adventures in shopping

You may have seen versions of the “shopping is my cardio” t-shirt out there. Well, while that may be true for me as well, shopping is also my therapy. And this week, I had a few especially fruitful sessions with my favorite therapist.

The chosen tote

Friends! I am so excited about this one! You know how I was looking for a tote bag to function as my daily everything bag? And how Ben told me I would just know when I found the right one? Well it happened! I had been eyeing some of Kate Spade Saturday’s three-way tote bags, and I checked earlier this week and only saw two prints available—neither of which appealed to me. But for whatever reason (most likely because I’ve been searching totes every single night), I went back a few days later and found THE ONE. I was looking for something light and basic that I could load up with a few baby + me essentials, throw over my shoulder, and be off. It needed to be able to coordinate with most of my outfits, which meant some kind of pattern, but not detract from them, which meant something abstract. Behold: the Three-Way Tote in Atmosphere. Ben thinks it looks like someone spilled paint all over it. But I think it’s lovely! And I can’t wait for it to arrive!

The anchor cardigan I didn’t buy

Last week at church, I saw a girl wearing this super cute red cardigan with little blue anchors all over it. You may be aware of my love of all things nautical (a backstory for another day), so when I saw it, I jumped on my phone immediately to identify it. Google kindly informed me it’s a Tommy Hilfiger cardigan no longer available online. So on Wednesday, when we decided to visit the local outlet mall, I took a chance and ducked into Tommy Hilfiger.

I browsed for a while and found some super cute stuff on amazing sales, then, on our way to the register, guess what was right in the dang front of the store and 50 percent off! It seemed like an obvious choice, because it was the whole reason I went there and they only had one left in my size. But something funny happened in that moment that doesn’t happen to me often: I saw reason. I realized that, while very cute, this cardigan wouldn’t go with very much in my wardrobe, and I wouldn’t get much use out of it. So… I bought a polka dot one instead. Much more practical. But still super cute!

The POPSUGAR box I need really want to buy

Okay, so of course I already subscribe to my fave subscription box ever, POPSUGAR Must Have*. But there is apparently a coupon code (CHANNEL7) that’s good until today for half off a box, making it a mere $20, which is a fantastic deal! Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to current subscribers, so… I need to get a box for someone. I just have to. It’s TOO good of a deal! Now just to convince Ben…

Other purchases of note this week

  • An amber teething necklace for Allie to wear (during the day only), because the FOUR TEETH she is sprouting right now are causing her all sorts of pain and discomfort.
  • The book of What Does the Fox Say, because Allie continues to be obsessed with the song, and while we’re totally sick of it, it’s her song. So it’s only appropriate. (And also possibly because I was getting the teething necklace and just buying one thing from Amazon is so hard.)
  • A total Target receipt under $100 yesterday! This is a big step for us! (Though of course every time I step into Target now, this article pops into my head.)

Anyway, it’s probably best that I STOP shopping for a while. I finally finished Allegiant last night, so I guess now it’s time for a new book! I’m either going to check out the River of Time or Maze Runner series. Sticking with YA lit, of course! Hope you all have lovely weekends!!

{Images via sites linked above}

* My referral link

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rebelliousness and scrambled eggs

I have been super absent from blog land the last few days. I could say it’s because I’ve have lots of work to do, which is part of it, or because I’ve been trying to finish Allegiant, which is also true. But it’s mostly because I just did not feel like blogging. Like at all. Do you (since most of you reading have blogs of your own) ever get like that? Sometimes I feel this pressure to blog and read blogs, like I have to keep it up or my world will stop turning. But I have always had a rebellious spirit and hate feeling forced to do things, and I guess I just needed a break. And I want you to know I’m reading your blog because I want to, not because I feel I have to. It’s just that sometimes I just want to run away and do whatever for a while, k? 🙂

But since you’re all dying to know, here are a few things that have occupied my mind and time these past few days:

