Thursday, August 31, 2017



THINKING ABOUT: I still remember what it was like when they first placed Max on my chest after he was born. I'll never forget the moment my heart burst into two pieces or those deep feelings that came over me as I realized I created this tiny human, and my desire to raise a son that's both brave and kind. But if I was able to rewind to October 8, 2014 and have a moment with that scared new mom overwhelmed in a hospital bed all over again, I think I'd tell her to just wait. When it all feels like TOO much, WAIT for the first time your child tells you that you're his "best friend." WAIT to hear him tell you earnestly, "I have so much fun with you!" After a few years of pouring everything I have into this tiny but tenacious soul, nothing could have prepared me for what my heart might feel when he was finally able to communicate that what I've been doing has meant something to him. That reward has been invaluable.

FEELING: We're headed to Marfa tomorrow and I'm beyond excited! The best part?! Beesly gets to come with. Eek! This will be the first time we've done this, and I couldn't think of a better place for the four of us to enjoy TOGETHER! If you've been to the quirky town, you know it's a low-key location for our family to relax. The last time we visited, I was 32 weeks pregnant with Max and it was the final stop on our Texas babymoon. It's crazy to look back at photos and absorb all that's transpired over the past three years.

THANKFUL FOR: Despite the many drawbacks to social media, I appreciate how it's used as a tool to disseminate information in times of need as we've seen with Hurricane Harvey this past week. For instance, I learned about a simple opportunity to help those in need via one of my favorite artists (Donald Robertson) when he shared the following information in an Insta Story on Tuesday...

1. Go through your closet.
2. Anything new/newish and clean that you can spare, pack up and ship to:
*The Southside crew will get your donations to those in need.

With a move on the horizon, my closet could certainly benefit from a healthy purge, so I plan on helping in the effort this weekend. 

LISTENING TO: As embarrassing as it is to confess, I've listened to Taylor Swift's latest single, Look What You Made Me Do, more than I care to admit. Despite the fact that it's VERY catchy to listen to while I'm spinning, I've been getting a kick out of all the Arrested Development and BeyoncĂ© memes the Internet has provided as a result of the hokey lyrics and cryptic music video. Thoughts on the song? Are you mourning the death of "Old Taylor", or would you very much like to be excluded from this narrative altogether?!

WATCHING: Fellow Bravo fans! Is it just me, or is this season of The Real Housewives of Orange County painfully stale?! Lydia never added much value to the show anyway and it feels as though Peggy has been sorely miscast. I'm not making excuses for Vicki's ongoing bad behavior (the norm with her), but the show really sucks when Tamra and the OG aren't getting along. Hey Andy, when do you foresee the entire group hanging out again? If not, what's the point in filming another season? Watching them avoid each other at functions where they continue to hawk their products and businesses doesn't motivate me to tune in, which is unfortunate because the RHOC used to be one of my favorites in the franchise. Tell me I'm not alone in feeling this way.

EATING: Earlier this week I threw together Tasty Thin's Asian Chicken Chopped Salad and it was a BIG hit. The recipe was wicked easy and could have been simplified even more if I would have remembered to get a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. Thankfully, I had a few chicken breasts in the freezer and popped them in the crockpot at lunchtime for a few hours with some bone broth and seasoning. You could argue that step was just as painless as going to the HEB with a toddler anyway. Ha Ha! One reader commented they would add cilantro and chopped snap peas the next time they make the salad, and I plan on doing the same.

READING: For those of you who have truck-obsessed tots, I highly recommend the board book Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. It's become a necessary step to our nighttime routine as we watch crane, cement mixer, dump truck, and bulldozer sign off after another rough-and-tough day of construction play. The book is also the latest inspiration behind Max's "excavator hugs." Don't ask. We're still trying to figure it out as well, but he scoots around like he's on tracks and his arms act as the front bucket??

LOVING: The classic three-quarter length closet staple got a fun and flattering update with this adorable Tie-Back T-Shirt. Gimme.

