quicker than your average quick takes

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28 February 2017

don't believe me ... just watch.

1. I wrote these last week thinking I'd be able to tweak and publish them real sly like on Friday while we were out of town but I never cracked my laptop open so here we are. Please accept my apologies and we'll all pretend like you noticed my absence and that I'll be on top of my post scheduling game one of these days.

2. Biggest news first!! My little brother Paul proposed to his lady, Annie. Yay!! We're all SO excited - Annie is a total gem and we feel so fortunate to have her join our family.

Cutest. I'll have to get them to spill their how-we-met/proposal story next!

3. I'm still working through The Winter Sea but really enjoying it. My insomnia has mercifully lifted so my reading time has taken a hit. Not complaining though! I thought I'd be able to get through a little bit of my newest beach read on our flights but LOLOLOLOL. So, I'm excited to dig into that this week/end.

4. Simon watched The Bachelor with me this week (so, last week - hometown dates) and after one episode he said he's a fan of Corinne. I gave him the side eye while he continued digging his grave and said that Vanessa is his least favorite (she's my favorite!) and then I told him he can find another location to watch next week. J/k. I loved Sharleen's take as ALWAYS.

5. I'm normally not a fan of full panel maternity jeans but I have to admit that I'm loving these. My other favorites are right on over here.

6. If you have kids or know a kid or want to have kids one day -- I feel like this rain jacket and these rain boots are such classic (can you say "pieces" about kids clothing? mmm it's a stretch but fine) pieces. If my girls weren't already set with boots I'd be all over it. I did have to get Bosco a jacket to match his siblings.

7. Is anyone else in disbelief/denial that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday? Simon said he could've sworn he heard me say I was giving up the Bachelor for Lent. Funny, REAL funny.

Okay, I said quick! Have the most wonderful weekend!!

Emily + Sam: how they met

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24 February 2017

We're getting closer and closer to my sister, Emily and her husband-to-be's nuptials so I thought it was a good time to drop their "how we met" story on you. I take credit for snagging the following photo from Facebook and my brother Andrew takes credit for taking the photo.

Without further prattle from ME ... Emily, take it away!

The First 9 Years

Well well well, what have we here? A love story.

Funnily enough neither Sam or I remember the first time we met. Or the 2nd, or possibly the 3rd. What we do remember is at one point toward the end of our first year at Franciscan we were at a volleyball game and he introduced himself to me, at which point I had the gall to say something sassy like, “I know, I’ve met you 3 times already.” I mean come on - who doesn’t remember their future fiancé.

Our time at Franciscan passed by innocently enough. We were in the same group of students that traveled to Austria together and ran in fairly similar circles. I (Emily) am sad to admit I don’t remember many interactions with Sam.

Sam says it wasn’t until our senior year, when we both spent the summer in Ohio taking classes did he really notice how beautiful I was and was pretty taken aback. But (ah, there is always some iteration of “but”, isn’t there?) he didn’t do anything about it because Sam was feeling a call to the religious life. Which. Is. Great. And a wonderful vocation for so many! Emily was clueless as all get out about Sam’s attraction and remembers praying for his vocation and his call to religious life! In my mind, he was (and is still!) a great guy, and I thought (no longer think) he would make a great brother/priest.

After Sam graduated in December (one semester before me) I made the traditional trek back from Ohio to New Mexico and this time around I was doing it solo. I reached out and asked if I could spend the night at his parent’s house so I didn’t have to stay in a creepy Motel 8 by myself and plus, I would get to say goodbye to Sam before he joined the CFR’s!

He agreed. If memory serves me correctly, we ate pizza for dinner and I promptly went to bed. The next day I was saying goodbye to Sam and I said, “I like you Sam.” He didn’t really respond and mumbled some sort of goodbye as well. We didn’t speak or see each other for the next 2.5 years.

Fast forward 2.5 years. Samuel is cruising along as a brother (in my opinion). I’m struggling through life, living in smalltown, Illinois working a job and trying to figure out life in my twenties. I took a trip to NYC to see my dearest of friends Chanelle for Easter and who do we happen to run into but Brother Lazarus (Aka Sam, Aka my fiancé!).

