September 25, 2020

3 Friday Things.

1. Wildlife. 

I went through the subset of modern depression that's only caused when you are out of episodes of something to watch and are helplessly scrolling through the millions of options available to you and still finding nothing to watch...Scott picked this movie. VERY GOOD. We love Carey Mulligan. 

2.  Challenger: The Final Flight

I was about 2 weeks old when the Challenger exploded in 1986. I always knew about it and it always kind of hung over me as a thing that happened around the time I was born. This was so incredibly well done. We couldn't stop watching. 

3. Camo shoes.

I grabbed the same shoes in camo and they're so perfect. Guys, I cannot stress enough how comfortable they are. Like, I forget they are on my feet. 

This week I also talked about my thoughts on masks and a few podcasts I'm listening to lately

September 23, 2020

WIWW: How do you feel about masks?

I may be one of the only people I know who hasn't posted pictures on social media regarding masks. Maybe one or two? I can't remember. It's been a longgggg 6 months.

Until last week, when I finally gave in and ordered a pack of decent-fitting masks from Athleta, the only masks I had were ones my mom gave me. And she only gave them to me because she had collected an assortment from various places for herself and she gave me the ones that she didn't like. I made them work. Then, I found one of Scott's and liked the way it fit so I took it for my own after washing it to get the dirt and dog hair off since it was on the floor of his truck when I came across it. 

Then, he started going to class and the gym every day and needed multiple masks on hand so he took it back and I was left with the random assortment from my mom that I keep stored in the console of my car. I've only ever worn one of them. The mask is a means to an end for me. It's not about finding a cute mask, or even a comfortable one. 

Mask-shaming is such a real thing. I purposely give my business to places that don't require one because there have been instances where businesses have been publicly shamed on Facebook in this county for not requiring masks. It's kind of awful, the vitriol you see in these Facebook groups :/

My philosophy is this: if a business requires me to wear one, I will. I'm not going to make a big deal about it. It doesn't matter that much to me. Also, life is hard enough..I don't want to make someone's day worse by refusing to do something they have to ask me to do. 

If a business requires Wells to wear one, I do not go into that business with Wells.

I will not put a mask on my 2 year old. That's all. When I see pictures of 2 year olds in masks, my heart breaks. When I see people in mom groups on Facebook ask where they can get a mask for their 18 month old for daycare, I cringe. Especially because you often see the toddler wearing the mask incorrectly anyway. What is the point? 

When I was applying for jobs a few months ago and looking into daycares, I only looked at ones where the toddlers didn't have to wear masks. 

Now, if he was going to the doctor for a checkup or shots or something, I would see what their policy is in order to be in the building safely. I know for certain that when I took him for his 2 year appointment in Pittsburgh, he was actually sick and he had a fever that day and they still didn't ask me to put a mask on him. The topic never even came up. 

Just last week, I went to the zoo with him and a friend brought her two year old as well. Neither kid had a mask. I just pretend it's not a thing to put masks on toddlers. I'll wear one if I have to. He certainly doesn't need one. 

Months ago, in Pittsburgh, I took Wells to the post office and he didn't have a mask on. I did. He was only 22 months and I was carrying him. They refused me service because he didn't have a mask on. I just left because I was carrying a heavy box (and a toddler) and didn't have time for that kind of argument. I told Scott about it and he went in there to ask about it on his way home from work. The two women (Rebecca and Lauren, Pleasant Hills location) told Scott that we must not care about our child and we were sh*tty parents and they basically yelled at him until he gave up and left. I mean, what was he supposed to do? I went to the other local post office where the supervisor worked and told him about it the next week. He was horrified. I mean, I don't hope they ended up getting fired, but eh, I suppose it wouldn't bother me if they did. 

The point was that, as the supervisor said, they were not allowed to let whatever personal biases they had (that weren't rooted in science or law or common sense) affect how they treated customers. 

That's the kind of society we're turning into. That's why I refuse to make the mask a mark of my style or personality or take a bunch of fun selfies while wearing it or even spend any more energy thinking about it than it took to write this blog post. 

So if you haven't seen mask-talk from me on here or on Instagram, that's why. 

For what it's worth, these masks from Athleta (which I do recommend for the quality and fit, by the way) say not to put a mask on anyone under 3 years. 

They also say they don't protect you from anything, so there's that...

Confused? Me too. 

