Thursday, April 27, 2017

THURSDAY'S THOUGHTS

HANDLETTERING VIA NICOLE WAGECK

THINKING ABOUT: Can anyone tell me why J.Crew had to go and mess with their classic chino shorts? The color selection is far better than last summer, but the mixed reviews from dissatisfied customers regarding the thinness in material is unfortunate. Have you tried them? What did you think? Are they really THAT bad? We're getting to the point where shorts will be unavoidable soon (hello, triple-digit highs!), so I will more than likely have to give them a shot because I have NO idea where else to purchase my go-to style of shorts. I prefer a 5" inseam sans cuff (because who wants to draw MORE attention to the thigh region anyway?!).

THANKFUL FOR: Twenty-four hours prior to leaving Swell Rio, I was eager to download a few movies, TV shows, and apps to keep Maxwell entertained on our flight. Unsure as to what might catch his attention these days, I found myself Googling "toddler garbage shows" and that's when I had my first encounter with Blippi—a bow-tie and suspender-wearing man that bounces around the screen with oodles of energy and goofy mannerisms while discussing everything from outer space to what goes on at your local recycling center. Y'all, I'm not going to even try to be humble when I tell you that it was a total mom win. I struck GOLD with this goober of a guy and even though I've had to listen to his obnoxious jingles on repeat, I can't be mad about it. Now, to better understand what it is I'm talking about, I encourage you to take a look at Blippi's site and you'll get a good idea of the new level of crazy we've reached in the Fine household. Yeah, it's pretty bad, but good in a toddler secret weapon kind of way. Max is entranced by Blippi's voodoo.

WATCHING: Bravo fans!! Are you watching Sweet Home Oklahoma and loving it as much as I am?! Pumps (OMG, PUMPS!) is like a gift from God—or maybe just Andy Cohen. If you're not watching it, I can assure you that you're missing out. Real Housewives of Orange County devotees, like yours truly, probably remember when Vicki G. shared her brutally honest opinion about the Sooner State?? Ha! Something tells me the OG of the OC just didn't hang with the right people when she visited, because this trio can definitely whoop it up Bible Belt style—even if that requires a rubber glove before lighting up and an embarrassing collection of sippy cups.

EATING: I'm toying around with the idea of participating in another round of Whole 30 next month. After Flyboy and I tried it last year, I managed to keep my sweet tooth in check (for the most part), but it appears I lack all self-control these days and I could really use a reset. My brain says gimme ALLLLL the sugar!!! Unfortunately, Flyboy has opted out of joining me, which is kind of a bummer because it definitely makes meal planning and prep a lot easier in addition to being most cost effective. I completely understand where he's coming from, but it's made it hard for me to fully commit. Has anyone tried similar programs that they've found beneficial? I just need something that helps me crave the good stuff more than I find myself craving the really bad stuff.

LISTENING TO: Trust me when I tell you that I'm not trying to win a contest when I describe how bad Max's tantrums have become, but I've yet to witness a performance from other toddlers that are quite this explosive. If you know of a child that might rival mine, I'd love to meet the tot and proudly pass the baton to his/ her mother. You guys, our trip back to Texas was so baaaaaaaaaad. We had ONE stop with an hour layover and it resulted in one woman coming to check on us in the bathroom (because Max's screaming was so loud) and another who stopped me later to ask if she could get me a water (because I was trying to straddle my son and strap him into the stroller for what felt like five minutes). Of course this was the busiest terminal I've ever been in with Max and it didn't matter where I looked because 95% of the people around us were staring. It took everything inside me to muster a fake smile and fight back the tears with an "I've totally go this!" approach as my kid refused to hold my hand and then proceeded to work his way out of the stroller harness. When Max's behavior finally de-escalated and it was time to board the plane, I could feel my entire body shaking for what felt like 30 minutes. We've had some pretty awful meltdowns in our past, but this took it to a whole new level. Looking back, I'm still not sure what triggered the behavior (it could have been a handful of things), but this acting-out has continued since we returned home and I'm at a loss once again. I'm afraid that Max's size and strength paired with a newfound lung capacity that would put his colic days to shame could be enough for him to be a physical threat to himself and those around him. You know it's bad when the neighbor kid (five years old) asks Flyboy why he hears Max screaming so much and why our kid is so loud. Gulp!

READING: Over the past week, I received a handful of messages from friends who wanted to ensure I saw the video of Ludacris rapping Llama Llama Red Pajama. Have you seen it yet?! You guys, it's EPIC! I was mostly touched that so many people thought of me when they heard about it (how sweet are m' peeps?!), but my face literally begins to ache whenever I watch it because it's double-barrel grin-inducing. Would it be too much to ask to get a refresh on Goodnight Moon or Little Blue Truck?!