After the Stations of Cross on Good Friday I walked out of the church to see Sam and (Again, don’t remember the details THAT well) but Bro Laz walks up to me, grabs me and says, “Emily, it is REALLY good to see you.” Apparently I turned bright red and awkwardly mumbled something like, “It’s good to see you too Sam.” Note I called him SAM, not Brother Lazarus (foreshadowing?...I think so!) He had to run off and be holy and I had touristing things to do. End Scene.

Fast forward another 1.5 years. I still live in Illinois and I’m still hanging out with my Franciscan Friends. Jessica and Elliot. As a little tid bit, to give you an example of how close we are, we share an Amazon Prime account, a costco membership, a phone bill and pretty much our entire wardrobes (okay not Elliot’s since he’s a 6’2’’ 200 lb man, but Jessica’s clothes!) Elliot shares the good news that Sam has discerned out of religious life and he is going to see Sam this coming weekend. I am thrilled to hear Elliot gets to see his dear friend Sam and am equally excited I get to spend some girl time with Jessica this weekend.

The next week I find myself at their home once again and Elliot fills me in on how great it was to see Sam and that he wants to come up soon and spend time with all of us. At one point Elliot mentioned that Sam asked about me and I was shocked! I believe the exact words were, “I can’t believe he even remembers me.”

Now -- let’s back up for a quick second to Elliot’s visit to Kansas. While my impression is that they had a great time (accurate), I had absolutely no idea what “Sam asked about you” meant. I was sure he was just being polite and I hoped I would get to see him for a group get together when he came to visit. Little did I know, once my name was mentioned, Sam essentially talked about me all weekend and was hell bent on coming to see me. But, Jessica and Elliot BOTH knew this and despite their excitement, I did not catch on.

The Weekend

Very soon after Elliot’s visit, Sam decided to drive up to Illinois for a visit and was staying with the Foley’s. Once I found out Sam was coming into town, I realized I had the day off of work and thought to myself, “It would be great to grab coffee with him and catch up. Maybe I’ll ask Elliot for his phone number.” After some self doubt and hanging out with my friend Denise in the early afternoon, I told her how I might see an old friend this afternoon, but I felt silly. I didn’t want to be that weird girl who reaches out and is like, “Hey, wanna get together with someone you weren’t that close with in college and talk about our feelings over coffee?” I told Denise all about what a great guy Sam was and I even remember describing him to her and saying, “He is probably one of the top 10 people I’ve ever met.” I decided to reach out. Documented here (don’t you love technology?) (Also Mom, sorry for the typo)


After reading that he was excited to see me, I got my first hint of butterflies in my stomach, but thought that maybe I’d just had too much caffeine that morning. Boy was I wrong. Right around 4:30 he showed up, rang my door and I buzzed him in. As I saw him coming up the stairs I was shocked. Grinning from ear to ear and more handsome than I had ever remembered him, I instantly blushed and lost all concept of reality. He gave me a hug (more blushing) and I invited him in. And so began the weekend we fell in love.

We talked and drank coffee for a couple of hours and boy was I smitten. When I wasn’t smiling I was forcing myself not to smile so as not to look like a wierdo and ask myself why my face was so sore. We then went to the Foley’s for dinner. There, it was notable that Elliot and Jess were acting strange. And while I was feeling strange as well, I didn’t think it was so obvious that it would force them to be acting strange as well.

I unfortunately had to leave early as a friend of mine wasn’t feeling well and I went to go take care of her. I was pretty crushed, but made sure I knew what the Foley’s plan were for the next day and quickly invited myself over for breakfast to ensure I would see Sam again. Throughout the night I caught him staring and smiling at me more than once, which was odd, but also probably expected. I bet you smile a lot as a friar.

After I left, Sam looked at Jessica who was waiting to see what his thoughts were on the matter and he looked at Jessica and said, “She is so pretty.” Jessica swears he said that on repeat all night. :)

I didn’t sleep a single wink that night.

We hung out pretty much all day on Saturday. Jessica and Elliot conveniently had an appointment that afternoon, and I couldn’t very well leave Sam all by himself in a strange town now could I? We talked all afternoon about life and all this time I’m so excited to be spending time with him and my feelings are growing stronger and stronger, but I’m also a bit distraught. This is Sam Sharpe everyone. Top 10 people in the world remember? There is no way he would have feelings for me! I decided I needed talk to Jessica about it that night because I hadn’t slept in over 36 hours and was getting delirious at this point.

From there, we hung out almost the entire weekend. Dinner parties, long talks, brunches, drinks and lots of laughter and fun.

