Thursday, February 11, 2016



THINKING ABOUT: On Tuesday, Max and I made our way to Walmart for a few odds and ends. As I was finishing up at the self-checkout, I noticed my dear tot made some new friends. There was a child about his age seated in a shopping cart in the company of his grandpa, mother, and big brother. As we struck up a conversation, I learned that the woman actually gave birth to her oldest son at the Swell Rio Wally World. What the what?! I thought that was the kind of thing that only happened in Natalie Portman movies. You guys, I was in a state of disbelief! In fact, the shocked and amused look on my face were enough for the kind lady to go on and share a few extra details about her delivery. LUCKY ME! For instance, the kind folks at Walmart brought her one of those kiddie plastic pools to have the baby in when she went into labor. Yikes! Oh, and she said the employees were so excited because they had access to mylar balloons and they brought them to her immediately after her baby boy arrived. Ha Ha! According to the grandpa, this little boy is a handful, so he said the mom brings him to the superstore's customer service desk every year on his birthday and asks about their return policy. The little boy (seven-ish years old?!) overheard us discussing his birth place and proceeded to ask the mom, "Are you seriously going to do that EVERY year?!" He he! As we parted ways and I headed to the car, I couldn't help but thank GOD that didn't happen to me. Could you even imagine?! That woman deserves a shiny medal or a life's supply of tequila.

THANKFUL FOR: We're San Antonio bound this weekend for a quick day trip. Hooray! While driving five hours (round-trip) isn't necessarily a blast, the idea of visiting some of my favorite shops (J.Crew, Madewell, Anthro, etc.) and stocking up on pantry staples (Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Target) makes me want to break into a happy dance. Hello, civilization! We're coming for you...  

FEELINGI'm fairly certain George Strait would refer to the first week of Whole30 as the "I Hate Everything" phase. Parting with some of my favorite things like bread, dairy, and sweets certainly hasn't been easy, but Flyboy and I have found that we're feeling more energetic and satisfied as each day passes. Hallelujah! We both agreed there are aspects of Whole30 eating that we'd like to make part of our norm even after we're done. With that being said, how many more days until I can have some Mike and Ike again?!

EATING: Saturday night is typically our designated meal for eating out, but since the Whole30 options in Swell Rio are slim, we opted to fix Primally Inspired's Carne Asada instead. Because I do most of the cooking and was ready for a break, I passed the grilling off to Flyboy and focused on the Succotash (I opted to wing it and use veggies we had, but here's a similar recipe that's not compliant with Whole30) and Tomatillo Avocado Salsa. It was all so incredible! I can see us preparing this recipe regularly. Do me a favor and try it!

LISTENING TO: I guess Max has seen me chat on the phone a time or two because the imaginary calls he has are intense. Depending on his mood or what's available, he'll grab a puzzle piece, orange peel, his bottle, etc., and throw it up to his ear as though it's his cell. Forget the flip-phone or touch screen, this child is low-maintenance. The "conversations" appear to be filled with hilarious punchlines and banter. Occasionally he'll pause to listen to what the other person has to say, but he typically is the long-winded one. Hmm, I wonder where he sees that?! These little chatterbox episodes have been going on frequently over the past few weeks. I tried to explain them my to parents, but it was only when I got it on video this last weekend (watch here) that they could fully appreciate what I was describing. And sure, it sounds super cute when I describe it, but try disciplining the wily tot when he's on the horn. It's IMPOSSIBLE! It's nothing for him to give you a snotty "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" look and then proceed with his call.

WATCHING: When Flyboy set the DVR to record The People v. O.J. Simpson on FX, I turned my nose. We were in second grade when that all went down; I figured I wouldn't be interested and that I'd inevitably pass out ten minutes into the premiere. Lucky for me, I was sorely mistaken! The miniseries is pretty interesting and has me eager to watch upcoming episodes. Now if I could just get over John Travolta as Robert Shapiro and Connie Britton as "the morally corrupt" Faye Resnick. Bravo fans out there, do you feel me?!

READINGI have so many pages open on my phone browser with posts and quick reads I wanted to share with you. Here goes...

LOVING: My cousin is a stylist and sent me a bottle of Pravana Nevo Lived-In Powder Potion a few weeks ago. Whenever she introduces me to a new product, it always lives up to the hype. This has been a game changer. Sprinkle some of the powder into your palm and it morphs into a pomade adding texture and fullness to my fine head of hair. Yas queeeeeeeen, yaaaaaasssss!

