being a mom

A Heart to Heart with Emily Giffin

May 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm , by

HEART OF THE MATTER C 3I happen to be a huge fan of chick lit. Not the sappy, preachy, predictable-ending kind where the heroine gets the man and the job and the cake and eats it too, but the realistic, emotional, relatable kind where the heroine finds herself and her happiness and maybe a man, if he’s lucky. So I was excited to get the chance to talk to Emily Giffin, author of Something Borrowed (currently being filmed in NYC) and Something Blue, about her new book, Heart of the Matter, which hit stores on Tuesday. It’s the intertwined story of a single, working mom, a stay-at-home mother and her pediatric surgeon husband, the event that links the three of them together and what happens when they all make decisions they can’t take back.

This book is a little more serious than your earlier novels.

My characters have grown up as I’ve grown up. I think as you get older and you make the decision to have children,  things become more serious in that your mistakes can impact somebody else. But I don’t see this as a radical departure from what I’ve done. I’ve always written about the complexities of relationships. As I wrote this book I thought a lot about how we tend to view our lives as these fairy tales, these picture-perfect stories, and when something doesn’t fit within that – when somebody disappoints us or a relationship isn’t exactly what we thought – we tend to panic. I write a lot about redemption and forgiveness, because I think forgiveness and empathy are the keys to so much in life. I also think it’s important sometimes to say, okay, there was a mistake made or a misturn, and we need to embrace it. I think there can be beauty in the mistakes.

Where did the inspiration for the new book come from? Did you know what would happen when you started writing?

I definitely start out with a premise, like what if you ran into your one who got away, or what if you and your soulmate suddenly wanted very different things, or if you fell in love with your best friend’s fiancée. From that premise I come up with characters, and the characters really drive it. That said, I definitely have a sense of beginning, middle and end when I write. I have this very basic outline of a story, it’s just fleshed out so much as I get to know the characters.

How’s the movie, Something Borrowed, coming along? Are you involved in the production? [It's currently filming in NYC, and stars Kate Hudson, John Krasinski and Ginnifer Goodwin.]

I’ve been very involved. They have included me in everything from discussions about the script to casting and everything in between. It’s been really fun. When I saw the set design for Rachel’s apartment, and I went back and read the book, I hadn’t even described some of the things yet it was exactly how I pictured it to be. It’s crazy how much it feels like my vision is being brought to life. So it’s really exciting. And I have a cameo!

[BOOK SPOILER ALERT!!!! Well, semi-spoiler alert. The bit I'm giving away happens pretty early! Read on after the jump.]

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The Top 7 Places To Shop For Kids’ Clothes

March 18, 2010 at 11:19 am , by

As a fashion editor and a mom, I shop for my kids clothes in a different way than most moms. I plan their wardrobes like I’m styling a shoot. Pieces must work together and although comfort is key with kids, they still have to look cute, right?

I’m lucky to be blessed with 2 beautiful daughters who look great in everything but when I’m hunting for great clothes, these are my go-to resources.

fashioncrewcuts fashiongap fashionoldnavy

1. Crewcuts - My hands-down favorite. The cute styling in the catalog is to-die-for but even the basics are perfect. (Yes it’s pricey for kids so I shop the sale section of the website or wait for Grandma to offer!) Sophia loves it too—why else would she choose her Crewcuts silver sequin cardigan and tutu skirt to meet Ariel?

2. Gap - People think of Gap as basic but some of my girls’ cutest items—like the faux fur vest above on Lily that I scored on the sale rack for $6—are from this denim giant. Prices are decent but sales are abundant so I like to wait.

3. Old Navy - No need to wait for the sale here. Prices are amazing and lots of the kids’ clothes have a nice sense of humor. I get a lot of matching items here because the “times 2″ price is still decent.

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Snow Days

March 4, 2010 at 10:53 am , by

sophiasnowmansmileMy husband and I aren’t very outdoorsy. (Recently, when a friend suggested we go HIKING on a playdate with the kids, I nearly fell off my chair!) But when Mother Nature decides it’s time for snow—which she’s done many times this winter—we always get out there with the girls and enjoy it.

We live in a townhouse which means we don’t have a big back yard but we make do with the space we have. During the last storm, my husband Pablo did an amazing job of building a winter wonderland: It had two slides, a snow fort as tall as Sophia, and an amazing snowman. As the fashion editor in the family, I’m always called on to accessorize the snowman. This time I grabbed a straw safari hat (party favor from Lily’s zoo-themed birthday party last year), an old striped scarf from The Gap, button eyes, and a lipstick nose. I had forgotten about the mouth when Sophia brilliantly suggested a cheese stick. Pablo curled it into a little smile and it was perfect. I loved seeing Sophia come up with such a creative solution.

Our new friend, Frosty, melted in a day but he sure was fun to make. And I’m sure there will be a new Frosty on our next snow day. So, tell me…how do you enjoy the winter weather with your kids?