  • Anti-April Foolery: I seriously hate April Fools’ Day. I am a believer of things, and I always fall for everything. Thus, when I spent at least a full hour yesterday being insanely excited about the promised return of the show Firefly, it was with deep sadness that I remembered the date. NOT COOL.
  • Impossible giftery: What do you give to someone who has or could very easily acquire (and with much less financial damage than you) everything? Someone in our lives has been immensely helpful and supportive recently, and we have wanted to show our appreciation, but every gift just seems so pointless. Last night we eventually settled on a gift of a Taste Trunk, a food box I’ve never actually tried but that looks pretty good in the reviews I’ve read.
  • Teething and waving: Oh yeah, so teething sucks. I mean, I’m assuming so, because Allie is back at it (top tooth number one made its appearance a couple of days ago!) and is all sorts of pouty and night-wakey. But she still manages to be amazingly smiley and giggly at the same time. OH, and she has totally mastered the wave! (Hand, not crowd.) Granted, she does it with both hands at once, but she understands enough to do it when we wave at her!
  • Scrambled eggs: I had never in my life made eggs… until this week. For whatever reason, I don’t like eggs (except in cake or cookies or brownies or basically eggs plus anything)—though I think it may be the food I try to learn to like this year—but Allie tried some at a restaurant a week or so ago, and I realized this would be a good food for me to make for her. So the other morning I scrambled my first ever egg. Ummm so, it’s ridiculously easy. Painfully easy. Granted, I sort of overscrambled it the first time, but I tried again the next morning and the next, and not only am I a total promateur, but Allie totally loves eggs. #momwin #sortof
  • Dreaming of campaigning for the change of American workplace norms: I read this article about how America’s workers are stressed out and overwhelmed, and I read somewhere else this past week about how so few people take the full hour for lunch and so many eat at their desks. I can attest to both of these from experience. Conclusion: Our workplace culture needs to change big time. It’s proven that people work better with more breaks, more vacation, and more unplugging—yet we still maintain our toxic culture of working late even when you don’t need to, always being available by email, and being ashamed about actually wanting to spend time with our families. This is ridiculous! And it is going to destroy American ingenuity and prosperity, IMHO. Okay, off soapbox.
  • Headaches: And on the subject of being overwhelmed… this is what has literally occupied my mind lately. I don’t get headaches a lot, but I’ve had one almost non-stop for three days. Must mean it’s time for a vacation!

I hope whatever you are doing today, it’s something that you want to do!

{Image via}

glitch, please

I don’t know how many of you saw the Jimmy Fallon video with Mitt Romney slow jamming the news, but “glitch, please” was definitely my most important takeaway from it.

Date night with Four’s lips.. err.. Ben

Anyway, I have some big news to share: We went on a date!! Without Allie!! To the movies!! It was basically amazing. I just put her down for the night, and all my mom had to do was listen for the baby monitor. She didn’t wake up at all. And I wasn’t even a total mess! In fact, I kept gushing to Ben about how exciting it was to feel “single” (my term for married without kids) for the night. We saw Divergent, and IT WAS SO GOOD. And let’s just talk about Theo James for a second. Seriously. I had instagrammed a pic before the movie started with the big news, and a friend commented with the hashtag #stillalittewoozyfromfourslips, which totally cracked me up. But I actually loved the movie more than the book, which is super rare. I’m in the middle of reading “Allegiant” now and just want to say thanks to every single person who’s read it for informing me how I will feel about the ending!

Are you a spoiler lover?

On that note, but not really, I’ve found there are two types of people in this world: those who like spoilers and those who don’t. Not judging or anything, but the ones who like spoilers are probably the ones who went hunting for Christmas presents in their parents’ closets when they were kids. I am not a spoiler lover! In fact, I go to great lengths to be surprised about as much as possible in my life.

In unrelated weather news

So.. a few days ago it was 70 DEGREES outside. We drove around with the windows down then came home and just sat out in the backyard soaking it all in. (See adorable Allie pics below.) The next day, it snowed. (Ben’s curse and all!) What. The. Heck. Granted, it was maybe only a quarter of an inch, but still. Today is thankfully back to warm and sunny (though not as warm as the other day), and it’s a good thing, because I think I am just refusing to wear coats at all anymore, snow or no!

