Checking In

Today I thought I might provide a check-in of sorts. There is so much happening right now, with spring being well underway, summer plans being made and the possibility of the world opening back up looming. This is where I am at, in Portland Oregon, right now.

So – vaccinations! I find every social interaction as of late must begin with the obligatory vaccine catch-up. “Did you get your first shot?”, “How did you get an appointment?!” “Pfizer, Moderna or J&J?” We talk about the complexities of getting an appointment, the side effects, the new Brazilian and British covid strains. We are beginning to hug our grandparents, see friends inside and officially stop wiping down our groceries (although WE only did this for about a week). Is there a REAL possibility that we will be inside public places with other people, not wearing masks and (horror of horrors) not social distancing??!

Returning to our places of work, to restaurants and stores, to concerts and arenas and Chuck-E-Cheese. It has me feeling some kind of way. On one hand, I am elated to throw it back to 2019. To waltz into a crowded Goodwill, sans-mask, footloose and fancy free. Breathing in the mixture of must, body odor and Jean Nate, unadulterated. I am excited to see the look on my daughter’s faces when they get to interact with their peers again. And the way my husband’s eyes will sparkle when he comes home from playing basketball. I cannot wait to share that morning cup of joe with my coworkers again. All of these things give me happiness to no end.

But also – there’s this: I am an ambivert. Or, as I like to call it an introverted-extrovert. I like a variety in life. But the past year has really thwarted that extroverted side of me. I have settled into my quarantine nest and the routines that go with it. And even though there have definitely been exceptions, I have loved being around my family everyday. I also finally found joggers in tall sizes (Old Navy!). The introvert in me has been thrust into the spotlight. She has gotten used to it. It has become homey and warm.

We have all gotten used to certain things, haven’t we? To the awkward “covid shuffle” around the grocery store, trying to keep a gap between us. To the absence of invitations to parties, game nights and play dates. To air high fives and chest bumps. I have gotten used to the glares in the park we sometimes get when Clara is not wearing a mask. Or the dirty looks from others when she is. I am ready to wave goodbye to these things, but not to others.

I am not ready to drop Clara off at day care again. To miss the sticky hugs I get each morning after her morning waffles, or witnessing the sheer pride she exudes from completed the whole alphabet puzzle. I am not ready to only see my husband between the hours of 7:30 to 10:30 pm on weeknights. I am not ready to say goodbye to my cozy work-from-home spaces, complete with a dog on my lap and no makeup on my face. Most of all, I am not ready to say goodbye to the calm of a more simplified life.

Can we keep all the good, but not the bad? Can we all continue to stay home when we are feeling sick? And wear a mask if we are feeling sick, but need to go out? Can we work from home when we need to, without feeling guilty? Can we tell people no if we’re not feeling it, without making 1,000 excuses? I feel like there is so much we have all learned about ourselves over this past year.

What have you learned? What do you hope our post covid world looks like?

It is a New Year.

I feel like this is the celebration 2021 deserves.

And honestly, it’s the Peacock app for me.

Yes, The Office moved to Peacock. And for us anxious people who despise change (especially when it comes to our #1 comfort show) liked Jim, Michael and Angela right where they belonged, on Netflix. The move to Peacock means we must now download a new app? Pay more for the no-ad versions? Dwight, you ignorant slut!

But it’s not just The Office. It is of course, the senselessness that went down at the capitol building too. And the turmoil that has ensued since. It is also my grow-out. The rain. The looming 89273 days of rain ahead. And the 40 more after that. My mom-guilt. The fact that my twice weekly trips to Goodwill are all I have somedays. Or at least, that’s the way it can feel.

But then I realize that my gorgeous husband downloaded the Peacock app for me. And maybe my grow out is a look. And oh! Season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race just started! And there is a stash of E’s leftover Halloween candy in the way back of the junk drawer. And really, could Clara be sweeter?? See, things are ok.

And before we move allll the way into this new year, let’s review the holidays. Because while they were covidy and weird, they were awesome.

For starters, I tried these KISS Jelly Fantasy Nails on my birthday and they stayed on for like 10 days!

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day here in Portland. A pretty big change from years prior, but I have to say – it was SO nice being home. It was David and I’s first time doing the Santa thing and we had so much fun.

I received the below sweatshirt which is just *chef’s kiss*.

Then we went to the Tri-Cities to see my family!