September 21, 2020

Podcasts 1-2-3

Note: if you are looking for any important podcast to listen to this week, this one is it ^^^

If you've read here for any amount of time, you know that podcasts are my thing. I listen every day to all kinds of shows and am always adding new ones to the rotation. These are ones I feel like I haven't talked about before!

1 Podcast I Never Miss:

The Ben Shapiro Show is my go-to podcast. I find that I can get a reliable, evidence-based version of the daily news from him. Obviously, there's a conservative lean, but it's not opinion-based; it's fact-based with video clips, nothing taken out of context, etc. He doesn't go into the philosophical or historical weeds, or wax poetic, like some of the other hosts on his publication. He just gives a good overview of the need-to-know news of the day. Since I pay to subscribe to the Daily Wire, sometimes I watch his two-hour radio show while I'm cooking dinner but not all the time. Sometimes we just need a break from the news of the day.

2 Podcasts I Pick-and-Choose:

Reality Steve can be a good listen. Sometimes he interviews people not from the Bachelor franchise (but from Survivor or Temptation Island or Big Brother) or people I have no interest in hearing from because I don't care (he interviews a lot of random people)..but sometimes the podcast is really good. 

Michael Knowles/Matt Walsh. These are two different shows but both political takes. Depending on the news cycle, I'll listen to Michael Knowles. He gets a bit philosophical and I don't hate that but it can be exhausting sometimes. Matt Walsh is one I actually prefer to follow on Twitter, and his tweets will tell you exactly what the show will be about. I used to listen to him each afternoon when I walked the dogs. 

3 Podcasts I Recommend with Caution:

The Lazy Genius. I know it seems like a harmless and useful treasure trove of advice, but the more I listen, the more I wonder...she defines herself by saying "it's okay" and "you do you"...lazy-genius-ing is a brilliant marketing strategy when self-help is trendy. Most of what she says isn't *that* ground-breaking. But I really liked her episode on skincare. All in all, I am always suspicious when people live and die by the enneagram, especially if they are Christians. She falls into that category. 

True Crime Garage. This is a deep-diving true crime podcast. If you want alllll the information, go for it. Some episodes are more interesting than others so I definitely recommend scrolling for a case that interests you. True crime can be a gruesome genre too, so tread carefully. They're not overly graphic, but it goes with the territory. 

Game of Roses. You must know some of Bachelor nation's idiosyncrasies and facts and figures and characters in order to appreciate it. And you have to fast-forward past the SJW comments and laments at the beginning of each episode (these two do seem like miserable human beings, if you ask me), but I love the way they treat the show like a game and refer to "game play" and "players", and the way they detest Nick Viall...I can get behind that. It's really a fascinating take on the franchise, not just a simple recap. Again, small doses of this show are best. 

What are you listening to these days?

September 18, 2020

4 Friday Recommendations

I've been trying to sort out why I call these Friday posts "recommendations" instead of "favorites". I think "favorites" could be anything, such as I got a lot of much-needed sleep this week so that's a favorite! (I did not) or I'm looking forward to Halloween so that's a favorite! (I'm not). 

These are more like things I discovered in the last week that I really like and think you might too. (!)

1. So I drank the  Daily Harvest kool-aid. I mean, kind of. I knew of the company but I heard about it three times in one day last week and thought I would at least look it up. 

The pricing was actually slightly more reasonable than I expected for a few reasons: you can get a hefty discount on your first order (use that referral link up there for $$ off!), you can order when you want (kinda like a Blue Apron thing), and for the variety and exotic ingredients available in these smoothies, the price isn't that bad. 

So I got the box yesterday...9 smoothies for $41, packed in dry-ice. It's a very bougie thing to do, I know. But I'm really trying to eat better these days. Quarantine got the better of us all, right? I've been doing smoothies for lunch lately. I'm not really interested in ordering bowls/snacks/flatbreads.

I tried the Mint Cacao one first and it was definitely good. I really like the richness the cashews add and the crunch of the dark chocolate was kind of perfect. I blended with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. 

I actually split this one with Wells and, as I watched the 2 year-old sip an-originally-$8-smoothie, I kind of wanted to just smack myself for being ridiculous. But he *loved* it.

2. Cobra Kai

I never saw the Karate Kid movies. I think there's more than one? But Scott said Hey, this is supposed to be good... so we watched all of season one this week. Recommend. Very good. 