Swap success story

I’ve already gushed about the My Subscription Addiction box swap site, but yesterday I completed a swap I am SO excited about. A few months ago, I saw this top on ModCloth and fell in love with it, but I had just bought another ModCloth top and couldn’t really justify getting it. Flash forward to this month, when I was scrolling through the latest listings on the swap site and saw the top in my size up for trade! Someone had received it in ModCloth’s Stylish Surprise Apparel grab bag, and now, a few beauty products I didn’t even want later, it’s mine! Or it will be, once it gets here. Yay!

Other things I’m happy about

  • I finished my quiet book pages!!! And having finished this project (with LOTS of help from Ben), I can now say with surety that I am really just not that crafty. I’ll stick with shopping, I think!
  • My white jeans got here!! They fit!! They still aren’t perfectly opaque, but I think all white jeans are like that. I’ll make it work.
  • This is my 100th post on this blog! Yay!
  • We discovered a Five Guys near here and grabbed some for lunch today! Now I might slip into a peanut-oil-induced sleep coma.

And since Allie is sleeping, I may just do that. Happy Friday, my friends!!

the travel lover’s love list

I used to always say that I love traveling, but as it turns out, I hate traveling. I love being places. But, for convention’s sake, this post is about travel in the being places sense. And also in the isn’t-the-world-amazing? sense.

Recently, my dear friend Emily shared a picture of this awesome push pin world map they got for their house, which I promptly added to my PLEASE BUY SOMEDAY bookmarks folder. But it got me thinking about a few other items I’ve encountered that pluck at the heartstrings of any globetrotter with a dream. In my case (and maybe yours, too), this is also closely related to a love of geography and maps. (As a sidenote, I am totally dominating in the geography categories on QuizUp. Feel free to join and challenge me.)

Without further ado, here’s my love list for travel lovers after my own heart:

  1. World push pin map: What better way to document your world domination/travels than a gorgeous, wood-framed push pin map? I jealous Emily hardcore for having this!
  2. Scratch map: This is along the same lines as the push pin map; let’s call it a starter version. A bit of a reverse life lotto ticket, as you scratch off the adventures you’ve already “won” (done).
  3. Travel Manager by Zero per Zero (image via): This urban, mappy wallet holds tickets, passports, and other travel essentials, with a few different featured cities as options.
  4. Pass Tag by Zero per Zero (image via): The more simple pass tag holds transit cards or doubles as a cool luggage tag.
  5. Travel journal: For me, a journal is a major travel must-have, and while the stampy exterior of this one isn’t necessary for collecting your travel thoughts, it certainly has an adventurous feel to it.
  6. Damsel On the Go gift set (image via): What’s a list from me without a surprise box? This Sesame Gifts box curated by the lovely Damsel in Dior includes a delightful assortment of travel goods in one fun package and makes for a great gift to yourself or a fellow travel lover!

I don’t know about you, but this is making me antsy for another trip here soon…

march and other madness

This line has no relevance to today’s post, other than I just TOTALLY LOVE SAYING IT. Like all the time. Sorry, Ben. And yes, I made the gif (pronounced jiff, as Ben keeps correcting me) all by myself! Sort of. A few things I’m thinking about this morning:

  • Consumerist’s Worst Companies in America tournament: If you can’t get enough March Madness, or if you’re like me and don’t follow basketball at all but enjoy bracket challenges, definitely check this out. Consumerist posts a couple of “games” each day, during which you can vote for your pick as the worst company in each match. It’s one of my favorite annual traditions! I’m rooting for Comcast.
  • Veronica Mars: I saw the movie!! I liked it, but of course I’m easy to please. I read an interesting article about the ending (it has spoilers!) and whether or not it was the right place to leave the story, but in any case, I was happy with it. Any other closet VM fans who have seen it?
  • Grown-up birthdays: Yesterday was Ben’s birthday, and I did shamefully little to help him celebrate. I had helped Allie fingerpaint him a card (that totally wasn’t a humongous mess), and I made him chocolate chip waffles… but that’s about it. Birthdays when you’re a parent are very different. I’m thinking I’ll train Allie (and potential future kids) to throw us massive parties once they get a bit older…
  • Piper Street maxi dresses: I saw these on Shannon of Bird a la mode, and I NEED one. I’m always looking for maxi dresses with actual sleeves, and these are so beautiful!
  • Quiet books: So, as I’ve mentioned, I was going to do a world map for my quiet book page exchange. But after giving it more thought, I realized this probably wouldn’t be the most interactive, compelling concept for 1-ish-year-olds. So I’ve changed directions and, based on Allie’s fascination with her high-chair and carseat buckles, I’ll be making a page with—you guessed it—buckles. This feels so much more manageable!
  • White jeans: I’ve made a decision that I can and will wear white jeans at whichever time during the year I deem appropriate, including after Labor Day! I ended up buying the jeans I posted about the other day, but when they arrived I found them to be just a little bit see through. So I returned them and have ordered these in their place. I also forgot to give credit to Alison of Get Your Pretty On for her amazingly thorough review of all the white jeans options out there. I opted not to buy her top pick because they look a little short for my neverending legs, but I’m hoping a similarly respected brand will meet my expectations!
  • Date night is (almost) scheduled: As I discussed in my last post, I’m trying to be better about leaving Allie with other people. Well, one of my sisters is in town this week, and, as she shares a lot of the same neurotic, overprotective tendencies that I have (no offense, Jen!), I’ve asked her to watch Allie some night later this week while Ben and I go out. This is HUGE for me, friends. I will keep you posted on the outcome…

Also, happy my half-birthday! Eat something sweet and scrumptious in my honor! 🙂

overcoming parenthood paranoia

When I was pregnant, I used to joke about the fact that I’d be a clingy, overprotective mom. I had no idea. Before we had Allie, when we would go on trips, we’d ask friends to either stay at our house or visit every day to feed and give a little love to our cats. I would ask them to text me pictures of the kitties every time they visited. (Seriously.) It wasn’t that I didn’t trust our friends; it was that my heart needed assurance our kitties were okay without us. If I was THAT obsessive about our pets, you can imagine how it’s been since Allie was born.

In her nine months out of the womb, I’ve probably only left Allie alone for an extended period with someone else (including Ben) nine times. I constantly have horrible scenes circling through my mind of every possible bad thing that could happen to her. And there have still been a couple of times she’s gotten hurt in my care (like the MOST AWFUL DAY EVER at Disneyland when she was just two months old [note to self: NEVER take a small infant to Disney again], and I accidentally dropped her as I went to sit us down in the mother’s lounge. I think I cried for an hour; Allie maybe cried for five minutes). The fact that even I—who spends every waking second worrying about Allie—can still not completely protect her has made me almost completely unwilling to let other people watch her.

Many people give me a really hard time about this. Others are understanding or admit it was the same for them with their first kids. Either way, I totally recognize that I will have to eventually let go. The other day, I had just decided that it was time for a real date with Ben, meaning neither one of us could watch Allie, when I read this article in The Atlantic. While it’s mostly talking about older kids, the article basically says that kids need to be left alone to play and potentially get hurt in order to be successful, independent, functioning members of society. I totally get it. I totally agree. But then, I tell myself, WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS? This cycle repeats itself in my mind over and over, and I just end up staying with Allie all the time. But, for Allie’s benefit, I think it’s time I try to loosen my grip a bit.

So the plan is that I’ll just start with small chunks of time. That way, it works her and me up to longer stretches of time. Yesterday Ben went to REI while I worked, and Allie stayed with my mom (upstairs) for about an hour. Allie was totally fine! I think I just need time to get comfortable with the separation (oh, and Allie probably does, too). Maybe one day, I’ll even let Allie go to preschool without me! At least here’s to hoping.

obsessions // vent session

Well hello! By the way, in case you’re wondering (or not), we are mostly recovered from our colds! Yay! We spent about 90% of the past week just lying around (with the exception of church and a couple trips to Target, because Target), so I feel moderately prepared to start contributing to society again. Before that, though, I have a few recent addictions and annoyances to discuss this morning.