LOVING: I recently incorporated Laura Mercier's Radiance Foundation Primer into my makeup routine, and it's the best decision I've made in awhile. After moisturizing, I apply a little of this and I'm in awe of its brightening effect. My CC cream not only goes on smoother and lasts longer, but it also gives a subtle glow that makes my complexion appear fresh and revived instead of tired and dull. I started out with a trial size to see if I liked it, but ended up purchasing the larger tube so I don't have to go without it.


Enough about me. How are you feeling today? What are you up to? Thanks for stopping by!! 
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

DC RECAP PART 2


"THE DETAILS ARE NOT THE DETAILS. THEY MAKE THE DESIGN." — CHARLES EAMES

Let's jump straight to the delightful deetz, shall we?!

  • Flying to DC with Max was an absolute delight. Flying back to Texas? Well, that's another story I'll share another day. Today's post is meant to be all sequin embellished cardigans and carousel rides. And from the looks of the photos, that's exactly what life felt like for TEN whole days. Since I can't hit rewind, I have to live vicariously through the blog.
  • My parents, Max, and I had four days together before my grandparents arrived from Arizona. We kept the first part of our trip low-key with visits to a toy store, blue ice cream, the zoo, and frequent scooter rides around the neighborhood. And yes, my mom bought my dad a scooter of his own so he could putt around alongside Max. It was a riot and definitely ranks up there as one of my favorite memories from our trip. Isn't synchronized scooters a thing?? It should be.
  • As promised, my mom and I left the boys behind for an afternoon or two of shopping and manicures. Can you spell BLISS?! We typically like to make an appearance at every J.Crew in the Beltway to ensure we don't miss a thing. Ha! It's evident that we like to keep our goals attainable. Who doesn't?? While we didn't have much luck in the dressing room at Madewell, I'd give the two of us an A+ in the accessory department and for also finding the perfect orangey-red polish.
  • A month before our trip, my mom and I made hair appointments at the Ian McCabe Salon, which specializes in corrective color services. With clientele like Mandy Moore and Tracy Anderson, I had Pinterest-like dreams about what my hair might look like when it was done. Squee! After SIX hours of work (consultation, hair color, etc.), my guru was able to return my hair to a more natural color in an attempt to correct the dark bands and patches I acquired via the unfortunate talent pool in Swell Rio. Yikes! My hair might not look that different to most, but it's certainly healthier and should allow me the opportunity to change it up in the not-so-distant future. Hooray! Oh, I should also note that explaining life in this tiny West Texas town to a bunch of hipster stylists was super embarrassing. I'm pretty sure they thought I was just being dramatic, but then they kept asking follow-up questions and were puzzled by my answers and our lack of options down here. Concerned about the upkeep of my hair color, I told them what I was working with and they looked so confused. Sigh. On the bright side, I overheard a conversation between the stylist next to me and her customer, and it turns out the colorist is like BFFs with THE Donald Robertson. Say what?! She owns several pieces of his work and texts him regularly.
  • It was my grandparents first time in Washington D.C. so we did ALL the touristy things, which I couldn't help but adore. And since Max is transportation OBSESSED (welcome to the world of BOYS!), it was really sweet to watch him devour everything from a bus to a boat and the occasional train. Traveling with him at this age is so much easier (in most ways) because we don't necessarily need to pack all of the gear like we used to. One day we left the jogging stroller behind, and you could tell he felt so special sitting in a seat on the Metro by himself. He just takes it all in and I love it so much.
  • My grandma and grandpa are pretty easy going, so we spent a lot of time relaxing at the house, watching Max fire up my dad's leaf blower, throwing balls, listening to tales about garbage trucks, playing cards, imbibing, and eating way too many snacks. In the mornings, my mom and I would take our time getting ready—something I ALWAYS look forward to whenever we're together. At times it felt surreal listening to Max giggle with my grandpa as my dad talked to my grandma. Something about going "home" makes you feel like a kid again, and I had to pinch myself that we got this opportunity to bring three generations together. I still think one of life's greatest joys is getting to share your very own child with the people that mean the most to you. It doesn't feel like it was that long ago when I was a kid hunting for Easter eggs with my grandparents and now I'm the one filling eggs and hiding them for Max. Where's the pause button?!
  • Because my grandpa loves to walk and is game for just about anything, my mom and I took him downtown on Saturday morning so we could do some sightseeing. While my dad, Max, and grandma stayed home to play and prep our Easter meal, the three of us logged in over ten miles. We made sure my grandpa saw all the monuments and we even dragged him to his first art museum. I can't decide if I was more tickled by the look on his face when he first saw a Motherwell or his earnest gratitude as he thanked a handful of veterans at the WWII memorial. It was definitely a day for the books!
  • I know I discuss my parents and what they mean to me Ad nauseam, but every time we get to be together I find I treasure the mundane stuff the most. Those are the moments that I hold on to until we reunite next. They're the little details that remind me why I not only love and respect them, but they make me proud to call them my own. My mom and dad talk a lot about how they'd like to move back to the Midwest and a slower pace of life, but I'm beyond grateful for the opportunities we've had to visit them while they've made Washington D.C. their home. I know it may not be ideal for retirement or their forever plans, but my heart bursts every time I meet a parent or student my mom has helped, or I see an employee from Trader Joe's or Starbucks ask where my dad is at because they love him so much. These two people I get to call my parents are so much of who I am and who I want to be, and seeing them in their element is a gift and a reminder that you get in life what you give. I pray that Max sees those traits in his parents one day as well.  

