Tales of a Toddler Fashionista: Why I Let My Daughter Pick Out Her Own Clothes

By October 2, 2014 Family and Friends, Just Me, Le Guppy, Motherhood, Politics, Women's Rights

If you’ve ever met us for a dinner or a play date or even follow me on Instagram, you have seen some of Harper’s more interesting outfits and I’ll be the first to tell you none of them are my idea. That’s right, I let my four year old dress herself. Sometimes she does way better than I would of and sometimes she looks like Scuba Steve.

There are people in my life, people who love us and care deeply for my daughter, who aren’t comfortable with this practice. In fact, they seem embarrassed to be seen out in public with Harper sometimes and that has spurred me to write this, not in defense but more in explanation.


My job as a mom is essentially tri-fold.

I am responsible for keeping Harper relatively safe and that safety manifests in different ways. Sometimes that means hiding caustic materials on high shelves behind safety latched cupboard doors. Other times, its teaching her she is in control of her own decisions and letting her know she is responsible for setting her own boundaries.

I am responsible for keeping Harper nourished. That nourishment is not simply feeding her good food that supplies her body with the nutrients and vitamins it needs to thrive. It also includes reading to her to fill  her mind with words she can use to make connections and communicate her wants and needs. It means hugging her and kissing her and telling her heart that she is always loved regardless of her faults or flaws or the decisions she will make that will make me upset.

I’m responsible for facilitating a life that presents opportunities for exploration. That means giving her space to seek out what interests her and introducing her to a myriad of different people, places, and things so she can make informed decisions about who she is.


So, how does that relate to Harper wearing sparkly tights, a pirate eye patch, and a Cookie Monster pajama shirt to the grocery store? Well, letting her pick out her of clothes doesn’t create an unsafe environment. I’m not going to let her go out in a snowstorm in her swimming suit and I’m not going to send her out in a heat wave in a parka but 99% of the time what she’s wearing isn’t going to have any bearing on her physical safety, especially in San Diego.

The list of what is DOES do is considerably longer and more profound.

It gives her agency over her body and has been from the time she started dressing herself two years ago. We live in a society that tells girls and women exactly how they should look and act and has a very strict idea of what is acceptable female behavior. The media in an onslaught of airbrushed girls is perfect clothes, slathered in makeup, and always looking for new and expensive ways to rid every inch of their bodies, heads withstanding, from any trace of hair. Those ideas are perpetuated every day by teachers, friends, family members, her peers, random old ladies at the grocery store, and even someone who might tell her to sit with her legs closed at a baseball game.  I can’t protect her from most of those things but I can do my best to counteract them. I need to be the place she turns too when those messages are overwhelming and she starts to lose herself in them. I want to be the relief from the the expectations of others.


I don’t want anyone telling her what she can or can’t, has to or shouldn’t do with her body. It’s hers and the purpose it serves in the world is hers to decide.  I can’t promote that idea without acting in a manner that enforces the words that spill from my mouth. What I do will resonate with her when those words have long since faded from her memory.

Our bodies and the clothes we put on them are a large portion of the first level of exploration we embark on as children. It’s why dress up is so wildly popular amongst both boys and girls.  Allowing her to wear what’s comfortable or attractive or fun inspires her to extend that interest both inward to who she is becoming and also outward into the world around her.


It helps me focus on what’s important. I can’t micromanage her, and I shouldn’t. Not bickering over what she’s wearing leaves more of my day open for her un-ending curiosity. There isn’t enough time in a day to begin with and fighting over what shoes she’s wearing is a waste of a very precious resource. She won’t always be this little and open. I really don’t have that time to waste, it’s already been allocated to mud pies, beach days, museum wandering, finger painting, baseball games, cookie baking, and afternoons spent with at Hogwarts or in Narnia or on the island Where the Wild Things Are.

Plus, who am I to take any of that unadulterated joy from her just because she doesn’t match.

