Thursday, March 31, 2016



THINKING ABOUT: Avid Bravo fans, have you ever thought about what your Real Housewives tagline might be? I always get a little nervous for Clubhouse guests whenever a caller poses the predictable question. You know it's coming, but if you were in their position would you be prepared? In the event I was invited on Watch What Happens Live, I have NO clue how I'd respond, but I pray it would be as effortless and witty as someone like Tina Fey. Don't we all?! But here's the good news, the lovely folks at Bravo created a tagline generator for those of us who aren't quick on our feet. Unfortunately for me, I got all excited and typed in my name only to get a really lame response. "Men come and go, but cats are forever." Girl, bye. Did Andy really forget how I feel about felines?

FEELING: Swell Rio was supposed to have their first ever Farmer's Market last Saturday. You guys, I looked forward to going to this inaugural event for almost three weeks. I was ecstatic to do something over the weekend that didn't consist of Walmart or Home Depot, so I got out my snazziest basket, loaded the family into our car, and headed into town with the goofiest grin on my face. As we got closer to the Civic Center (the supposed location), nothing was there. Flyboy drove around the perimeter twice while I double-checked the event info on Facebook. No vendors, no people, no nothing. Perplexed by the fictitious event, we headed to Starbucks and learned that evening they had to reschedule the event for a later date. Because of course...

THANKFUL FOR: Flyboy's work hours have improved so much over the past few months. It's been a real treat to get to eat dinner together as a family, spend quality time as a trio, and have some relief when I feel all Maxed out. I could get used to this!

EATING: My parents mailed us a care package recently and it was filled with Trader Joe's goodies, most of which we've already tried and love. To shake things up a little, they included a jar of this Hot and Sweet Chili Jam. WHOA BABY! We're obsessed with the spreadable goodness. On the weekends whenever Flyboy has fired up the grill and we're waiting on the coals to do their thing, we like to sip on the adult beverage of our choice and dip crackers or pretzels into a big ol' schmear of this hot and sweet surprise. It's especially tasty drizzled over some Laughing Cow or cream cheese. Clearly we're going to have to stock up the next time we visit San Antonio, because this whole cocktails and crackers thing has quickly become one of my favorite weekend rituals.

LISTENING TO: I guess it was only a matter of time before Max added the phrase "Uh-Oh!" to his repertoire. It all started this past weekend when he threw his bowl of yogurt on the kitchen floor. [Insert deep sigh here.] The cuteness—Max uttering the phrase, NOT the mess—lasted all of two seconds before we realized the insincere and Valley Girl tone in which he likes to say the phrase. It's almost as though he thinks saying it gives him carte blanche and we're left correcting him some MORE. For the record, I think the level of sass that comes with Max's expression must have been modeled by Flyboy. It only makes sense! That guy is full of sass.

WATCHING: This docu-dork is beyond giddy to see The First Monday in May—a documentary that examines the debate over whether fashion should ever be considered art. The film, which will be released in theaters this April, gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at what went into planning the 2015 Met Gala. For those of you having a total fangirl moment, you'll want to watch the trailer here.

READING: Wednesday afternoon, I put Max down for his nap, closed his bedroom door and breathed a deep sigh of relief. Every day I live for this very moment because it means that we survived the first part of our day together, I get a big fat dose of freedom for a few hours, and we get to tackle the second half of the day with a clean slate. After tidying up the house yesterday, I sat down to work on today's blog and came across an article in my Facebook feed entitled Saying Goodbye To My Boy. Because I'm a giant sap, I clicked on the link, and then proceeded to sob at my desk. Years from now, I hope I can look back and write a similar tale to Wendy's. I feel like it's a mother's sign of a job well done. But for now, I'm going to savor this time while my little guy is still little.

LOVING: In this week's edition of "monkey see, monkey do", I give you Maxwell and his affinity for all things tubular or cylindrical. You see, our observant tot thinks that anything shaped like this must be applied to his lips and reapplied throughout the day. Hmm, where would he see such a thing? Perhaps the cosmetic case chock-full of balms and lip color has something to do with that?! Anywho, I clearly had NO business adding another lipstick to my collection, but I'm really glad I did because Bobbi Brown's Art Stick in Dusty Pink has become my absolute FAVORITE!! If you're in the market for some low-maintenance lip color or eager to experiment with a new product, you'll adore this lipstick meets liner. It's rare that I purchase anything from Bobbi Brown's line that I don't end up loving and this is no exception. Just as promised, the chunky pencil glides on effortlessly and delivers a creamy matte finish.

