Let’s PLAE. Unboxing Sneakers #weartest #nofilter

Comfy Sneakers

With an active lifestyle, I prioritize things that are comfortable, durable and generally look good. I was excited to try on my first pair of PLAE sneakers. If you’ve never heard of PLAE, it has become a cult shoe brand for kids. Co-founder Ryan Ringholz is an acclaimed designer who left his mark as the leader designer at PUMA. More on the SF startup in this Fast Company article.

Since the Mulberry model in white was back in stock, I decided it was time. White shoes generally look nice with dark jeans and pants.

Good looking & fun closure system

If you’re looking for something that’s “different” yet gives you some of that luxe flair, then the PLAE shoes with its patented STAELACE™ closure system delivers. It also has the panache of a Tory Burch-like emblem with its neat side-closure system.

I am “that person” who forgets to tie her laces and finds herself tripping. So, I appreciated the low-maintenance appeal of this shoes make/model. You can adjust the laces by sliding the anchor in the back of the shoe in one direction to tighten, and the opposite to loosen.

Going barefoot is OK

I like the option to go sock-less, so this was good. The soles are cushiony and comfortable and the weight of the shoes are rather light. It’s almost like sliding on a pair of loafers or thick-soled slippers, but gives you that sporty look.

Unboxing shows technical flair

Since first impressions are important, I examined the contents of the package and found the unboxing experience straightforward and clear of unnecessary stuff. The unboxing relayed the quality and technical considerations that went into the design.

The little glints of details like the green trim on the back, the tan lines, the thin laces, and shallow tongue are flattering design choices.

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The shoes come with grey insoles that you can insert into your shoes for added adjustment and comfort. And, they give customers the ability to 3D print their own custom insoles.

PLAE’s line of adult shoes are unisex, and are universally appealing on guys and gals’ feet. If I invested in another pair, I think I may go all black, Johnny Cash style.

Top Fiver for Back-to-School (B2S)

Get kitted out for B2S

Are you stocked up on back to school supplies and essentials? This week’s top fiver has some adorable recommendations for you (and your cherubic sidekick). Backpacks, rolling bags, new kicks, graphic tees, and water bottles. What’s on your B2S list?

1) Swedish Cool with Fjallraven

Hand it to the Swedes to make some of the most stylish gear for young and old. Hashtag #Mykanken for Fjallraven, and get thee a gorgeously cute backpack in a bright color. With a foxy logo and quality craftsmanship, their gear is built to last. Get a Kanken backpack for yourself and your older kids, and a Kanken Mini backpack for your little’uns. A Kanken Mini is currently $70, standard Kanken $80, and Kanken 15″ laptop backpack will set you back $115.

Great wall of Fjallraven backpacks
Mom shopping with her daughter for back to school gear

2) Rolling Backpack

Good posture starts at a young age, and to limit the strain on the back and neck, opt for a rollie. Your kids will love it, and you’re protecting their backs. Amazon sells some entry-level rolling backpacks that you and your kids can use everyday. A bonafide Amazon bestseller is the J World New York rolling backpacks good for school and travel, and has a nifty compartment for your laptop, iPad or Kindle. With nearly 1,250 reviews, an average 4-star rating, and Prime shipping, the price is right if you’re looking for something relatively inexpensive (<$50). If you want a matchy-match insulated lunch bag, you’ll pay a bit extra for the combo pack (<$80).

3) Colorful sneakers for you + kids

PLAE shoes are for cool kids and now adults too. You never have to lace up your sneaks with their signature styles of velcro and an “alternative” lacing system. Basically, you don’t have to tie your own shoelaces ever! Remember Adam Sandler’s character Sonny in the film Big Daddy where he tells the boy Julian “loop it, swoop it, and pull?” No need with PLAE.

PLAE has a cult following as a cool kid’s sneaker brand and was featured in Fast Company. Founder Ryan Ringholz was formerly a lead designer at Puma. Shoes for adults are the new new for PLAE. Currently, they’re running a promotion on their site, so save 15% if you buy a pair of 2 or more shoes. Kid kicks start in the $50 range and adult kicks generally $90 on up.

