Birth of a project

I was getting dressed for a friend's birthday party and I didn't know what I was going to put on my body. I looked in my closet and it seemed empty, unpromising. I've had these moments before; everything was old, ill-fitting, or blah. I thought to myself, "Ugh! I have NOTHING to wear!" Then I began rifling through my closet and saw a forgotten shirt I loved and many more, and I realized I was crazy. I had plenty to wear, and plenty to choose from. My closet was FULL of treasures! At that moment I decided I would take a year to explore my closet and to add NOTHING new to my wardrobe.

I would create a NEW outfit for each day in order to maximize my wardrobe and shake up my style.

Basically, I would try to "snap out" of my fashion rut, and appreciate what I have.

It was my New Years' project:
One Closet, One Year.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Today Charlie turned seven! I cannot believe that this many years have gone by so quickly! It seems like it was just yesterday that I was first pregnant and trying to figure it all out. I had always wanted a baby and a partner to raise that baby with. They came to me in such an unexpected way, that I was absolutely giddy and certain that it was all kismet. Sure enough, it was.

I had tried to plan a little get together for Char-Char, but because of many obstacles, it turned into just the family going to dinner for sushi (Charlie's choice). However, when the kids arrived to pick me up from work I learned they had been fighting all day, and that HaHa had not napped. Jordan and Richard were out and about picking up uniforms for high school, and Richard had to go back to work where he would be staying all night. I could not imagine going to a restaurant alone with cranky and tired kids, so I opted to cook instead.

We had a few surprise guests for Charlie's birthday dinner, including the lovely Pollyanna, the gorgeous Ayiko, and the ever handsome Josh and Brady. So, although it was completely spontaneous, it felt like a party. There was even some dancing! Happy Birthday Charlie!


Shirt: Hand me down from friend. Lux.

Pants: Forever 21.

Sweater: Clothing Swap. Express.

Shoes: Mossimo.


Monday, August 30, 2010


 From Wikipedia:

"Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma...The founder or leader of a heretical movement is called a heresiarch, while individuals who espouse heresy are known as heretics. Heresiology is the study of heresy. 

 Etymology: The word "heresy" comes from the Greek hairetikos "able to choose" (haireisthai "to choose"). The term heresy is often perceived as a value judgment and the expression of a view from within an established belief system."

I am pronouncing myself a Hair-etic. Despite popular opinion, I believe that my children, with their wild and crazy locks, are fine. I don't feel the need to tame or control or style their hair. They are little kids, and they are fine. All yesterday, I kept looking at HaHa, and thinking she looked like a boy with her new fancy hairdo. I like her crazy curls just the way they are. And yes, they do get frizzy when she sleeps on them, or rubs her head against the car-seat, or puts food in her hair. 

As for Charlie, he happens to have some of the thickest, most dense, hair I have ever seen. When it gets wet it glistens as if it had dew drops on it. If you pour a cup of water on his head, his scalp doesn't get wet. When he sleeps on his hair, it gets extra frizzy and dry. I have been looking for product to put in his hair in the mornings, but I haven't found the exact right thing yet. However, the reason why I keep Charlie's hair longer than some people care for, is because he likes it. He doesn't want me to cut it short, although the more people talk about it, the more I'm sure the more he will get self-conscious about it. 

When I was out with my sister and the kids on Saturday night, she was surprised when a stranger complimented Charlie's hair. He gets a lot of compliments on his hair, actually. However, he also gets a lot of negative comments as well. I really don't understand why people are so concerned with the hair of my children. When they are older they can decide what they want to do with it. And, I do comb Charlie's hair, by the way. We'll see what happens after he turns seven tomorrow!


Print shirt: I got this in the Bronx a few years ago.

Striped shirt: Goodwill. Banana Republic.

Pants: Goodwill. I.N.C.

Shoes: Capezio.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home Again, Home Again!

We drove back to Cali today. The kids did not want to leave, and I wish we could have stayed a bit longer, too. However, duty calls!

