Monday, August 22, 2016

A Few Favorites


This post was slated for last Friday as I used to do these Friday Favorites posts every Friday.  Then my schedule became unpredictable and I stopped doing them. I had this one almost ready to go, but then found myself on Thursday night, exhausted and realizing it wasn't going to be ready. This may surprise you when you see how sparse it is. But, you know, sometimes even the sparsest of posts are just too much. 

But anyway, some recent favorites. 

My Justin Bieber T-Shirt


I spotted it at Target and it had to go home with me. I wear it to bed and it's now my favorite sleep shirt. My husband hates it. Well, he sort of thinks it's funny, but that was only after I told him I would only wear it in the house. Is it too late to tell you I'm sorry, baby? 

Walgreen's Instagram Photos 

I don't know when they started doing this, but Walgreens will let you upload your Intagram photos and then make 4X4 prints that are ready to be picked up in an hour. 


This helped me out last week when I had one day to put together photo collages of the kids for their new pre-school/after-school program. I was give a month and a half to do them. I waited until the night before. I'm going to be great with science projects and homework, aren't I.

A Recent ThredUp Purchase

I know I've mention ThredUp a few times, but I recently bought something I love. 
One thing that drives me crazy about them is that if you put something in your cart, it only stays there for 24 hours before it disappears into the mass of online inventory. Don't they understand that one of the benefits of online shopping is that you can leave items in your cart? For like, ever? So it does get a little difficult to make the final decision that I'm ready to buy. Usually, for me, one dream item will appear and then I know I'm ready to pull the trigger, whether or not I'm at or above the $79 minimum for free shipping.  

The dress above, was that dream item. It's a sweet pink Laura Ashley dress in size 5T which means it will be perfect for her next spring and summer.  It's cotton, so not too fancy, and with a bow in the back. I got it for less than $10. When I found out I was having a little girl, this is the kind of dress I dreamed about. 

I also scored a nice Gymboree plaid shirt and a new-with-tags pair of corduroys for my little man's fall photos. I still shop for myself, but I'm finding some great deals on nice kids' clothes.

Pet Block 

There comes a time in every pet owner's life when the pet tells you they are pissed off in the grossest way possible. That time has come for us when, in May, we took a week long trip and the cat sitter dropped the ball. A particular rug in our basement, close to where I do my morning workouts, is taking a beating. I've been trying everything, but ended up finding this Pet Block
It's been WORKING! Well, so long as I spray it on the offending rug every day. I skipped a couple of days and Miss Daisy let me know that she was still pissed about that trip. But I think it works.

Stranger Things

My husband and I did finish the eight-episode first season of Stranger Things on Netflix and we loved it. There were a few times when I could tell he was spooked. Then he'd look over at me and see the front of my sleep shirt and would be spooked even more.

So there you go....just a few favorite things. What's worked for you for a persistent pooping cat? Have you watched Stranger Things?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Am I High Maintenance?

High maintenance? Who? Moi?


This is probably pretty typical, but I'm occasionally accused of being high maintenance. It's not said directly, but implied in my husband's impatience on a Saturday morning when he wants to get the kids out of the house and I'm making my case for doing my hair or applying a little makeup. 

I don't think I'm the most high maintenance woman around, but I have a few things I like to do before I leave the house. I'm not the kind of woman who is comfortable leaving the house with just a baseball cap on without doing any other type of prep work. I personally don't think I take very long,  but, I do have a minimal routine I like to do if there is a chance that I will see someone I know or a picture which may end up on Facebook may be taken. 

Speaking of Facebook, this little quiz ended up in my feed and I took it.


35 points. Not bad. I did answer no to whether it takes me more than 20 minutes to do my hair. I'm not counting washing my hair, combing it out and then putting in a couple of products while it's still wet. I then tend to let it air dry while I run upstairs and help get the kids ready or, if it's the weekend, have a cup of coffee and breakfast. I'm just counting the time it takes to do a final blow-dry and style it. If I were pressed for time and had to count everything coming out of the shower, then yes, I would probably take more than 20 minutes. 

And yes, I do always have my nails done at a salon, but I found a way to make it last three weeks and so in a way, that makes me less maintenance....in my opinion. 

Yep, I shower and I wear at least a bit of make-up everyday, even on weekends. It just makes me feel better. 

I don't think 35 points is all that bad. I think I was overly penalized for wearing a Revlon Lip Butter every day. It's kind of like my chap-stick. I think if I wore no make-up, I would still wear this. 

This is kind of a fun quiz that I took and I answered honestly, although I had a tough time answering the Jennifer question. I would want them all to be my friend--I ended up with Aniston, but thinking about it more, I think Garner and I would have a bit more in common. 