Sunday night rolled around (far too quickly in my opinion) and we had plans to get together with friends for dinner when Sam called me. He asked if he could come over for some coffee. I was a little surprised since we were supposed to be meeting for dinner in about 30 minutes, but a chance at some one on one time with Sam? How could I say no?

He soon arrived at my door for the second time that weekend and we sat down for some coffee. He was (again) really smiley and started laughing saying, “I haven’t done this in a really long time.” He described how for a number of years in the friary he had thought of me on and off and when he discerned out, he didn’t know how, but he knew he would want to try and get back in touch with me. That he wasn’t looking to do it right away, but when my name came up during Elliot’s visit, there was a joy and peace within him that he knew he wanted to see me, and once he did, well...he liked me.

*Insert Emily mentally squealing with delight here.*

We both ended up agreeing that Sam should come back to visit IL again soon and we should go on a proper date.

Two weeks later, after I sent this text to my sister, we made it official.

Several months later, Sam moved up to Illinois. He conveniently works from home so it was much easier for him to move up here than for me to move down to Kansas. And a few months after that, plus many, many, many conversations later, we discerned an engagement was likely in our near future.

The Proposal
Once we both felt confident the Lord was calling us to marriage, Sam got right to work. He asked my Dad’s permission to marry me, and ordered the ring. I think he waited roughly 27 hours after picking the ring up to propose. (Must’ve been burning a hole in his pocket!) August 24th, 2016, I left work to find a note/poem on my windshield. I took a moment to collect myself and prayed God would bless this special time/event I was pretty sure was coming. The poem said to go where the water was and we have a park with a small pond a couple miles from my office. When I arrived Sam was standing there, smiling that electric smile that I saw the first day he came to Sycamore. He walked up to greet me, and asked me to sit down on a bench. There were sunflowers, a pitcher of water, a towel and a bowl.

Sam knelt down and silently washed my feet. Then grab both my hands and expressed how in love with me he was and that he wanted to spend his life serving me and the Lord and asked me to be his wife! It was a moment I will treasure forever.

We spent time calling family and then went to dinner to celebrate. It’s been one big celebration from that moment on.
Not happy at all.
I know it’s not polite to stare, but I couldn’t stop. He done good.


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22 February 2017

There were a lot of nights and eternal call weekends throughout residency that I swore when Simon was finished we were going to celebrate with a big trip to somewhere crazy like Italy (lolol - I have to applaud my uncharacteristically bold optimism). Our imaginary Italian getaway obviously didn't happen as we had to get down to Florida so Simon could start his fellowship and Bosco was about a week old BUT we still said we'd have to do something to commemorate residency's end. I can't say this was a dedicated celebratory trip (there's always the end of fellowship!!) but it was a huge Valentine's day surprise when Simon presented me with an actual date card a la Bachelor franchise style for an overnight date across the bay (so many fantasy suite jokes! so little time!) this past weekend.

I think he knew that unless he just went ahead and booked it and arranged to have a sitter some - I wouldn't agree because leaving the kids feel so daunting (but was actually much easier than anticipated - don't tell them) and easier to just not do anything. But! We went and we had a blast. We love our life and kids and the chaos but it felt really nice to have a string of uninterrupted conversations, pack a bag sans sound machines and gear galore, and enjoy a couple of meals on our own.

Our digs weren't too shabby either ...

We're not at the Camp anymore, Toto  Diego. Mom humor at its finest worst.

As fate would have it - they had oversold the room Simon booked so we got a fancy pants upgrade to a bigger room. We got there just in time to take a walk along the beach and watch the sunset before walking to a nearby hotel for dinner. Simon even indulged my excitement over a Britney Spears documentary on cable television later that night while talking about baby names which generally involves Grace tossing out a name and Simon grimacing before saying, "I'll have to let that one marinate" over and over again.

We enjoyed a little (aka huge) brunch the next morning and after one trip through the buffet line Simon said he had eaten too much and felt ill while I was happy to roll right back up not two but three times total. The baby was hungry. And there was Nutella.

Overall it was the most perfect 20 hour getaway I've ever been on and we both promised not to let 6 1/2 years slip by before doing it again.