Arizona is muy caliente! Too caliente, if you ask me. I did not enjoy the heat. Nor did I enjoy getting into the car and burning my body and my children. I also did not like having to stay inside all day because it was too hot to play outside.

I did enjoy the clouds, the company, and going out in the evenings.

So, I need to start practicing my super-short posts, and now seems like a pretty good time considering the fact that I start work tomorrow, and it is approaching midnight. Thinking about work and starting a new partnership in a new classroom has brought out some excitement and some trepidation in me. There are many "what ifs?" in my mind, and now that I am typing I realize that I need to live "in the moment", and see what unfolds, without worrying about the unknowns. Okay.


Tank: Hand me down. Old Navy.

Skirt: Goodwill. Old Navy. Same as yesterday, but I wore it inside out yesterday, so the texture was obscured. Worn as skirt. See it as a dress in: Backtracking!

Shoes: Fit Flops. These were all I packed for my Arizona excursion.

HaHa had her hair did by my sister twice! She sat still the whole time, and seemed to enjoy it. Sadly, she wont be getting her hair done again for a while. It's just not my thing. Anyone who's seen this blog, and my hair, can figure that one out. Sorry, HaHa!

Here are the kids in the backseat as I filled the car with gas. They were very easy travelers, for the most part. I think they'll be more than ready when we drive cross-country next year!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Midnight Blues!

Picture two women typing on their computers after a long day out of the house with five busy children. Picture three boys upstairs in bunk beds after being tucked in at 11:00 p.m., tuckered out. They are 9, almost seven, and five.
Downstairs, with the women, are 2 girls, ages 3 and almost two. As the midnight hour approaches they play and disagree about what to do with two baby dolls. They push strollers and try on random socks from the floor. They roll about and click and un-click stroller straps.

Did I mention that it is after midnight? As in the Witching Hour. I tell you, these girls are something. HaHa is now offering me some tea from a plastic tea pot. When I was in New York I was out several nights with HaHa on the train after 11:00 p.m. When I  used to live in New York and happened to take the train late at night, I would always cast aspersions when I would see mothers and their children on the subway. Who would have their kids out on all the train all night? Bad parents, I thought. And here, years later, it seemed that I was one of them. Of course, now that I have been through the late night train rides with HaHa in tow, I  realize they could have been parents that had just come from a party, or visiting relatives, or picking up their kid from a friend's house, or whatever. It doesn't really matter. I was judgmental, and I need not have been.

Tonight my sister and I kept the kids out at Chuck E. Cheese's until 9:30. After their pizza-fueled gaming experience we stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up some milk. Of course, this turned into an hour-long excursion filled with wishes for stuff, and five kids jumping all over the place. We decided to get out of there when my sister's blood sugar started to plunge, and the kids had not broken anything yet. Just in the nick of time!


Shirt: Hand me down from friend. Lux.

Skirt: Goodwill. Old Navy. This is actually a halter that I am wearing as a skirt.

Shoes: Fit Flops. Some snap shots of the day.  My beautiful Sister. Charlie at Chuck E's. Gorgeous Arizona clouds. They were stunning! P.S. It is 1:58 a.m. and HaHa is still going strong!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Buckeye, AZ!

Why oh why do I find it so easy to stay up late? The answer may be sitting right next to me typing a paper for her "Advocacy and Mediation" class. My sister is happily clicking away as the hour approaches 1:00 a.m! Maybe it's in our genes... However, I just asked my sister if my dad stays up late and she said "No". We have different moms, so I guess my theory is bunk.

Actually, I just got a new theory: We stay up late because it's the only time we can do what we need to without the requests, or demands of our little ones. And big ones for that matter. My theory has some merit, I think, but I have been staying up late since I was a wee babe in a crib. Reminds me of a little girl that lives in my house right now...

 After our arrival in Buckeye, my sister fed us, then we took the kids to an open air mall that had a fountain for them to splash in. We enjoyed the pleasant weather, the company, and watching the kids have a fine time in the cascades of water under the Arizona sky.


