Saturday, November 22, 2014

Have We Met?

So can we pick up right where we left off? We're those kind of friends, right?

1. I'm really excited for Into The Woods to come out.

2. In the spirit of the movie's tagline 'be careful what you wish for', remember when I made my New Year's Reflectsolutions at the beginning of 2014, and I said I was going to say 'no' more and stop misinterpreting 'spread too thin' as 'being inadequate'? Little did I know that I would have to put my money where my mouth is.  Long story short, I am working my hot cross braided buns off over here, friends, and in recent months Ducklings In A Row has been more like Ducklings In A Neglected Corner of the Closet and Deprived of Sunlight and Laughter. Not cute. Forgive me.

3. That color looks good on you.

4. Did you switch mascaras? Your eyelashes look gloriously feathery.

5. The birdie got her first haircut today. The stylist basically told me I Travis the Chimp'ed her bangs and gave me instructions 'in case I ever attempted cutting her hair by myself at home again'. If you were ever hoping for a hair tutorial on cutting your own bangs at home from me, well there's clearly nothing to see here. Move along.

6. I found a girl's phone number in my son's pants pocket yesterday. He's four. I have to say I was impressed at her handwriting and her descriptive, emoji-like drawing of a rotary phone receiver. She's old school. I like her.

7. What's new with you?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fire Island Redux

A few photos from our first trip to Fire Island, my new favorite place in the New York area (sorry, Medieval Times). 

By virtue of its simplicity (no cars, few stores, spotty wi-fi service, deer aplenty), Fire Island had the reductive effect of stripping each of us down to our 'truest selves', which meant the four-year-olds spent the entire weekend whispering to each other in matching dinosaur pants.

My husband's basic self apparently means matching man shirts and glasses of rose.

And the birdie grilled Mingus on the best way to sneak out of the house in the hopes of finding cooler people to hang out with.

Don't follow me.

As for me, it turns out my truest self meant taking 176 pictures of a staircase and snuggling a glass of wine on the beach.

I think I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Let's Have a Kiki

OMGOMGYG. (Oh my god, oh my god, you guys).

It's been a beat, right?  Last night I was thinking about all the things we haven't talked about in the recent weeks while I was away doing things like getting irritated at Verizon and trying to keep my kids from falling in the pool with their clothes on.

Here's a list of things I've been meaning to tell you:

- Last week we went on a ten-day vacation to the motherland (Virginia), which we also did last year (once again repeating the annual crab race and boat napping). I ate cookies every day and let my mom carry me around the pool like a baby. It was weird. People stared. Guess how many points we scored in the caring game? Zero.

- In case you missed it on Instagram, my one-year-old called me fat in the greeting card aisle in the grocery store using her outside voice. I put myself on, like, a strict diet for four hours and then had five Oreos and a margarita for dinner.

- When I was in high school, a few of my best-looking friends worked at Abercrombie. Apparently they were told during training not to approach and greet customers, since I guess being a prick is cool? So this week I learned that the grown-up version of Abercrombie is Verizon, offering the package I want to new customers for $29.99 and offering me, customer of 17 years, the same package for $84.

I didn't want to sit at the cool kid table anyways, Verizon, so I made a new friend.  Her name is Xfinity. And yes, her real name is Tanya but she started going by Xfinity in eighth grade because Xfinity is way edgier. It starts with an X.  We'll be sitting over here at the $49.99 table.

- Oh, and the birdie is almost two. I read a parenting article recently that said you shouldn't label your kids 'the smart one' or 'the shy one' because it causes irreparable damage, but it didn't say anything about 'the one I have to worry about'. She's the one I have to worry about. She's already calling me out, as in she can smell cookies on my breath from the back seat of the car. She's already stolen my wallet twice. Also, how did two already get here? Weren't we just pretending to throw her a first birthday party?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Party Pail Giveaway for You (Maybe....If You Win)

Y'all. It's birthday season in my house. Just a few weeks ago my husband turned 40. When did I become old enough to have a husband who is 40? I still sign my name with a smiley face over the 'i'. This weekend is the duckling's fourth birthday (again, I have a pre-schooler?! I still put ketchup on my hot dogs). The following weekend I have the Tony Awards Gala and then it's the birdie's second birthday. I've got so many parties you'd think it was my full-time job. Oh wait, it is.

With so many parties on the horizon, I've been putting one of my favorite new online sources to work. Learn it. Love it. Buy the watermelon plates. Seriously, it's awesome.

So Party Pail - a few months after first hearing about them from my friend Abby, Party Pail reached out to me about featuring some of their goods, which I'm always willing to do when it means I get to pass along free stuff to you guys.  Taking one for the team, y'all. And when I say "taking one for the team" I mean "making a super fun and awesome boozy surprise ball  and then giving away a $25 promo code to one lucky and randomly selected reader". Everybody wins.

