Handmade in NC – Claire Ashby

by Ilinap on January 29, 2015

made in North Carolina blue round grunge isolated stamp

I’m not one to go gaga for Valentine’s Day. One time someone gave me sweatpants as a Valentine’s present. You know, the thick sweatshirt material kind with elastic at the ankles. Um, yeah. I suppose that experience soured me on the whole treacly Valentine’s “holiday.” You should know that this same person gave me a pen and pencil set for Christmas once. It’s a wonder we didn’t stay together! 

Anyway, I see no reason to not make or buy your loved one a little trinket every now and then. You mustn’t even wait til February 14 to do so. I’d much rather have a gift just because rather than have Hallmark dictate the timing. This is also a great philosophy when you eye something you simply must have; the timing is always right!

Thanks to my friend Jenn, I’ve found the perfect something…for myself. I mean really, we could all stand to focus on a little more self love, right? Claire Ashby is a metalsmith in Raleigh, and her jewelry is edgy yet classic. Her designs are bold with lovely details that invoke the marvel of nature. The enamel pieces are a tactile pleasure. I’m digging the copper line, a nice departure from the usual gold or silver choices out there. I’ve been drooling over her necklaces in particular. The designs are versatile and statement-making, more like a sultry whisper than a sorority girl squeal as so many statement pieces can be. 

image (1)

Image credit: ClaireAshby.com — I love this piece as a “mother’s” necklace. The two circles represent my sons without being too cutesy or literal.

So as far as that trinket goes, I’m thinking now is better than then. 




Text Support

by Ilinap on January 27, 2015

It’s no secret that social media takes some nasty swipes at our self esteem. The braggart parent can make us feel small and unaccomplished. Those women who praise their kids ever loving gloriousness all the damn time make us swell with angst. Or is it just me? My head tells me to stop being a ninny because of course people only post the good stuff. Who wants to read about the rotten stuff that adds color to the crazy quilt of life? Yet my heart feels tugged and deflated. All these happy moms and well adjusted kids start to make me feel ashamed. Perhaps my fraudulent gig is up and everyone realizes that I’m a lousy mom. Everyone else stands tall, sailing through the tween years. Am I the only one left gasping and grasping?

Well, when I’m at my lowest, I have a friend I text. She’s my own personal text support.

I can simply say, “My head is going to explode,” and I know she gets it. She talks off me the ledge, makes me laugh, and pats me on the back. It’s important to realize here that moms don’t get performance reviews. No one praises us or tells us to keep up the good work, sport. We don’t experience positive reinforcement for decades when our own children become parents and karma finally pays her dues. Our self worth is constantly beaten down, and it’s hard to not let the demoralization win. Sure, parenting has its privileges. I wouldn’t trade it, but I do need someone to lean on when I just need to vent. We all need to outsource our text support. We need a friend who can offer up praise, tell us we’re not alone, understand where we’re coming from, and keep us sane. Have you any idea how quickly my eruption of frustration can be assuaged with a simple text? Something self deprecating, something funny, something silly. 

There’s always someone to dial when you need tech support, but when you need to reach out and scream on the sly, text support is what a mom needs.



An Open Letter to My Best Girl’s Beau

January 21, 2015

Tweet Dear Beau, Beau is so much better than “boyfriend” and connotes more fondness than “partner.” Don’t even think about taking on the moniker “lover” or I shall laugh until whiskey comes out my nose. Beau seems fitting, no? This much is true about our girl – she’s tough, yet tender. On the B side, [...]

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We still have a dream…

January 19, 2015

Tweet   Taking the boys to see Selma in a bit. Feels like a good way to honor the day. Free digital slideshow customized with Smilebox TweetShare

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Orange Syrup Mimosa – 5:00 Fridays TM

January 16, 2015

Tweet As you know, I love me some bubbly. Way back in our pre-kid Sunday-mornings-with-the-paper days, Mac Daddy and I used to indulge in mimosas as we lazily lounged. Good grief, we need to revive those days.  A friend gifted me a jar of luscious orange syrup, the result of her homemade candied orange slices [...]

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North Carolina Task Force Takes On Testing

January 15, 2015

Tweet   Image credit: D Sharon Pruitt There are pitter patters of change clicking through school hallways. The test refusal tide is swelling in places outside of New York. Parents’ voices are finally resonating. Teachers pleas are taken seriously. And administrators are focused on students first. There is no disagreement that testing has gone haywire [...]

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Western Media Fails Us

January 13, 2015

Tweet I grew up in an age of television without remote controls or cable. I remember when the television was an actual piece of furniture. Like many families back in the day, my dad came home from work and tuned in to the news. No one really monitored what flashed across the screen before us. [...]

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Roasted Squash Soup Is Antidote for Rainy Day

January 12, 2015

Tweet   It was a rainy, cold day. Even the dog didn’t want to go out. I told the kids at breakfast that I was making soup for dinner. I got some eye rolls, but those are so commonplace these days that I took no notice. It irks my family when I talk about dinner [...]

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Something Bubbly – 5:00 Fridays TM

January 9, 2015

Tweet One of my favorite college memories is of a random, scraggly bunch of girls playing Pictionary in the common room of our dorm. We were spent and eschewed the typical weekend revelry of fraternity parties and social misfitting. We sat around in our sweats and played boardgames, still one of my favorite pastimes. My [...]

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In the New Year, Don’t Give Up

January 8, 2015

Tweet I’ve been reticent to write anything to usher in 2015. I took a break over the holidays and rather enjoyed being more lurker than sharer. The new year holds such promise, yet I crumble under the pressure such promise brings. There is so much to live up to, and as it is, I don’t [...]

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