One of the best things about reading blogs is getting an occasional glimpse at what captures the attention and interest of the individual behind the blog.  If I’m taking time out of my busy day to visit your little corner of the web, you can rest assured it’s because I have a genuine interest in your ideas, a sense of respect for your opinions, or an appreciation for your taste and sense of style.  So, tell me what you’ve just discovered, what’s on your to-do list, what it is you’re lusting after.  Share what you’re reading and eating, the DIY you find irresistible, that link to the article that made you think or rethink, and what it is that’s inspiring you lately.  In doing so, you’ll probably inspire me anew!

In the spirit of practicing what I preach, here’s a brief compendium of people, places and things that have tickled my fancy throughout the past week:

This dress, featured in the new Anthropologie catalog.  It’s not so much that I’m a “girly girl,” but I do love dresses. As a matter of fact, most of the time I prefer them to pants.  It may have to do with that fact that I’m both short-waisted and petite, but while I can almost always find a flattering dress “off the rack,” pants usually call for all manner of alterations and other hoop-jumping that slows me down and stresses me out.  I feel pretty and pulled together in dresses with much less fuss, and Anthro has provided some of my favorites throughout the years.

Surely not as slimming as a Miraclesuit®, I still imagine that the gathered fabric in this vintage-inspired bathing suit from J.Crew makes it a good fit for a mom looking to camouflage any pesky bumps or bulges ;)  This mom will take it in Dark Rosewood, please!

Throw on that swimsuit, grab your towel and a bottle of Goddess Garden SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen spray, and I’ll meet you at the beach.

Sunscreen: if ever there were a ‘loaded topic,’ this would be it.  Did you know that recent research indicates that the chemical sunscreens we regularly apply in order to stave off skin cancer, may actually contain cancer-causing agents themselves??  Or that UV radiation and chemical sunscreen formulas both cause oxidation and the production of free radicals, degenerative processes in the body that can actually cause skin cancer?  How about the fact that most chemical sunscreens contain retinyl palmitate (a form of Vitamin A), and there is now mounting evidence to suggest that Vitamin A in sunscreen reacts with sunlight in ways that appear to speed the development of cancerous tumors and lesions?!? Without delving any further into the science (here’s a good link with comprehensive information, if you’d like to know more), let me just say that for several years now our family has been using natural, physical sunblocks exclusively.  (Physical sunblocks contain minerals that sit on top of the skin and physically deflect UV rays, as opposed to penetrating the skin’s surface and absorbing UV rays, the way chemical sunscreens do.)

As certain as I’ve always been that this was the right move, our transition to safer sunscreen has not been without its challenges.  My biggest frustration since making the switch to natural sunscreens is twofold, really- they tend to be thick and to leave a white, chalky residue on the skin (from the zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide particles that act as barriers to the sun’s rays), and, in order to counteract that ‘chalkiness’ and make application less arduous, many natural sunblocks end up being verrrrrrry greasy.

Enter Goddess Garden.  I’ll admit that I was drawn to try this particular sunscreen based solely on the fact that it was sold as a spray.  How thick or chalky could a sunscreen be, I mused, if it came in liquid form?  Well, I’m here to tell you that my hopes for this product were not only met, but far exceeded.  The consistency of the sunscreen is like liquid gold- smooth, silky, and it sinks right in- no residue on your clothes, no chalky color to your skin.  And on top of all that, Goddess Garden sunscreens are:

Does it make me pathetic that sunscreen was one of the highlights of my week??  Wait, don’t answer that!

This week I was reminded by Marie Forleo that “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” Let’s just say that this was a much needed reminder, that it changed the trajectory of the rest of my week, and that you should really go watch the video for yourself.  No really.  Do it.  Now.

I also stumbled upon Lindsay Crandall via the Art House America blog, and felt an immediate kinship with her.  It may be her stunningly accurate descriptions of motherhood, her emotive photographs, her way of weaving words, or the fact that she refuses to whitewash darkness and disappointment from her stories.  But whatever it was, I found that I felt understood (by a stranger, no less) during my visit to Lindsay’s blog.  (I suppose it could also be our shared “Yankee-gets-transported-to-the-South-and-then-finds-her-way-home-again” storyline that’s the source of my affinity for Lindsay.  Too bad our particular little corners of the Northeast aren’t a little closer together, huh?!)

Finally, I did a little reuniting and reconnecting this week.  Tracey and I have known one another since middle school, and not too long ago she started a blog called Hidden Cupcakes.  She and I are both members of the same blogging support group: Philly Social Media Moms, and recently signed up to attend a sponsored event together in NYC!  In addition, Tracey came on board this week as the first Sponsor here on the blog (if you’re interested in joining her, shoot me an email using the “say hello” contact link at the top of the page.)  Not only does Tracey spend her days carefully curating “perfectly portioned doses of fabulous,” she is also an upbeat and encouraging friend, an Etsy shop owner, a rather brilliant fashionista, a beautiful woman AND a creative and attentive mama to FOUR BOYS under the age of 7!  Yeah…she keeps busy;)

That’s all for this week, but keep an eye out for next weekend’s roundup of favorite things!  And in the meantime, please share some of your favorite people, places and things from the past week in the comments below.  Or better yet?  Post a roundup to your blog, then come back here and share your link!

Happy weekend…go add to the beauty!

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Katie - July 9, 2011 - 8:36 am

LOVE this post, Lauren!
And also, I want that dress.

lauren - July 9, 2011 - 1:22 pm

Thanks, Katie! Anthro is such a temptation to me- it’s a good thing I’ve moved 30 minutes away from the closest one ;)

Christine - July 22, 2011 - 8:29 am

I want that bathing suit now! Beautiful. Wish I could afford Anthro though :) And love Lindsay’s blog as well :)

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