Enough about me. How are you feeling today? What are you up to? Thanks for stopping by!!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016



Happy Tuesday, m' dears! If I'm being completely honest, I should have seen this coming. I'm talking about the pity party I threw last Saturday afternoon. Yep, I was struggling BIG time! I'm not proud of my mini melodramatic meltdown, but I definitely did not set myself up for success either. You see, I'd looked forward to getting my hair colored all week. It was, after all, going to be the highlight of the weekend. The BIG to-do!!! But by the time I returned home from my appointment at noon on Saturday, I realized the fun was over and panic set in. From time to time, living in this desolate location starts to wear on me. Pair a variable like that with our FIRST weekend of Whole30 (no sweet treats, eating out, cocktails, etc.) and you have a recipe for disaster. There's not much to do around here and when most of your days are spent mothering, it all starts to blend together in a hazy fog. I often find myself wondering what exactly sets the weekend apart from the actual week (with the exception of having Flyboy all to ourself) and I get a little anxious when Friday rolls around. I start out with the best intentions to make the most of our family's time together, but I long to make memories OUTSIDE of our house and the routine trip to Home Depot. I look for creative ways to keep things fresh, but the monotony slowly starts to suck the life out of me and the idea of spending 1.5 to 2 more years here feels daunting and depressing. 

Whenever I have moments like these, it's important for me to communicate. I was raised to be grateful for my blessings and make the best of any situation, but admitting that I'm frustrated is only human and necessary. I sometimes feel guilty for harboring such feelings, but then I remember that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Hmmm, I think that one hits a little too close to home in Swell Rio! Ha Ha! Because I'm a doer and I like to take action, it's crucial that I remain proactive about upcoming opportunities to get outta Dodge. I'd say it's time we plan a few weekend road trips, shall we?! In addition to airing my grievances and whipping out my planner, I've found it's imperative I take time to be creative. For example, Saturday's pity party came to a screeching halt when I dusted off my DSLR and we headed outside to a nearby park. As hokey as it sounds, seeing Flyboy and Max through my camera lens helped me refocus. A little fresh air and perspective can change a lot.

Over the last month, my grandpa's health hasn't been the best and it's only worsened in the past week. I suppose you could say the situation has definitely heightened my sensitivity to time, how it's spent, and who it's spent with. Since Max has graced us with his presence, I feel this dire need to make the most of our time together. I want to fill his life with SO much love and new experiences. I feel like it's my purpose. Selfishly, I want to give him the kind of childhood that I had—one rich with culture and opportunity. But when I really reflect on my past and the reason those memories mean so much to me, I realize it all had very little to do with the activities or the locale (although, they certainly didn't hurt...). Instead, it had EVERYTHING to do with the people that surrounded me.

So while I shot my camera aimlessly last Saturday night in hopes there might be a potential keeper in that batch of blurry snapshots, I was reminded that our current location might not be ideal, but we're together. In the end, that's all that really matters.

Alright, enough with the reflective ramblings on this end. How the heck are YOU?! Do tell. I'm dying to know.

P.S. Oh, and in an effort to shake things up Swell Rio style, we hiked a new trail on Sunday. Would you believe me if I told you that a deer followed us for a good chunk of the hike? Yowzah! Nature girl, I am NOT! Also, I may have twisted Flyboy's arm and talked him in to filming an homage to Toto—much like Dax and Kristen's viral video. You can watch pop and tot's version here. I adore it!

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Friday, February 5, 2016


Let's get right to it, shall we?
Here's what made me feel all twitterpated, smile contagiously, giggle uncontrollably, etc.

  • Mr. Boddington's Gift Wrap // I could just squeeze the cheeky and creative geniuses behind Mr. Boddington's Studio. How great are these Hat Gift Cards and this Right Hand On Red Wrapping?! Since my sister's birthday was on February 2nd, I couldn't help but search for something festive to help her celebrate. These options are FANTASTIC!
  • The Sophie Lamp // You know the blog week wouldn't be complete unless I include something with a ridiculous price tag. I know, I can feel the eye-rolling from here, but this vibrant beauty deserves the spotlight. Don't you think?!
  • Greenwich Grove Teapot // I saw an old (?) Kate Spade ad and they had this adorable teapot on a desk holding pencils and pens. GENIUS!! Part of me can see it setting atop my work station. It's been missing a POP of green.
  • On-Purpose Beaded Clutch // Who doesn't love the cause behind this punchy pouch?? The craftsmanship is outstanding.
  • Tippi Striped Sweater with Shoulder Buttons // Say what?! Slap me and call me silly because this sweater makes all of my dreams come true. I truly didn't think my trusty Tippi could get any sweeter. I guess I was wrong, and I don't hate it.
  • The Lydia Flat in Suede // It's been a few years since I got my first set of Sidewalk Skimmers from Madewell. Does "Magic Pot Shoes" ring a bell? Well, in the event I need a replacement for my beloved electric blue flats, I think I found them.
  • Torva Soft Toy // You could say I fell hard for this broccoli clad in gingham when I first laid eyes on him. I mean, what's NOT to love?! Ever since a trip to IKEA with my mom over the Christmas break, I've had MAJOR regrets about not snagging this little guy for Max (alright, me...). Thankfully, my mom grabbed the toy for us and all is swell with the world.
  • Tasseled Neon Stripe Pillow // Requirements for The Love List include stripes, tassels, and some sort of throw pillow. This week's post includes ALL three. My work here is done, my friends. This bright beauty is perfect!
  • The Daily Mark // If you're on Instagram, follow @thedailymark. They have THE best funny and inspirational quotes.
  • Melamine Lunch Plates // Something tells me that lunch could be kicked up a notch with these polka-dot plates.
  • Orange-Spiced Gingerbread Cookies with Cranberry Glaze // Apparently I'm a glutton for punishment because these are definitely not in our immediate future. Sigh. That doesn't mean that you don't have a sweet tooth though.
  • Mint Big Dot // Most Fridays you will find Max and me at the HEB. More often than not, you can bet someone will say something about our colorful collection of Baggu bags. Oddly enough, they always comment on how good they smell. Hmm... Anywho, something tells me our peeps at the grocery store would appreciate a new addition to our crew.
  • Coffee/Beer Clock // You'll NEVER forget what time it is with this adorable lapel pin. Katy Kosman's work is brilliant.

