Aerial Yoga... I'm Hooked!

Friday, March 27, 2015

 


Have any of you ever tried aerial yoga?

Yesterday, I snuck away to The Harmony for a little lunch and my first aerial yoga class and I have to say it was so much fun!  I'm dying to find a class in Boston now!

I had no idea what to expect when I walked in, and after seeing these tortuous looking devices hanging from the ceiling I was definitely feeling a little nervous.  In fact Fifty Shades of Grey was the first thing that came to mind, but once the teacher started telling us a little about the practice I was really excited to give it a go.

For the class you use the hammock, which is secured tightly the ceiling which allows you to easily get in and out of inversions. About halfway though I swear I thought we were in Cirque du Soleil!  Unlike a traditional yoga class, this was not a quiet event.  There were lots of giggles and high fives, and even though there was an Oscar winner in our group, we all just basically cracked up given how we looked after hanging upside down for 5 minutes.

The 90 minutes flew by, and at the end I was wishing we had a little more time.  I wasn't sore, per se, but I was definitely sweaty and tired.  For shavasana we wrapped ourselves up in a little cocoon while we swayed back and forth and it was so deliciously wonderful!  Now I know why babies are so hesitant to leave the womb!

I love trying new things and I will definitely be going back to this class in the summer.  The whole time all I could think is how much the LM would love the experience and next time I will make sure he joins me!

If you ever come across a class, you have to give it a try!

Free

Thursday, March 26, 2015


The other day I read this article and considering where we are at right now it really resonated with me.  When my kids are here, in Central America, they are totally completely free.  I often get asked if it's "safe" in Costa Rica and I have to laugh because  down here is the only time that I feel as though my kids are completely safe.  There is no of driving in cars on busy highways.  No crossing of traffic filled streets or dim dim lit alleys to walk by on the way home from dinner.  No mass shootings. While petty theft is a concern, I would imagine that there are more thefts in my sleepy Cambridge neighborhood on a weekly basis than they probably see here in a year.  In short, I feel completely comfortable letting my boys run free while we are in country.

Last week my mother- in-law and I left Gray sitting on the beach while we walked a few hundred yards out of sight to get coconuts and simply gestured to my father-in- law in the water that we were leaving him on the  beach.  The little man often walks home alone, ahead of us (something I wouldn't dare let him do at home given the hurried drivers in our neighborhood and the number of cross streets) and we don't even give these things a second thought.  I will often remark when my husband and I are walking alone through the jungle and down the beach in complete darkness about how crazy it is that I feel so safe doing so and how I never feel the need to assess my surroundings.  If I were at home, I would be constantly looking over my shoulder in the darkness, knowing that two people in the middle of no where who are a few cocktails in make for great targets.

The truth is that it home makes me feel more unsafe, which is why I feel the need to keep my boys so much closer.  I feel so much terror when I'm driving the speed limit and a trator trailer crosses to quickly in front of me.  Don't even get me started on how I pray that the LM breaks on his scooter, even though he has the right of way, when see a distracted driver rolling through a stop sign.  It was less than two years ago that my city was bombed (which I still can't get my head around) and it's in those times that I want to grab my babies and hide under the covers.  The thing is, I feel like it is so important for us to allow our kids to have the kind of free childhood that we had, and while I'm so grateful that my boys have the opportunity they do to run wild down here I just wish I could feel comfortable letting them do a little more running in their daily lives.

Don't get me wrong, my husband and I are not what you would call "helicopter" parents.  In fact we are probably just the opposite.  He would be the first to let the LM walk to the corner store to get an ice cream, something that I once chided him for given the major street he would have to cross in-between and I am definitely relaxed in my parenting style.  Unlike my husband I think I am a lot more worried about what other people think of me, and my parenting of my kids.  It really all started a few years back when I would often let the LM stay at the park in front of our house (which I can see from our front facing windows) with some of the older kids while I would go in and tend to a newborn Gray.  I thought nothing of it, and his only rule was that he would have to yell for me to make sure he was safe to cross the street, which was my only concern.  After a few months of this our babysitter came home from the library one day and told me that she was confronted by another mother about my doing this.  Something to the effect of "I can't believe she lets him stay out there alone."  That unexpected judgement was so jarring for me and while my initial reaction to outside time is to grab a blanket and my phone or book and let the boys run wild, I now find myself feeling like I have to stand over them, lest someone thinks I'm being neglectful.  Clearly this is more and issue for me than them, but It definitely makes me question whether I am making the right call sometimes.

