Ballerinas

Fashion, Skirts2May 21 20160 Comment

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Hi friends! Apologies for the sporadic posting but i’m slowly getting back in the swing of things after returning to work post maternity leave. J, Perry and I sometimes go for walks around the neighborhood after work and this time we decided to take advantage of our FriDATE night. ūüôā We ended up walking to Hippot Shabu Shabu in Chinatown and had the most delicious meal. Our little ballerina¬†quietly slept next to us in the booth and we happily enjoyed a fun¬†dinner together.

When Perry was born, we received a memorable piece of advice. A friend of ours said to take her¬†to dinner¬†with us early on so she gets used to being out and we can continue to do the things we love. When she was about 6 weeks old, we started taking her to restaurants and she would sleep peacefully in the carseat next to us. We’ve learned some tricks along the way to help ensure a higher rate of successful date nights. For example, we make sure she’s asleep before we enter the restaurant! Otherwise, there is no way she’ll be able to fall asleep amongst all the exciting things around her. Being able to enjoy a simple meal together helps keep us sane and¬†it’s wonderful transitioning elements of our dating life to family life.

I have accumulated a collection of pleated skirts over the years and this is my favorite one because of the blush color. It’s professional enough for work and can still be playful and casual¬†for the weekend. Also, if you’re wondering if I wore these heels for the entire walk, I changed to flats and put the heels under the stroller. ūüôā Hope everyone has a great weekend and thanks for following along! xo, Tanya

My Outfit Details: Top: Garage | Skirt: Zara, sold out (similar here) | Shoes: BCBG via Nordstrom | Lipstick: Snob by MAC via Nordstrom

 

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Vacation Essentials: St. Thomas

Lifestyle, TravelMar 05 20160 Comment

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The Kertsman Family recently embarked on a much needed and much anticipated vacation. As this year has been full of changes (new dog followed shortly after by a new baby!) J and I decided we needed to get away as a family, somewhere easy and beachy, where we could celebrate our new status as a trio (puppy stayed home!).

We decided on St. Thomas because the weather was nice, the flight wouldn’t be too long, and it was somewhere we had not been before. We thought it would be a great place to bring our baby girl to create beautiful memories for¬†our first family vacation. It was Perry’s first time at the beach and although she was hesitant when we first dipped her feet in¬†the ocean, she quickly got used to the water and loved it! I really enjoyed watching her splash around¬†and discover sand for the first time.

I normally use our vacations as an opportunity to put together my very own, one-woman fashion show but this time, I committed to packing light, at least when it came to my own clothes. Perry’s wardrobe was a different story. We had so much baby gear to pack and I was sharing a suitcase with Perry, so I needed to have a more minimalistic approach. Thankfully, her clothes are tiny! With that said, there are a few things that I always take with me on beach vacations. Below are some items¬†that comprise¬†my quintessential vacation packing list!

Killer maxi: With its easy breezy material and vibrant pattern, this look feels carefree and luxurious but still retains its casual vibe, therefore being perfect for a beach vacation.

Panama Hat: I instantly get into vacation mode when I wear my panama hat. It’s light, offers great sun protection, and is the perfect place to put your bathing suits in when packing to save room.

Sunglasses: When traveling with an infant, sleep is not guaranteed. A large pair of sunglasses hides any evidence of a sleepless night and makes you look instantly put together.

Beach pants: I find these pants to be ultra glamorous, especially when worn with a big floppy hat.

Bold Bikini: Bring a bikini with a playful pattern or bold color like this vermilion shade, which makes for instantly beautiful selfies in paradise.

Plain white t-shirt: What’s not to like about a plain white t-shirt? Dress it down with shorts and a pair of Keds or up with a beautiful necklace, skinny jeans and heels.

Hot Pink Lipstick: I love bright lipstick. When I don’t feel like getting dressed and venturing out into the outside world, I put on my trusty shade,¬†Candy Yum Yum, and instantly feel put together. Any shade works as long as it’s bright! Plus, it looks amazing with a tan.

Espadrille Wedges: If I could bring only one pair of shoes with me on vacation, it would be these beautiful wedges. They add the perfect height for a woman of short stature like myself, yet are so comfortable that I can walk in them all day without sacrificing glamour.

Beach Tote: This will be in about 90% of the photos you take so it needs to be bold. Opt for a vibrant pattern that stands out and plays up any neutrals.

Sexy Skirt: A maxi with a deep slit is everything you need to add an instant wow factor to your look. These skirts look great with flats or heels and can be worn as a swimsuit cover-up or as a stand alone outfit with a tank top or crop top.