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

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Dressing a boy is actually a lot more fun than you might think. There were a few months where I felt kind of stumped as to how I should dress Max. I loved the sweetness that came with all of the newborn and infant clothes, but I was eager to branch out and add a little personality to his outfits. I saw all of the items in the toddler section and they got me really excited about future outfit possibilities. Then I started to realize his new duds made him look like a little boy, which made me want to press rewind and dress him in footed onesies forever. Ha Ha! Since that really isn't an option, I've learned I have no choice but to embrace the growing tot and I'm having a blast adding new pieces to his wardrobe. Because I do most of my shopping online, I've had the best luck scouting pieces at stores like Zara, H&M, Nature BabyAmerican ApparelEverlane, BodenCrewcuts, and Gap. Overall, I'm really pleased with the quality of the clothing I've purchased from all of these stores. With brands like J.Crew, Boden, and Gap, I typically wait for a promotion or for specific items to go on sale at the end of the season. Some clothes, such as button-down shirts that Max has room to grow into, are worth the splurge for me. If he's in between sizes and I know he's too small to fit into the next size up, I'll purchase a few cheaper tops and bottoms from somewhere like H&M or Zara so he has some current options to wear that aren't ginormous. Old Navy and Target have oodles of adorable pieces as well, but it's always hard to tell what stuff looks like on their websites. I have better luck purchasing clothes from the stores whenever we make a trip into San Antonio. In addition to some of the bigger chain stores, I love smaller shops like Fawne Shoppe, Goatmilk NYC, Mabo Kids, Kid+Kind, Strawberry Moth, Childhoods Clothing, Private Party, Jean and June, etc. In anticipation of Spring in Swell Rio, I've added some of the following pieces to Max's wardrobe...


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Tuesday, March 29, 2016



Happy Tuesday, m' dears! Let's get the blog week started with a few of m' favorite details AND a giveaway winner...
  • You see that top photo? I get that expression/gesture numerous times a day because toddlers like Max have soooooooo many emotions. When this wily Fine isn't throwing his body on the ground dramatically—we're talking Daytime Emmy-award-winning performances—you'll find him covering his eyes in disgust because he's probably being told "No!" again.
  • Because a certain half-pint likes to ram his toys into the walls, I got the pleasure of whipping out the touch-up paint last week during nap time. And since I'm becoming my mother, odd jobs like this are actually pretty fun and therapeutic. Growing up, it was nothing to see my mom wield her favorite paint brush at 5:00 AM before she'd head off to work with her kids at school. Who doesn't love a little impromptu trim-work sesh?? Seems normal enough to me...
  • Since early February, we've had a steady selection of Tulips in Swell Rio, which makes me more elated than ever! I know it won't be like this for long, so I'm soaking up the Spring blooms as much as possible (and probably oversharing on Instagram) before we're back to Daisies and Carnations dipped in dye and doused in glitter. Sigh. Who does that??
  • On Wednesdays, Max likes to watch the landscaping crew do their thing. I look forward to the routine yard work as well because it keeps this kid entertained for hours. As Max alternates which window to look out, the kind men typically take a moment to wave and smile, which makes this little guy's day. I know whenever this has happened because I can hear Max clap his hands with joy and march in place because he's so giddy. It's quite an adorable sight.
  • Since my offspring has a thing for accessories, I decided to add a polka-dot trimmed fedora to the mix. Because, of course... Upon purchasing the hat, I never envisioned Max would have the swagger of an 80-year-old woman visiting the Outer Banks. He insists on wearing it to the side and pulling it down like a floppy sun hat. It looks utterly ridiculous and cute at the same time. I've got to get a photo because it's the sort of snapshot that will embarrass him in a few decades.
  • It's no secret that my dear husband moonlights as Dr. Dolittle. Since we got married, he's petitioned to add a bird or duck to our brood. Erm, NO! And now that he has Max to use as his secret weapon, he conveniently had us make a pit stop at Tractor Supply after dinner Saturday night just to "look" at the baby ducks. It was love at first sight for both of my boys, but since I'm the meanest, Max left with a plush duckling toy instead. Well played, Flyboy! Maybe one day when we don't live in base housing?!? I mean, I'm feeling Spring and all, but I'll settle for Tulips and a box of Peeps instead.
  • I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but celebrating holidays with kids can be such a setup for failure. As far as Easter went, I kept my expectations pretty low this year—or at least I think I did?!? I wanted to wear something cute (this shirt, these shoes), assemble a fun basket for the babe, search for eggs, cook something tasty, and get a photo or two with Max. I'm still not entirely sure WHY I wanted to get a photo of me with the tot; I don't really LOVE to get my picture taken. I guess I just wanted to document this season of our life and felt like Easter Sunday would be a great moment for that. WRONG! Ever since Flyboy got back from his two recent trips, Max has treated me like a monster whenever we're all together. It's embarrassing! He pulls my hair, claws at my face, and refuses to take any direction from yours truly. I hate feeling so out of control! We're trying our best to follow through with discipline and be consistent, but it's normal to want to rebound from those hairy moments—especially on a holiday. Call it a coincidence, but Max was a total gem when he interacted with his dad over the weekend. It's hard not to take stuff like this personally, especially when you feel like you're giving everything you have to this tiny human. While the last photo is the best shot we could get of Max and me (the rest consisted of too many teary eyes from both of us), it's also kind of deceiving. Shortly after that image was taken, Max ended up in timeout because he went for my hair and face AGAIN. When I look at the photo, I'm reminded that I have my work cut out for me with this strong-willed child, but I'm eager to do the hard work because I love him so stinking much. Being the "bad cop" isn't fun, but one day we'll see the fruits of our labor pay off. No grit, no pearl. Right? 