For the uninitiated, a surprise ball is a series of small toys wrapped in crepe paper, so that as the recipient unwinds the ball, they discover a series of toys and trinkets.  I had been thinking about how I could send a cocktail-themed surprise to my sweet babysitter Julie at college and thought this would make the perfect summer cocktail-themed surprise to send in the mail.  Just add vodka.

IMG 4810 from Chrissann gasparro on Vimeo.

There were so many fun things to select from for the surprise ball. I mean, glasses with a mini sombrero on them? You know I was all over that.  And the prices for everything from cocktail napkins to balloons are super reasonable.  Party Pail for the win.

Here are all the fun supplies that went into the surprise ball:

12 ounce plastic margarita glasses (set of four)
parasol picks
leis + ankle leis
lime party blowouts
fiesta drink party glasses
palm tree drink stirs
bahama confetti
crepe streamers (in hot magenta, citrus green and mimosa yellow)
parrot glitter cutout
tropical drink honeycomb centerpiece

And because I love you more than I love parties, leave a comment below before Wednesday, June 4th for your chance to win a $25 gift code to to be used before September 14th, 2014. 

As an added bonus, tell me your favorite college party memory. Mine was any one of the seventeen thousand times I streaked the Sunken Gardens. It's a thing at William and Mary. Everyone does it. 
Lots of nude nerds. They should put that in a pamphlet.  

UPDATE: Congrats to Hailey, our winner!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Knotty Girl - Side Knot Tutorial

I have to confess that sometimes I do a hair tutorial, and at the end of it I think I look like an aspirational version of myself. This hair tutorial is exactly that - the end look is demure, romantic and somewhat elusive, attributes that will never make it into the top 20 list of words other people use to describe me.  I look at the finished pictures and think, 'this is a girl who doesn't bite her nails, always remembers to write thoughtful thank you notes and can make beef bourgignon without once looking at the recipe'. I am none of these things.

Prim and pretty aside, this tutorial is a cool and hard-working way to achieve an abbreviated version of the faux bob. Although I've got a side knot here, you could just as easily braid your remaining pony and then tuck & pin it up under the knots, giving the illusion of a bob. 

What You'll Need:

- a hair tie 
- I would have some bobby pins on hand just in case you need to pin or tuck some strays

1. Part your hair as desired. Pick up a piece of hair on the opposite side of where you want your side bun to be. Divide this section into to two and thread one piece around and through the others as though you were going to tie your shoes.

2. Add another small piece to both the top and bottom sections (in the same way you would add a small section for a french braid).

3. Complete another knot in the same direction as the first.

4. Complete yet another knot in the same fashion, adding a piece to each the top and bottom and completing the knot in the same manner as the first.

5. Continue until you reach the nape on the opposite side from where you started.

6. Gather the remaining hair into a bun (if you hair is longer than mine you can also try adding a few more knots into your pony before making a bun) and secure in place with an elastic and pins, if needed.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Knotty Girl Week - Chain Link Hair Tutorial

I'm on a plane on my way back from San Francisco, having left behind one of my favorite friends (Meghan), one of my favorite families (hers), and now that I think about it, one wet bathing suit in the back of Meghan's car (sorry).

It's more bitter than sweet to have to say goodbye to forever friends for what feels like forever, especially when ten states and three time zones (not to mention the chaos of two tots each) stand between us.  So I'm throwing myself a proper mid-air pity party, listening to sad songs, eating a $7 brownie from the airport and crying into my keyboard while I write up my first of a handful of posts to kick off a series of hair tutorials I'm calling Knotty Girl Week. If anything will make me feel better it's chocolate and a new blog post.

First up in our Knotty Girl series is this fun chain-link style, which is super easy and infinitely versatile. For this tutorial I repeated the chain link on each side and pinned each in place in the back for a fun half-up look, but the chain link steps are as versatile as any braid.  Swap out your usual braid with a chain link for a more unique take on styles like this, this and this.  This tutorial requires no braiding skill at all. If you ever learned how to tie your shoes you're all set. If you're still wearing shoes with velcro straps, then maybe your mom can help you.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy Friday

photo from here
Happy Friday, tulip.

It feels like eons since I booked my flight for San Francisco, but my big, fat, slobbery reunion with Meghan (& Co.) is finally here!  Here's to awesome friends!

The good news is I have a bunch of posts I'll be working on for y'all during my flights, including some really pretty hair tutorials (if I do say so myself). In the interim, here are some things I saw that I thought you might like:

- this article about the message and mood colors set at events

- what your 15-year-old cousin is looking at on their phone all the time

- a novel and dangerous concept

- a peek backstage at Broadway dressing rooms. Having done three of these five opening night parties, I always love seeing little details like this of the productions I get to work with.

- from my spirit animal Cup of Jo, a peek at Nathan Pyle's popular NYC etiquette illustrations (book available now here)

- How can you not love Mindy Kaling?

Can't wait to tell you all about my trip. What are you guys doing this weekend?

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