We discovered Clara’s affinity for a pepperoni stick.

And then it was her birthday party! Mickey Mouse theme of course.

Check out my visor! An antique find from Auntie Amy & Shannon.

I did my first high pony in her hair and omg I die.

So far our new year has been spent hanging up our amazing holiday gifts:

Starbucks runs

The infamous matte black tumblers!

And donuts.

Happy New Year!

Clara is Two

This year on the birthday of our sweet Clara Jane, I decided my feelings would be best expressed in a song, from the motion picture “Fiddler on the Roof”.

Is this the little girl I carried?

Is this the little girl at play?


I don’t remember growing older
When did they?


When did she get to be a beauty?


When did she grow to be so tall?


Wasn’t it yesterday that they were small?


Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

 

My Favorite Bargains

Greetings and happy almost Halloweenis.

The other day as I took a luxurious 15-minute shower while watching YouTube  favorites videos,(yes I prop my phone in a high corner of my shower it only gets a lil water on it) I realized that so many of my favorite things are not expensive. And that my friends, is worth sharing.

So here we go.

Health & Beauty

Dollar Store Shave Cream – $1

This lotion-like shave cream from Dollar Tree is really amazing and you get 7 ounces for just a buck. I heard about it on TikTok and 100% will be repurchasing.

Tinkle Eyebrow Razors – $4.50 for 6

These handy little razors are great for those rogue eyebrow hairs and also any unwanted fuzz on yer mug. A have done my entire face and did not see that much of a difference, but this tool made it super easy and yeah, they cost about 75 cents apiece.

Eco Lips Lip Balms – $1.99

Yes, they just dropped their holiday collection (candy cane, gingerbread and raspberry truffle!) and these lip balms cannot be beat. They are certified vegan, fair trade and cruelty free, plus they are the smoothest, best quality lip balms out there for under $2 each. Go get you some!

Billie Razors – $9

I have been using Billie razors for over 2 years now (not sponsored btw) and they are just amazing quality razors. Every 2 months, I get 4 razor cartridges shipped to my door for $9 (free shipping) in very minimal, eco-friendly packaging.  Billie recommends using each cartridge for about 7 shaves, but I have gone up to 10-12 with no issues. If you are interested in signing up for a subscription – click here! I promise you will love it!

Earth to Skin Hand Sanitizers – $6.99 for a 6-pack

These little hand sanitizers from Walmart are great and so handy! At 2 ounces, they are twice as big as the ones from Bath & Body Works, but still travel-sized and cost about half as much. The formula smells great, is quick-drying and leaves hands moisturized. My favorite is the watermelon scent.

FOOD & home

Liberty Creek Pinot Grigio – $5.99

I know I talk about my beloved Lib Creek alot on this blog. But you guys. It tastes good and costs $5.99 for a 1.5 liter bottle at Rite Aid. As I was leaving my local Rite Aid at 8 pm the other night, carrying 3 un-bagged bottles of this and nothing else, a lovely woman passed by me in the parking lot and shouted, “that’s my kinda girl!” at me. We stan LC.

Walmart Candles – $3.33

I have tried several of the $3.33 Mainstays candles from Walmart (Mulled Cider is a fave) and this one is top notch! My only complaint with these candles is how quickly they burn down, but hey, they cost less than a pint of Ben & Jerry’s! The notes are “a woody and spicy fragrance that combines a warm blend of fresh black peppercorn, golden birch, Patchouli, smoked guaiac and rich suede accord create a cozy fall cocoon.” It smells so much more expensive than it is!

S.O.S Pads – $3.50 for 18

I know. We’ve entered the territory of some real exciting sh*t! But these are blog-worthy. If your mother has never told you about the wonder of S.O.S pads, allow me. They are basically little steel wool discs with soap built-in and they work AMAZING. I have used them on many things other than dishes, like shower doors, bathroom sinks and the microwave. SO good you guys!

Dollar Tree Sponges – $1

More love from Dollar Tree! If you can find these sponges, pick them up! They are by far my favorite and…you guessed it – they cost a buck. Hat tip to one of my favorite TikTok accounts @vaneamaro91 (a professional housekeeper) for talking about these and giving out THE BEST cleaning tips and tricks.