It's funny, I started to write this post this morning and then this afternoon my husband and I took the LM out on some huge rocks to see the waves crash.  As his mother I kept saying "be careful" more for my own good than his, and he turned to both of us and said, I kid you not, "adventure makes me happy."  Really, what can I say to that?  Him being happy is all I can ask for, and I really want to try to keep some of the sprit when we return to our everyday, less protected lives.  I really want to remember this when he's climbing too tall trees at the playground, or when Gray is fighting with some kid over a shovel.  It's so important that these little guys learn boundaries on their own, just like we all did, and I hope as a parent I am able to allow better them this freedom.  Oh, and we will always have Costa Rica... the land of the free (child).

Date Night

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


About a mile down the beach from our house, up and over a hill, and accessible only by a secret trail lies what I think is the most beautiful place on earth; La Luna Restaurant.  This eatery has been an institution around here for more than a decade, but only in the past few years has been given new life with a small renovation that turned a crumbling building into a jaw dropping place to dine that truly defines the term "al fresco."  Each week my husband and I sneak over for a date night together, and then we come back a few days later with the whole family, and aside from the killer margaritas and incredible food (think flatbreads, Mediterranean platters, fish carpaccio) it's always the decor that keeps me coming back.  Clearly the VIEW can't be beat, and is the main reason reservations are absolutely required for sunset dining, but for me I'm equally impressed by how the simple decor makes such a lasting impact.  As I mentioned, the building itself used to be falling apart and the new owners completely transformed the look and feel of the building simply by adding a fresh coat of paint, some mixed seating, and some cushions with varying patterns.  Small things that make a big difference, which can easily be copied in any backyard or beachfront home. 

What I'm Reading

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

If there is a theme for my reading list on this trip it would probably be titled "books that everyone has read and talked about, so I can guarantee they are good."  Otherwise know as literary FOMO (fear of missing out.)  I'm sure quite a few of you have already burned through most of these, but for those of you who are as late to the game as I usually am, here is what I'm reading on this trip and my thoughts on each.  Don't worry, there are no spoilers allowed!

Big Little Lies- Liane Moriarty
I have to say up front that I'm a big fan of Liane Moriarty's work.  My sister-in-law and I have  debated more than once how I could have liked The Husband's Secret and what I can I say?  I just can't help myself.  This new genre of "chick lit" combined with a traditional murder mystery ropes me in every time, and this story set in a wealthy primary school had me hooked from the first page.  While somewhat predictable, I enjoyed most of the characters and found this to be a perfect and light beach read. 

Sharp Objects- Gillian Flynn
I am probably one of the biggest Gone Girl fan there is, and I also really enjoyed Dark Places so I was really excited to start this book on our trip.  I'm not going to say I didn't like it, as I found myself not being able to put it down, but as soon as I finished it I pretty much wanted to take a shower, and read something that involved kittens, babies, and rainbows.  Set in a small town which is reeling from the murder of two of it's young residents, this book defines dark, and I think it might have been just a little to much for me.  For the next few days I found myself waking up at night, reliving some of the most gruesome parts.  I'm pretty sure that's not a good thing.  If you like a good thriller, and aren't too squeamish, you will definitely enjoy this book.  The jury's still out for me on this one. 