I couldn't be too concerned about looking cute knowing I was going to spend the bulk of the day in the car. I also did not know that we would be going out. Luckily it was dark because I was looking beat by the time we stepped out. We got home at 10:55 p.m. Only the two youngest  babes were asleep!

Shirt: My mom gave this to me a long time ago. I believe I was in high school. The flowers are faded and I've dyed it once, but I can't get rid of it despite it's flaws.

Skirt: Goodwill. This was a dress, but I cut it. I got it a long time ago.

Shoes: Fit Flops.

Me, My sis, and my niece!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Arizona Bound!

Okay. In preparation for next week, I am going to try to write a super-short post. I am also going to write a short post because it is 11:44 p.m. and I have to drive to Arizona in the morning. Cool and breezy Arizona!

Today, the kids and I spent the morning with my lovely friend Allison and her adorable kids. I also got to spend some time with her parents, who are equally lovely and adorable. Her father and I talked fashion, which was a welcome occurrence. While I dabble in style, he is a true fashionista, it seems. He wears works of art by designers such as Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto, and, his fashion philosophy is very in harmony with how I want to proceed with my style life in the future: "Wear what you love, and what makes you feel good!"

He also has many clothes in his closet that are 25 years old and he still rocks them! A man after my own heart!


Shirt: Goodwill. Old Navy. This is a maternity shirt and I bought it when I was preggers with HaHa. I fell in love with the flowers. I tie it in the back now to keep it appropriate.

Skirt: Also Old Navy. This was a friend hand-me-down.

Shoes: zoe & zac.

The pictures I took this afternoon were awful, so I had to do an impromptu photo shoot. I did manage to get some good photos of the kids playing in the back room. We had fun today!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Reality Check Two!

Today I took HaHa by the lovely family daycare she will be attending when I return to work next week. I had almost forgotten that she should see it at least once before we drop her off there on Wednesday! It is a stone's throw away from the 10 freeway, and we hopped on the highway at about roughly the same time we will be getting on when I am back at work on Monday.

As we sat there in the 4 p.m. headed-east traffic, I was suddenly flooded with the memories of working full-time just months after HaHa was born. It was crazy. I was crazy.

Luckily, my mom was here for the first couple of months of my post-maternity-leave return to work and she was very helpful. She made the transition from two-to-three kids more manageable. She helped with cooking and cleaning. I worried less because I knew HaHa was in good hands, and I didn't have to deal with getting her in and out of the car when I had to pick Leo up. That was great... Of course, now we have four kids in the house...

So. Here I am gearing up for the beginning of the school year. I am thinking of the driving in traffic, the teaching, the prepping, the making of dinner, the bed time, the making lunches, the laundry, and all of the other things that need to get done. I'm a little worried. How will I do it all? How did I do it before? And, on top of all this, how will I do this blog?

I guess I will do what all of us do everyday, and that is, what we have to. I'm no exception to the rule. I also, thankfully, won't be doing the morning shift. That bad boy falls on Richard. He will have to get all the kids fed, and make sure they're dressed, and deliver the boys to school on time! Yikes! He will also be dealing with HaHa's transition which is a blessing for me. I'm sure I would be so much more disruptive than he will be. I'm also sure I will be writing much shorter posts come next week! I promise! Wish me luck! I got four more months people!

I see the light at the end of the tunnel!


We had an early morning play date, so I threw this together in a flash. It is actually the same outfit I wore in Happy Birthday!!!, but with different shoes and a different shirt. That's one way that I can keep track of not repeating easily.

Shirt: Hand me down from friend. Gap.

Skirt:Hand me down from friend. Free People.

Leggings. Very old. I think I got them in high school for a play, or maybe in college. I know that leggings are definitely not a wardrobe staple for me. This is my only pair.

Shoes: American Eagle.

My pictures were very rushed today, so they aren't so great. I hope it's not a sign of things to come! Here's Richard with two of his offspring. He held HaHa for about two minutes and she was out. It's a little bit of a problem, but he "likes" HaHa, so he doesn't like to put her down. He's away from her all day...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dr. Laura Redux!