I gave Simon a Fitbit for Valentine's Day thinking I'd been really thoughtful but methinks that maybe he outgifted me this year - just this once! Just this once, Patton.

ps. speaking of gifts - did you see that Amazon is taking $8.62 off all orders over $50 today (enter code BIGTHANKS at checkout)? Time to stock up on diapers, dog food, and well, maybe that's it.

heads up

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20 February 2017

Wellllll, I think we all miraculously managed to steer clear of Simon's flu but someone (and that usually means someone else followed by someone else etc etc) woke up with a bit of a stomach bug so all plans (all plans being a haircut) are on hold for the day while I dole out the Welch's (see what I did there? I hope you did, I HOPE you did) and pray the bug is blessed with a short shelf life.

totally and completely related: the baby is growing right along

crisp full length photo fail. couldn't leave you hanging though.

President Day sales weren't on my radar but then I kept seeing them so I thought I'd share in the event that you're homebound too or on the hunt for a deal/steal.

LOFT - always pulling through with a generous 60% of their sale items and 40% off everything else. I LOVE this blouse and this sweater.

Urban Outfitters - 40% off home and tech items. My favorite place to find Anthro-style bedding at very unAnthro-style prices.

Old Navy - loads of items are 50% off and then an additional 30% off with code HUGE. I've sung my loud and proud praises for their sculpting denim and lots of my friends echo my sentiments so don't just take my word for it. I also have and love the maternity version of this shirt and it's the perfect spring into summer top (I'm getting ahead of myself, always! always).

Amazon - not Presidents Day specific but I've been checking their Deals of the Day lately because you can find some really crazy steals. I'm in the market for some sort of dust bust buster/dirt devil because I've tricked myself into thinking it's going to make life easier (they do have this one on sale today but the reviews are meh).

Madewell - 30% off sale styles. If you're in the market for some rain boots or cute tennis shoes - they're all over it.

I'll stop there. Let me know if you find any sales worth sharing - I'd be much obliged!

oh! and did you see there's going to be a Downton prequel?!

Happy(ish) Monday!

gotta get down on ...

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17 February 2017


I know, I've used that post title before. I think we'll all survive.

1. I'm not sure we'll survive Simon's grimace on the left, on the left - though. He was excited about the father/daughter dance - I promise.

As excited as Julia? I don't think it's possible that anyone was as excited as Julia about the father/daughter dance this past weekend. She started asking at 8am if she could put her dress on and I thought her eyes would pop out of her head when Simon gave her that corsage. He said she didn't stop high speed dancing the entire evening - even breaking her plastic pearl necklace at one point. He tried to take it off so that she wouldn't keep bouncing faux pearls all over the floor but she was in the middle of a dance contest and told him, "Dad, I really need to keep dancing". Yeah DAD. The first thing she asked when they got in the car to come home was, "can we come to the dance next year?" -- she gets her planning and competitive dancing skills from her mother.

2. I keep reading and seeing how sick everyone has been this winter and I kept hoping and praying that we'd be spared and feeling terrible for all of my family and friends that were down for the count. Wellllll for the first time in med school/residency/fellowship history Simon called in sick because he's down for the count with the flu today. We are making sure he doesn't breathe on, touch, or look at anyone and I wouldn't put it past me to purchase a mask (hazmat suit?) for him to wear until he's better. I think we'd be less crazy + cautious if we weren't about to travel to my sister's wedding. I think.

3. Alright, so I finished Nine Women, One Dress last night and I really enjoyed it! I wish some of the stories had tied together more but overall it was light and pleasant and now I just really want that Max Hammer dress!! A kind reader recently recommended The Winter Sea (after she saw one of you recommend it in the comments) and the library had it (!!!!) so I snatched it up and so far - so great. I also have to admit that I reserved the most cliché beach read ever only because I thought it might be nice to have something breezy for our flights where Bosco will inevitably let me read in 3-4 minute snatches - if that. Always prepared, that Grace.

4. I loved these tips (and YAY for a new blog to love and read obsessively) for those of us that hate packing kids lunches (that I forwarded onto Simon because he packs them - I packed them on Valentine's Day and he said that it truly was the best gift I could ever give him - maybe I should just make his life and make them myself?) and now I'm wondering if these lunch boxes are worth the hype?

5. Who else is super excited about Rachel being the Bachelorette??? Of course - it's kind of a huge spoiler for the current season (surely Corinne doesn't make it to the final two?!) and I've listened to multiple podcasts speculating as to why they announced her so early but I'm so excited (as already stated) and always love that the Bachelorette starts so quickly after the Bachelor. Almost makes up for the fall drought ABC always puts us through. Always. Jones is back to her recapping ways (!!!), both of Sharleen's recaps are already live (blog + Flare recap) and Nick was on the Channel 33 podcast this week and Ashley I was on Afterbuzz (I never thought I'd love her so much after Chris' season but I can't help it - I DO).