My results were that I was "the perfect blend." 
What a role model: You’ve got a totally healthy attitude toward self-care. You relish a good massage or shopping spree, but you rarely take your demanding behavior to the extreme. In fact, your best quality is that you know how to get what you want without having to make a scene, but you definitely aren’t a pushover either. And, when it comes to your look, you’re polished and trendy, but never overdone.

Top       

I think that sums me up pretty well.

Sometimes we judge others for being "high-maintenance" when they put a value on or feel an urge to put time into something that we don't. Maybe you snip your own nails short and keep them unpainted or don't feel the need to do anything to your hair. That's your prerogative. Do whatever you want. If eyelash extensions make you feel better about yourself, you go girl. If spending your money and time on airbrush tanning makes you feel better, go for it. If having a regular appointment with a masseuse after a 30 minute shower is your thing, will you watch my kids one Saturday afternoon and let me take your place?

I have a routine and a few things I like to do to make me feel my personal best and self confident. I make no apologies and I make no judgment of others.  Whether you take 5 minutes to get ready or two hours, you do your thing and I'll do mine. Until then, honey, we'll leave the house when I'm good and ready.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Starting School


Excitement is bubbling in our house. My son is starting kindergarten! He starts in the middle of next week and the countdown has begun. And I, my dear reader, have started to panic.

Now, in case you didn't know this about us, both of our children have been in full-time daycare or preschool since they were baby babies. He's been toting a backpack to and fro Monday through Friday since before he could walk, and so one would think we've got this whole thing down.

But no, I'm panicking and suddenly realizing that we have been spoiled by our daycare/pre-school. We've been going to the same school since my son was 11 months old and his first daycare had to suddenly closed. A little over a year later, my daughter started in the infant room just as my son transitioned into the toddler room.  Since then, both kids have made their way into the pre-school after being potty trained by the teachers (to whom I will always always be grateful) and have thrived, learned to write, and brought home an array of cherished art.

So, for the past four years, as difficult as it may have seem at the time, we've had one drop-off with no rules as to when that drop-off would be. Get there when you can. In our house, sometimes that was 8:30. Sometimes it was 10:30. One pick-up and it just needs to be before 6:00. Also, they fed our kids. Ever since my kids weaned and we tossed the bottles, we haven't had to pack or send a lunch or a drink or a snack. That's been one less thing to deal with.

The pre-school offers a private kindergarten and we had the option of sticking with the status quo for one more year. One drop off. After kindergarten, he would walk across the hall to the afternoon program and be fed lunch. One pick up. It was tempting.

But, there is an elementary school, and a very good one, two blocks from our home and I just thought, no, I'm ready for it to be something different. Not only is our current preschool in a not-too-convenient location, my thought was that if we stuck with the same school, the start of kindergarten would not be that big of a deal. It would be just another day with the same schedule.

And I want it to be a big deal. Even though he's been in "school" since he was 3 months old, the start of kindergarten is a momentous occasion . I want him to go to the little school down the street that I drive by every day. And dang it, I want to join the PTA and make friends too. And so I've enrolled him. I also found a new preschool for my daughter which will also bus my son after kindergarten for its after-school program. So, we'll still have one pick-up at 6:00 everyday, but, I'm starting to panic.

Two different drop offs. How are we going to manage that? Now my son needs to be at school between 8:15 and 8:40 each day, no exceptions. I've driven past the line to get in to the school parking lot in the morning, smirking and thinking, suckers. Now I'll be in that line. Sure, walking is an option, but what about bad weather days? What if I'm running late? Do you know how slow my son walks when he wants to? And what if one us is traveling for work? How will we manage the different drop offs? And now I have to pack lunches? Lunches? And I'm supposed to trust that my baby, my little boy, is getting on a bus and is not left stranded in a parking lot?

And now the PTA wants me to volunteer? Volunteer? When? Why did I sign up? Is it too late to change my mind?

Whenever I start to panic, I search out help on Pinterest to see how other bloggers are handling it. That was a mistake. That just made me feel even more disorganized and unprepared. But then I calmed down and took a few steps back and one big deep breath. So here's what a mom, a real mom, a slacker mom, is doing to prepare for the first day of kindergarten in the best way she can.

This is it. 

The flowers are fake.  I am real.

The Calendar 

When I started talking to my son about starting kindergarten and to my daughter about starting the new school, I realized they were confused about when they were actually starting. So, I found this little reusable dry-erase calendar in the dollar spot at target and put it up on the wall.  I even took the extra step of putting up these little laminated apples that their current preschool teachers made for us. I felt really crafty doing this.
This has actually been a fun little activity for us. Each day, we put up a little number that came with the calendar set to mark off that day and then we talk about the days and weeks before the start of kindergarten and then the start at the new school. The kids are actually fighting over who gets to put up the number that day and I usually just alternate. One day I said whoever picked up the most toys could do it and that worked. 