3. Obsessed with Disappeared

I really liked the True Crime Obsessed podcast and even subscribed for a month so I could get the good stuff under the Patreon backlog. I tried the Obsessed with Disappeared spin-off of sorts this week and it's pretty good. Very funny. Like, I LOL and Scott asks what I'm laughing about. 

This Tara Grinstead episode was good. (I couldn't stand Payne Lindsey so I never got very far on Up & Vanished but Scott liked that podcast.) And the episode about Maura Murray where they talk about back-in-the-day printing out Map Quest directions before you went on a trip like a barnyard animal. That spoke to me.  

4. I also whole-heartedly recommend these sneakers from...Walmart. 


In other news, I've read three really good books in the last week and a half but haven't even gotten around to posting them on Instagram. I'm still doing the Chloe Ting Summer Shred (the jury is out on whether it works). And I recommend getting outside and enjoying the cooler temperatures. 

And, in case you missed it, Scott asked why I had decorated for fall when it was still summer. 

September 16, 2020

WIWW: Leopard Sneakers

 I mentioned that I wasn't going to be spending time browsing at Target for clothes and I wasn't going to be picking up random workout clothes at Walmart anymore. A lot of what I'd get would work once or twice and then just...wouldn't anymore. It was a cycle of disappointment. 

To be honest, this is a huge timesaver. Not having to take a spin through the clothes when I'm there "just in case" is very freeing. 

I did check out the shoes at Walmart a few weeks ago because Wells needs some rain boots. Of course, it's the wrong time of year for that, so there's none in the stores. 

But I noticed these sneakers on Nadine's blog at one point and thought I'd at least see if my local store had them. I even made a note to check when my no-spend month of August was over. 

My store did not have those shoes, but I did see these ones:

I had a pair of camo Keds a few years ago and I adored those things and wore them to death. These looked promising as a substitute this fall (Keds are kind of ridiculously expensive..I'd gotten mine on a clearance). 

My dilemma was that I'd just gotten Wells a pair of camo sneakers so I didn't want to, like, match him, ya know? So I got the leopard print. They have memory foam and were super soft and comfy, but most shoes are 23 seconds into the first wear. 

The thing is, I swore I wouldn't buy random cheap articles of clothing anymore but I, like, really needed some sort of slip-on sneaker. You see, my Target ones from spring are flat-out worn out and I don't actually have any others. I have some footbed sandals and I have some Nikes and that's been my rotation of shoes for the last 4 months. 

So, I grabbed them for $10 and...I wore them to the zoo the next day. I really did need something for a purpose like a trip to the zoo. I don't like wearing sneakers with regular clothes (i.e. not workout clothes).

Long story short: usually it's not recommended to buy a pair of cheap shoes and wear them to walk a few miles pushing a stroller the next day. But this was why I needed them to begin with, so I wore them. And they were fabulous. 

Comfortable. No blisters. No rubbing. Cushiony. 

I highly recommend these $10 shoes. 

I think I'm going to go back and grab them in camo. 

I have a weird thing for camo, I suppose. 

Wells' outfit: shorts, shirt, sandals

September 15, 2020

Photo Catch-Up 2


You don't have goose decoys in your yard?

Tucked in Jett and read him a book. 

I got this in hopes of organizing things. Wells legitimately helped put it together. 

September 14, 2020

Fall Decorations (new house, weird year, etc) {UPDATED}

I loudly will proclaim fall to be my favorite season by far and I will cash in my #basic card on this any day.....but I don't have a ton of decorations for it. It's weird. I started collecting a little of this and a little of that starting in 2009 when we got married. I have "fall", I have "Thanksgiving", and I have "Halloween". Most of what I have that falls into the Halloween category were decorations I used in my classroom. They don't really fit in with my fall decorations. So I rarely put up the Halloween decorations now. I've never been a huge Halloween fan and I don't know how much I want to make of it with Wells, going forward. The first year, I adored dressing him up. Last year, he didn't know any different, he was incredibly difficult about things, there was a terrible wind/rain storm in Pittsburgh so he couldn't trick-or-treat anyway (not that we were really planning on it?), and answering the doorbell for trick-or-treaters is just awkward to me. I never hated Halloween, though, until I started teaching in Colorado and they forced me to wear a costume and participate each year. Other schools never did. And don't get me started on Halloween and adults; Halloween is a kids' holiday, guys. 

I think I'm really going to take my cue from Wells and how he feels about it over the next few years. He might really like it? If he doesn't, I'll likely just ignore it. Also, with the way public school is going, I don't see how kids could get to have fun Halloween parties right now. 