There were many insightful and illuminating responses to my non-insightful and illuminating post about Dr. Laura yesterday. In reading these intelligent responses, I realized that I may have been too flip in my handling of the subject matter. In trying to be funny, I guess I missed the sad reality of the situation, which includes many of Dr. Laura's listeners hearing that phone call and thinking, as Dr. Laura implies, that black people who don't like racist commentary are "hyper-sensitive".  Or, that there is such a thing as "black thought". Yes, Dr. Laura, it is a fact. We DO all think alike...

One of my friends posted a worthwhile link on Facebook to a Morning Edition interview with John Ridley and Steve Inskeep.  There was also an article from npr's "The two-way" that made an interesting point about Dr.Laura's "Black guys say it all the time" defense. The fact that she would use this defense is an arresting one, given that she is not a "black guy". Obviously, she got issues.

She also has gall. To claim that she is quitting radio because her First Amendment rights are being infringed upon is disingenuous. She did and does have the right to say what she wants to. However, there are and were consequences. The fact that she doesn't like the consequences doesn't mean that her free speech is being taken away. Callers, readers, sposors, and listeners also have the right to say and do what they want to.

Anyway, I'm done with Laura Schlessinger. On a side note, Richard and I got into a debate about the N-word because he said "It's just a word", and I disagree. I said that "there is no worse word in the English language". Other racial slurs, while upsetting, still don't pack the punch of this word. Am I wrong, or just biased? Can anyone tell me a worse word? Inquiring minds want to know! Thank you! And thank you for the excellent comments!


This outfit is pretty lame, but I did not go out in public, so the world was spared the eyesore. I stayed at home and cleaned up today, so it was fine for that. I also got to visit with my talented cousin, and I think I get t be a bridesmaid at her wedding! I've never been a bridesmaid before!!!

Shirt: Gap.

Skirt: Thrift store. This was a dress that  I cut for some stupid reason. I truly wish I hadn't, but I didn't save the top so I can't put it back together!

Shoes: No shoes on these tootsies today!

Below is the scene I walked into when I came back from taking my pictures. Oh, those crazy kids! My camera is still broken as you can see...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dr. Laura!

A few days ago Richard sent me an article about Dr. Laura and a little meltdown she had on air last week. Well, not a meltdown, per se, but she did manage to use the N-word "11 times in under five minutes". She was giving "advice" to a black woman who was asking "about how to handle her white husband’s bigoted relatives and friends." You can listen to or read Dr. Laura's "advice" on, or, check out her blog for her response to the events of last week.

I have to say, I was very disappointed when I read the Deceiver article, but mostly because I didn't know Dr. Laura was not a real doctor! I feel like all those times I've listened to her disseminating "words of wisdom" to her hapless listeners are somehow tarnished (as if they weren't already). I don't really care if a person is a doctor or not if they have good advice, but I don't see why she has to pretend to be one... I guess I'm getting off subject.

When Richard and I were driving, we happened to catch a radio program in Sacramento where the host was interviewing a comedian and director named W. Kamau Bell. He has a show called "The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour." He had a great point about the N-word. He said that Dr. Laura's use of it doesn't necessarily mean that she's a racist. It does, however, mean that she's a jerk. He pointed out that some white people go crazy when they get the chance to say the N-word because it is so taboo and inappropriate.

I'm not sure I'm doing justice to what he said, but he had some excellent points about racism. I will definitely try to see his show one day. As for Dr. Laura, I really don't think I want to listen to her anymore, especially now that I know she's not a doctor.


Trying to come up with "new" outfits after my summer travel weeks. I came up with this little ensemble!

Shirt: I got this at some cute little knit shop on Jay Street in New York about 11 years ago.

Skirt: Goodwill. Forever 21. This is actually a dress, but I dropped the part that should cover the torso, and tied the straps behind my waist. I liked the way it worked out.

Shoes: Fit Flops.

I've included a photo of my little lovely HaHa sleeping on DaDa. I just think she is so precious!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cargo A-Go-Go!

