I often ask my kids to tell me 5 things that happened during the day that made them happy. I often write them in my daily journal and also in some of the photo books that I’ve begun creating for gifts to my parents. In honor of the sweet and simple ingredients in HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup and the sweet and simple memories that it inspires, Hershey’s wants people to share the sweetness in everyday moments. So, I’ve asked my husband and our kids, Ella and Logan, to take a moment to “stop and smell the chocolate” and share their #Simply5 – a five word recount of what makes their day sweet. Summing up their joy using five words add a nice unique twist to my every day request.

Hershey’s Chocolate makes me happy” was my husband’s #Simply5. Ella and Logan decided together that “Spending the summer climbing trees” made for their #Simply5. And my #Simply5 is: “Time spent with my family”—5 simple words, but so true.

Last week, I posted the recipe for our family’s Sunday sundaes. If you haven’t had a chance to try it, check out the recipe here. The main topping for the sundaes features HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup, which has no high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors or flavors, and is made from non-GMO ingredients.

HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup is simply delicious, with only 5 ingredients. You can find it in 21.8 ounce sizes at grocery stores nationwide and in 48 ounce sizes at Costco. For more information on HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter for all the delicious scoop on their yummy products.

What’s your #Simply5? Share on social media using the hashtag #Simply5.

{Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Hershey’s via Mom Trends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hershey’s or MomTrends.}

Keen UNEEK: Must-Have Kids Shoes for Summer & The Outdoors




Hiking, camping and biking are as much a part of summer as hot dogs, baseball, s’mores and beach getaways. This is my favorite time of the year because I get to spend as much time as I want with my kids enjoying the outdoors. When I was growing up, all of the kids in my neighborhood would run around barefoot—going on hikes, riding bicycles and walking to the river to go tubing. And now, most of us adults know better. We try to protect our kids from broken bottles, splinters, blisters, cracked heels and etc. a little bit more than our parents did “back in the day.”

Taking care of your feet while hiking, biking and camping is very important. That may sound like a “no-brainer”, but there are a few things to be concerned about. Comfort is key. But, you also need a shoe that is safe, lightweight and waterproof for those hikes and camping trips.

I’m a huge fan of Keen Footwear. They’ve been our family’s go-to summer shoes for a while. They’re comfortable, offer amazing support, are lightweight and are actually quite stylish. Much to my excitement, Keen has just released the UNEEK style for Kids!  

Ella and Logan love their new UNEEK shoes. They have great traction, are waterproof—so they’re perfect for those stream crossings. UNEEK adapts to your feet for the perfect fit, with innovative two-cord construction and a free-moving cord junction that provides freedom of movement, security and structure. The lightweight midsole delivers durability and comfort, while the high-traction rubber outsole keeps your step secure.

Fun colors and free-moving construction make this shoe a must-have. It supports like a sneaker and feels like a sandal. Interlocking cords form to kids’ feet for a just-right fit, and a hook-and-loop strap on the side is easy for little hands to adjust. It’s comfy enough for a full day of play, and the eye-catching design stands out in a crowd. They are breathable to prevent less odor and are durable enough to last.

For more information, visit www.keenfootwear.com and be sure to follow Keen on social media: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

{Special Thank-you to Keen for partnering on this post!}

Diane Keaton’s DC “Then Again” Book Signing at 6th & I

There were four awesomely creative women in DC last Thursday that I personally wanted to meet. The fresh faced actress Gabrielle Union (whom I’ve auditioned against and lost several movies) was at Verizon Wireless for the event “Confessions of a Smartaholic”. The mogul Martha Stewart was at DAR Constitution Hall signing autographs for her recently released book Martha’s Entertaining, A Year of Celebrations. One of the most famous photographers of our time, Annie Leibovitzwas at Politics & Prose promoting her latest collection Pilgrimage. But, I had my heart set on meeting the legendary, self-deprecating actress Diane Keaton.

Diane Keaton was one of the first actresses that compelled me. I will never forget the first time my parents took me to the movie theatre to see the movie Manhattan. Most of the audience were gushing over Meryl Streep. But, even as a first or second grader, I connected more with Diane Keaton. And I wanted to be in the movie, playing a character and acting alongside Woody Allen, a dream that still lives to this day.