Layering tank: I wear this type of top often to work and because anything in my closet is fair game for any occasion, I like to take it with me on vacation to wear with skinny jeans or denim shorts for an overall effortless look.

White skinny jeans: White skinny jeans make you look instantly polished and are a staple for any summer wardrobe. Perry had her own pair, naturally, which she wore with a nautical striped top. ūüôā

Tank dress: Plain tank dresses are wonderful because they can easily be dressed down with sneakers or up with heels and a moto jacket.

Nude sandals: I love a good pair of gladiator sandal but they are nearly impossible to put on when you are 1. pregnant¬†or 2. taking care of a baby. These flat sandals are easy to slip on and work for lounging by the pool or heading out for brunch. When you’re one pair of shoes away from zipping your suitcase closed, doing double duty is ideal.

What are some classic items that you always take with you on vacation?

Thanks for reading! xo, Tanya

 

 

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St. Thomas and Breastfeeding in Public

Baby, LifestyleFeb 22 20160 Comment

 

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One of the biggest challenges of traveling with an infant or even daily life with an infant is figuring out where and how to feed your baby. I’ve read about some really crazy experiences women have had where people would tell them to cover up, go to the bathroom, and how generally disgusting it is that they’re feeding their baby in public. We just came back from our first family vacation in St. Thomas and I can happily report that everyone was so friendly and supportive. I used this¬†nursing cover (here is one that isn’t sold out) and tried to have it¬†with me everywhere we went. You can also put it around the¬†car seat to serve as a nice barrier¬†between your baby and any nosey¬†passerby. Anytime Perry got too fussy, I put on the cover and started feeding her. But of course, nothing is ever that¬†simple.

Sometimes the cover bothered her,¬†I had to adjust her position or she spit up on¬†it¬†so it was not available for use. This is where breastfeeding in public came into play.¬†Unless you plan on becoming a recluse, you’re going to eventually have to figure out how to feed your baby when you’re on the go.

When I was pregnant, I thought I would be shy about breastfeeding in public. I worried that I would feel uncomfortable or that people would give me weird looks or ask me to cover up. Surprisingly, I don’t have any major issues with it now. I normally wear a cover but if Perry is feeling feisty, she can inadvertingly pull it down or if she’s crying and i’m rushing, I may start the feeding without the cover. Her head pretty much covers any chance of overly exposing myself anyway so i’m not too concerned about it.

I’ve read many stories about random passersby saying hurtful things to nursing women so I did my research and made sure I had my facts ready if anyone ever gave me attitude.¬†I had an entire internal monologue ready regarding my right to¬†publicly breastfeed. It went something along the lines of, “you want me to feed my baby in the bathroom? Are you serious? Do you enjoy eating where you shit?” or “breastfeeding in public is legal and you are welcome to look away if you feel uncomfortable.” Thankfully I didn’t have to go there.

It sounds dramatic and i’m normally much more laid back and nonconfrontational but if I have a hungry and hysterical baby demanding food, I want to make sure i’m prepared to address any unnecessary obstacles. Plus, I feel better knowing I have a reply ready instead of having to look for another location for the sake of avoiding a scene mid-feeding. Thankfully, strangers have been wonderful and most of the time, people don’t even notice that i’m breastfeeding. Sometimes people will even smile and have a normal conversation, which restores my faith in humanity.

I also find¬†myself getting passionate about the whole idea of breastfeeding in public. It’s shocking to me that anyone would want to make a new mom feel bad about feeding her¬†child when there are already so many things she’s juggling and trying to do right. I think it’s so disturbing¬†that the amount of nudity we see in the media is acceptable but a woman feeding her child in a public setting can be seen as offensive. What can be more natural and important than that? Why can breasts be exposed for the purpose of sexuality but not for sustenance? What baffles me most of all is that it’s actually so modest. The baby’s head covers up almost everything that’s happening. I’ve breastfeed Perry in several different public settings¬†and I can happily say that it’s a great experience. It’s so freeing to be able to address her needs on the spot¬†instead of having to go back home or find a secluded spot, which I’ve done in the past as well. Now, I don’t give it a second thought and just nurse her where I need to.

Throughout our vacation, everyone acted like it was no big deal and even went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable by offering a quiet section of the restaurant or letting us board the plane first.¬†When we took the car ferry back from St. John to St. Thomas, the attendant saw we had a baby and directed our car to an area that would allow us to exit first upon arrival instead of letting us go where we were originally headed, which would have put us all the way in the back. We didn’t expect any of these kind gestures but we definitely noted them and besides making things much easier, it gave me a warm feeling inside knowing how good natured strangers can be.