Today we drove back down to Los Angeles after spending five lovely days away! The Browns, always the host/hostesses with the mostest, treated us like kings, and we had so much fun. They are a truly awesome and special family! In return for their hospitality, we left them with a broken sculpture/lamp that Leo ran into, a knocked-in baby tooth that occurred during one of the many trampoline sessions, and a bunch of dirty sheets... And Richard took their Kindle when we were walking out the door.

Does anyone else want to invite us over?! We're free next weekend.

Now, onto cargo pants. I decided to wear my ever-handy cargos for the seven hour drive down. They have pockets that you can stuff money and keys into, they are comfy, and they are cool. I think I've said before that they are one of my summer staples. However, since I first broke out these bad boys on May 30th, I have worn them 7 times (and four of those were in the last two weeks) ! That's a lot of times for someone who is trying to "mix it up" and "break out" of her fashion rut. So, although I have worn the cargos with seven different tops, I am retiring them. At least for a while. I may wear them come December, but I will bid adieu to my fair cargo pants anon!


Shirt: (Under) Forver 21.

Shirt: (Over) Hand me down from friend. Marc by Marc Jacobs.

Pants: Salvation Army. Mossimo.

Shoes: Fit Flops. Nice for traveling. Easy on and off.

Pictures from the Jelly Belly tour. The photo that would have been if technology had not sabotaged me,  and the boys.


Saturday, August 21, 2010


Right now, as I write this post, there is a very fine group of people sitting around a fire in the backyard, just a few feet away. I could write a long post about the many things I did today, but I'd rather go and sit by the fire and enjoy the company of folk I may not see for a very long time.

Before I go, a short list:

I visited The American River.

I saw three deer, wild turkeys, an owl, and a snake.

I went to a very fun birthday party.

I ate some of the most delicious and fresh food I have had in a very long time. Food just picked from The Brown's garden.

I tried Leffe beer as per the recommendation of a German bartender I met awhile back. I'm really not a beer person, but it was alright.

I sat by a fire.

I did a quick post.

I had fun.


Shirt: This shirt is a work in progress. I have cut the lace for the second shoulder, but I haven't sewn it yet. The lace comes from a slip I found at a thrift store many years ago that I love and have kept, even though every time I pick it up it has a new tear. I decided to take off the bottom tier and use it to help cover up the fact that the straps on this tank are fraying. Anyway, I'm sure I looked a bit crazy today, but at least I'm not repeating! This shirt was a hand me down from my old boss. BCBG.

Skirt: Marshall's circa 1988. Purchased in Texas the summer before 10th grade! I thinkI need to put it away for awhile. This is at least the 10th time I've worn it!

Shoes: Fit Flops. I wanted to make sure I could hike around the river!

Jordan took the photo's today as he was using the complicated camera!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Technology 4, Shelayna 0!

It happened again. 10:00 p.m. I was all set to upload my pictures from the day, including our trip to the Jelly Belly factory, and, just as I was about to click "import all", my computer screen went black and the computer shut off. It did this maneuver just as my camera was about to run out of power. When I got my computer running again, the camera died before I could upload the photos. I left the charger at home like a fool. I knew I had limited battery power, but I had enough of a charge for a few days, and had my computer not died at that exact moment, they would have imported.

According to Richard, the surge when I went to import the pictures caused my computer to shut down. It happened twice. So, just when I was about to post and write about our lovely day, which included a public display of marital disharmony over the subject of red meat, I had to go into another room and try to take pictures of myself with a much more complicated camera. I took at least a dozen pictures. Not one of them included an in focus shot of my whole body.

By the way, as I was in mid-sentence my computer died once again. This is why I gave it an extra point. After many attempts and another disharmonious moment with Richard, I had to go out to the car at 1 a.m. to look for another charger for my computer. So now I have a crappy post with crappy pictures!

At the end of the day, this is why I believe I am at odds with technology; You can't really rely on it fully. At it's best it is life enhancing,  at it's worst it's total sabotage! Technology, I curse you! However, I thank Blogger for it's back up system which automatically backed up my work so that I still had some writing here when I got my computer back up!