Alright, enough with the sappy ending already. 
(But you totally knew it was coming, didn't you?!)

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

DC RECAP PART 1


"THE DETAILS ARE NOT THE DETAILS. THEY MAKE THE DESIGN." — CHARLES EAMES
Happy Tuesday, m' dears! We're back in Swell Rio after spending ten fabulous days with my parents and grandparents. As expected, I tried to capture as many memories with my phone and camera as possible while simultaneously trying to remain present. Rather than dump ALLLLLL the images on you in one post, I thought I'd split it up and share some of my favorite details in two separate posts. I hope that's okay! It's still a little hard to write about everything we did without getting weepy, so I'll save the specifics for tomorrow. When getting back in the blogging groove, it's best to ease on into things after a two-week hiatus. Stay tuned!

Enough about me. How the heck are you? I'm dying to know.


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Monday, April 10, 2017

A BLOGGIE BREAK



By the time you read today's post, we should already be in D.C. 
I'll be taking a break from the blog to enjoy time with my family. Hooray! 
Regularly scheduled blog posts will return NLT April 25th.
Until then, be sure to follow along via InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.


Painting used in striped design via Celsius by Laurie Fisher.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

LURVE LOAVE LUFF



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

  • Fun Mail Subscription // I don't have much time for snail mail these days, but I thought some of you might enjoy this!
  • Kindred by Laurie Fisher // I got a few emails regarding Laurie's work and my heart was so happy to share it with you.
  • Fan Crystal Earrings // I started packing  yesterday and you better believe I stuffed ALL the accessories in m' duffel.
  • Tassel Statement Necklace // I want to see what this piece looks like in person. Madewell, my interest is officially piqued.
  • Drinks Are On Me // I can't decide if I love this cheeky tray or the black one. They're just TOO adorable! I want them all.
  • Neon Berry Cashmere Cardigan // This could very well be my last chance to don a sweater for awhile. Oh, the horror!
  • Kettle Chair // The gold legs on this puppy are driving me mad they're so spectacular. Just look at those gams!!
  • Palarosa Tote // Since Max has a carry-on of his own, I'm kind of excited my tote won't be chock-full of his "stuff."
  • Straw Hat with Pom-Poms // Oh, this is going to be a necessity! They say it's black, but it looks more like navy to me.
  • Herringbone Throw // With a combination the folks at KSNY refer to as maraschino and shocking pink, I'm SOLD!
  • Two-Part Espadrille // Gloriously colorful and they promise they're ultra-comfortable. This seems like a real no-brainer!
  • Cactus PiƱata // Leaving Swell Rio kind of feels like crushing a cute little cactus and devouring all the candy inside.


Happy Friday, m' dears! Make this weekend count. 
Don't forget! We're off to visit my parents, so regularly scheduled blogging will commence NLT April 25th.
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

THURSDAY'S THOUGHTS


HAND-DRAWN LOVE BY MADDY NYE FOR DESIGNLOVEFEST

THINKING ABOUT: Max is usually pretty shy, but he met a five-year-old girl named, Anna, this past Monday at the park and he hasn't stopped talking about her since. Can you say OBSESSED? Every morning he asks to go to the park to see Anna and he insists we bring extra toys and snacks for her. It's incredibly adorable until we get home after he's played with his new bestie and refuses my assistance. He only wants to be around Anna. I initially found it cute until I told Flyboy about her and he referred to her as Max's girlfriend. NOOOOOOOO! Stop that, right NOW! He's TWO!!! Sigh. I couldn't help but break out in a sweat and put my fingers in my ears to drown out the nonsense. Yes, she's a girl. And yes, she's his friend. But she's NOT his girlfriend. Nope. We will have NONE of those shenanigans until it's time for Max to pick out a college. Oy! I swear I got a whole new patch of grey hairs from that conversation.