Lunches

Packing lunches for them still has me freaked out. I really should have stayed off Pinterest on this one. I have a huge amount of respect for moms who have something like this or this going on in their home and morning routine, but honestly, post and pictures like that just make me feel like crap.  (Take a look at these suggestions for packed lunches.....do people really do that?). When we toured the new preschool/after-school place and the director took us to the lunch room, I asked whether there were any rules or standards for lunches (I had heard about parent-shaming for sending a, gasp, granola bar, to school). The director said no and pointed to one child who was eating Kentucky Fried Chicken right out of the white and red paper bag. "Most parents send a sandwich or macaroni and cheese and a drink and a piece of fruit, but sometimes, parents run late and we get fast food bags. It happens."

Okay, I thought, the bar has been set low. Megan, you can do this. You can pack a lunch. Let's just see if I can also include a fun little printable every day.

T Rex Lunch Box        Cat Lunch Box
I thought that showing my kids their new lunch boxes would just add to the new school excitement. My son loved his, but my daughter was disappointed because she wanted a T-Rex lunch box as well. School hasn't even started and I already made my first mom-fail: I gender stereotyped the lunch boxes. 

But the cat is so cute...and it's pink.

Mudroom

So, along with the craft room, the gift-wrapping room, a personal blogging office and the playroom, my house is missing a mudroom. I really would like a mudroom. I don't think I ever understood the need for a mudroom until I had short people who had to be shuttled in and out of the house every day. Specifically, I want this woman's mudroom. I'd settle for this. I think it's obtainable.  

This is what I'm starting with.


Step one: Think about painting and installing built in bookshelves.
Step two: Sell house and just move.

We'll get there.

First Day Photographs

Now this is something that has me all excited. Since my son was still in diapers I've been looking at Pinterest for inspiration on first day of school photos like this or this. When I mentioned this to my husband, he thought I meant to hire a professional photographer. No, I explained, that wasn't necessary with my stellar iPhone camera skills. But we needed a sign. A sign?, he asked. Why? 

My husband obviously doesn't have a Pinterest account. 

I really did start to look into cute signs on Etsy and, as it turned out, I was looking too late as most of them required a three week minimum with no guarantee of delivery. 

Then I saw these little under $10 signs on Amazon with Prime Shipping.   
First Day & Last Day Signs

I think those will do just fine. Now let's see if my son, the joker, will hold the signs at the right angle and moment to give me something Facebook or Instagram-worthy. Somebody please give me bonus points if I remember to take a photo of him on the last day of kindergarten. 

Although I am worried about the dual drop off and earlier than we're used to schedule, the start of kindergarten is a big day. The whole family will be getting up, getting dressed and going with him for his very first big boy drop off. 

He's so excited. 


I will spend the rest of the day fretting over him and calling to make sure he made it onto that bus and whether he ate that lunch.


Friday, August 12, 2016

It's All About Your Perspective

He asked, where do you want to go for vacation. I answered, oh, I don't care. Anywhere with a beach.

Next time, I will be more specific.

Let's label that one as #sadvacationphotos2016

And yes, at one point I did use that outhouse and it was one of the more traumatic moments of my life. 

I haven't been posting lately. Sure I've been busy with the new school year starting and, in our family, school and schedule changes coming up. It's our busy busy time at work as well with no downtime to sneak in a post draft or make the usual rounds to some of my favorite blog. But that's not the reason.  Well, not the sole reason.

Lately I've just felt the need to pull back and not post as much, here, on Instagram, on Facebook.

As others are posting their beautiful vacation photos and pictures of their immaculate and perfectly decorated homes and picnic spreads that could compete for page space in a Martha Stewart magazine, I've been feeling a little unsure of myself. I've been doing the comparison game and coming out on the losing side.



And now we have Snapchat and Instagram stories and all I can think is, wow, these people really do live beautiful lives all of the time. They really do make coffee in whimsical coffee mugs in immaculate white kitchens and then sip it in their white beds while blogging on white macbooks that have no coffee drips or fingerprints with a hardback Harry Potter book off to the side? 

They really do?

And how do all of these people have the time to capture beautiful moments in their life in real time and add funny editing graphics as well? 

And they always have perfectly applied nail polish that matches their outfits every single day?


I'll never get that down.

And something has been making me want to hold back and not put myself out there for others' scrutiny. To just sit back and just ...... be for a while. Hopefully it will be just for a while. 

But for now, I'm just going to hold back and not worry about posting or growing a following or networking or wondering what others are thinking of me. I just need a moment to worry less about what my sad vacation photos look like in comparison.....

and just focus on the beauty of what I was looking at.