One wonderful experience we had during the trip was when we ate breakfast at Coco Joe’s. The¬†restaurant is split into two major sections. We were one of the first people to arrive and were sat on the left side. ¬†Perry quickly got anxious so I started breastfeeding her¬†while eating breakfast. After about 20 minutes,¬†we¬†noticed that our section was completely empty except for the three of us. We realized that the hostess was purposefully not seating anyone in our section so we could¬†have some privacy. I thought that was so unexpected and thoughtful.¬†We were able to have a peaceful breakfast with Perry being well fed and not being constantly distracted but all the kids and action surrounding¬†her. After breakfast, we went straight to the beach and she had a nice long nap under the umbrella.

I want to encourage all of you mamas out there, whether you nurse in public or in private, breastfeed or formula-feed, latch or exclusively pump, and any other decision moms (and dads!) often get judged for,¬†to do what you feel in your heart is right. I think it’s important to normalize breastfeeding¬†and help women feel proud and comfortable nursing¬†their beautiful babies in public if that’s what they choose to do.¬†Of course, if you don’t want to breastfeed in public, you shouldn’t but if you do want to, please know that it’s not strange or weird. It may feel uncomfortable the first time but I got used to it quickly. I’m happy to say I have¬†now breastfed in the car, on a ferry, on the beach, at the airport and in multiple restaurants.

Some¬†of the most reassuring¬†moments I have had since having a baby is passing¬†other parents with¬†their strollers or moms nursing their babies and giving each other a little nod and look of encouragement. I love when women support other women. Please know that you have support no matter what you choose to do! If you’re thinking about feeding your baby in public, know that there are moms in the blog world and in real life cheering you on, including me. xo, Tanya

Have you ever breastfed in public? What kind of reactions did you receive?¬†Do you try to avoid it? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Comment below!

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Happy Valentine’s Day

LifestyleFeb 15 20160 Comment

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The New Yorker published some Valentine’s Day poems for married people. They’re definitely satirical and a bit dark but some of the points hit home. Below is one of my favorite and the rest can be found here. This poem really made me laugh. Like most parents, we had many preconceived notions about how we were going to raise Perry. There are certain things we feel strongly about, like making sure she gets dirty¬†outside and gets her feet in the sand instead of being inside all day checking her Facebook. Then there are others that don’t quite work out like you planned, for instance not giving a pacifier before she was 4-6 weeks old (we gave in at¬†3.5 weeks and it was a wonderful thing). Hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine’s Day! xo, Tanya

When we have children,
They will watch no television.
No screens.
We will be different from those other parents,
And we will take pride in our being better.
Fast-forward seven years,
And it’s Sunday morning,
6 A.M.
Do you know who our friend is?
SpongeBob SquarePants, that’s who.
And, yes, you can have Mentos for breakfast.

(Cartoon by The New Yorker.)

P.S. I love you, J. I feel thankful everyday that we found each other and have our precious, PJ. <3

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Little Girls

Baby, Female, Lifestyle, LoveJan 25 20164 Comments

11225250_10105956737537109_7643260878624076949_n A few years ago, I read a great article by Lisa Bloom, How to Talk to Little Girls. The article really resonated with me and I immediately shared it on Facebook. Now it’s back on my feed and hits home even more so now that I have a daughter. What is the right way to speak to a little girl? The author notes that one¬†wrong way is to focus solely¬†on little girls’ appearances, which subconsciously tells them that looks are more important than anything¬†else. She worries about the implications this might bring for them later in life and encourages adults to ask little girls about ideas and books instead of relying on only complimenting their looks.

I agree with her. The statistics are jarring. Bloom states, “15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25% of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize.” Seriously?¬†It’s true, isn’t it? It’s so easy to compliment a little girl’s appearance and I think it’s gotten to the point that it’s become instinctive.

I catch myself doing this with my niece. My first impulse is to tell her how beautiful/cute/adorable she is and how I love her outfit/hair bow/boots. Why not give little girls genuine compliments to boost their self-esteem? They really are beautiful/cute/adorable/made of sugar and spice and everything nice. But lately, I’ve been stopping myself. Instead, I ask her how school was? What did she learn? Did she read any good books today?