Cheers to a snazzy weekend, m' dears! Make it count. 

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Thursday, February 4, 2016



THINKING ABOUT: I got a new pair of striped sunnies recently (they've made an appearance or two on the blog), and I utterly ADORE them! To be completely honest, I've swooned over these specs since I was pregnant with Max, so I was ecstatic to find them on sale recently. From the moment they arrived and I put them on for the first time, I was smitten. Slap these puppies on your mug and a double-barrel grin in imminent. I promise. Now imagine the following Swell Rio scene that took place last Saturday morning in our kitchen. I was preparing to run errands all by m' self. As I was gearing up to leave the house, I threw on my snazzy sunglasses. I guess I forgot that it was also the first time Flyboy had seen me don my new pair. Sigh. As he took note of my latest statement accessory, I was prepared for him to love them just as much as I did. I wasn't prepared for him to tell me that I looked like flipping ELTON JOHN. What the what?! I couldn't help but shake my head and then proceeded to give him a ton of crap. Perhaps next time he could compare me to someone like, I don't know, the fabulous Iris Apfel?! We had a good laugh and I went on my merry way. But since life has a sick sense of humor, I fired up The Rig and headed out on Highway 90 into town when a certain song started playing. Anyone have any guesses? Would you believe me if I told you that after a handful of radio ads, the first song I heard was BENNY AND THE JETS? Are you freaking kidding me?! I almost had to pull over from laughing so hard. This life is never dull, that's for sure!

THANKFUL FOR: As silly as it sounds, I couldn't be more grateful for footed jammies that keep Max looking little. The older he gets, the more fun we have with him, but that also means that he's growing up. It's all happening so fast. Waaaaaaaaah!!!! Make it stop.

FEELING: A successful trip to the park means that Max returns home with grass stains on his knees and mulch/dirt in his coat pocket.

EATING: In the event you're interested in Whole30 or currently doing one yourself, here are a few recipes we tried this week...

LISTENING TO: In the afternoon while Max is napping, I like to listen to the Carla Bruni station on Pandora. Something about it makes me feel like I'm being transported to a Parisian cafe on some quaint side street—more than likely noshing on a baguette and people watching. In all actuality, I live approximately eight miles from the Mexican border, praying that nap time lasts a full two hours, and trying my best not to think about the boat-load of fruit snacks we've got stocked in the kitchen cupboard.

WATCHING: If Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard's "sole objective was to rage hard and honor Toto properly," then they nailed it in their 'Africa' tribute video. Have you seen it? I want to watch it on repeat for the rest of my life. It's brilliant, and they're darling!!

READING: I received Maira Kalman's Beloved Dog as a Christmas gift from my sister, and I can't tell you how many times I've pulled it down from my bookshelf to pore over and read. Just as you might expect from Kalman, the book is a charming and quirky take on the human connection to dogs. Part memoir, part love letter to our canine companions, the book has a hidden layer of philosophy that  encourages the reader to embrace the glorious imperfections that make us human. Kalman's wit paired with her gorgeous illustrations remind us why dogs bring out the best in us. Whether you're a fan of Maira or dogs, this is a must-read for ALL.

LOVING: If I have to go to Wally World, I like to treat myself to a Caramel Macchiato afterward. It only seems right! But since that's not happening any time soon, I decided a morning of tedious errands in town called for matching cardigans. That's right, Max and I wore matching sweaters! It's incredibly dorky when something like this makes you SO giddy, but I loved every moment of it. I don't know if I've ever skipped around Wal-Mart with that much gusto. Oh, and my orange tote coordinated with his pants. Perfecto!

Enough about me. How are you feeling today? What are you up to? Thanks for stopping by!!

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