Obsessions

  • QuizUp: Holy cow, friends, this app is ADDICTIVE. You basically take little trivia quizzes in a variety of categories, but you’re going up against random people around the world. Or your friends, if you link up with them. I spent a shameful amount of time last night trying to increase my ranking in the Geography section. And it is taking some serious self control not to play it right now. Okay, I might have just played a few rounds of “name of the pop star.” I can’t believe myself.
  • Cynthia Vincent shopper bag: For a shopping addict, there are few feelings more painful than discovering a product you love but can’t find anywhere to buy. This is my current situation with this Cynthia Vincent bag that was featured in a special edition POPSUGAR box* before I started subscribing. I’m looking for a specific pattern, and it is just GONE. There was one on eBay recently, but it’s of course sold! I experienced this same type of situation once with a pair of jeans but miraculously found a pair in a local boutique. I’m hoping my desperate email to Cynthia Vincent last night results in another miracle!
  • Rich & Skinny jeans: Speaking of those long-sought jeans, I just found another color of them on an insane sale at Bluefly. I am currently debating between these or a much less discounted pair in white but that I would probably wear with more. Help! Which ones do I get?
  • New products from ban.do: I’ve gushed about ban.do here before, but they have officially entered a whole new sphere of amazing. This adorable pouch and insanely cute charging cable are currently in my shopping cart, awaiting husband approval. The screenshot below from their homepage gives you an idea, but prepare to squeal with glee. (This is NOT sponsored by ban.do, FYI, it’s just a proclamation of my love for them.)

Vent session

  • Tuesday TV: There are just not enough good shows on Tuesday. I count one that we watch. Am I missing something? Also, it wasn’t long ago that I didn’t watch TV at all. Things change once you have a sleeping baby at home! But seriously, I need to get into a book!
  • Requiem for my house boots: My $15 Target house boots are dying!! Like, flimsy-foam-bursting-out-of-the-super-thin-heel-fabric dying. I should not be surprised, since, you know, they only cost $15. But now it’s almost spring, and replacements are nowhere to be found. And I should probably move on and embrace the warm, but they’re so dang comfy. Tear.
  • Video ads: It has now happened too many times to be a coincidence that I go to watch a video online and the obligatory ad plays just fine, but once it’s done, the video mysteriously can’t load. It’s a conspiracy, obviously.
  • Brand liking: Why are brands and products always trying to get you to “like” their Facebook page before you’ve even tried them? I mean, I get the concept of “following,” but Facebook is not Twitter. When I say I like a page, my friends see that and assume it’s something I’ve already confirmed is awesome. But if I have to “like” a brand before I even learn about it, it seems a little like jumping the gun.

On a more serious note, I should make clear that there is much that I love and sorrow over more than these things, but I like to keep things light here for the most part. I’ll just say Allie’s cheeseball smile and our current transitional living situation are high on the lists, respectively.

* My invite link

does mint count as green?

I don’t own a ton of green in my wardrobe. I do love teal and turquoise , but as for real greeny green, I’ve only got a few things. I think the reason is because I have blue eyes, and I’ve always had this idea that green would clash with them. This is ridiculous, I realize, so I’m starting to get over it. And one of the pieces of actual green clothing I own is a pair of colored denim jeans in kelly green. And so, with St. Patty’s Day coming up, I made a mental note to save these jeans for today. It would figure, of course, that when I went to change after church yesterday, the pair I just happened to grab were these same jeans. And even though maybe three people will see me today who saw me yesterday, I just have a thing about wearing the same thing two days in a row.

So I was a bit stuck today. Until I remembered a recent purchase of mine. Ben and I were walking Allie through the mall a couple of weeks ago, when I made him let me duck into Aeropostale for a second. He then said to me, “I think you grew out of this store 10 years ago.” But I barely heard him, because I was drawn to a section with my name plastered everywhere! If you’ve been to the store recently, you may have seen the Bethany Mota line. She is apparently some YouTube sensation all the kids know about. But despite not knowing who she was, the kid in me was SO EXCITED to see my name on a product, I decided I had to buy something. Since some mint jeans have been on my list for a while, I picked up this color wash jegging. Normally I’m super picky about jeans, but these fit really well, and they HAD MY NAME ON THEM, so obviously I had to buy them.