Friday, August 5, 2016

So I Shopped the #NSale

I know I said I wasn't going to, but I just couldn't help it. I won a pretty nice gift card to Nordstrom from Corporette (thank you Kat!), a blog I've been reading since before my blogging days. That little unexpected gift made my day and gave me the final shove to get....


this purse, which I had been eyeing for a while. At less than $40, I'd spied the nude version on Instagram and had been wanting a red bag. It arrived on Monday and it is a great bag for the price. It's roomy. It hangs comfortably on a shoulder. The color is exactly what I was wanting.

Dress

It went nicely with a wooden necklace I recently got for a steal from The Loft, which is sold out on-line now. My outfit was inspired by how Anne wore this necklace with a simple black dress


Besides the bag, I picked up this cardigan for my mother because it just looks so cozy. I've been seriously contemplating these earrings, but may just save the balance of the card for Christmas gifts. 

So, there you go. I bought something at the #NSale and I owe it all to Kat from Corporette


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Who To Watch Next on Netflix: Anna Friel

Are you wondering what to watch next on Netflix as you anxiously await spending Thanksgiving weekend in Stars Hollow? I have a couple of recommendations for you and both star actress Anna Friel who, although has been acting since age 13, has only recently popped up on my radar. 

Marcella

Marcella is a Netflix original and is a British detective story involving a race to stop a serial killer. Friel plays Marcella, a complex former detective who asks to join the force again after her husband leaves her. Things get complicated when her estranged husband's lover turns up as one of the killer's victims. Downton Abbey's Laura Carmichael also stars in this suspenseful crime drama that kept me coming back each night. 

Watch this if you enjoyed The Killing, The Fall, or Broadchurch.

American Odyssey

Apparently, one season of this series appeared on NBC and was then cut. I missed it on cable, but now that season is on Netflix. I've almost reached the end of season one and I'm hoping that Netflix will pick it up like it did with The Killing. American Odyssey involves political corruption and dirty corporate conspiracies to fund terrorists. Friel plays an American solider who is trapped in North Africa after discovering the conspiracy and on a run for her life to escape those who don't want her to talk. 


Watch this if you enjoyed Homeland, Scandal or House of Cards.

After I'm through American Odyssey, my husband and I are going to try Stranger Things together. We don't often find a show we can mutually agree to, but this one might be the kind to give us a few date nights in.  

Okay, so I've been a little light on posts. No excuses. Just an off week. This heat is making me super lazy. But that just means it's the perfect time to stay in and Netflix binge.

What have you been watching?




Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sleeveless Swing Dress: Wear Now, Wear Later


I'm one of those people who's been avoiding the Nordstrom sale. It's a little difficult to completely ignore it as it seems to have taken over Instagram and every blog post out there. Sure, I get the excitement, but I really don't have a need for any high-end distressed skinny jeans or another pair of boots. I'm also trying to save a bit where I can and so I've just been averting my eyes and trying to not click.

Well, okay, I have clicked a couple of times.  Just to peek. One item that caught my eye was the striped Socialite Cowl Neck Shift Dress that a few bloggers picked as their #NSale favorites and then snapped in Instagram dressing room mirror selfies.
@BrieBemi

The price was really good at less than $30, but the striped version sold out pretty quickly (I don't have early access--don't want the debit or credit card thank you) and plus, it looked pretty short in the hemline department.

But then yesterday, I was at Target (I only went in there to get sunscreen and K-cups I swear) and spotted a rack of dupes. I can only find the plus size version on-line, but my store had a variety of colors available in misses sizes as well, including a.....stripe! A black and grey stripe! So I tried it on.
I don't look as cute in my Target dressing room mirror selfie. Messy hair, No make-up. Wearing a sports bra. I'm just never going to cut it in the Instagram dressing room mirror department. I'm just not that cool. I'm just real.
The hemline looked good. I loved the fit.I got it. It was $27.99, which is actually a bit more than the #NSale price of the Nordstrom one. I'm saving my receipts in case it goes down in price in the next couple of weeks because Target will then honor the lower price. I usually don't like to pay full price at Target, but there was only one striped medium left and so it was going home with me. 

And then I thought....I know, I'll take pictures of how I'll wear it both now and in the fall. 


That's right, in the over 100 degree heat of my house, I slapped on some opaque tights, suede booties and a jacket to show how I'll still be wearing this in the months to come.
I thought about digging out a plaid blanket scarf to show how cute that would be, but that would be taking things too far. 

But if you missed out on the Socialite Cowl Neck Shift Dress at the #NSale, check your local Target. It came in a few solid colors as well.  


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