6. I always get so excited when Anthropologie runs their 40% off clearance items sale because it's the only time I really let myself look at their gorgeous inventory. I rarely buy but it's fun to look, you know? I always start with shoes and move onto house and home because I'm wild and crazy like that. I have to admit this tank did catch my eye and I'll hope it's around after I have the baby.

7. I'm guessing you already follow Kate on her blog and various forms of social media because she's so great and that you already saw her genius rec for buying Gap's vintage wash t-shirts in tall (even if you aren't super tall). I heeded her advice and am so SO glad I did. Because while leggings aren't pants (will that notfunny debate ever die?) sometimes I wear leggings to the gym, grocery store, post office, etc and I love the longer length of the t-shirts with my "pants". I owe you, K. Bryan. I prefer the scoop neck but they have more colors in the v-neck and on top of already being 40% off they are an additional 25% off with code MORE right now.

Hope your weekend holds lots of promises of fun and relaxation.


Paleo friendly & Whole30 compliant Ramen with zucchini noodles

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16 February 2017

... no spiralizer needed. Nor do you need be an eater of the Paleo variety or doing a Whole30 to enjoy this - promise. Simon-dislikes-cooked-vegetables-Patton loves this. Or so he claims.

Disclaimer alert! I'm not a cook/check/foodie so proceed at your own risk but I wouldn't share a recipe unless it was worth making - mom's honor.

I had some real deal Ramen about a year or so ago and it was so good. I also like the stuff that comes in the packets but the real deal left an impact and while we aren't doing a whole30 nor do we eat Paleo I still thought it wouldn't be terrible to try with zucchini noodles (zoodles, if you must). And so! I did and the results were pretty tasty.

4 chicken thighs cooked/baked/fried to your liking (I HIGHLY recommend this method but if you want to bake them or whatever them - do it up)
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock of your choosing (we like this stuff from Costco and its whole30 compliant anyway)
two heads of Bok Choy (washed and chopped - not super finely)
3/4 cup carrots chopped
3 zucchinis worth of "noodles" (I just use a veggie peeler because it's super fast and makes the perfect ribbon noodles for the recipe but spiralize your little heart out if it makes you happy!)
2 soft boiled eggs, sliced
3-5 cloves of garlic - minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ginger (fresh or not - I rarely have fresh on hand)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp anchovy paste
1 Tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce if you don't care about the Paleo/whole30 factor
1 Tbsp hot sauce (I just use Frank's Red Hot)

Okay. It's tough to screw this up, promise. I know you were worried.

zoodles ready for action.

Heat the olive oil up on medium heat in a large skillet or tall pot (or I just use the pan and drippings from the chicken) and sauté the garlic until soft. Chop (or I just tear it apart) your chicken.

Slowly add the broth, tomato paste, anchovy paste, hot sauce, ginger, and chicken. Cover loosely with foil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add the chopped carrots and stir in one head of the chopped Bok Choy. Let simmer a few more minutes (this is when I start the eggs).

right after the Bok Choy and right before the carrots went in.

Add the zucchini and coconut aminos and stir but don't let the zoodles get super soft before serving. I dish up the bowls and there's usually enough left over for a lunch (or admittedly - I love this for breakfast) for two. I just don't let it sit in the pan too long so that the noodles remain slightly crunchy. I reserve the other head of Bok Choy to put over the leftovers but if you're not a Boy Choy fanatic like I am - you don't have to do that!

Top with sliced egg and enjoy! I like eating with plantain chips but to each their own!

This makes enough to feed me and Simon and a little bit to a couple of non-picky kids (yes, I make a separate but simple meal for the kids - yes I'm the biggest enabler known to moms).

This is at the top of my freezer meal list to make before the baby comes. I might do a trial run to see how the Zucchini & Bok Choy freezes and if it's meh - I'll just add those along with the egg when I heat it back up.