Now you can explore the mommy and me, or daddy and me pairings. Make it a family affair.

4) Bright graphic tees that pop

School uniforms yuck! If you’re not bound by strict school dress code policy, then stock up on some adorable, colorful graphic tees from Uniqlo. The Japanese casual wear brand does fun collabs year-round, and they’ve done one with artist KAWS to reimagine Sesame Street characters.

See? Even Roger Federer is one of the cool Sesame Street kids. Wear fun graphic tees with old school favorites like Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, and Big Bird. Sunny days are back again!  The price is <$10 per tee at Uniqlo. You can buy the whole collection at this rate.

5) Stainless steel water bottle

Keep your kids hydrated with H2O in a stainless steel water bottle. Nowadays, you have so many options for water bottles and sippy cups. Eco-friendly stainless steel is more durable than plastic, completely BPA-free, easy to wash, and more sanitary. You have many options, including fan favorite S’well, Mira, and YETI, as well as the beautifully elegant MiiR bottles.

S’well has an adorable collection of kid’s bottles with their S’ip line. You can breeze through Target and check them out. Hope you enjoyed this week’s fiver!

What B2S essentials do you recommend? You’re welcome to share your comments. 

Top 5 Time-Savers for Busy YOU

Fiver for Adulting

This week’s Top Fiver is for folks who are busy adulting. Whether solo, in a relationship, or busy juggling work-family-life, there are some everyday hacks to keep your adult life under control.

Urban Dictionary definition: 

Adulting (v): to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off that credit card debt, settling beef without blasting social media, etc). Exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time.

1) Create a to-do list. Rinse & Repeat.

Seems like a no-brainer right? It’s a must if you’re trying to keep your life organized and minimally cluttered. Create a to-do list in whatever form or medium works for you. Some people like the good ol’ fashioned notepad/notebook or fancier Italian-made moleskine notebook. You can always default to a Notes app, sticky notes, or task list.

While the aspect of creating a to-do list sounds mundane, it can keep you organized and help drive purpose in your daily existence. Each day, you can reprioritize what matters most to you.

I, for one, never seem to complete my to-do list, but I keep it moving each day.

2) Go minimalistic with your wardrobe

I’m not advocating that you take on Mark Zuckerberg’s approach of buying multiples of the same grey t-shirt. But, keep your everyday wardrobe simple. Spend less time worrying about coordinating the top, bottom, shoes, belt, or whatever accoutrements complete your look.

If you want to look slick and polished, tap into your inner Johnny Cash.

Pinterest is a great way to discover basic looks. Then head over to sites like Uniqlo, Madewell, J. Crew, Everlane, or MM. LaFleur to get your range of staples and more lux outfits that fit within your budget and shopping predilections.

For shoes, I like the versatile grey (or black) Allbirds loungers and sneakers, and I’ve been loving my splurge-worthy Sevilla Smith flats. Neutral shoe colors go well with just about anything – shorts, skirt, slacks and jeans.

3) Make breakfast in under 5-10 minutes

I save the grander meals for the weekends when I have more sit-down time with the family. During the week, I hustle breakfast and make it under 5-10 minutes.  But you won’t find me shoveling spoonfuls of cereal into my mouth. I like a bit of variety. So, here’s my hit list of simple, fast brekkies.

  • Gluten-free pancakes (or waffles) that are premade (frozen).
  • Bagels (or toast) with a variety of toppings.
    • Banana on creamy almond butter
    • (Vegan) cream cheese x berry preserves
    • Avocado toastie in its various delicious forms. Popular post here.
  • Breakfast sammie. Toast or pita with scrambled eggs and cheese for the basic.
  • Boiled eggs and soldiers. If you’ve got 6 minutes, perfect the British-inspired eggs and soldiers. More to come in an upcoming post.
  • Berry fruit x granola bowl. Mix berries and bananas with your favorite granola. My fave is Nature’s Path Love Crunch (*hint: peanut butter & dark chocolate)
  • Non-Dairy Yogurt + toss in some fruit. I opt for coconut milk, almond-milk or cashew-milk based yogurts. Our household had dairy sensitivity. I like Forager, So Delicious, and the ultra-creamy CoYo.