The Girl on The Train- Paula Hawkins
 I don't think I've ever read a book faster than I read The Girl on the Train.  I knew little about the plot, other than people saying it's the new Gone Girl, and from beginning to end I was hooked.  The twists and turns of this novel, coupled with the sometimes cringe worthy behavior of the main characters had me ripping through the pages and I found myself feeling devastated when I finished the last page, wishing that there was more.  This is what I would deem a must read!

Before I Go To Sleep- S.J. Watson
 I'm about 3/4 though this mystery right now, and I am really enjoying it.  It's about a woman with long term amnesia who wakes up every day not only forgetting what happened the day before, but also the 20 years prior.  She found a note that she wrote to herself, telling her not to trust her husband, and the story pretty much develops from there.  Definitely a page turner, I can't put this one down and can't wait to see how it will end!

Wild- Cheryl Strayed
 I have the same feelings about Wild that I do about Eat, Pray, Love.  I loved the first half, and found myself a little bored an disinterested during the second.  I think in general I have a hard time relating to these women who need to go to extremes to "find themselves" and it doesn't help that the movie (which I enjoyed) was shown during our flight down and I may have watched the ending before finishing the book.  Blasphemy I know!  I will say this book made me want to push myself physically a little more, and the first chapters brought me to tears... repeatedly.  Overall I would probably recommended it, but it doesn't top my list. 

Still Alice- Lisa Genova
Woah.  That's about all I can say about this book.  Devastating and beautiful, while reading this this book I seriously felt like my heart was being ripped out the entire way though.  By now most of you know the premise, Alice at only 50 years old was diagnosed with early and aggressive Alzheimer's Disease.  The novel then follows her mental deterioration and is written from her perspective.  It's heavy, sad, and completely eye opening for the reader.  I can think of few things that would be worse than receiving this diagnosis and I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. 

The last book on my list is one that has been on there for almost two years, The Goldfinch.  I know EVERYONE loves this book, but for some reason I just can't get into it.  I have nothing left on my Kindle so I will definitely be giving it another shot and I'm hoping that it's just the length that is turning me off and not the subject matter.  I want so badly to check this one off my list, so I'm sure that alone will get me though to the end!

I'd love to know what you all are reading.  What else am I missing?  I know some of these are pretty old so please tell me what I'm going to be dying to read next... even if it will take me a year or two to finally pick it up ;)

#WWJLD? + New Instagram Contest + A Winner!!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

@marialouise_86
 Would Jenna buy all of the Trader Joes flowers to make it feel more like spring? Yes, I think she would.#WWJLD #bossladies #jcrew

@itsmlem
 I'll be asking 'what would Jenna Lyons do' at the farmers market this spring. She would buy the $9 organic golden raspberries. #bossladies #wwjld



"The Jenna" has officially arrived and some of you are so ingenious, posting your Jenna's asking what would she do!  Hint... I'm pretty sure she would definitely buy the organic raspberries and ALL the flowers!!!  I can't tell you how much I love seeing these and I'm so happy you are loving your bags!  I'll announce the winner of our last giveaway below, but for those of you looking for a Jenna for a friend, or a second for yourself, you've inspired me to host ANOTHER giveaway!  Once you receive your Jenna, Instagram her asking #WWJLD and tag @robinanderson09 (my insta) and you will be entered to win!  I love seeing all the different ways you style her, definitely keep them coming!

In other exciting news, I'm so excited to announce that my favorite boutique on the planet Dress is now carrying our #BOSSLADIES line.  If you've never been in Dress or on the shop's website (they ship if you aren't in the Boston area) you are most definitely missing out!  The owners Jane and Martha have the most incredible taste and year after year they curate one incredible collection after another.  The vast majority of my wardrobe comes from here, and it truly is an honor to see our collection next to labels like Ulla Johnson, Ace and Jig, Loeffler Randall and more!  Make sure you head on over to Dress to check out the Jenna and everything else that's new for Spring!


