Dress Up Fun

Growing up we played dress up all. the. time. It was a staple in the Anderson household year-round. My younger brother (not the one pictured above–sorry Luke, but you look dang good in that metallic dress) probably wore more costumes than regular clothes until he was in kindergarten. He was almost always wearing a tie, Davy Crockett hat or cowboy costume.

We had an ever-growing box full of fun pieces like the vintage hat I’m rockin’ above. I love when I see similar boxes at our M&Co. families’ houses. It brings back such fond memories.

October has been my favorite month thus far because so many of my family meetings have included impromptu Halloween costume fashion shows.

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Last year was my favorite Halloween to date because my whole family volunteered at a Star Wars-themed festival and went all out with costumes (I’m C3PO and Meredith is R2D2 in case you were unsure). My parents in the back are these guys made from boxes, duct tape and silver spray paint day-of! I’m still in disbelief that my cousins pulled off PERFECT Kylo Ren and Rey costumes from only watching episode 7 trailers. It wasn’t until after the movie was released that people realized how spot-on they were (excuse my nerding out on the subject of Star Wars, it can’t be stopped).

Needing some last minute costume ideas? We’ve got you covered.

  • DIY kids costumes–I love the snail and the Mary Poppins
  • These are great (Baby Frida Kahlo is my fave)
  • Must watch video of last minute ideas like dressing a baby as popcorn, so freaking cute
  • This stroller costume is such a great idea
  • This website had some cute ones
  • Food costumes are hilarious to me
  • Kudos for originality on these ones

Wishing you a safe and happy Halloween!

Celebrating 30 Years

Labor Day weekend marks my parents’ anniversary each year and this year we celebrated the big 3-0.

Wedding Pic

1986–what a year in fashion! Today their glasses, sleeves and sideburns may be less prominent but overall I have to say not much has changed.

As I grow older, the more I can appreciate the stability their relationship provides our family. No parents are perfect, but mine have always been consistent. Time with them and my siblings is always full of endless laughter, decades of inside jokes, games, love, support, and the most enjoyable conversations. I love and respect them immensely.

Every year we go down to San Diego for Labor Day weekend and this year we checked out the San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights Concert Tchaikovsky Spectacular. We picnicked on the water beforehand and the concert was AMAZING. The evening ended with fireworks and cannons being shot (the cannons were a little much if I’m honest but still, it was a breathtaking show).

whole-fam

We spent the rest of the weekend lounging, touristing, swimming, reading (side note: I’m rereading Freakonomics and it’s blowing my mind all over again), reminiscing, eating delicious food, and marveling at my 15 year old brother’s man bun.

I hope you all had a fabulous long weekend, and again, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MAMA AND PAPA ANDERSON. Love you and cheers to the next 30 years of adventure!

Olympic Fever

Have you been watching the Olympics? I love how the whole world stops to watch—more than 11,000 athletes from 207 nations this year! I’ve been out and about but loving receiving text updates and watching highlights. I’m most obsessed with Simone Biles, but shout outs are also deserved by Simone Manuel, MP, Usain Bolt and Katie Ledecky.

Simone Biles

How are you celebrating the Olympics? It’s not too late to jump on board and make a party of it!

This blog showcases some creative backyard olympic game ideas.

Another momma shares her celebration here (I’ve decided ribbon twirling should be incorporated into many more festivities year round). I liked this one too.

Olympic-themed craft ideas here.

Books to read with your kids about the Olympics and olympians.

Also a great opportunity to teach kiddos (and adults) international flags.

Olympics chalk

This chalk photo shoot is still my favorite (credit: Huffington Post from the 2012 Olympics).

You can view the full schedule in Rio here and remember the closing ceremony is this Sunday!

PS. My Pinterest research concluded that gold medals are best made (and enjoyed) out of golden Oreos and Fruit by the Foot if you’re in need of a little treat while watching this week.

Daring Greatly

In the midst of moving, bridesmaid-ing, traveling and quitting my job I took a little blog hiatus. While settling into my new home and self-employed life, I also decided to take a break from social media and TV (I had just finished Friday Night Lights, so clearly the timing was perfect #Texasforever).