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...
(Insert drum roll here.)
You're the lucky winner of the Stray Dog Designs giveaway.

Alright, enough of our Swell Rio shenanigans. How the heck are YOU?! Do tell. I'm dying to know.

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Friday, March 25, 2016


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

  • Grapefruit Margaritas // It's been about five years since I last tangoed with tequila. Yikes! Based on my past infamous encounter, this recipe shouldn't pique my interest; however, I can't seem to look away. It's just so pretty and refreshing!
  • RANARP Work Lamp // Live near an IKEA? Do me a favor. Hop in your car and find a place for this cute lamp. It's a steal!
  • Textured-Weave Jacket // If it wasn't for Swell Rio's 90-degree temps, I'd add this to my Spring wardrobe in an instant!
  • Rider Wallet // I need another wallet like I need a hole in my head, but you know this rich pink hue had me at HELLO!
  • Colouring Book // Clare V. would make me reconsider my stance on this whole adult coloring book craze.
  • Porcelain Toothbrush Holder // Polka dots just seem like the perfect way to get started on your Spring cleaning.
  • Mid-Heel Leather Shoes with Ankle Strap // Zara is killing it with their latest assortment of colorful accessories.
  • Scandi Crush Saga // Interested in the rise of Scandinavian design? Give this article a read. Also, how clever is that title?!
  • Eden Earrings // These statement earrings are true stunners. The German emerald glass stones are everything.
  • Hairband with Decorative Knot // Grosgrain and stripes. Does it get much better than that? Get on m' head. NOW!
  • Off Tropic Polish // You'll find yourself poolside in a sunshine state of mind with Essie's Spring 2016 collection.
  • Great Things Notepad // Jot down your to-dos with a little inspiration and reminder that little things build greatness.
  • Pineapple Tumbler // If we can't be on a beach, we might as well pretend we are by sipping on something from this.