So here's what I came up with this year...

I got the pumpkin sign and the candle (Sand + Fog Autumn Harvest) at Homegoods last week. I like that they are understated. I got the letterboard idea from Pinterest. I'm not that creative. 

I got these stuffed pumpkins at Target last year and Hobby Lobby this year. I love them, but I don't want Wells to get them so they stay out of reach. 
Runner is from Hobby Lobby. I originally got it for the table but it doesn't look right there. 

This corner is a little cluttered (I keep the bookcase here because there's no good wall for it and I don't want Wells to assume he can climb it at some point; it physically can't fall on him from this angle.)
But it holds some odds and ends of decorations I've collected over the years. Wells about destroyed that scarecrow last year, so it stays out of reach. 

Once upon a time, I filled these shelves. And it's not like Wells is out to destroy my decor...he just touches and moves things and I hate taking the time to move them back. So this is pretty bare. 

Our front door could probably use a good power wash. 

And...I really don't like our kitchen, so I didn't do much in there. I won't complain because goodness knows this house is a million times better than the last go-around, but still. I feel like I had perfected the decor for fall (and Christmas) in our house in Colorado after being there for 4ish years. This year-to-year stuff is exhausting again. 

Are you a Fall person or a Halloween person? I like decorations that can last from September to the end of November. 

Linking up with Emily and Sarah!

September 11, 2020

4 Friday Things

1. Can anyone tell me what is so great about Olive and June nail polish? Seriously. Tell me. I spent some time deep-diving but can't discover anything aside from what I had already assumed (that it's just making the IG rounds). 

2.  I need a good recommendation for a "toy organizer". This could be a shelf, a box, whatever. I need something to put in Wells' room. Space isn't an issue...he has a big room...but I don't want to spend a ton and I don't want to buy something that's cheaply constructed. What do you use? I don't even want to organize them; I want to stuff them into something where I don't have to see them, so I'm leaning toward a regular toy box. 

This is the image you get if you google "toy organization" so *overwhelmed* is how I feel:

3. We've been watching the show Red Oaks on Amazon. I recommend it. It's pretty funny. The cast of characters is interesting. It's about a country club in New Jersey in the 1980s.

(fun fact: I avoided it for years despite always seeing the promo because I don't like this promo looks nothing like the actual characters/show)

 4. It's September 11th. 

I took this last year in Shanksville. It was my first visit there, even though I grew up about 2 hours away from the crash site. If you are local to PA, I recommend a trip there. 

I made it a point to talk to my students about 9/11 every year. At first some of them had been born around September 2001. Then it became so far removed, like it was a true history lesson for them. That's why we have to keep talking about it. 

September 8, 2020

August Books.

I finished 4 books in August. I finished two more last week and I'm halfway through another right now.  You're just going to get the August books on here today, but you can follow me in real time on Instagram. 

And, since I'm a big believer in working smarter, not harder, I'm going to repost my Instagram captions here...simply because I give some pretty detailed thoughts there anyway. 

Finally, because most of what I read is pretty prone to spoilers, I don't accidentally want to give anything away. So going with what I've already said is probably best!

So...You can zoom in? Or go to my IG

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan 4 stars

It wasn't bad at all. I could see how it's definitely this author's first book. I rather enjoyed it. It was terribly sad in a lot of ways. There's not much to say other than it's a fictional biopic of an early 2000s pop group. 

You're Not Enough (and that's okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love by Allie Beth Stuckey 5 stars

This bolded intro on Goodreads *kind of* says it all: 

I have so much I could rattle on about here. The basics: If you're a Christian, you need to read this book. This message is life-changing. It was a turning point for me. As a new mom, who had no idea what I was supposed to do and where I was supposed to go and how I was supposed to live (we moved 3 times in two kid's entire life has been nothing but moving back and forth across the country), I needed to hear something truthful. This was it because it's not just my truth or a truth, it's the truth. It's much easier to believe in the Gospel than it is to try to make my own way. It was a harsh dose of tough love when I didn't want it but I needed it. 

The caption kind of says it all. Don't go in knowing anything. It's pretty solid. 

The Guest List by Lucy Foley 3 stars

This was good enough. I wasn't blown away but I thought it was well-written. I wanted to see illustrations, to be honest. The setting sounded beautiful but I had trouble visualizing. 


All in all, I'm in a good place, reading-wise. What's the best book you read last month? 

Linking up!

Life According to Steph