Finally, I'm so excited to announce the winner of our #BOSSLADIES + Posh & Prep Giveaway!  I loved hearing all of your suggestions and certainly have added them to the list!  Once Jenna is sold out we will be announcing our next #BOSSLADY so make sure you stay tuned for that!  The winner (chosen at random) of "The Jenna" and Posh + Prep Jenna Lyons print is Jill!  I can't thank you enough for all your incredible suggestions!  Please email me your information at robinanderson09@gmail.com so I can get these right out to you!

Thank you all for your support of our new line!  Your incredible response has been more than I would have ever imagined and I can't wait to share some new ladies with you in the coming months!

Lucky

Friday, March 20, 2015


Tuesday night, while out for a family dinner, Grayson took a pretty bad fall. With everyone no more than a foot away, he slipped through a crack in a landing and fell about 3-4 feet hitting his head and eye on a table below.  Immediately we could hear crack, his screams and see the damage. More quickly than I would have liked his eye turned black and swelled up in a very dramatic fashion. We were lucky, the bone around his eye seemed to take most of the impact and the eyeball itself was okay.  There was doctor sitting at a table nearby, with a specialty in orthopedics, and he was able to convince us that nothing was out of place.  The owner of the restaurant called the local doctor, his friend, and Grayson was looked at by no less than three doctors in a span of 30 minutes.  There was talk of concern about brain bleeds and damage to the eyeball, but luckily after spending the night in his bed with me right next to him he woke up acting like his old self... but for the fact that he looked like he went ten rounds Mike Tyson.

 We were very lucky, it could have been much worse.  This what everyone kept saying the night of the accident and all throughout the next day.  The decision was made to sit on the injury to see how it healed and we were all hoping that no news was good news, even though his entire eye was black and swollen shut.  On the beach yesterday, we all agreed that it was looking a little more drippy than it had in the morning and we immediately took him to the doctor in town.  The eye itself was slightly infected and we were lucky that we took him in when we did because with some creme from the local pharmacy we stopped any further progression of the bacteria.  While we were there the doctor suggested that was a good idea to take him to the nearest hospital, which is about two to three hours away to get an x-Ray just to "make sure."  There would be no radiologist on duty, but luckily I am married to one so the decision was made to immediately take the trip.  We don't have a car down here, but luckily we were able to charter a van and were on our way within 30 minutes.  I felt very fortunate that were were able financially afford to make decisions like this, and even more so that are in a country which has incredible health care.  My in laws are here and they were able to stay with the LM so he was able to skip the 7 hour trip... luckily.

After we arrived at the hospital we were immediately taken in for x-rays, as they knew we were coming, and my husband was able to arrange for some of the best neuroradiologists in Boston to read the films.  After quite a bit of back and forth we were told that we were incredibly LUCKY and nothing was broken, the eyeball was responding fine, and we were free to go back to our vacation. After mentally preparing for the three of us to fly back to the states on the next plane out if surgery was needed, we all felt incredibly lucky that we were heading back to our family and we even made it  safely home before dinner.  Gray is still pretty battered and swollen but the eye is opening more and more and the little guy hasn't missed a beat.  He's jumping in and out of the pool like nothing ever happened and still has plenty of energy to torment his brother.

After the events of yesterday, we are now trying to get back in vacation mode.  Luckily, we only missed out on one day of our  trip, and by the time we get back to the cold this will be long forgotten. I feel so incredibly thankful that so many people came to my son's aid, and that we received such great and immediate medical care.

Gray has definitely given us our money's worth in worry, and I have to laugh considering that his brother truly is the daredevil in the family.  Our little guy is the one who's spent the most time in the hospital, but for some reason he continues to come out of each event fairly unscathed.  He's definitely a lucky guy.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend... We will continue count our blessings and enjoy our time in this beautiful country.

The Harmony Hotel: I Want To Stay There

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Nestled in our sleepily little Costa Rican town, off the dusty main road and hidden behind a nondescript fence lies one of the best kept secrets in all the land; The Harmony Hotel.  For years I have heard stories of it's simple beauty, but up until last year I never actually set foot on the premises.  They offer daily yoga classes at the hotel and on our way out of town I was dropping off a few of Gray's lovies to a local mom and teacher who was having trouble sleep training her newborn.  I had only meant to stop at the gate, but decided to poke around the property a little and when I did it was like uncovering the secret garden and to this day I always tell guests that they will never believe what lies behind the lush landscaping.