Happy Easter, m' dears! Make this weekend count.
P.S. Don't forget about the Stray Dog Designs Giveaway. Enter HERE!
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Thursday, March 24, 2016


THINKING ABOUT: My mom is visiting our family in Iowa this week. Prior to my grandfather's passing, Max and I had plans to join her in the Midwest for spring break. She originally bought her plane ticket in late January, before his death, but opted to keep her travel plans the same in an effort to help my grandma tend to odds and ends with my grandpa's office and workshop. I've found that as they move his equipment, shampoo carpets, and sift through his old belongings, it's difficult not to think about the way I hoped this week might have been. Despite my grandpa's ongoing pain and sickness, I really thought this trip was going to be my chance to see him—even if it was for the last time. But because life doesn't always go according to our plans, I'm left reliving our last encounter (Summer 2015) over and over in my head and praying that I hugged him in that moment. 

FEELING: It's no secret that over the past few months Max has blossomed into a little boy. Where did our baby go?! I'm honestly elated by his independence (most times) and giddy about all of the new skills he's acquired, but there is one particular instance that makes me want to hit the pause button and it has EVERYTHING to do with this one episode of Sesame Street—Rosita's Abuela Arrives: Season 44 Episode 15. On a whim one afternoon in January, I turned the episode on so I could start prepping dinner and Max became absolutely entranced with the music and characters. I'd never seen him respond to something in this manner. He's watched lots of different shows, Sesame Street included, but there was something about THIS episode that turned him into a little angel—namely when Feist performs a spoof of her song "1-2-3-4". He begins to dance and clap and he's unusually peaceful. Ugh, I just want to bottle him up! Naturally, I saved this magical episode to the DVR and it's become my secret weapon. Well, long story long, it somehow disappeared from our list of saved recordings this week and I'm frantic. I can't seem to figure out where I can buy the episode online or when it will air next, but discovering it was gone felt like someone told me that Max was going off to college tomorrow. Dramatic? Perhaps. But I've grown to rely on this episode because it facilitates the sweetest moments a mother craves. When he's watching it, I feel like I'm meeting him for the first time at the hospital. His eyes are filled with innocence, joy, and wonder. It makes me forget about all of the craziness that comes with parenthood. I know he won't love this episode forever, but I'm not ready to say good-bye just yet. I MUST find the full episode. This is a matter of survival, my friends!       

THANKFUL FOR: Tripp and Beesly went to the vet on Monday for their annual appointment and both pups left with a clean bill of health. Hooray! Since our dogs are getting up there in age, I can't help but feel a bit anxious whenever they visit the doc; I wasn't looking forward to this appointment. Thankfully, everything looks normal and the dynamic duo is just as hardy as ever.  

EATING: In last week's post, I mentioned I was in a breakfast rut and expressed an interest in chia pudding or overnight oats. After trying this recipe from Beauty Bets for Blueberry Pie Overnight Oats, Flyboy and I are officially hooked! I prepped eight pint jars on Sunday evening, and I couldn't be more excited to wake up in the morning to devour my breakfast.

LISTENING TO: While visiting a nearby park yesterday, several dogs in the neighborhood started barking. I didn't think much of it, but then Max decided to reprimand them. I'm still not entirely sure what he was saying, but it was said in a real bossy pants manner (takes one to know one...). He began wielding his index finger at them and proceeded to place his hand on his hip. I couldn't help but giggle at the scenario. Several hours later the UPS man stopped by and Beesly went bonkers, as she always does. I attempted to quiet her with a few commands, then snapped my fingers, and pointed at her. Before I could allow myself to prop my hand at my waist, Max's actions earlier that morning hit me like a ton of bricks. He was mimicking me. But of course! 

WATCHING: Jacob Bernstein memorialized his mother, Nora Ephron, in a documentary entitled Everything is Copy—a phrase often used by the beloved screenwriter and author. "Everything is copy" means "take notes" even in the most emotionally perilous times, something that Ephron did masterfully with great honesty and humor. The documentary aired March 21st on HBO, and the trailer gives me chills. I don't currently have access to HBO, but you can bet I'm trying to find a way to see this film and stat.   

READING: I picked up a copy of Wolfie the Bunny and now I'm eager to assemble Max's Easter basket. It's such an adorable book!

LOVING: I bought a scrunchie, but don't judge. It's actually darling, and I never thought I'd catch myself saying those words. Ever. Again. I guess there was just something about this striped dainty number that sucked me in, and I'm loving the feminine bow. Does the fact that I got it from Club Monaco make you feel better about my not-so-dated decision?!?! I promise it's cute.