Bloom writes, “It’s surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls.”¬†Although these compliments come from a good place, I agree that they’re¬†sending girls the wrong message. If we continue to tell girls how pretty and skinny they are, are we setting them up for a lifetime of unreasonable expectations? I don’t want my daughter to be wearing make-up at age 11 or dieting at age 5. Of course, I want her to be healthy and happy with her appearance, but I also want her to understand that she’s smart and that being smart is¬†important. I want her to love reading books, playing outside and using her imagination. I want her to understand what is going on in the world and live a life of meaning. I want her to know that her thoughts and accomplishments matter.¬†Of course, it’s lovely¬†to dress up and from my perspective, fashion and beauty is unbelievably fun.¬†I absolutely love clothes and shoes but it’s not the only thing I love and it’s not the only thing I talk about.

I never really thought about it before but the author’s advice to have real conversations with little girls and really all children is fantastic. Instead of saying, “I love your dress,” think “Did you play in the snow today?” or “Have you read any good books today?” or “What’s your favorite animal?” It seems like such a small thing but I think it can make a tremendous difference in not only how girls perceive themselves but also the kind of women they grow up to be.

Bloom advises, “tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.” I love this. It’s so easy for girls to read tabloids and confuse celebrities with role models. If we have meaningful conversations with little girls, they may better understand the value of doing well at school, reading and continuously learning.

With my own daughter, I LOVE dressing her up and taking photos. I’m excited to get manicures together and go shopping one day like I do with my mom. I hope she enjoys dresses¬†and mud masks and gorgeous shoes. But I also want to SHOW her how fun it is to read and learn about different cultures and life outside of our own little world, like my parents did with me. I don’t think it will be enough to just tell her. I think to really make an impact, she needs to grow up surrounded by friends and family who have meaningful conversations with her and stress the importance of education. Every night before she goes to sleep, we have story time and learn about animals, music, holidays and really anything that comes to mind. We LOVE¬†Where the Sidewalk Ends¬†by Shel Silverstein, which is somehow both entertaining and profound. I hope reading about Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout not taking out the garbage and a girl who eats a whale will stimulate her imagination and help her love books.

What do you think? Is this important or are we reading too much into it? What do you talk about with little girls (and boys!)? What kind of conversations did you have with adults when you were a little girl? Does it bother you when people immediately compliment your little girls’ looks? How do you want adults to talk to your little kids? Keep the conversation going by commenting below! xo, Tanya

 

 

 

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Leather & Pleats

Fashion, Skirts2Jan 18 20165 Comments

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My Outfit Details: Top: Vince via Shopbop | Skirt: Topshop via Nordstrom, sold out (similar here) | Shoes: Charles David via Nordstrom | Clutch: Clare Vivier via Shopbop | Lipstick: Angel by MAC via Nordstrom

I love how girly this look is. From a distance, it seems like a pretty basic black and white outfit but the contrasting textures add some character to an otherwise plain look. Whether it’s the leather pleats, the soft faux-leopard clutch or the snake printed leather pumps, these subtle details add some fun flare. It’s a great option for the office or a party and to transition from one to the other, I would add some accessories like a bulky necklace or stacked bracelets. Hope everyone has a great week! xo, Tanya

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Happy 2016!

Career, LifestyleJan 12 20160 Comment

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Dear LaptopsAndHeels reader,

This was a year full of excitement and both professional and personal growth for me. The success of LaptopsAndHeels would not have been possible without your support so THANK YOU! You make up the LaptopsAndHeels community and your continuous feedback is what makes the site relevant and valuable.

From fun style posts to important career-related topics to my personal favorite, real stories about becoming a mom, you are what make this site possible and I remember that every time I sit down to write a blog post. So, thank you for keeping me inspired, being engaged, and showing your support. When I think about how a few years ago, I was immersed in the¬†world of pharmacy and¬†writing was ¬†becoming more and more of a distant thought in my mind, I’m so thankful now for the opportunity to channel my creative side and create meaningful content. I always thought I had to choose between being more practical and becoming a pharmacist or leaving it all behind to become a writer. Being able to have a fulfilling career as a pharmacist during the day and moonlighting as¬†a writer on nights and weekends is a gift. I thank you for being interested in what I have to say and motivating me to keep writing a priority. It has truly been a dream come true and has given me the confidence to keep going and keep hustling to do more and constantly evolve. I can’t wait to bring you along on all of what 2016 has to offer.