Shirt: Hand me down from cousin! Old Navy.

Skirt: You've seen it an awful lot in the last ten days! Thrift store.

Shoes: Ditto on the shoes. zoe &zac.

More of Jordan's Handiwork:

Thursday, August 19, 2010


After one night in Paso Robles, we continued up north to get to Sacramento. One of Richard's oldest and most handsome friends lives there with his beautiful wife and amazing children! Richard has known him  since 9th grade. The Browns are a very sweet and kind clan, and one of the most striking things about being around them is their joy and humor. They are always smiling. They were even smiling when we arrived at the awful hour of 9:15 on a school night!

It is really fun spending time with them. And, they have recently acquired chickens! I have wanted to get chickens for a long time, so we'll see if this inspires me to get my act together. By the way, speaking of inspiring, I apologize for not having more inspiring fashion of late, or have a total lack thereof (fashion, that is). Having been traveling, and posting out of a suitcase has made me rather lame.

Take today for instance. I knew I would be driving in a car for five hours, so I went for comfort. Nothing fancy, just sheer practicality. With some colors I enjoy together!

Side note: Last night as I was getting ready for bed I picked up what I thought was my contact lens case. I opened it to rinse it out and by the time I realized it was not my case, I had already droped one of Richard' s $300 lenses down the sink! Talk about money down the drain...

Richard was very sweet about it and his calm in the face of terribly annoying things is admirable, and very sexy!


More New York repeats. But in new combinations, of course!

Shirt: Goodwill. Express. I think I said it was by Old Navy last week. I was mistaken!

Pants: Salvation Army: Mossimo.

Shoes: zoe & zac.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Loud Family!

We drove up the coast today to the beautiful and placid Paso Robles, where my beautiful and placid mother-in-law lives. Placid, that is, until we showed up with our rowdy bunch of extremely loud people.

I am loud by nature, I think. In fact, when I was a young girl enjoying Christmases with my mom's side of the family, the decibels would reach such magnitudes as to practically shatter one's inner ear. The working title of my mom's clan was "The Loud Family". And we were. We would play games and erupt in such a cacophony of excitement that the walls would literally vibrate. Literally.

Now, my father is also loud. Extremely loud. Loud like he shouts when he is excited and he is talking to you loud. I  have a loud voice and the ability to project my voice on a very grand scale. However, one thing I believe I have that other people in my household don't have, is the ability to tell when being loud is not appropriate. And it is not appropriate in Paso Robles. At least not in many of the places we spend time.

Now, lest I get into trouble,  I would like to state that Richard is pretty good about reading social cues. However, there are times when he gets so caught up in an idea or moment, that he forgets to turn down the volume. Very much like my father. Hmm...

The boys are so loud that we've had their hearing tested. They shout instead of talk. It can be quite embarrassing. Especially when we are around mild mannered children who use inside voices when they are inside. What a concept. This concept however has not made an impression on the Espy kids.

As I write this I wonder if Richard thinks about these things, or is it something only a woman would do?...Analyze and pick apart their offspring's behavior. Do guys do this? I need to know. Maybe it's time for another poll...


Shirt: Under layer. Forever 21. This was a pregnancy purchase a few years beck.

Shirt: Top layer. My mom gave e this shirt a very, very long time ago. I believe she got it at a thrift store. The thread is faded, and I dyed the shirt long ago because it had some paint stains. I love it even though it is very worn.

Belt: I made this by pulling off a bow on a skirt that I didn't think worked. It's two pieces tied together.

Skirt: Thrift store. I washed some of my New York clothes yesterday, and I pulled out my trusty skirt that I wore twice while there!

Shoes: zoe & zac.

With my red, blue, and gold I felt like I was channeling wonder woman's color palette!

Below I have included a photo my stepson Jordan made for me. He just took a photography class at SMC , and he got an A! He took some lovely portraits of the kids and he shows some promise as a photographer! You can see him in the photo if you look closely! Thank you, J-Dawg!