4) Subscribe online for essentials

I find the act of shopping at the mall physically and mentally exhausting. So, I do my shopping online. With essentials, I hate toting large rolls of TP, paper towels and other household essentials.

Amazon Subscribe and Save is a great way to stock up on essentials, get deliveries on a recurring schedule, and even snag 5-15% off the list price.

5) Work at the gym (sometimes)

Get your regular workout and fire up the laptop post-shower. Maximize your precious time by fitting in cardio, showering, and catching up on some work. For you tired moms and dads, some of the bigger fitness clubs offer onsite daycare. Take advantage of the daycare, so you can look after yourself and your fitness regimen. Then pick up your kid and grab a healthy smoothie.

Now go maximize your day, and enjoy some downtime.

Hope your enjoyed this week’s fiver!

Smell ya! Dog, smells, and the ideal bed

Hooman? Smells about Right

As a dog mom (and human mom), I’ve learned a few things about the way certain smells conjure up memories, loved ones, and yes — the odorous poopy diapers.  The science of smell is an interesting one as we don’t give our nose enough credit. But the nose knows.

Of the estimated 84.6 million US households that own a pet, 60.2 million of them have a dog. The bonds between humans and dogs are incredible. The growing humanization of pets has idealized the attachments we have with our four-legged family members.

Olfactory Firepower

As we sometimes joke about the bum-sniffing tendencies of our tail waggin’ BFFs, humorously depicted in Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life of Pets, dogs are wired to sniff and respond. According to the March 2018 article published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, dogs can smell as much as 10,000 to 100,000 better than the average human. Furthermore, a dog’s scent glands are said to be 1,000 stronger. Through evolution and by design, a dog’s nose is adapted for keenly sniffing, and olfaction is managed by the part of the brain as part of the limbic system — which is also connected to the part of the brain that manages things like behavior, memories, motivation and emotion.

So what is it about a person’s used shirt or sneakers that’s so darn appealing? Whenever I’m about to travel and pack a suitcase, I often find one of my dogs resting beside it with that worrying, depressed look. He just knows I’m about to disembark, and he’s not happy. If, on the other hand, I drop a hoodie or shirt on the floor, he’ll warmly snuggle up against it with his nose buried deep in the folds. I think to myself — that must be love.

Whatever the case may be, a dog’s keen sense of smell is remarkable and their attachment to us, humans (a.k.a. pack leaders, parents) resembles a mix of love, devotion and undying fealty. In recent years, there’s fascinating research on dogs that have been able to sniff out life-threatening diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Architecture for Dogs & the Wanmock

Wan_004_hiroshi_yoda-600x450

Source: AFD Torafu Wanmock

With dogs being an integral part of the family unit and the home, it’s cool to see active projects like Architecture for Dogs (AFD) paying homage to beautiful design and building unique structures to better articulate the human-pet bond. The concept feels organic and brings elements of high design into the home.

AFD is the brainchild of Muji Creative Director Kenya Hara, and it’s a collective of talented designers and architects. One of the kits that AFD sells is the Torafu Wanmock, which brings in the owner’s t-shirt  into the mix, making it the perfect hammock.

Torafu-Wanmock--1-

Source: Petcube Care x AFD

On the AFD website, it describes the following: In Japanese, a dog says, “wan,” the name “Wanmock” combines the woof sound with the piece’s hammock style.

The Wanmock kit is specified for the Jack Russell breed. However, after trying out the kit with a certain famous Frenchie, we found that the Wanmock can accommodate a variety of smallish to medium breed dogs. If there’s a will, there’s a way. You know how large dogs sometimes enjoy curling up in smallish spaces?

If you loop your favorite care-worn shirt and drape it over the wooden structure, your BFF will find a way to snuggle and breath deeply into the folds of your clothing. After all, you are remarkably you. The nose knows…..

So the next time you want to bring you and your dog closer together, grab that worn, sweaty shirt and let him (or her) love you the way only a dog can. 2018 is after all the Year of the Dog.

Enjoy being a mom (or dad) to your #1 fan.