For me, that list is made of songs that I can absolutely belt out in the car while driving at night. That’s when & where I become one with songs and sing with absolute abandon. When no one will care if one song is just on repeat for an hour because it’s what I need. Some of my songs came to me recently and joined that list. Some have been there for close to 30 years… since before I could drive and had to purge a bad day by singing loudly in my childhood bedroom.
“Nemesis”- David Gray Live ITunes Festival London 2014
“Anna Begins” - Counting Crows
“Rain King”/ “Thunder Road” - Live by Counting Crows
“Spirits” - Strumbellas
“S.O.B.” - Nathaniel Ratliff and the Nightsweats
“Make It Sweet” - Old Dominion
“Hallelujah” - Jeff Buckley
“Release” - Pearl Jam
“Only In Dreams” - Weezer
“And the Healing Has Begun” - Van Morrison
What's on your list?
When I first wrote this goal for my Before 50 list, I imagined pursuing exercise & brightly colored swimsuits... but let's talk about laser hair removal :)
A friend said, "Why have we waited to do this?? Can you imagine never having to shave again?". Indeed, I could, and I had to check it out.
You actually need to talk to a nurse practitioner before you go in, & the place I go is called a "medical spa." I was approved for my laser hair removal, & my doctors' office said to go for it. I also did some reading from reliable sources (the American Academy of Dermatology). Decision made, I made my appointment. It's not not painful, but it's very survivable. It feels like warmth & tiny pinches. I've only been once, but I've almost stopped shaving my armpits again. If you've been shaving your pits since you were 11, this is big news.
Psyched about my arm pits (never said that before...), I signed up for my lower legs. This isn't exactly a cheap procedure (read more here), so I haven't committed to the full-leg treatment. That said, I've been shaving my knees and ankles for 30 years & I'm still woefully inadequate at it. More than once I've found myself out in public with an unshaven knee patch that made me cringe. No more!
If I'm not finding random hairy patches on my legs all summer, I'll feel better in this body of mine, so it's an investment I'm making from the Cynthia fund. Worth it!
When I was a kid in the 80s and early 90s, Friday night meant one thing: TGIF. Whether I was at home with my family or at a sleepover, we were watching those four shows: Full House, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers and Just the Ten of Us (later replaced by Step By Step). When you got to school the next week, you could talk to your friends about your favorite Tanner sister. When you did something clumsy, you could ask, “Did I do that?” in a nasally voice and know that everyone would be laughing with you, not at you.
That’s not something my kids understand. They rarely watch live tv at all, so they’re certainly not having the same viewing experiences as their friends, and I’m just beginning to understand all we lost when that stopped happening.
Shared experiences bond us together, and on a deep level, we crave that experience. I know that’s why I read Where the Crawdads Sing a couple of years ago. I may not love books that focus on nature, but I wanted to know what everyone else was talking about. That’s why women readers keep approaching each other this summer to ask “Have you read Verity?” We want to know what kept other people up at night. I know I begged my friends to watch Schitt’s Creek when I discovered it because I wanted other people to laugh when I said, “I have asked you thrice” to my children.
We want those moments, but they’re getting harder and harder to come by. Surrendering your autonomy and letting others choose what you watch (or read or listen to) is getting harder and harder. About seventeen years ago, several other English teachers and I organized a literary festival. We got four authors to agree to come to our school. We told the students they had to read two of the books written by two of those authors to attend. We got about 20 percent of the kids to do that! Fast-forward less than ten years when we tried to do it again… and bombed spectacularly. I think we got about 5 percent of the kids to agree to read two books chosen by the organizing group. What happened in between?
I know, I know, someone else blaming smartphones for the downfall of society… but yes. They’re the bad guy in this article, too. With a smartphone, you don’t have to agree with anyone about what you watch or listen to or read, and everyone has a million choices. Back in the day, my sister and I had to agree on what we’d watch on television. Of course it led to fights, but those fights were good for our social development. Moreover, we ended up watching those shows together, talking and laughing. We experienced Ross and Rachel’s relationship together, we watched Elaine try to dance on Seinfeld, and those moments became a part of our shared history.
Today’s kids don’t get that as often. Your Mickey Mouse fan and Paw Patrol fan can each watch on their own device. They’ve had fewer moments of shared joy– of cheering on the same character or booing the same villain, and it only gets worse as they get older. What can we do, short of turning back the clocks? We can show our kids that joy on a smaller scale within our homes. We sat down as a family and watched Hocus Pocus last night, and you can be darn sure we’ll be doing it again when Hocus Pocus 2 comes out, and I’ll announce it on my social media, too. Maybe it will inspire some of my friends to make a date to watch it, too, so we can all, kids and adults alike, debate which version was better the next day.
We might not be able to count on millions of ten-year-olds doing the same thing on a Friday night, but we can go big on our excitement when we get to share experiences with the kids we know– pop the popcorn and stay up after talking about which witch is your favorite. Help the next generation feel the power of shared entertainment.
And show them reruns of Family Matters.
I have my own Amazon Storefront! It'll always be a work-in-progress, & I'll share my favorite things & new finds there regularly. I hope you love it!
AKA: What you want in your "life toolbox" before you turn 50
I have been working on this list for MONTHS. In May and June of my 42nd year, I kept this list as one of the tabs on my computer and I revisited it constantly. It got better/ more articulate day by day, but it never felt "right" or "done." Then, I switched to summer mode, and I got tired of looking at that tab. I wasn't feeling like I'd ever get there, and I needed to step away. After a break of about a month, I returned to it and made major changes I was excited about over the course of an evening, and it quickly got closer to becoming the list I've attached.