Ms. Keaton read from Then Again, a memoir about her relationship with her mother before and during her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She answered questions from the audience and made it really fun, even during a moment when an audience member brought down the mood a little with her own experience of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.

Ms. Keaton patiently signed over 500 autographs. I was able to thank her for inspiration and let her know that my favorite Diane Keaton movie is Manhattan Murder Mystery, a movie that my husband and I watch a couple times of month. The movie makes me laugh and can take me out of any sour mood.

Diane Keaton was every bit of each of the characters she portrays on film. She is sophisticated, poised and funny. She is modest and has absolutely no elevated ego. She is feminine and vulnerable, yet confident and strong. She admitted to being insecure and worrying about when she would work again as an actress. She was relatable. Because of that, not only am I looking forward to reading this memoir over my holiday break–I’m planning to start shopping at Chicos, the clothing boutique she represents as a model.

Pottery Barn Presents Girls Night Out, A Design Studio Event

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Girls Night Out at Clarendon Pottery Barn

Tonight was “Girls Night Out” at Pottery Barn in Clarendon. The store hosted a pre-holiday soiree in honor of their Design Studio Services. Attendees had an opportunity to get instruction on winterizing their home, switching out their bedroom linens for the upcoming season and decorating for the holidays. A few local vendors also came out to join in on the fun including: Red Mango, Crumbs Bake Shop, Stella & Dot and Lululemon.
Pottery Barn is located at: The Market Common Clarendon, 2700 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington VA 22201

Parisian Play Date with Jess Brown At Georgetown’s M29 Lifestyle Boutique

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Photo Credit: Jess Brown Design
Credit: Clarendon Moms
Credit: http://maudeshop.blogspot.com
Photo Credit:http:// maudeshop.blogspot.com
Photograph by Stephanie Rausser
Cover of the Book: Stephanie Rausser
 Doll maker launches her new book “Kiki & Coco in Paris”
October 8, 2011
Having just returned from Paris a couple weeks ago, I was ecstatic to receive a personal invite to attend the exclusive book launch of doll maker Jess Brown’s latest storybook Kiki & Coco In Paris at Georgetown’s M29 Lifestyle Boutique. The boutique is located at 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW on the corner of M Street NW and 29th Street NW. (Get it? M29?)
Kiki & Coco In Paris is love at first read! It is unlike any book I’ve ever seen or read. The book takes it’s readers on a fascinating photographic adventure to Paris through the eyes (and photo lens) of Kiki’s mother, Stephanie Rausser.
Jess Brown is a California based doll designer and owner of the very popular boutique, Maude. She began making rag dolls for her children Stella and Tiger just a little over a decade ago. The dolls are created using cotton muslin, linen, bamboo lace weight Japanese yarn, refashioned Cashmere sweaters and antique remnants. Each doll is uniquely hand dyed using Persian Black Tea to create a variety of skin tones.
Italian fashion designer Bottega Veneta commissioned Jess to create life size dolls of her collection to be featured in their New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, London and Milan stores during Fashion Week last month.
And you can be one of the first people in the Washington DC area to get a Jess Brown doll and Kiki & Coco In Paris book.
I have a feeling that Oprah is going to discover these dolls and feature it in her magazine as a Holiday favorite one day soon. And this is already my favorite children’s book. I’m lucky to have an autographed copy of Kiki & Coco In Paris. Become one of the lucky collectors of these dolls and get your book in time for the holidays while they’re available here at M29.

J Brand Jeans Launch at South Moon Under

J Brand Jeans Launch At South Moon Under with Mary Amons

Clarendon was seeing reality stars tonight during the J Brand Jeans Denim Promotion at South Moon Under! Most notably was Mary Amons, star of The Real Housewives of D.C. and America’s Next Top Model’s Bianca Chardei. While shopping, guests were invited to enjoy yummy apple caramel cosmopolitans and delectable Georgetown Cupcakes (another reality star) created exclusively with the J Brand logo. I came away with three pairs of J Brand Jeans and 80s music playing in my head. The DJ was fantastic! And Oscar, the J Brand Jeans Stylist (from NYC) should have a reality television all his own!