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

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017


At the peak of my awkward adolescence, middle-school Ashley had a respectable collection of rugby shirts. Can anyone out there relate?! Okay, I kinda figured it was just me. Anywho, imagine the excitement that came over yours truly when I was browsing J.Crew's latest fall lineup and saw they brought back one of my favorite wardrobe staples. DEAD! I mean, who knew that girl donning blazers and walking shorts with great pride (circa 1996) might one day become a preppy visionary in varsity stripes?! Ha Ha! And while September weather in Swell Rio might be a tad too warm for this particular mom uniform, you can bet I'm banking it for later.


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Tuesday, August 29, 2017



Happy Tuesday, sweet readers! Yesterday during lunch, in the midst of of a chocolate milk disaster, it felt like Monday had spiraled out of control. I spent the better part of the morning mentally fussing over all the unknowns that have come with our next move, which kept productivity and me being present with my child at an all-time low. I suppose the stain-filled sticky spill is when ALL the feelings came to a head and I was smacked in the face with a much-needed reality check. Humbled by the Harvey devastation, my midday mess and the uncertainties of this PCS paled in comparison to what's occurred just 350 miles east of Swell Rio. In that moment, I felt like a giant buffoon who desperately needed to take a deep breath and be grateful for her blessings. Embarrassed by my pitiful thoughts and actions, I considered skipping today's blog post altogether. In the big scheme of things, what's the point in rambling about silly subjects like house plants, a cheeky keychain, or strawberry milk anyway?! This colorful corner has always been a place where I can share the things I find delightful in addition to recording all that's good in life. I think I'll do just that.

Today's post is merely a personal reminder to keep looking for the bright spots because I'm surrounded by them daily. It's an impromptu breakfast at Starbucks on a Friday morning with my favorites; watching Beesly take deep breaths as she peacefully naps under my desk; the wonder in Max's eyes when he observes a fresh batch of baby chicks; or the way our resident toddler insists on teaching Sue the T.rex to talk, but gets so frustrated when she won't respond. Bless it. Yes, this is the really good stuff.

And maybe you're like me and you could also use a subtle reminder to absorb and appreciate all that's gone right? I can assure you it's there, and the moment your heart feels overwhelmed with the warm and fuzzies of gratitude, I've learned it's best to pay it forward in whatever way you can. You guys, the energy I spent bemoaning minutiae this morning was a total waste and could have been better spent acknowledging life's blessings and looking for little ways to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey instead. My parents taught me to take note of what's good and give back. After today's humble reminder, I have every intention of doing so. If you are also inclined, here's an article that's filled with various ways in which we can help out.

Alright, enough from me. How's your week?! 
Do you know anyone that's been directly affected by Harvey, or other ways in which we can assist in relief?

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Friday, August 25, 2017


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

Happy Friday, m' dears! Make this weekend count. 
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Thursday, August 24, 2017



THINKING ABOUT: As soon as we found out we'll be moving to Delaware, I immediately began worrying about Big Tex and wondered how on Earth we would transport him across the country. Priorities, right?! Ever a glutton for punishment, I found myself looking at the latest selection of house plants at Home Depot yesterday and laid eyes on the cutest little Fiddle Leaf Fig for THIRTEEN DOLLARS!! I couldn't leave the store without it, so unless I kill this one, we will now have TWO trees to worry about when we PCS. 

FEELING: This week I had several moments where I felt incredibly frustrated by base housing and some of their policies. I won't get into specifics—it's been going on for a few years now—but it gets exhausting when you feel like no one has your back and you've been following the rules all along. It's especially disheartening as we've improved the rental as much as we could in the time we've been stationed here, but our efforts go unappreciated. I'm certain I come off as the crazy lady always complaining about X, Y, and Z, but I grew up living on Air Force bases and we NEVER experienced this kind of lax customer service. Needless to say, it's time to GO!

