venturing to the bottom stair, neck-deep, while she clung to the railing, and then back up to the top where she smiled proudly and turned around to do it again. Dash joined her, the two of them conversing through laughter and their shared accomplishment. Finally, quiet.

And then the pool gate opened and a trail of giggling children of all sizes--one, two, three, four, five of them--came skipping through, their mom trailing behind them hollering reminders not to jump. My kids all turned to look, paralyzed in amusement and intimidated by how many of them there were. The older gentleman in the lounge chair looked up from his book again. Cannonball type? Perhaps.

They didn't cannonball into the water; they threw themselves into it--arms out, chests raised, squeals of laughter accompanying their splashes. There was nothing hesitant about any of it; rather enthusiastic, joyous, whole-hearted.

"We just got here," their mom explained apologetically. "I flew alone with them, We came from the cold this morning, so we're very happy to be here."

"No worries, you're fine," I smiled. ("Speak for yourself," thought the old man with the book.) "They all yours?"

"These three are," she pointed to the older ones laughing in the deep end. "And these two--" she motioned toward two little blond girls on the steps of the shallow end. "These are my foster babies. They just returned to us two weeks ago."

For the next forty-five minutes, I watched as this beautiful mother--certainly tired from her travels and worn out from the noise of five children and all that led her on this journey to this place--volleyed her attention between each child who called for her, needed her, wanted her to mom watch! watch this!. How patient and loving and all-embracing she was. Her smile never broke.

Between splashes and jumps, her older children swam to the little girls on the steps, picked them up, guided them through the shallow end, hugged them and praised them for their bravery. Love, security, belonging--it was palpable.

I never had a chance to open my poetry book. But there, in the loud and perfect chaos of eight kids in a pool, three different family stories and the shared experience of finding solace from the noisy parts of life under sunshine, with each other...I found my peace and quiet. I had my Soul Food.

Happy Friday.

More soul food from last night:

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Pajama Glama Oscar Party 2015

We're keeping it classy for the Oscars this year.

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Last night was our annual Pajama Glama Oscar Party where we watch gorgeous toned stars walk the red carpet while we eat cheese and chocolate and smear butter on things.

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Heidi and I have been keeping this tradition since before we had kids, and now we incorporate the little ones in the evening for as long as their attention spans can last--which is usually through the red carpet and the opening musical act, and then first acceptance speech, they're out. Our husbands laugh and roll their eyes, but we're pretty sure they're just jealous because they too are dying to walk the red tablecloth in cute pajamas.

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The Academy Award for the evening goes to Clip-on Earrings, raising the "this is special" bar very very high.

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Dash made a red carpet appearance, giving Benedict Cumberbatch a run for his money...

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...tweeted some of his best picture picks from the show...

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...and then pulled a Neil Patrick Harris and ditched his clothes to go wash cars with dad in the driveway.

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The girls, on the other hand, enjoyed all the fancy.

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Nella's "OH MY GOD, HE WON!" face:

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Favorite dresses of the night? Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon and  Margot Robbie.

I absolutely loved the unexpected Sound of Music performance from a natural and even more beautiful Lady Gaga as well as the soulful deliverance of "Glory"--and the standing ovation that followed.

Loved Patricia Arquette's moment in her speech when she addressed equality for women: "To every woman who gave birth to every tax payer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America"--and Meryl Streep's "hell yeah" encouragement from the front row.

And JK Simmons' adoration for family and what really matters in his acceptance speech: "Call your mom, call your dad. If you’re lucky to have a person alive on this planet, call them. Listen to them, talk to them, for as long as they want to talk to you."

My favorite speech of the evening though was from Graham Moore for "The Imitation Game": "So in this brief time here, what I want to use it to do is to say this: When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different, and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here. So, I would like this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird, or she’s different, or she feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do. Stay weird. Stay different."

I enjoy the Oscars a little more each year--maybe because we have fun with it all, maybe because they're actually getting better or maybe because, with more life, I appreciate more the role that art and movies and music plays in it. If you can see past the dresses and jewels, the hobnobbing and Hollywood bureaucracy, the Oscars deliver a collection of talented artists who are passionate about their work and believe in the power to make people feel deeply. I'll stand behind anything that does that.

I'm glad we have movies.
And I'm glad we have the Oscars because with it comes our Pajama Glama and these sweet memories. I saw Boyhood--I get how fast this all flies by.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Faves: Girl Gifts and Fun Wrap

I want to get back to doing some fun Friday posts with favorites--home stuff, beauty stuff, crafty stuff, etc. This week, I'm sharing a new favorite shop and some inexpensive gifts for girlfriends.

I used to be really good at giving random gifts to friends, and I've fallen out of the habit. But every time a friend makes a small gesture--most recently a bag of healthy food from Heidi and a note reminding me to eat better (stop with the candy!), I'm reminded what little it takes to make someone feel very special. Sometimes having someone else say "you're worth it" is the catalyst for self love and good actions. Each of these gifts is inexpensive--around $10 or less, and a little bit humorous, but paired with a meaningful note, can be just what it takes to remind a friend that she is strong, loved and fierce.

Be a Better Parent Tea. For friends who are in the trenches of motherhood and feeling inadequate or tired or laden with guilt. Who knew there was a magic tea to make it all better?!

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Rosie the Riveter vintage tin sign. A powerful (and cute) reminder that we're in it together.

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Frida Kahlo Socks. Holla to the awesome women who went before us...and left their words and art to make our journey a little easier.

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Poseable Wonder Woman . For all your Superhero friends.

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And our favorite new shop this week...

Naples recently got a Paper Source. I walked in the other day and could have sworn I heard angels singing at the entrance. It's full of all my favorite things--and perhaps the most dangerous place for tiny shit lovers like me. But the paper?! Giant sheets of wrapping paper, sold individually, in unique prints--vintage drawings, maps, funky illustrations, colorful art. At around $3-4 a sheet and big enough to frame, we raked up some new art for the house and found some inspiration for new projects.
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I framed a sheet of this vintage alphabet print for some new art above the girls' dresser....

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...and added an old eye chart above Dash's crib, using a 20x28 (fit perfectly, no cutting) poster frame from Michael's.
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Happy Happy Friday!  Create something happy this weekend.