Goodbye 2011…
December 31, 2011, 5:05 pm
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I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by. So much has happened and my girls have grown so much. In the past year I have taken many trips (both business and family), attempted to potty train the twins, launched our webshop, shot a lookbook, and begun the first steps in curating a vintage selection. I have made friends, created memories, and focused on family. Life is short and I work everyday to really appreciate it and the amazing people in my life. I am feeling lucky and nostalgic but more importantly, I feel very hopeful and excited to see what’s up next.

I am not a huge fan of resolution but am certainly compiling a list of goals for 2012. So here, along with pictures from the last year, are my goals for 2012…

1. Continue growing Monkey & The Bug. I want to expand, bring in new lines, finalize our plans for the vintage section, and shoot a new lookbook.

2. Travel (even) more. I’d like a nice, long vacation with the girls and my husband. Just relaxing by the beach sounds perfect!

3. Get better at blogging for both Stel’s and Monkey & The Bug. In the last year I have really started to learn my way around the internet but there is always room for improvement. I’m hoping to blog more often!

4. Relax. Balancing twins, a marriage, and two  businesses is HARD WORK. I want to do more yoga, take more time for the family, and learn to stress less.

What are your goals for 2012?

Pumpkin Patch
October 25, 2011, 5:47 pm
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A couple weeks ago, as part of their third birthday celebration, we took the twins apple picking. About an hours drive out of the city and we were in Stow, a small, quintessential “New England” town known for its abundance of family friendly farms. We chose Shelbourne Farm because not only did it have an apple orchard and pumpkpin patch but also an array of fun activities for the kids such as pony rides, moon bounce and a hay mountain. Both Gemma and Riley really got into picking the apples. It was cute to see them work as a team and take turns holding the bag. I recommend walking a bit at the orchard if you can to the back sections. Not only will you find more apples in those areas but it is also less crowded. The cider doughnuts were served pipping hot and were delicious. You can actually see the people making them through the windows. They were also dipping caramel apples right there in front of us which was tempting but we skipped on those. Overall, the experince was a lot of fun, the girls really enjoyed themselves, and it’s always a treat to see them discover something new. I’m hoping to make this a yearly tradition.

This last picture is from the girls’ birthday party.

Happy Birthday!
October 18, 2011, 7:45 pm
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It is unbelievable how quickly the last three years have flown by. I’m wishing the happiest birthday to my Monkey and my little Bug! I love you!

September 16, 2011, 1:26 pm
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Gemma (left) and Riley when they were just little bits.

My little ladies will be turning three in October! It is unbelievable how quickly time flies. I’m curious…how big a party have you (or will/would you) thrown for your toddler? There is so much hype nowadays with parties for children. Maybe it started because of MTV’s Sweet Sixteen and grew from there? I’m not sure of the origins but it seems a bit much to me. Shows like TLC’s Outrageous Kids Parties kind of scare me. I just don’t believe in spending thousands of dollars on parties that are more for the adults than kids. One mom even bought her 6 year old a car for her birthday. A CAR! There is only one word for that…INSANE.

I am, however, all for decorations, fun themes, and lots of friends and family! Courtney Novogratz, when asked how she handled her seven kids’ birthday parties famously said “I invite some friends over and bake a Fucking cake”. Ha! I think I am more of that school of thought.  I do want them to feel special and to know that they are loved. Those are my biggest goals for the day because in the end it’s not about what toys they got or what outfit they wore but about celebrating their lives and the love they have brought into all of ours.

I am curious as well about how all you moms (and dads) of multiples handle twin birthdays? Do you celebrate them together? Give them separate cakes or parties or anything like that?

Trips back home…
August 23, 2011, 6:06 pm
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Our trips back to my hometown of Delafield, Wisconsin are such a wonderful respite from the hustle and bustle of Boston.  As my parents (the twins’ Lola & Lolo), brother (Uncle Erik) and best friend (Auntie Jenica) still live there, we travel there frequently.  Particularly since my dad suffered from cancer and strokes 2 years ago, our time together is invaluable.  And no matter what time of year we visit, there is always some activity for the girls.

Playing with Lola

Riley and Lola

The most simple entertainment for Riley and Gemma comes in the form of playing in Lola’s and Lolo’s backyard. (See some pics of them playing in their backyard HERE)  My parents’ home sits on over 1 acre of land.  So we can merely open the doors and let them run wild.  And the wildlife abounds in the neighborhood.  It’s not
uncommon for us to spy a family of white tailed deer, wild turkeys, and bunny rabbits.  While we take advantage of the lovely parks in Boston, we rarely have direct access to this much green space.

Brunch with the fam

The Milwaukee Public Zoo, a quick 20 minute drive from the house, has amassed an amazing collection of animals.  From the polar bear arena to the ape and monkey sanctuary, this zoo is one of the best I have visited in the United States.  It also boasts a large playground, a petting zoo filled with goats (the girls’ favorite area), and a slow moving locomotive that tours the grounds.  This is a must-see on a visit to Southeastern Wisconsin.