Desk Pic

After assembling my new desk, I spent hours sitting planning (this is revolutionary), reading and writing. The past three weeks I’ve set aside daily time to sit, reflect and pen my dreams—there’s something powerful about visualizing and writing them down. I also charged through Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly and was SO IMPACTED by it.

Until relatively recent years, vulnerability was a cringe inducing word for me. In 5th grade I moved to the States and braved public school having previously lived in three different countries in Europe with no knowledge of things like dollars, inches and the Backstreet Boys. I quickly developed a lot of fear around being different, judged and not good enough. It wasn’t until college that I really learned how to be myself and celebrate the things that make me unique. As a teenager I adapted the classic “vulnerability is weakness” mentality to self-protect, and frankly it was quite difficult to break.

I’m sure many of you have seen Brené’s TED talk on vulnerability. I’ve raved about it for years as it really catalyzed an awareness of how important it was for me to embrace and strive for healthy vulnerability in my life. Daring Greatly took it to a new level; it’s a very practical and research-based book. I wish I could copy+paste 20 quotes in this post, but here are a few of my fave points:

  • “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage” (pg 37).
  • Normalizing discomfort is key—that is: real learning, critical thinking and change actually require discomfort. “The big challenge for leaders is getting our heads and hearts around the fact that we need to cultivate the courage to be uncomfortable and to teach the people around us how to accept discomfort as a part of growth” (pg 199).
  • By definition, entrepreneurship is vulnerable. It’s all about the ability to handle and manage uncertainty.
  • “Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting” (pg. 214). Full disclosure: her chapter on wholehearted parenting actually brought me to tears at points due to both heartwarming stories of parents connecting with their kids and stories of mishandled vulnerable moments.
  • Shaming is never okay. “You made a bad choice” rather than “you are bad” makes all the difference. Shame can easily lead to the fear of being unlovable and create an unshakeable (potentially lifelong) doubt of worthiness of love and acceptance.
  • Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage.

Nina Simone Quote

I recently saw and fell in love with this Nina Simone inspired print and had to add it to my gallery wall. My greatest goal in this season of life is to look fear in the face and courageously overcome it in an effort to (dare I say) dare greatly. 🙂

Have you read any of Brene’s other books—what did you think? Are there any other books you’d recommend? Maybe I need to find myself a book club!

Meredith Who?

If you’re reading this you probably already know Meredith is the founder of Meredith & Company (an LA-based neighborhood care company), that she’s also my sister, and I’m starting a branch of her company in Santa Barbara this summer.

Last month we celebrated Meredith’s birthday with the cutest, most Pinterest, pop-up picnic brunch ever and it was such a sweet time to gather and reflect on this impactful woman. What better way to start my blog than to share bits of it with you?

Meredith is kind, smart and driven. She cares deeply about everyone around her and it’s obvious her company grew from a genuine desire to meet the childcare needs of her community.

Meredith’s birthday crew (1/2 of whom work with her now!)

What I admire most about Meredith is that she’s fearless. She doesn’t shy away from challenges, confrontations or vulnerability–in fact, she dives deep into those situations and excels. She inspires me daily to be more unapologetically myself and celebrate every aspect of life.

She relentlessly invests in people, and this is reflected in every policy and decision she makes in business. I’ve loved watching her flourish as a business owner and am so excited to join the team. Because of who Meredith is, Meredith & Company is making a real impact on local families. How lucky am I that she’s in mine?

Me (right) and Meredith (left) adventuring together in Austria as kids (posts on growing up abroad to come)

The full birthday celebration included a post-brunch Sparks game (if you’ve never been to a WNBA game they’re the best and the Sparks are 11-0 right now) and family BBQ, as well as a pre-brunch trip to see Beyoncé at the Rose Bowl. I can’t help but conclude with this gem I found on my phone from the evening: “If you know exactly who you are, say ‘I Slay!'” I hope you can hear Meredith’s eager response in the clip below.

Meredith, thank you for knowing exactly who you are and using all your brilliance to improve the lives of those around you. You are an incredible friend, sister and mentor. Happy birthday and cheers to the next year of adventures! To read more about Meredith’s Neighborhood, click here.