The Harmony Hotel isn't what you would call "fancy" but its simplicity is truly what makes it so incredibly beautiful.  The suites and bungalows are designed to blend in, rather than compete with the natural surroundings and when we finally build a place down here you know I'll be taking my cues from this stunning property.  We've yet to stay there, given that the prices are steep even by American standards, and this definitely isn't the place to unleash two unruly youngsters, but more and more I've been venturing over there.  First for a yoga class, and more recently for breakfast and a taste of the biggest luxury down here... high speed internet.  Given that we have our settled routine, it's unlikely that our family will spend the night on the property, but I'm already plotting a girl's trip down here in the next year or two to finally show my friends what all the fuss is about.  You can bet we will be staying in one of those bungalows, if only so I can spend the day in that bathtub!  With multiple daily yoga classes, a spa, an on site juice and sushi bar which defines farm to table, and poolside dining the sustainable hotel, only a two block walk to the beach really is the perfect place to get away from it all with minimal travel time from the United States.

Words can't really do this place justice, so I'll just let these pictures do the talking.  If you're looking for me in the next week you can probably guess where I'll be found!









The 6 Best Tried and Tested (by me) Sunscreens

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

 There is no question that we spend more than our share of time on the beach and by default in the sun, which means sunscreen is something that is essential to our family.  We started bringing each boy down to Costa Rica when they were only a few months old so when I tell you that I have tried and tested almost every sun protection product that there is on the market, trust me when I say I've bought them all.  Surprisingly, with all our time baking on the equator the LM has only had one sunburn his entitle life (which happened on a cloudy day in Boston of all places) and Gray still has his virgin skin intact.  

What I consider before deeming a sunscreen successful are the following: 1) you only need to apply it once, 2) it stays on through jumps in the pool and surfs in the ocean, and 3) the only change in skin is a slight tan (never any redness.)  For me, I certainly look for all of the above, but in addition I need something that won't cause me to break out as I definitely have acne prone skin and will break out if I use the wrong product.  You will notice that I didn't mention price, and it's not that I don't care about what kind of money I'm spending (especially since we go though a lot in the 6 weeks we spend in Central America) but rather I've found that some of the less expensive brands need (and call for) multiple applications which means you think you are saving money up front, but in the end you are just burning though bottle after bottle.  I am not a fan of sprays, mostly because you can't really see the areas you've covered, but also I've read enough about how these products can impact your lungs and that was enough for me to swear them off.  Certainly, I'd like to use products with only natural ingredients and some of these claim to be just that (check packaging for ingredients) but in reality the most important thing for me is that my kids don't get burned, because skin cancer for me beats out any other concerns. 

Here are the top sunscreens that we buy time and time again for infants, big kids and for me.

Infants

Okay, so technically you aren't supposed to use sunscreen on your infant until they are 6 months old (as instructed by most pediatricians) but considering our kids were traveling to very tropical places at an age earlier than that, we started using sunscreen around 8 weeks of age and didn't see any issues. Given that they are infants, babies aren't really out in the sun in the same way that they are when they get older, so even though this sunscreen is the most expensive of the bunch, it actually lasts the longest.  I used this on the face and limbs of both kids when they were younger (always with a hat) and it worked amazingly well.  This stuff is thick and white and that is a bonus because you can really see where is goes on (I'm known for missing spots on myself) and left both of our boys with skin as white as the day they were born... even after long beach walks in the Baby Bjorn. 