Another children’s attraction is the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.  There are several interactive and educational areas
to explore, such as the toddler play area, the town center, and the art and music theater.  The museum can get quite congested, so I would
recommend scheduling your visit accordingly.

For a cultural fix, the Milwaukee Art Museum is a great stop.  The modern wing, which opened recently, is a beautiful
architectural specimen.  Encasing the wing is the Burke Brise Soleil, a sunscreen with movable wings.  And after a trip to the museum, take
a picnic lunch to the shores of Lake Michigan.  The lake shore is very peaceful; one cannot understand the enormity of this Great Lake until
one sees it up close and personal.

Gemma the tractor driver!

Food is also a big part of traveling to Wisconsin.  This is the dairy state, after all, so the treats are endless.  Brennan’s Market
has an abundant selection of local cheeses, along with fresh produce and baked goods.  My favorite frozen custard stand
is Le Duc’s  in Wales.  My perennial favorite is the turtle sundae, but as Riley is allergic to nuts we now indulge in
classic hot fudge sundaes topped with fresh whipped cream.  Finally, when Dave and I schedule date night, we have dinner at Jake’s
.  This steak house has been in business for over 50 years; the quaint, cozy Midwestern feel of the joint nicely accompanies the farm fresh food.  Aside from the steaks, the duck is succulent, and the fried onion strings are to die for!

This is just the tip of the iceberg; I haven’t even touched upon camping in the northern woods, attending the State Fair, going to
Lambeau Field for a Packer’s game, or visiting the farmer’s market in Madison.  There is so much to see and do here and I’m so proud to call Wisconsin home.

Back from vacation!
August 22, 2011, 6:52 pm
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This month has been a bit hectic. I have been traveling, shooting our lookbook, and taking some time for a vacation with my family. I just got back from Wisconsin and I’ll be sharing more from our trips there tomorrow but for now he is a lil peek at my girls playing at the park in WI.

My Week…
July 15, 2011, 1:32 pm
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I am in love with instagram. I think its my favorite social media outlet thus far. Although, I just signed up for Pinterest and so far its pretty addictive so that may take the lead for my fav. You can find me on pinterest HERE and if you are on instagram my username is @monkeyandthebug.

This week has been crazy! The sale has gotten a great response and next week I am off to NYC for a buying trip. After that we will be shooting our Monkey & The Bug look book and launching a brand spankin new web shop! I plan on making this happen while wrangling two year old twins. Crazy, who me? Nah, just ambitious.

I am curious….what would you all like to see from the shop come fall? Favorite brands? Styles? I’d love to hear feedback from other Mamas and Papas.

Here is my week in pictures from Instagram…

being silly after a trip to the zoo

Riley drying off

Gemma and her wild hair

my babes at the park

twin love!


me on the left, my lil ladies on the right

Some random cute….
June 24, 2011, 6:09 pm
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How gorgeous are my little ladies? Feeling very lucky…

I hope you all have a great weekend. Be sure to check out our HUGE sale HERE!!

Sanibel Island
April 27, 2011, 2:53 pm
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My family took a lovely family vacation to Sanibel Island last week. Sanibel Island is located in southwest Florida, off of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico because of the island’s location, the ocean water is calm, warm, and  ideal for  swimming. The beaches are made of soft sand and brimming with sea shells. The term “Sanibel Stoop” was invented to describe seekers hunched over, looking for the perfect shell.

Our family owns a condo at the Sundial Beach Resort. It is extremely family friendly with four swimming pools, child dining options, organized children’s activities, and an eco-center which houses a small selection of marine life. The best part is the resort is located on the beach, so there is easy access to the sand and sea.

We met my parents, Lou and Rudy, at the Fort Myers airport, and made the quick 25 minute drive to the island. My parents started taking me and my younger brother to Sanibel when I was 5 years old, so it was surreal to now bring my own children at age 2 and 1/2 years.  My parents are known as Lolo (grandfather) and Lola (grandmother). These are Filipino terms. It was particularly important for the girls to spend time with Lolo as he suffered several strokes over a year ago; the presence of the girls is very theraputic for him. The girls are very compassionate toward my Dad, helping to push his wheelchair or assisting with handing him his medication.

Both girls enjoyed the beach and the pool, although I think there was slightly more draw to the pool with its water slide and abundance of other kids.

Finally, the girls got a lot of experience eating at restaurants. My feeling is that the more they practice, the more comfortable they will become with the process. This was also an opportunity for them to try new things, like grouper fish sandwiches, grilled shrimp, lemonade, and key lime pie.

The vacation was great fun; although my husband and I were pretty beat when we made it back to Boston. Most importantly we got to spend time together as a family. Running not one, but two businesses can be hectic. It was nice to slow down for a bit.