Enough about me. How are you feeling today? What are you up to? Thanks for stopping by!!
P.S. Don't forget about the Stray Dog Designs Giveaway. Enter HERE!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016


When the lovely folks at Stray Dog Designs reached out to me regarding a possible giveaway, I couldn't say "Yes!" fast enough. I learned about the company back in 2010 when my mom and I drooled over an adorable hot-pink floor lamp that was featured in one of the bedroom's in HGTV's Dream Home. We talked about "that lamp" for a few years, dreamt about recreating it, and then we FINALLY stumbled across the darling online boutique. Squee! It wasn't long before we both coveted ALL of the colorful decor, furniture, and lighting options. While I continue to dream about a home that's filled with treasures from Stray Dog Designs, I knew I HAD to own their papier-mache snail as soon as I laid eyes on it. Some people request jewelry for their push present, but I went for something with a bright dose of whimsy instead. To this day, my chartreuse snail remains one of my VERY favorite knick-knacks, and I'm so tickled that ONE lucky reader will have one (the color of their choice) in their home as well. ENTER the giveaway below:

The winner will be announced in next Tuesday's post on March 29th. Good luck, and go get 'em!!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016



Happy Tuesday, m' dears! Let's get this blog week started with a few of my favorite details...
  • Good shoes take you good places. Unfortunately for my new set of gingham flats, a weekend trip to Walmart was the best I had to offer. Hey, it's Swell Rio! What are you gonna do?! I obviously got the better end of that deal because strutting around in those suckers had me feeling silly giddy. In fact, they ALMOST made me forget that moment on Sunday morning when Max asked for juice, I had nothing to offer, and the terrible tot proceeded to swat at my face. Befuddled and embarrassed by his actions, I ended up pushing the shopping cart into a display of kitchen timers. About 100+ buzzers spilled into the aisle and it took me five solid minutes to clean up my little merch mishap.
  • Since Flyboy was out of town this weekend for work, my mom and sister received many random text messages from yours truly. A few days alone with the babe and two dogs will result in me sharing my stream of consciousness with them. Thankfully, they humor me with a series of crying face emojis and a lot of "BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" replies. On a serious note, whenever The Rig returns, I NEVER want to listen to Los Lonely Boys EVER again. Save that shiz for Delilah...
  • In this "monkey see, monkey do" world Max is living in, it only makes sense my child has a thing for accessorizing. He loves to don hats, adores wearing necklaces, and pretends to put my watch on whenever he's finished getting dressed in the morning. Naturally, I thought he'd ADORE this lion's mane from Meri Meri, but I was sorely mistaken. Go figure! Instead, he prefers that Beesly wears it and then he proceeds to chase our beloved Berner around the house. I think that look of enthusiasm painted on her mug says it all. GET THIS GOOFY GARB OFF OF ME! Also, WHEN'S NAP TIME?!
  • In Flyboy's absence, I welcomed the first day of spring with oodles of cleaning and yard work. I hauled away nine trash bags of stuff (KonMari, anyone?!) and added several dozen new plants to the front beds and garden boxes. After a weekend like this, I found myself singing, "Damn it feels good to be a (productive and organizational) gangsta..." 
  • Upon first glance, one might look at that black-and-white photo of Max and assume the kid is a total ham and just striking a pose. WRONG! In that moment, he had just thrown his body on the ground for another one of those dramatic toddler performances, when Beesly walked by and distracted him. I had my phone out to document the meltdown to send to family, but my plan backfired in the best way possible. Keep up the great work, Bee! Meltdown aborted. Something tells me all of those veggie straws and cheese sticks Max has been sharing are really starting to pay off.
  • If I had to give an award to the unsung heroes, or this past weekend's warriors, it would have to go out to Glossier's Balm Dotcom and this Notorious Roast from Passive Juice Motel. With temperatures that continue to fluctuate like crazy and last Friday's hail scare (AGAIN!), I said buh-bye to dry skin and storm-induced insomnia. Woop woop!

Alright, enough of our Swell Rio shenanigans. How the heck are YOU?! Do tell. I'm dying to know.
P.S. Be sure to stop by tomorrow for an EPIC giveaway!!
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