Mustela High Protection Sun Lotion SPF 50

Toddlers and Big Kids

For me it's a toss up between which one of these are better.  I tend to use the honest company product more since we already have a subscription with them, but I've found both to work equally well.  My kids are known for their lack of clothing in these parts (coining the phrase nudy ludy) so a strong sunscreen is essential.  I put this on this ONCE in the morning right before we head to the beach and they stay covered all day, even after running in and out of the water and swimming pool.  Whenever we come with other family members, they question whether the boys need a re-application, but at the end of the day see that other than a gradual (and light) tan, the boys never actually get any other color.  These two sunscreens are the best of the best, and I'm telling you I would never trust any other on kids. 

Honest Suncreen Lotion SPF 30

think baby SPF 30-50

For Me

As I mentioned, I have some serious acne prone skin.  If I even look at the wrong product I will break out on my chin and chest and after quite a bit of trial and error I've finally found a few products that keep me from burning which also keep me from breaking out.  I've found it's not really necessary to wear something over SPF 30 as the former California girl in me certainly does not shy away from a little bit of color. 

The top liquid sunscreen is my go-to for beach days.  I use this on my face, chest, back and will steal from the boys for the rest of my body.  This keeps me covered all day, and also keeps my skin clear. 

Peter Thomas Roth Ultralight Sunblock SPF 30
 I love this brush on, oil absorbing sunscreen for my everyday city life in the warmer months.  Not only does it provide a nice layer of protection for my face and chest, the powder soaks up any oil I produce while surveying the heat in a concrete jungle.  This is my summer essential!

Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30
I've mentioned this no foundation foundation many times on this space and that's just because it's pretty much the best product out there.  Part moisturizer, part foundation, this lightweight serum is actually neither and is instead a sunscreen.  It perfectly covers any imperfections in my skin, and leaves me with a dewy, non-oily finish.  This whole line is incredible, and I'm slowly switching out everything for this genius brand. 

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation SPF 30
After a month of sunscreen use and sweating on the beach my skin always needs a good clean out when I return home.  I am such a huge fan of this glam glow line, and use this immediately to clear out my pores.  It leaves my skin feeling like I just had a facial and the best part is that it's pretty non-drying.  The glow that's left behind is really the icing on the cake. 

Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment
I know for most of you the need for sunscreen seems a long time away, but just keep the faith... Spring is only a week away!

Currently

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

We successfully made it to our home away from home and despite the 4am wake up, the trip was a breeze.  For the first time EVER we were on a direct flight from Logan to Liberia, and after a quick stop at the market and a two hour drive we were in our jungle paradise.  This trip keeps getting easier and easier, and I'd like to say that most of that is due to traveling with older kids (which is like a differnent world compared to what we are used to) but I think the travel gods have also been in our favor and I am definitely not complaining.

The LM had one, and only one, request when we got here.  He had to skate at the local park, and then surf the moment we arrived.  We skied last weekend and ever since we told him that he could possibly do all three sports "IN THE SAME WEEK " the gauntlet was thrown and he was a man on a mission.  A mere 16 hours after we left our front door, his challenge was completed, and the kid was equal parts wiped out and happy.  Gray, being Gray, was just happy to jump in the pool and see his grandparents (and the little lego sets they had in tow) that no extreme sports were necessary.

Now we all are just reveling in the slow pace of life down here.  Early mornings, with a blessed warm walk down the beach.  I read this book in the span of a day (so addicting!!!) and am trying to mentally gear up for another.  Lots of dips in the ocean and the pool, followed by long naps and sunset on the beach with a football in tow.  Life isn't opulent down here by any means, but it is the exact opposite of how we live our lives at home and if that isn't luxury I'm not sure what is.

Here are a few pictures from our first few days here.  Our little slice of heaven, in tangible form.


Early mornings at the airport can't get these guys down... especially when there are cartoons streaming. 



The most incredible skate park in the middle of the jungle, a block from the beach. 


Three generations heading to the surf. 



My boys, doing what they do best. 


We will call these the "before" pictures.  As in before the sun darkens our skin, and bleaches our hair. See also: mosquito free skin. 


 ^^^ This guy, so tough ^^^

I promise to bottle up as much of this sun as I can for my fellow East Coasters!