THANKFUL FOR: Moving comes with so many mixed emotions. As evident above, we're eager to get out of Dodge, but we also want to soak up the really good stuff one last time. Thankfully, Flyboy is wonderful about encouraging us to whoop it up at our favorite spots before we depart The Lonestar State, so we've got trips to Marfa, Austin, and Round Top in the works before he heads to training. As a family, we created a lot of really magical memories from ordinary moments in Swell Rio over the past 3.5 years, but it was our adventures in Austin and Marfa that brought us great joy. We'd be remiss if we didn't do it all over again! As for Round Top, this renowned antiques fair has been on our bucket list since we first heard about it in 2014. Better late than never, we're going to make it a point to attend the market at the end of September. Who wants to make a bet that I meet Emily Henderson?! Eek!

LISTENING TO: As Max's vocabulary expands and his pronunciation improves, I wish I could record the cuteness. Lately it's the way he says the word orange that's enough to make me grin from ear to ear. I guess it sounds something like "uhhhhr-nge." Max really takes his time to get it all out, but it's imperative he scrunches his nose in the process. I will go out of my way to point out anything and everything that's this particular color because I simply can't get enough of his delivery. Hey, I take Pantone seriously too! I get it.

WATCHING: How many episodes of Flipping Out are we going to have to watch before we finally get to meet Jeff and Gage's baby girl? Gah, the suspense is killing me!! A few months ago on WWHL, Jeff shared that their baby, Monroe, had really bad colic when he was chatting with Andy. As parents who lived to talk about this kind of newborn nonsense, Flyboy and I openly admit that we're very intrigued to watch it play out on TV. I hate to say that misery loves company, so how about the spirit of solidarity instead??

EATING: Every so often it's worth straying away from a Whole30 meal plan during the work week, especially if there's melted cheese involved. Who's with me?! Next week I have every intention to try these Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Rellenos via Skinnytaste. There's no denying this level of deliciousness because Gina's recipes NEVER disappoint. I can't wait!

READING: I was aimlessly scrolling through Instagram last week when this particular quote stopped me dead in my tracks... 

"Shoutout to all the shy, introverted, empathetic, anxious, socially awkward souls 
who are pushing past their comfort zones to share gifts with the world."

At one time or another, I've been described or described myself using one (or ALL, let's be honest) of the five adjectives listed above. I typically do so with genuine honesty, but it's assumed on my end that these characteristics are used in a negative or less-than-ideal manner. Seriously though, who wants to be socially awkward?! It wasn't until the author mentioned that "the best art is born from humans who exhibit one or more of these traits" did I even think to own such descriptors in a positive light. Can you relate?

LOVING: I believe I reached an all new level of #BOYMOM street cred on Tuesday afternoon. Yes, Max droned on for weeks about the fact that neither his van nor truck had a hitch. For a kid who loves hauling ALL the things, this seemed to be a big effing deal. I suppose part of my motivation to put the whole thing to rest was that I was fed up hearing about how he couldn't tow anything with either of his vehicles, so I got out some bungee cords and zip ties and rigged something up within five minutes of finding my supplies. The satisfaction on both of our faces as he successfully tested it out driving up and down the sidewalk was priceless.

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

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017



Howdy, and happy Wednesday m' dears! Let's get on with the highlight reel already...