THANKFUL FOR: Did I tell you that my grandparents (dad's side) will be visiting D.C. while Max and I are there?! I'm so excited and beyond grateful for this opportunity. It's not often that we get to have family together like this since we're all spread out across the country. While I wish my sister and Flyboy were going to be there to join us for Easter, I think it's going to be a great chance for Max to get to know his great-grandparents—much like I was blessed to get to know mine when I was younger. Growing up I never realized what a rare gift this is, but I have very fond memories of both my mom and dad's grandma and grandpa. I didn't get to be around them a lot, but the time spent together had a lasting effect and they still hold a very dear space in my heart. Ever since my mom's dad passed away last year, I've spent a lot of time thinking about how much he would have delighted in Max's wily ways and I wish we could have had more time together. For this reason, it means the world to me that I'll get to share Max with my grandparents. They check in often via text and ask for Max updates, so it will be pretty sweet to see them interact in person.   

WATCHING: A few weeks ago, while Max and I were headed to a park in town, I spotted a man pushing a lawnmower with several carts and balloons attached. He was standing in a turning lane on one of the main roads in Swell Rio. It was definitely a rare sight, so I grabbed my phone and snapped a photo to send to family. Perhaps some of you may remember it being featured in an old Instagram Story?? What in the world could he be up to?! Well, I humbly learned a little more about the man locals refer to as Chito this past week, and I'd be remiss if I didn't share this video with you. His story is beautiful and inspiring! If you have a moment, please watch.

EATING: Go on and roll your eyes if you want, but I promise THIS Honey Mustard Chicken Chopped Salad via How Sweet Eats is a total game changer. You guys, it's goooooooood! In fact, if Flyboy was down with it, I'd want to make this multiple times a week. The flavor of the broiled chicken is fantastic and the vinaigrette is so simple it's stupid—but only in the most delicious way possible! 

LISTENING TO: Someone told me that when you turn thirty your body will just begin aching in places you didn't realize was possible. I was reminded of this yesterday morning while working out and listening to Pandora. My neck was killing me, and I began feeling sharp pains during the first climb. A popular Jay-Z song was playing in the background and I noticed it said the single was released in 2004. What?! How?! In that moment, I felt really old. Oddly enough, the pain went away shortly after my workout. Now I'm starting to wonder if the aches were just a ramification of me getting that Dirt Off Your Shoulder (well, my shoulder) with so much gusto??   

READING: As a longtime fan of Anne Lamott, I ordered her latest book, Hallelujah Anyway, despite getting mixed reviews. Have you read it yet? Much like Glennon Doyle Melton and Brene Brown, Anne's work has never let me down. As Heidi Stevens, a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, so perfectly put it, "Anne Lamott is my Oprah. She's my pastor, my life coach, my book club leader and my personal trainer (except with words instead of reps: Ten more! You're almost done!). So if she wants me to practice mercy, by golly, I'll try. 'Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy,' released Tuesday, is a clarion call to the better angels of our nature: Rise up. Forgive. Show a little grace, will ya?" Tell me, how could this book possibly go wrong?! We can all benefit from words like these:
"Mercy means compassion, empathy, a heart for someone's troubles," Lamott writes. "It's not something you do — it is something in you, accessed, revealed, or cultivated through use, like a muscle. We find it in the most unlikely places, never where we first look."
LOVING: You know how Starbucks has the Spring cups and I really wanted a yellow one with a smiling sunshine?! Well, last Saturday we went through the drive-thru on our way to a craft fair downtown and I gave Flyboy my order. I'd given up on the notion of getting the mystical unicorn I pined about in this post and told him I'd take an Iced Grande Caramel Macchiato. Somewhat confused, he went on to ask, "But what about the sunshine cup?" I told him I was over it, but he insisted on asking for one on my behalf. Well folks, it turns out our local store is out of the Spring cups, but the dialogue between my husband and the barista was an absolute riot! I still can't believe he gave it a shot and asked for me—the girl that took our order was so confused. Sigh. I was honestly embarrassed for him, but it was just so stinkin' sweet that he tried. Almost nine years of marriage and this darling man is still pulling out all the stops.