Anyway, my question to you is: by wearing these today, am I off the hook for green attire? Or is it only the real Irish green? Either way, happy St. Patty’s Day! For my friends in DC/MD/VA, enjoy your government-sanctioned drinking—err, I mean—snow day! (And you’re welcome!)

it’s aloha friday

When we were growing up, my brother used to wear an aloha shirt (basically a Hawaiian or floral print shirt typically worn by men, as on George Clooney here) every Friday, as per the custom. Sadly, he had to stop doing this after law school, he tells me, but I still sing the song in my head almost every week. And oh look, listening to it just now got me all nostalgic again.

Anyway, we’re still sick over here (though Ben is still the sickest—he blames a lack of red meat in his diet), but things are starting to look up, and the weather continues to improve, and it’s Friday! So yay those things. But taking this whole week off work has made me feel so behind on everything in my life. Here are a few things on my current to-do list:

  • New tote bagBefore Allie was born, and at the height of my chevron obsession, I ordered this for a diaper bag. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the bag, and it can fit A TON of stuff in it. But the thing is bulky. I used to take it absolutely everywhere, but these days we just keep Ben’s daddy diaper bag (read: military-style messenger bag) in the car, and I throw some snacks in my little purse. But after being caught without a diaper for Allie at her 9-month appointment yesterday, I realized it’s time to find a new solution. I spent all last night and this morning looking for something big but light that I can just throw a bunch of things into, and I think I’ve settled on either this one (Ben thinks it’s too big) or this one (sold out in the pattern I want, of course). I was also looking at this one. Thoughts? Alternative suggestions?
  • Quiet books: I’ve mentioned I’m participating in my friend Chelsea‘s quiet book page exchange, making 17 of my world map pages. I didn’t think about how insanely time consuming it would be to cut out 17×7=119 continents, then attach them to the page (I think I’m going with the velcro), then add ribbon as decoration… Ben keeps saying I can just switch my concept, but I’ve committed and I want to do the map. It’s just taking me foreeeever.
  • Swap package: Guys, I am a verified swapper on the My Subscription Addiction swap site! Basically it just means that I’ve completed swaps and received positive feedback. But it also means that when I swap with a new person, they have to ship their stuff first. I am anxiously awaiting a Rachel Zoe knot ring and a couple of other items from boxes before I joined the bandwagon, then I’m off to send a few of my less-loved items in exchange! I’m a swap addict!
  • Blogroll: Being sick has made me want to spend all my free time just watching TV in my yoga pants, so I haven’t really been reading any blogs. But a quick scroll through my feed tells me there is so much awesome content to check out, so I will be back on it this weekend. I realized recently that I count on blogs not only to entertain and inspire me, but also to keep me in the loop on my friends’ lives! I’m a slave to technology.
  • Baby book updates: My baby is nine months old! Crazy! And I have so much to add to her first year book for this month! And all our recent adventures with her have made me SO excited for summer!! It’s coming, people!!

Happy aloha Friday and pi day!

{Image via Pinterest}

vegas, baby

We’re back from our trip! Early! We had intended on spending the whole week away—a few days in Vegas, then a few days in Phoenix, but we ended up just spending a couple of days in Vegas and coming home. Allie had been sick with her very first cold since last Monday, and I had thought she was about over it, but by the time we got to our hotel in Vegas, ALL THREE OF US were sick. Ugh. But on the bright side:

  1. We were able to upgrade to a one-bedroom suite (i.e., twice the size of our first apartment together), with doors to close off the bedroom once Allie went down to sleep.
  2. We were in Vegas! With lots of things to do!

So we tried to make the best of things. Our first excursion was to visit the aquarium at Mandalay Bay, and Allie totally loved it! So did I! I can’t even remember the last time I went to an aquarium. But it was so fun!

After a quick lunch, we snuck back to the hotel so Allie could nap, then back out we went. We parked on the strip, loaded Allie up in the Ergo, and just walked around for a while. She loved the Bellagio water show, of course!

We enjoyed the amazingly delicious Bellagio buffet for dinner, then we went back to the hotel to put Allie down—and ourselves, to be honest. We were sooo sick. Poor Ben had it the worst, I think. Though none of us really got much sleep.

So we enjoyed a final morning in our fabulous suite, then headed home. Short but sweet.. and sour, because honestly, we are still really miserable.

But not too miserable to watch the finale of the Bachelor I missed! Oh my goodness. Juan Pablo. That show. I don’t even know what to say.