  • Since our days together in Swell Rio are numbered (still waiting on specific dates, but Flyboy will probably head to Oklahoma for training sometime in October), we decided to take the boat to Lake Amistad on Sunday. Getting the vessel started took a little coaxing on FB's part, but he managed to get it up and running after a few failed attempts. Thank goodness it all worked out, because we weren't sure how we were going to break it to Captain Max if we didn't make it past the dock. Ha Ha! As you can tell by the photos (that hat tho...), there are a lot of similarities between our toddler and Bob Wiley at Lake Winnipesaukee. You know what I'm talking about, right? Hey, don't hassle Max, he's local
  • Our lake outing left Flyboy and I wondering how we ended up with a kid so fixated on ALL the mechanical and technical details?? As if the actual boat ride wasn't enough, we found ourselves fielding questions left and right—topics varying from boat engines to turtles and the lack of clouds in the sky. Sure curiosity is an outstanding trait to possess, but he wants to know everything and he will call us out if we give him a bland response. Not to mention, trying to explain how things work in a manner that an almost three-year-old boy can process is tricky in itself. And here the two of us thought that we could just relax in the sun on a Sunday morning and sip an ice-cold beverage in peace. Yeah, right! As long as FB is around, I will continue to encourage Max to "Go ask your dad!" and focus on the appropriate snacks and props.
  • Are you tired of hearing about the solar eclipse yet?! Did you do anything cool to celebrate? There wasn't much to see down here—although Beesly kept a watchful eye for us in her snazzy striped bow—but I did learn that Swell Rio will be in the "path of totality" in 2024. Flyboy joked it will be around the time they ask him to return for a third assignment at Laughlin AFB. That's the sort of joke that's funny for five seconds and then panic ensues. Thanks, but no thanks!
  • As with any toddler, Max's appetite has been hit or miss lately so I thought I'd do the cool mom thing and get creative with his waffles. I'd yet to check that box and assumed he would be pretty jazzed by my creation. WRONG! After me begging him to eat a quarter of one waffle,  I was reminded why it never really pays for me to be a Pinterest mom. His lack of enthusiasm made me question why I put so much thought into finding the right strawberry to double as lips.
  • Max's T. rex, Sue, has made many appearances this past week. The toy (aptly named after the world-famous fossil at The Field Museum in Chicago) and the toddler have been inseparable lately. The two of them brush their teeth together (no lie), join me at the HEB for groceries, take leisurely bike rides around base, etc. Who knew this fun figurine I snagged at Walmart 1.5 years ago would be such a hit? I can't say I mind her company either, she's a lot easier to manage than Max.
  • Speaking of groceries, I was putting everything away after our trip on Friday morning when I looked over at the kitchen table to find Max pretending to work on his faux laptop (which is actually this board book). He's seen my dad telework from time to time and wanted to show me that he was busy "just like PaPa." I couldn't help but giggle at the sight. I feel like there needs to be a hashtag for teleworking toddlers. Maybe this could become a thing??
  • Last but not least, I was interested in trying the latest from NARS after reading many glowing reviews and I will tell you that it totally lives up to the hype. I was prepared to return it, but that won't be happening with this one. This particular cult-favorite color never really worked on me (too much sparkle), but the liquid formula is amazing!!

Alright, enough from me. How's your week?! Anything fun on tap??

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Friday, August 18, 2017


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

  • Gingham Clothbound Journal // Huzzah! Nothing says the beginning of a new school year quite like fresh notebooks.
  • Standard of Accuracy Ruler // I've never been one for straight lines, but this is cute enough to convince me otherwise.
  • Mokuyobi Thread Patches // How fabulous are these? I couldn't help but laugh at the dino and hot dog one. So Max!
  • Joy No. 3 by Jen Sievers // This collection of abstracts from a New Zealand artist are aptly named, wouldn't you agree??
  • Who Farted Tee // I reeeeeally wish Cheerily would consider making these in sizes larger than 2T. Flipping hilarious!
  • Max the Monster Slip-On Sneakers // These are on their way to Swell Rio. Some things just make sense, you know??
  • Boozy Coconut Freeze Pops // You know I'll be whipping up a batch of these puppies over the weekend. Come over!
  • Apple Throw Pillow  // This Land of Nod to the fall season is quite precious. The designers over there always get it right.
  • Halo White and Brass Armchair // Let's go ahead and categorize this under the file "If I were rich and child-free..."
  • Be Bright Keychain // Because who doesn't need a cheerful reminder in their purse?! I'm thinking it's a great gift idea.
  • Harlow Cardigan Sweater // My heart can hardly handle the fact that we'll  get to experience legit sweater weather.
  • Cocoon Coat // It's time I start dreaming about a coat that makes me feel like Carol Vessey. Any Ed fans out there?
  • Yes Please Free Download // Ionut Radulescu served up some serious cuteness this week on Design Sponge. Check it out!
  • Cheetah-Print Sneakers // Coming in under $25, these spotted sneakers are a "momsemble" MUST! Thanks Old Navy!
  • Easy DIY Paper Flower Topper // What's the chance I could convince my toddler that making paper bows is fun??
  • House Cocktails Tray // In the event I get too busy to make freeze pops, come over anyway for a gin-spiked beverage.
  • Carnation Drop Earrings // Now this is precisely the kind of Carnation I could get on board with. Bravo, J.Crew! Bravo!
  • Striped Cotton Napkin // I love cotton napkins, but they can be spendy. Thanks to H&M, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
  • Gardenia and Peonies Candle // Peony season might be in the past, but let's keep the spirit alive via this scented candle.
  • Sleepy Hand and Body Lotion // There's probably a good reason this magic sleep potion is out of stock. I'm intrigued!