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|Eat| Cajun Kitchen Cafe in Santa Barbara : “The belly rules the mind.” – Spanish Proverb

By September 15, 2014 Eat : Santa Barbara, Family and Friends, Guy <3, Travel
Cajun Kitchen Sign Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara was the first stop the “Guy and Rach do the California Coast Because Yay Marriage” tour.  We pulled into town pretty much starving but me being me, I wanted to wander around and look at the menus at fifteen different places before settling on the place I had found on Yelp two hours prior. Cajun Kitchen Cafe in Santa Barbara is just one block off State Street, the main road that goes through most of the city .  The building itself is unassuming and looks straight out of the 70′s. Before we even opened the door we were hit with a wave of nostalgia for those little old diners that are few and far between and the amazing smell of fresh Cajun food. The interior matches the exterior. Clean but out-dated and somehow fitting. There wasn’t a wait but most of the seats were filed even though the time for a lunch rush had long past.


The menu is a mix of Cajun, American, and Mexican. We saw all three types of dishes walking by as we waited for our food and everything looked good but nothing looked quite as amazing as the food they brought to our table. We decided to go full Cajun for this meal and started with an order of the beignets for $3.75. Guy has this on-going love affair with donuts which piques at beignets so there was no way we were going back out the door without an order. They arrived first and were so hot we actually had to wait to eat them which was pure torture. Served with a side of  syrup for dipping, they were slightly denser than other versions I’ve eaten before but perfectly crunchy on the outside and pillow soft on the inside. This was how excited he was before trying them…

Guy Preparing the Eat Beignets at Cajun Kitchen Cafe in Santa Barbara

…And this is the after. Can you tell he was a happy boy?

Post Beignet Face at Cajun Kitchen Cafe in Santa Barbara

I’ve mentioned before that we are sharers. We eat off each other’s plates and often make plans to go-halfsies on stuff just so we can try more of the menu. This was  one of those meals. Guy ordered the Seafood Gumbo ($11.50) and I ordered the Crawfish Etouffée ($12.50) . Both came with a choice of bread so Guy got the biscuit and I got the cornbread.

Seafood Gumbo and Biscuit at Cajun Kitchen Cafe in Santa Barbara
These bowls came out steaming hot and it was hard to sit and look and not taste. The gumbo was full of rice, a really tasty flavorful brother, shrimp, scallops, crab, and a few different kinds of fish. Nothing was over cooked which can be a problem for soups with seafood. I like my gumbo with a thicker broth so I was happy I ordered what I did but the flavors and spices were so perfect my usual preferences didn’t keep me from eating my half . Between the two of us we were able to mostly polish off the bowl and part of the biscuit which was crunchy and flaky on the outside but nice and soft on the inside.

Guy eats Seafood Gumbo at Cajun Kitchen Cafe in Santa Barbara

The Crawfish Etouffée is a much simpler dish with a little more spice than the gumbo had, but I ended up using one of their many available hot sauces to heat it up just a little more. This bad boy was so filling we couldn’t finish it and since we already had dinner plans and lunch plans for the following day we had to leave it behind. The creaminess was just what I was looking for. It’s a pretty simple dish that can truly be a hit or a miss. This was a hit.

 Crawfish Etouffée at Cajun Kitchen Cafe in Santa Barbara


The Cajun Kitchen Cafe isn’t as fancy as many of the surrounding restaurants but what it lacks in ascetics is makes up for with the attentive service. Established 30 years ago in 1984, this place has earned its stripes by serving amazing, fresh, hot, yummy food to travelers and locals alike. It’s a little something different in a sea of New American restaurants and nation-wide chains.  If you are in the neighborhood, shoot up a block and try this place.

Cajun Kitchen Cafe
1924 De La Vina

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An Interview with Kittorama : “The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.” -James Bryce

By September 8, 2014 Etsy Artisans, Guest Posts and Interviews
Harry Potter Complete Set of 9

If you’ve been around DTA for a while, you probably already know that I am a big geek. Want proof? Well here’s a review of Comic-Con 2014 and here’s one for LeakyCon2014. If you need more proof simply scrolling should do the trick. Anyway, I found this awesome stuff just scrolling through Etsy and when I approached Kit, she was happy enough to oblige and interview. This is what she had to say.

What’s your story? I’ve always like to make things. I have crocheted since my mother taught me at a very young age, and was interested in art in many forms. I have painted large abstract canvases, painted t-shirts, created beaded jewelry, sewed clothing for my daughter when she was a baby, and now I’m making literature inspired art. I’m a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Nerd who loves Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Steampunk, Classic Movie Monsters, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, etc. We could be here all day listing the things I fan-girl about. I was laid off from my job in 2013, so I amped up my on-the-side craft business and started doing local Farmers Markets and Craft Shows. It started out slow, but the more shows I do, the more I learn and the more people I meet in the Arts Community, the better for my business.