Mrs. Meyers Multi-Surface Concentrate – $8.99

We have had this bottle of the Mrs. Meyers Honeysuckle Concentrate for over 2 years. We use it as a counter cleaner by mixing 1/4 cup in a gallon of water and pouring it into a spray bottle. I also love it on our hardwood floors,  just a splash in a sink full of warm water does the whole kitchen and it smells amazing. 32 ounces for $9 is highway robbery, I am telling you!

Thanks for reading everyone! And leave any of your recommendations for best bargains below!

Fall Home Decor

Happy October friends!

Today I am bringing a little fall fun your way and if you think I have had these decorations out since September 1, you would be correct. I personally do not understand the gripe with decorating for holidays too early. Especially in the time of the COVID because wtf else are we going to do? But really, think of it this way:

Baseball season lasts approximately 39048453 days and yet it is considered perfectly normal to attend and watch preseason games. Nobody says anything about that. But I put out my Christmas decor a few weeks before Thanksgiving and people are up in arms?! Sorry that I need more than 30 days basking in the joy of holiday decor! That I would like more than a month to light my Christmas cookie candles and continually adjust the ornaments on the tree. FIGHT ME.

oksorry back to the fall stuff.

DECOR

I really wanted to find a pretty fall garland to put on my fireplace mantel, but everything was SO orangey. Maybe I will try to make something?

I also spray painted fake leaves from Michales to be more my aesthetic.

I recently made the earth-shattering decision on dark blues and pops of mustard yellow in our family room. Check out these prints I nabbed for 50% off at Hobby Lobby.

Also cannot wait to tie this little sucker to something next time we have people over. It smells like those cinnamon pinecones and was only $1 from Trader Joes.

HOME/BODY CARE

Lately I have been buying up all fall hand soaps I can find. Here is one I found at Target, which smells great!

And I had to get this one from Trader Joes as well.

In terms of wax melts, my new preferred home fragrance method – here are three scents I am obsessed with. All purchased from Walmart for $2. If anyone wants a more in-depth review just lemme know!

Also recently tried out this pumpkin spice CBD bathbomb and had myself the coziest lil fall evening ever! Thanks so much to the folks at CBD Living for sending me this and a handful of others to try. This bathbomb smelled amazing and is chalked full of skin-moisturizing oils and of course, 100 mg of CBD. So impressed!!

And lastly, these pumpkin spice “batons” from Trader Joes – so good with coffee you guys.

All for now – happy fall!

A Baby Update: 20 Months

Hi friends.

I had planned to continue showing our baby faves at all the normal milestone intervals – 6m, 9m, 1 yr, 18 months and so on. But then Clara started walking and really, as long as the girl was fed, rested and clothed – all she needed was a little mischief to keep her gears going. Screw the adorable wooden toys, sweet linen onesies and pristine soft leather crib shoes. She was ready for toddlerhood in every way.

Favorites have included scissors, phone cords, wallets, mommy’s pill bottles, sharpies and any other item we say no to. Preferred activities are picking at the mole on my clavicle (I had to have it removed), writing on the walls, the floor, herself and dipping her hands into the fish tank and then licking them.

This all might sound like complaining and truthfully it is and it isn’t. Obviously I don’t treasure following her around with a dust buster and magic eraser. Or clinging to her torso as she noodles out of my arms because I would not let her pick all of the flowers from our neighbors yard. But do I love the look of sheer delight on her face when I ask her if she wants to feed the fish in the morning? Yes. Do I laugh hysterically when she “finds” me “hiding” under the blanket? YAS. Do I share in her exaltation at Dave and Ava, her Hello Kitty plushes and opening the freezer? YES I DO!

It is equal parts joy and frustration. Energy and total exhaustion. I feel like such a dad when I say “this girl is going to keep us on our toes” but really, she is.

Take, for example the lovely spaghetti dinner we were having the other night when she somehow obtained a tiny circular smiley faced sticker, brought it to her sniffer and forcefully inhaled. One hour later David and I were on our way to Randall Children’s Hospital at the behest of our pediatrician. SO yeah, we’re on our toes now. Especially when it comes to stickers. And for anyone who is curious, we did not find the GD sticker up her nose.

Here we are in the E.R

She relishes at the sight of any kind of marker, ballpoint pen or other coloring apparatus. And after several walls scribbled in crayon and legs marked with pen, I got the girl an aqua doodle water mat on Amazon. Both her and her older sister love it and it was $12. It is this one if you are interested.

She is also a huge fan of the out-of-doors, despite my disapproval ;). Luckily though, she prefers walks to hikes and patios to grass.