The end. 

flat hair, do care

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12 February 2017

I know I KNOW! I've written almost more posts about my favorite hair products than I have birth stories but - I'm always trying new things and discovering different techniques and if I could corner you to talk it all out for many more minutes than you were comfortable with -- I WOULD. But, I'll write a, "reading optional, skimming required" post instead. I don't have great hair and I know that and I don't want you to think that I think that I do. My hair is very fine and flat and does not hold curl well at all. I can't go 98 days in between washes like the rest of the free world. On a decent day it looks like this and on every other day it's just up in a disaster of a haphazard bun. I use the majority of these products once or twice a week and rarely have to replenish or replace for that reason which is nice. My favorite hair guru is Kate because she has the best BEST hair as does Julie and her curling technique has been a big game changer in terms of time it takes to curl my hair and how long the waves/curls hold.

Alright, alright. Here we go.

1. hair dryer - nothing special. It has the different temperature settings and while my hair is really fine - there is a lot of it and if I don't dry it at least partially - it can stay wet for 24+ hours which is fun so I always blow dry it when it's damp. I use a round brush if Bosco hasn't run off with it (often) but right out of the shower I use a tangle teezer (people like wet brushes too - both are great for tangled kids hair too).

2. uplifting foam - I use a tiny bit on my damp roots before I blow dry and the bottle I bought a year ago is still going strong. I highly recommend it!!!

3. hairspray - this really is the best hairspray. It doesn't make your hair stiff or sticky but a light misting pre curl helps my hair to stay curled(ish) for much longer than if I hadn't used it. I also use it after I curl my hair and before I've kind of broken up the curls with my fingers.

4. curling iron - I was a wand lady for a few years but Julie brought me back to the iron fold. It works on my hair so much better and don't need anything crazy expensive to get the job done. I use a one inch curling iron because I've found anything bigger just gives me big waves that stay put for about 12 minutes - not worth it.

5. hair powder - I won't say I'll request to be buried clutching a bottle of this stuff but I do really, really love and swear by it. It's really important to only use a tiny, tiny bit and I only use it every few days or after I've curled it (which I do about once a week - if that).

6. hair oil - Again, a tiny bit goes a long way and helps tame frizz and fly aways. I personally wouldn't douse my roots in this ever but my hair will forever be an oil faucet so -- you might want to.

7. dry volume blast - I put some of this on my roots at night and then up in a super high bun in a scrunchy (a rubberband leaves a mark - usually). I like it more than any other dry shampoo that I ever ever tried.

8. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo - For the past few kids I haven't dealt with postpartum hair loss but instead excessively oily hair (it even got bad after my miscarriage so I'm fairly certain it was hormones on fire and not an issue with hair products). I tried the no shampoo method, baking soda, vinegar, a zillion shampoos and finally this anti-residue shampoo. I use it before I wash my hair with whatever we have in the shower (I really love the Foxbrim Shampoo and this shampoo for blondes) and it's the only thing that truly helps and gets my hair really clean. I can wear my hair down a couple days longer than if I didn't use it. I can go a week between hair washings but I hate doing that and actually like clean hair. I'd say on average I wash my hair every 3-4 days?

I can't believe I didn't get up to double digits here but that's pretty much it! So, SO simple - I know. I know. If you have any conditioners/masks or other products you love and swear by - I'd be much obliged! Please and thank you!!

items of importance

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10 February 2017

1. "can you text it to Nana? And Dad?"

Someone get this girl some confidence asaP.

2. Galentine's - This should be numero uno but second is the best, or so thought second grade Grace. Thank you all for all of your entries on the Galentine's Day giveaway! It's still going strong so hop over and enter pronto. I'm so glad Rafflecopter does the picking because I could never ever pick a winner - so many sweet comments!

3. B-b-b-bachelor - I have to admit that I really thought Nick was going to deliver a stellar (ahem - as stellar as the show can be) season and while there's still time to redeem himself so far? eh. I believe in you though, Viall - don't let us down. I always love Sharleen's perceptive take on the episodes (I didn't pick up on Danielle L being unpopular in the house?) and was so happy that Jonesy gave us a recap of last week's episode - hopefully she does one for this week too :)

4. Books! Nine Women, One Dress DID indeed come off the hold list (although they randomly emailed Simon about it and he almost forgot to tell me - tsk tsk tsk) and I'm enjoying it! It's a nice breather after a couple of intense (for me ha) books in a row. Also! Kate's book came in the mail and I'm loving her seasoned thoughts on motherhood AND I saw that Bunmi's has a new one coming out that I just might have to pre-order - although May seems SO FAR AWAY right now.