What, how, and why did you decide to make what you make? My main body of work right now consists of Book Pendants, Book Earrings and Book Boxes.I’m an avid reader and my core group of friends are from my Book Club, so it seemed natural that my creations started having literary leanings. Pop Culture is another element that has a big influence on my work. In addition to books I enjoy T.V. Shows – especially things on BBC, as well as Movies – mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy. I started doing more shows that were geared towards those that love the nerdy things that I do, and found my audience.

sherlock and river

What inspires you? Obviously, books are my number one inspiration, along with all the crazy fandoms going on in the world. My friends, family and customers have wonderful suggestions and feedback for me. That keeps my brand fresh and ever-evolving.

What is your creative process? Is it wrong that my creative process usually begins with surfing the web? I am addicted to Pinterest and have started to dabble in Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. Sometimes I’ll be at the library or watching T.V. and I’ll think, I could make something that could celebrate this cool thing. I get out my supplies and start putting things together. If it’s not coming together, sometimes I’ll look for a tutorial to learn a new technique or learn about a product that I didn’t know I needed.

Other than Etsy, where can people find you on the web?



book earrings

Do you have any nicknames? If so what are they and who gave them to you? I think it may be apparent that one of my nicknames is Kittorama. It was given to me by a friend, many years ago. Having such a short name, people tend to want to make it longer, just like people with long names tend to get shorter versions – i.e. Edward becomes Ed. It’s kind of like us straight haired girls wanting curly hair and visa versa.

What would you do if you won the lottery? Okay, practical things first: I would buy a house, make sure my daughter has a healthy college fund and treat my husband and I to vehicles made in this decade. Now for the fun, I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, especially England and France. I would follow my family tree to Germany and see how far back I can go. I would open several Artists Co-ops where locals can showcase and sell their creations. I would save as many animals as I could from shelters, probably adopting several cats. I may get my husband a dog, if he’s nice to me.


What are your top five favorite words and why? Turquoise – I just love how it’s spelled and it rolls off the tongue. Serendipity – Wonderful, unexpected things, plus a cool movie with John Cusack. Mellifluous – Something that sounds gorgeous and melodic. Presitidigitation – It’s just magical. Shillelagh – It rhymes with Hayley and I used it to make up a song for my daughter when she was small.

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|Do| Wizarding World of Harry Potter and LeakyCon 2014 : “I’m just really active in the fandom.” – Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

By September 4, 2014 Do : Orlando, Travel

Every year, I go to LeakyCon. It’s a Harry Potter convention. I know exactly what you are thinking because it’s the first thing people ask when they hear I’m going to Harry Potter convention and that’s what do you do there? It’s a lot like summer camp for people who consider Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry home. Mostly, I see my friends. Some of the best people to crash into my life and stay there even though we only see each other once a year. We go to panels, spend too much money on all things magical in the vendor room, go to books signings, get pictures with fandom important people, play quidditch, break Guinness world records, go to the ball, drink beer, wrock out with our wands out at Wizard Wrock concerts,  have pizza parties in our hotel room, sleep too little, laugh too much and start planning for next year.






This year, as LeakyCon was held in Orlando, we had the opportunity to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which means I got to go to Hogwarts, shop in Diagon Alley, and ride the Hogwarts Express. And before you ask, yeah, I cried a little as we pulled into Hogsmeade Station. It was like finally, finally, after years of waiting, getting the welcome to Hogwarts letter via owl. I got to drink in The Three Broomsticks, get a wand at Ollivander’s, walk through the wall at Platform 9 3/4, and adopt a Pygmy Puff. Try the frozen butterbeer but plan on sharing because they are sweet. A+ from me to the proprietary Three Broomsticks beer which Jodi said tastes like basketballs…And also all the ice cream except the Chocolate Chilli which was like way too spicy, and I say that as someone guilty of putting hot sauce on almost everything.














This video is a little clips real from this year that one of my best friends, in the magical or muggle world, made of our little adventures. I make my first appearance at the :33 second mark and continue to embarrass myself throughout. Watching this makes me wish the days were going faster so I can get back to Hogwarts next year.

And here’s a little wizard wrock playlist to introduce you to the awesomeness.

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