Since parks these days are abysmal ghost towns that remind us the golden days of yesteryear, we have mostly steered clear. We did stop at one a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t resist an illegal session on the swing set.

But like come onnnn. Look at that face! ARREST US.

Can we also quickly touch on how insurmountably hard it is to raise children, one being a toddler, amidst a pandemic? While working from home full time? While trying to maintain relationships, friendships, connections? While trying to keep a tidy home? A sane mind?

Like I said…insurmountable.

We do not have childcare. So when I say it is a balancing act, it really is. I feel guilty when I have not stepped away from my computer for 4 hours and Clara has not been properly interacted with for more than 5 minutes. But then I feel guilty when I step away for 20 minutes to chase her around the kitchen or read her a book and I realize I’ve missed an urgent message from a co-worker. It’s a lose-lose. I know I am not alone and like HSM reminds us, “we’re all in this together!” but like, damnnn. This is hard.

But here are the things that make it better:

And

oh, and

did I mention?

and these guys too

So I guess the baby update is that she really is not a baby anymore. And while that makes me so sad I could vom, I am also pretty excited and proud at the little gal she is becoming. Stay tuned for her 2 year update in which I will  spend 48 solid hours in tears.

 

Current Favorites

Throwin’ it back to 2015 y’all!

yes this photo is from 2015, note the cell phone case

Today I thought I would bring you a list of the things I am currently loving. I do not know why this topic stopped being “a thing” so I am bringing it back. Hope that’s alright.

Arizona Big Buckle Birkenstocks

I got these Birkenstocks a couple years ago at Nordstrom. I havethis persistent pain in my back and a physical therapist friend recommended shoes with better support. I liked them because of the larger sized, shiny gold buckle. SO much more bougie than the regular old Birks. I feel like these shoes represent me perfectly and it shows! I wear them every single day.

Vedic Botanicals Alk-Align Toning Mist

This alkaline toning mist from Vedic Botanicals has been amazing on these 100 degree days! I keep it in the fridge and spray my face anytime I need some cooling off. The Kamogawa blend is especially good for uneven skin tone.

Vedic Botanicals NouRiche Hair Serum

You guys already know about my hair loss story and the journey back to full, sumptuous locks. This stuff has been amazing when applied directly to my scalp. And since the whole brand is vegan and uses very high-quality ingredients like coconut and argan oil, I feel good about doing it!

The team at Vedic Botanicals sent a few other products my way and I am delighted to try them all out!

A Wax Warmer and Wax Melts

It is no secret that I love me a good scented candle. Give me BBW Marshmallow Fireside any day of the week! But I have a toddler. A super curious one. Of course I always put the candles out of reach, but these days she is such a climber and I would rather be safe than sorry. PLUS, I have been reading about the soot that fills the air with candles and how they can stain your walls. That is when I decided to nab this wax warmer at Goodwill the other day for $4. It is from the brand Scentsy (it is called the Windsor warmer) and was brand-spanking new! Gotta love Goodwill!

I have been trying a bunch of different wax melts out (all from Wal Mart) and these are my favorites so far:

Pink Sands by Yankee Candle is AMAZING you guys!

Humble Flower Mini Relief Balm

So apparently I am an old lady because my knees audibly CREEK when I bend down and stand up. Poor Clara looks at me like “what was THAT noise?” and I just have to explain she has a geriatric mother with old-lady veiny hands and creeky-ass joints.

I digress.

This relief balm from Humble Flower is SO good! I was not a believer of any CBD products until I tried this. I rub it into my knees and “my hump” which is basically a persistent muscle pain I get in my back. It feels amazing, smells great and always provides some relief. It is a keeper!

Goodwill and Yard Sales

I do not need to explain this one much – just feast yer eyes on these finds!

Bird prints from Goodwill – $20 (originally from Z Gallerie)

This cool gold bust from an estate sale – $5

These cool vintage birds at a yard sale – $4 for a set of 2!

And lastly, but certainly not least..

Biscoff Cookies

 

If you have never tried these little gems, run don’t walk to the grocery and pick some up! If you are lucky, you will even happen upon some Biscoff Cookie Butter which to me, is better than the popular Trader Joes Speculoos. I have been eating these non-stop as they are the perfect size, flavor and texture. Added bonus:  you get to feel very European and chic while eating them.

*This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own.