Happy Friday, m' dears! Make this weekend count. 

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Thursday, August 17, 2017



THINKING ABOUT: Every time I look at Flyboy, I swear he's nose-deep in Zillow listings or flipping through the channels taking copious mental notes about what he's watching on House Hunters. Ha Ha! It's weird to think our time in Swell Rio is coming to a close and that it's finally time to start actively looking at housing options. For the past year we've been living in this bubble of hypotheticals and now we need to decide whether we want to buy or rent at our next location. Training and moving dates are still pending, so there's not a lot we can do right now, but it's on our radar. I'm equal parts terrified and exhilarated by the whole scenario. This move will be different in a lot of ways because we have a child now, but our PCS to Dover will be especially interesting as it's one of the first places we've moved to together that neither of us are familiar with the location. Say yes to new adventures, right?!

This past Sunday and Tuesday were a bust thanks to a series of really gnarly migraines. I maxed out on my meds (10 mg of Zomig in 24 hours) and had to rely on showers, Orthogel, and diffusers to survive. It's been about six months since I experienced anything like this. I forget how awful the reeeeeeeeeally bad ones can feel and medication isn't enough to do the trick.

THANKFUL FOR: Optimism with engagement can feel downright impossible when you tune into the news and see nothing but hate, bigotry, and violence as we did in Charlottesville this past weekend. But then I stumbled upon a quote shared by artist Oliver Jeffers on Sunday and I was reminded that despite the odds, it's best if we can still have faith in humanity. I hope I'm not wrong.

"For all the racism and xenophobia to be truly eradicated, all the closet racists and xenophobes 
need to reveal themselves. In my most optimistic moments, I believe we are witnessing 
the last dying thrust of the old world before a new age of enlightenment begins."

LISTENING TO: A few days ago, I caught Max playing in his mini kitchen. He was pretending to crack an egg open when I asked what he was making. Expecting an answer like cookies or muffins (his go-to response), he replied: "I'm making more Dump Ranch, ma!" I couldn't help but chuckle at his Whole30 specific response. This kid is definitely a product of his environment and I'm certain Melissa Hartwig would be proud, but wow we're going to look like he's part of the cult. If only they knew what his diet really consists of...

WATCHING: With an excellent cast like Billy Eichner, Cobie Smolders, and Keegan Michael-Key, I had HIGH hopes for the Netflix original series Friends from College. Have you watched it?! The characters are messy and the season (or series?) finale was even messier. Don't get me wrong, Flyboy and I found ourselves laughing a lot, but complicated doesn't even begin to describe the one-dimensional storyline. The show was just okay and while I wouldn't say it was an entire waste of time (we're talking Swell Rio on a Saturday night...), the last minute of Episode 8 left me with so many unanswered questions, I kind of wanted that four hours of my life back.

EATING: Per my sister's glowing recommendation, I've added these Thai Turkey Burgers to our meal plan next week and I can't wait to make them. You know a recipe has got to be good when you get a text that says, "I seriously can't wait to make them again and I'm still eating them." Hot damn! After reading Aubrey's message, I'm thinking she rests her case. No further questions, your honor. 

READING: Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar is exactly the kind of book I needed to read right now. Trust me when I say that you will feel ALL the feels, ugly cry, and your sides will hurt so much from laughing. You guys, it's like getting a much-needed hug from that friend you've been searching for. I want and need all m' peeps to read this one.

LOVING: This might be the best $17.20 I've spent in a very long time, so it's best I spill the tea. Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel exfoliating gauze pads are just as good, if not better, as the Dr. Gross equivalent I'd been purchasing at Sephora and a third of the price. Holla!

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

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