I know i’m about 2 weeks too late with this post BUT I was busy celebrating the New Year! Thank you again for joining me on this beautiful and unpredictable journey. I hope everyone has a wonderful year. If there is something you’re passionate about but you’re not sure if you’re that good or if you have time or if it’s worth trying, GO FOR IT. I’m not saying you should quit your day job but you should make time for what you’re passionate about¬†and start by turning it into a hobby. You never know where it can lead you. I hope by the end of 2016, we’re all able to share stories of taking risks that ended up paying off in big ways. Cheers to all of you having big dreams, accomplishing your goals, growing both personally and professionally and of course, looking fabulous every step of the way! xo, Tanya

 

 

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Blush

Fashion, JeansDec 30 20151 Comment

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My Outfit Details: Top: Equipment via Shopbop | Jeans: J Brand via Marshalls | Coat: Zara (on sale!) | Shoes: Jean-Michael Cazabat via Intermix, sold out (similar here and here (use code WINTER for 20% off) | Clutch: J.Crew, sold out (similar here) | Lipstick: Snob by MAC via Nordstrom

I’m finally caught up on all the errands and projects that have been hanging over my head. The house is clean, laundry is done, bills are paid and from now until the new year, I can relax knowing that there isn’t anything left to cross off on my to do-list. I’ve been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and have made it my mission to organize areas of the house that have been known to get cluttered quickly. For example, we have a drawer in the kitchen that was once organized with Magic Bullet accessories but has since been our go-to place for miscellaneous objects that we don’t know where to put, like coasters, matches, rubber-bands, etc. It drives me crazy every time I open it but it’s been low on my list of priorities.

HOWEVER, I hate spending time looking for things, and i’m all about saving time and being more efficient. One way I can save time is by just putting everything where it belongs and staying organized. When I open a gift, instead of keeping the gift bag and tissue paper on the kitchen counter for a week, my goal is to add both items to my box of wrapping supplies immediately and keep the counter clean. I’m so organized with my schedule but when it comes to putting things away, I tend to look for the quickest place I can find to keep items¬†out of sight, which is usually a kitchen drawer or office cabinet. Well, 2016 is a new year and i’m going to put major effort into putting things away correctly and not resorting to simply shoving them¬†in a drawer to¬†get rid of the evidence. Wish me luck!

Back to this outfit-i’m obsessed with this white coat from Zara. It’s currently on sale and back in stock so snag it before it’s sold out again. Also, check out Marshalls for reasonably priced designer jeans. Hope everyone has a fabulous and safe New Year! xo, Tanya

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Surrounded by Sequins

Fashion, Lifestyle, SkirtsDec 26 20150 Comment

 

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My Outfit Details: Sequin skirt: River Island, sold out (similar here) | Muscle tank: AG via Shopbop | Shoes: BCBG via Nordstrom | Lipstick: Snob by MAC via Nordstrom

No one ever needs a sequined pencil skirt and it is never listed as a wardrobe basic that every girl must have in her closet. Yet, it’s so fun to wear and it’s especially fun to wear in December. A sequin skirt with the right silhouette that doesn’t look tacky is hard to find. I finally found and purchased this skirt from River Island last year but I couldn’t figure out how to wear it without being too loud or too childish. I finally decided to pair¬†it with a distressed muscle tank top to downplay the fanciness and make it more of an elevated casual look.

Below are various options for sequin skirts and dresses in different colors in case you were looking for something sparkly. I suggest going with gold or black to make it as versatile as possible. Thanks for reading! xo, Tanya

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Winter White

Fashion, LifestyleDec 26 20150 Comment

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My Outfit Details: Dress: T by Alexander Wang via Shopbop | Coat: Zara (on sale!) | Shoes: Jean-Michael Cazabat via Intermix, sold out (similar here and here (use code WINTER for 20% off) | Clutch: J.Crew, sold out (similar here) | Lipstick: Cream Cup by MAC via Nordstrom

Happy holidays, everyone! I’m spending the last week of 2015 reflecting on what a memorable year it was for my family. The most noteworthy event was of course the birth of my daughter, Perry. These past few months have been incredible. I’m so lucky to get to spend all day with her while on maternity leave and i’m truly savoring every moment.

This is one of my favorite outfits on the blog. The¬†coat from Zara was an awesome find and it’s currently on sale! I love how crisp the white looks with an all grey look. I wore it out to dinner with some friends that came to visit recently. Who said you can’t wear white after Labor Day? ūüôā Wearing white with a baby can be tricky. I got dressed and did everything I needed to do with Perry first, like feeding and changing her, and I only put on the coat 30 seconds before leaving the house while¬†she was safely tucked away in the car seat. Such is life. ūüôā

What are some of your favorite clothes to wear in the winter? Cheers to an amazing 2016!  xo, Tanya

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