5. Duped - I'd been seeing a super cute, super pricey, and super sold out peplum from one of my favorite brands all over the fashion blogging place and I love that Old Navy jumped right on the dupe train and came out with a more affordable option (they seem to keep restocking sizes so if yours is sold out - there's hope!) and actually - Old Navy is kind of killing it in the "ruffled hem" (euphemism for peplum? methinks so) department at the moment.

6. you'll never guess - but Loft is offering 40% off a significant chunk of their inventory. I love the simplicity and versatility of this utility blouse and this timeless camel colored belt.

7. Weekenders - Alright, I've got some shoeboxes to cover in festive wrapping paper and some homemade Valentines to attempt before we inevitably tuck our tails between our legs and head off to the picked over Valentine aisle-o-doom. Hope your weekend holds some similarly exciting plans!


(linking up with Kelly!)


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07 February 2017

I hope and pray you are fond of and familiar with Leslie Knope. If not - get your binge on a la Parks and Rec because it's comedic gold - if not platinum. Maybe because the show came out when I was working at a government desk job and wading through bureaucracy galore on the daily but I related oh so much and what's not to love about Leslie? Not much. Anyway, I've always wanted to celebrate a real life Galentine's Day (February 13th, every year) but an e-celebration will have to do this year - maybe next year I'll get my party planning ducks in a row. We shall SEE. 

I picked out a few of my favorite things that I wish I could ship off to all my friends and blog readers because they are all that wonderful (the things and the deserving people). I'm giving all five of the following away to one lucky winner AND a Galentine of her choosing. Woo to the HOO. 

Here's what we're working with ...

1. Nespresso - the longer I use this the more I love it and want to construct a little Nespresso pulpit so that I might preach about my love and devotion to the dream machine. Too much? Always. I've been using this "creamer" in the frother and it's amazing. Not sugary creamer amazing but pretty amazing. Shall I type amazing again? I shall not.

2. Glossier Balm dot com four pack - I can't and won't complain about Florida's "dry winters" because they are a dream compared to real deal winters but this stuff works wonders on chapped lips and I'm thinking it would be just as great and effective in super cold/cry climates.

3. Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast - I have yet to find a dry shampoo that doesn't make my hair more oily but using this at night between washes is my favorite way to extend the, "I'm definitely going to wash my hair tomorrow" lies we all tell ourselves. And it smells GOOD.

4. $25 Amazon credit - I didn't want to force feed you one of my favorite books so you and your gal will each get 25 Amazon dollars to spend on the book of your choosing (but might I recommend one of my hand picked favorites - bottom right of my sidebar? I might, I think).

5. Voluspa Three Wick Candle - My friend Fran sent me this candle and as a self proclaimed candle connoisseur I'm happy to report that it's high at the tippy top of my list of favorites. You'll love it too, I promise.

Alright - you should know the Rafflecopter road well by now and you should also know that like my bulletin board in my former classroom (RIP) stated -- cheaters never prosper. Winner must respond to, "you won!!!" email within 24 hours of contest ending or I'll move along to the next winner. Got it? Good!

Oh! This giveaway is sponsored by no one other than me, myself, and I and my gratitude for you and your commitment to reading/skimming (something Simon JUST ADMITTED TO DOING) the old Camp on occasion. THANK YOU!!!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

careers, Joy, and other exciting things

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03 February 2017

1. Career day! It seemed to come out of nowhere but Julia has had it in her head for months that she wants to be a rock star when she grows up (lead singer - she will specify every time) and Sebastian was undecided between many professions but we went with what we had on hand (army man or construction worker depending on if you asked before or after school). And I should've taken a photo as we were rushing out the door already 2.5 minutes after the tardy bell had rung because Julia's tights couldn't keep up with her rocker lifestyle ...

2. Don't mind the crib mattress in the living room. We (or I - Simon hasn't come home from work to see the damage yet) are/am in the middle of rearrange-the-house-palooza. Sort of. Nothing too crazy but I'll show you when it's finished (bunk beds still in process - although the painting IS finished, thankfully!) so you have that to look forward to - lucky ducks. Speaking of rearranging/furniture/etc I've typed it before and I'll type it again but the one piece of furniture/gear I cared about when Julia was born was a glider/rocking chair and the aesthetic pickings were slim all those 6.5 years ago and now I'm seeing pieces like these float around and wishing I could turn back time and bring it with me. I refuse to type "swoon" but that's what I did when I saw it.