Parent/Teacher Conference: My Drama Queen

January 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm , by

sophiadramaSophia is only 4 years old, so her parent/teacher conference is less about what she’s learning and more about how she’s behaving. I know that she knows her numbers and letters and I’m sure she’ll do just fine when she transitions to kindergarten next year (stay tuned for a future post when I laugh at myself for being this confident!). But for now, I just want to know how she’s behaving with the other kids. We didn’t get a lot of surprises. “Sophia is a leader.” “Sophia is very dramatic.” She even got an “O” for “outstanding” in the “sings along with songs” and “expresses herself well” categories.

Believe me, this is not a surprise. My husband and I both enjoyed performing in plays and musical presentations back at school. And Sophia’s “creative play” at home ranges from strutting her stuff in a pretend fashion show, belting out tunes from Disney movies (solos only, thankyouverymuch!), and spinning and leaping like she’s Clara from the Nutcracker.  And when you ask her to smile for a picture, you get an over-the-shoulder pose full of attitude.

But what do you do with a dramatic kid? There’s no fighting it—it’s just who she is. How do you hone those skills into something useful?  Listen, if someone happened to spot her “doing her thing” and offered her a high-paying TV commercial, I’d have a hard time refusing. But no, we will not be going to any auditions. Blame my fear that she’d end up like Lindsay Lohan. For now, we’ll just let her be a kid. An overly dramatic, runway strutting, superstar singing, over-the-top dancing kid.

So, tell me…what are your kids like? Shy? Dramatic? How do you nurture their personality quirks?

Staying Connected: The Best Gift of All

January 7, 2010 at 10:08 am , by

Picture 1Ah, the holidays. That time of year when you gather together with your family and share some holiday cheer. But what if your family lives far away? My husband’s little sister lives in Florida, so we’ve never been able to spend Christmas with her. And believe me, she would love to see her nieces tear open their gifts. So this year, with the help of a little technology, we were able to make that happen.

It was Christmas morning and the girls had been up since 7:00 am. Squeals of Disney Princess joy were filling my parent’s living room. And then we got the best gift of all—the gift of being together. Without anyone knowing, my husband had sneaked away to call his sister on Skype, right before the girls opened their gifts from Aunt Paola. There was Aunt Paola right on the screen wearing a Santa hat! Pablo was even able to put the laptop on the floor so his sister could watch Sophia open the Barbie Glamour Camper that she sent. It was like she was really there—a perfect Christmas moment.

So, tell me: How did technology bring you closer to your loved ones this holiday season?

(Photo by me using my new techy Christmas present, a Nikon D5000!)

Vacationing with the Grandparents

December 10, 2009 at 11:44 am , by

Picture 10I have a confession to make: I have never been on a vacation with my kids without a set of grandparents there to help. And here’s the crazy part—I have no desire to.

I love vacationing with my parents. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. And here’s why:

1. My kids get to spend a big chunk of time with their grandparents. Rather than a quick overnight or a weekend visit, it gives them a week to really get to know each other and have some great bonding experiences. My mom just took Sophia to see the Nutcracker—and I got the day off! Which brings me to my next point…

2. You actually get a break to spend time with your spouse. My husband and I always have one date night when we’re on vacation with my folks: Last year it was a beachside dinner on the 10-year anniversary of the day we met (everybody now…AWWWW!). It’s so nice knowing that the kids are well cared for and bonus—we don’t have to pay the babysitter. Which brings me to my next point…

3. It saves money. This one’s a biggie. I’m lucky enough to have parents with a house in Florida so we can take a day trip to Disney World without getting a hotel. And since they own the house, you don’t get a big hotel bill at the end of your stay. We also get free hotel transfers, free room and board, and free babysitting services. What could be wrong with that?

So, tell me…do you vacation with all three generations? Where have you been? Where are you going to next?

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Gene Pool: Where Did My Daughter Come From?

November 30, 2009 at 10:25 am , by

Picture 3My oldest daughter, Sophia, looks like a perfect combination of genes from my husband and I. She’s got the brown hair that we both have. The shape of her brown eyes are a combo of his and mine. Her mouth? All mommy. And her long feet with the “finger” toes? Well, she’ll be blaming daddy for those later in life.

Before Lily was born when we found out we were having another girl, we wondered what she would look like. Of course, she would be just like Sophia, right? Little did we know that two brown eyed, brown haired people could have this:  a blue eyed cherub with wispy, curly strawberry-blonde hair. She does have a remarkable resemblance to my mom (the only person with baby blues in either of our families). But that wild mane? Where did that come from?

It’s even become a joke amongst our friends that perhaps Lily comes from another daddy—no chance. But I agree it’s funny…to an extent. I’m sure her hair color will change and it’ll probably straighten out a little. And I’ve been told that even though she’s almost 18 months old, those eyes could darken up a bit too.

But even if she outgrows those baby curls,  I think that my girls better get ready to endure a lifetime of “That’s your sister?”.

So, tell me…where did your kids get their looks from? Do they look like siblings?