Enough about me. How are you feeling today? What are you up to? Thanks for stopping by!! 
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

ART I HEART: LAURIE FISHER



Color lovers unite and feast your eyes on the gooooooooorgeous work of Laurie Fisher! Yes, I should be making lists at this point or packing for our upcoming departure, but I've been obsessing over these pieces for days. Can you blame me? It only made sense that I bestow such bright work upon my dearest readers because I know we tend to get giddy about the same sorts of fabulosity. Squee! The simple composition, flood of cheerful colors, and layers of delicious texture are enough to help me survive the final stretch to Saturday. Huzzah! Naturally, I thought maybe a splash of hump-day hues could benefit you as well?! And for those detailed readers who keep a watchful eye on the blog, you may notice this isn't Fisher's first appearance. No, she's been mentioned before here and here after I first laid eyes on Laurie's abstracts when they were featured at Serena and Lily. Unfortunately the snippets I shared in the past weren't enough to do justice to the talented artist and her collection of work. Read more about Laurie and her process here.


Do you have a Fisher favorite?! If you stop by her site, be sure to let me know!
It's no surprise I gravitate toward her use of chartreuse and appreciation for punchy palettes that include pink, red, and orange.


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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

LIFE'S LITTLE DETAILS


"THE DETAILS ARE NOT THE DETAILS. THEY MAKE THE DESIGN." — CHARLES EAMES


Happy Tuesday, m' dears! Let's jump straight to the details, shall we?!

  • Last weekend was pretty low key. Oh, who am I kidding?! Most weekends usually are in Swell Rio, right?? You've learned that by now. Ha Ha! We went to dinner on Friday night with friends and stopped by a "craft" market held downtown on Saturday morning (slightly underwhelming, but something to do...). Now, before I start to lose you with any more snooze-worthy deetz, things took an epic twist that evening when Flyboy and I watched four episodes of Big Little Lies. Oh, yessssss! Our goal was to get the first six episodes finished before Sunday's final episode. Challenge accepted. And would you believe me if I told you we stayed up until MIDNIGHT?! Staaaahp it! That's just crazy town, right there!!
  • After accurately predicting what would happen in Big Little Lies by episode three, I was riding a real high in the final few minutes of the finale. Y'all this NEVER happens to me!! I'd even go so far to say that Flyboy was genuinely impressed by my skillz—this is usually his wheelhouse. With my new found confidence, I couldn't stop thinking about the show on Monday. I wanted to talk about it with anyone that might listen. Unfortunately, toddlers are useless when it comes to this sort of drama. Sigh. I just needed to get to nap time and then I'd start chatting with my people. Then, after successfully getting Max to sleep, I noticed my phone was blowing up, but it wasn't for the reasons I'd hoped...
  • Yesterday took an awful turn for the J.Crew community. Flags all over social media were lowered to half-mast when we learned THE Jenna Lyons would be leaving our beloved company after 26 years. Suddenly #NationalStripesDay feels like a ginormous sham. Thanks for nothing, Mickey! Build us up and tear us down, why don't you?! And I have no doubts that Jenna will go on to do fabulous things, but she genuinely embodied so much of what I adore in the brand. It's a loss for the company and Somsack is going to have some really BIG shiny ponies to fill as he takes over Lyons' design duties.
  • In other news, last Thursday Flyboy asked where I store the letters to my Letterfolk letter board and I totally fell for his bait. I always do! Just hours after responding to his odd inquiry, I walked into the dining room to find him changing the quote du jour "Put on your positive pants." to "Put on your BOSSY pants." I'm still not sure whether that minor edit was aimed at Max, yours truly, or BOTH, but it resulted in a big and unexpected belly laugh. Well played...
  • You know in the song The Luckiest when Ben Folds sings "I don't get many things right the first time..."? That's kind of how I feel about my Fiddle Leaf Fig Big Tex. I had this epiphany on Friday afternoon when I moved him around so I could dust furniture that hasn't been touched in months. I couldn't help but stare at him feeling so damn proud he's still kicking. What the what?! We've been together for 3.5 years (see his debut here) and quite honestly the odds were never really in our favor. I don't have a green thumb. Heck, he even spent 13 days in a dark storage unit because I was certain I'd kill him and have to buy a new one eventually anyway. With all that's happened since we moved back to Texas, keeping this plant alive might be my greatest achievement. Sorry, Max! You're a close second.

Alright, that's all I've got for now. What have you been up to?! I'm dying to know.


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