3. Onto much MUCH more exciting news - an update on Joy! I put the latest update from Matt on the original post but she's doing so well! She's out of the hospital and from the videos Kristin has posted looks just like the sweet little Joy we remember! Thank you SO much for all of your prayers! Her recovery has been truly miraculous.

4. On the book front, I finished Small Admissions and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I think it would make a really fun movie and kept casting the characters in my head (Tina Fey as the overbearing older sister - I think) and sweet Hallie, who always has the best book recs, let me know that Nine Dresses, One Woman was light and enjoyable and I'm next on the holds list and am kind of hoping it's released into my eager little paws this weekend. So far - no luck but we all know I'm an optimist.

5. I hope I'm not alone in being borderline mad at Nick for sending Sarah home this past week. She was high up in my top four and I just don't buy that he sees more potential chemistry with some of the other girls still around. I'm over it. Mostly. This week's dates were almost unbearable aside from Rachel who is a very VERY close second to my very favorite: Vanessa. You know she goes far if Nick is already asking about her dad. Sharleen agreed with me - smart woman.

6. As far as pertinent sales go - I took advantage of this 30% off bedding sale (the boys toddler bed sheets didn't fit on their new twin mattresses - go figure!) and snagged these for the boys (the radiant gray pattern) but am still in the market for comforters or maybe just blankets - I guess the bedding world is my oyster.

7. If you've ever found yourself tossing and turning and wide awake at night wondering what on earth it is I pack in my diaper bag - restful sleep is within your reach, folks! Because here are all the answers you've been looking for. On page 26 specifically.

Happy weekend. Hope you've got some fun football food in the works - even if you don't necessarily care to watch the game (who?! me?! Never.)

Linking up with Kelly!

oh! ps! I still need to add a few things but I'm having a little closet sale over here and it ends tomorrow night :)

good old Gasparilla

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01 February 2017

... because when you've attended your second Gasparilla you can refer to it as such.

As suspected, we had a lot more fun at the real deal (just the invasion and flotilla - not the festivities and debauchery to follow) than we did at the kid's parade but we had a much better plan and setup so I'm not sure it's a totally fair comparison.

People kept walking by and chuckling at Bosco's hood (because it has ears, I suspect) despite many of them being in full on pirate garb ...

... but to each their chuckling own!

The kids get their staring problem from me and I'm not proud of it. At all. 

Phoebe has started to act as though she is Bosco's sole parent and guardian out in public which is endearing to me and infuriating to him. Sorry B.

Beer, backpack, and bear - gang's all here.

Anyway, I mentioned to Simon that I thought it might be a good idea to run upstairs and grab some of our winter hats since the forecast looked chilly and he responded with someone along the lines of, "um - overkill, Crazy G" so I refrained but I regretted it and wish I'd just gone with my original crazy.

The kids were fine and happy and had a blast and it was a fight to even get Sebastian to wear a sweatshirt over his one shirt but I was layered up in two shirts, my coziest sweater, and a jacket and was debating the pathetic factor of running back to the comfort of the van's heated seats almost the entire time. I finally checked the temperature because I thought surely it was below freezing and breaking Florida weather records but no - it was 56 degrees. I'm ashamed and fully aware that a balmy day in some parts of Canada does 56 degrees make. Florida has ruined me for LIFE.

We joined our friends at their impressive two tent camp to watch the boats and eventually the pirate ship go by. The kids ate their food, waved for beads, and gave me a couple of coronaries sitting/standing on that ledge.

Phoebe waiting for the tented port-a-potty. I think our friends would make the most excellent of tail gating companions because they thought of everything.

Phoebe didn't quite get the appeal of collecting dozens of necklaces and instead handed out whatever necklaces she got in the kids' favorite colors (blue for Bash, green for Theo, purple for Julia) which almost makes up for her new, "bite till they cry" fighting tactic she's recently adopted and put to good and terrible use of late.

Fooling no one.

Theo fit right in with his traditional pirate-ish attire ... 

... and I was the mean (cold) mom that waved the nap time flag shortly after the pirate ship went by so we started the walk back to the car ...

... not a minute too late.

I'm sure you're already patiently waiting for next year's Gasparilla recap and I can't say that I blame you. I don't blame you one bit!

Happy Wednesday.


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