I opened with that little story because I feel like I will feel that way again as I embark on this project. Some items on this list I feel like I could already check off. I'll still take time to articulate how I feel I've achieved that goal, but for me, a few will be easy, & a few will be way harder. I'm putting it out there that there might be breaks. That's ok. Often times I have my best ideas after I step away, just like I come up with a better approach to dealing with a behavior I don't like from my children after I've taken a deep breath, or when you come up with a good retort in an argument after you've left the confrontation.
I know I set this up as having a deadline, & I really do want to aim towards it for myself, but I wanted to make sure I opened the list with an understanding that we all live our lives on our own timelines. You do you, & if this helps you do you & take care of you & enrich you, more power to you.
The List: A Toolbox for your second 50 years
1. Balance between respect for yourself and respect for others when you communicate and make decisions.
2. Something you’re incredibly proud of accomplishing and something you’re incredibly excited about accomplishing in the coming years.
3. A bank account that’s just in your name that you manage and care for and add to and spend from without input from anyone else.
4. Something expensive that you don’t need but you really want that makes you feel special every time you look at it.
5. An appreciation for how to live alone, even if you don’t like to/have to/want to.
6. “A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age… and a memory that makes you cringe….because those memories were lessons that brought you to here.” These ideas came straight from Redmond’s article. I wanted them on my list, too.
7. A child or mentee who trusts you & who you get the pleasure of watching grow.
8. A journal/album/sketchbook/whatever form works for you full of your deepest thoughts and favorite memories, both big & small.
9. Knowledge of how your body wants to move and a dedication to giving your body what it needs to keep you going as you get older.
10. An understanding of what looks good on you & what makes your body feel good.
11. A person you can call when you’re anxious, when you’re stressed, & when you’re proud and want to brag.
12. Role models– be they women or men, admirable for their personal lives or their professional lives (or their ability to balance the two).
13. Tricks to make un-fun (yet necessary) activities more tolerable- or maybe even joyful!
14. A recipe that you love to feed to people and a deep knowledge of what you love that nourishes you.
15. A list of songs that you can get absolutely lost in– mind, soul, & body.
16. A to-do list that never gets completely checked off, & to-read and to-watch lists long enough to guarantee that you’ll ALWAYS have something to look forward to.
17. “A passport… Up to date and ready to be stamped for the next adventure.”
Please, please, please comment & let me know what you think! This is by far the biggest blog project I've attempted & I'd love it to become something that works for you, too. I'd love to hear what works/doesn't work for you, & thanks in advance!
We said good-bye to the best dog, a sweet Boxador named Capone, a few weeks ago. As my daughter was trying to fall asleep tonight, she started thinking about him & crying. I laid down with her while she cried, while she asked all the questions I wish I had answers to. And then I just sat there and snuggled her, & I didn't feel any desire to get up.
I feel comfortable sitting with other's feelings, but these last years, the working-full-time, raising-two-kids, and-we-don't-have-a-cleaning-lady-either years, I've tried to "solve" things as quickly as possible so that I can move on to the next thing on the to-do list. Sometimes life feels like one eternal to-do list. Something clicked right for me tonight, though. I shut off the to-do agenda, I shut off the anxiety that so often makes me want to move, & I just sat with my daughter & her sadness & her questions.
And it felt right. The dishes will eventually get done (or if it gets really bad, we can just throw them out & start over). Tonight, I was exactly where I needed to be, doing exactly what I needed to do with someone I love more than life itself, & it felt so good. Tonight, I feel gratitude for the ability to feel so present with my daughter when she needed me.
I asked my daughter how she wanted to help me with my blog. Her first contribution: pranks. Here's some 10-year-old-recommended pranks for your shopping pleasure.
3-D Prank Stickers
Shocking Chewing Gum
Dissolving Swim Trunks
Fake Parking Violations
Trick Golf Balls
Fake Electrical Outlet Stickers
Snakes in a Can
Big Prank Kit!
Another Prank Kit
We've been to Great Wolf once before, & my 8-year-old has some memories of his last visit. He calls Great Wolf "cheap Disney," & he's not wrong. It's much more than a water park, for sure. We took advantage of the ropes course before we even went to the pool. The arcade is expensive but has good games. MagiQuest is an activity that entertained the kids for hours. The drinks for grown ups are yummy. Lots to enjoy at Great Wolf!
My Great Wolf tips:
1. Bring your own snacks & water. They'll let you bring whole coolers in, so you may as well!
2. Get the dining credits. It might seem in contrast to my first tip, but it's not. Your kids will pay hard & will need lots of real food. It's hard to pack that, & you might not have any fun if you're trying to provide them with all the calories they need. If you agree to spend some money on food ahead of time, you can get great savings.
3. Matching water teeshirts! I didn't feel the need since I was just there with my two kids, but if you're with a group of families, this is genius. We saw a group of 8-10 kids all wearing the same neon yellow shirts, & all of those parents could eyeball the room to see where their kids were, to do a head count, etc. Smart!
4. If you're going to do the arcade (& it is fun), use one card for your tickets. They charge a dollar for each card, so you'll save by just getting one. Moreover, some of the games do allow kids to have some decent size wins... we found it best to have the kids combine all of their tickets. They cheered each other on instead of getting competitive.
5. The MagiQuest was a total hit with my kids. They loved waving their wands to make all the "magic" happen, & they worked well together to figure everything out. My kids are old enough that I could let them loose a little. I found a centralized spot to sit & read & drink my morning coffee, & the kids would say "Hi" as they hurried past. Everyone was a winner, but they were the big winners when they became Master Magi.
6. Have fun! You can act like a kid while you're at Great Wolf, too.
Ah! My kids are both doing the camp thing this week, & I don't know who's feeling more feelings about it. My daughter is 10 & spending four days camping with her Scout troop FIVE hours away. She was excited to go, & I don't think either one of us really thought about the emotions of it until right before I dropped her off. She got quiet but kind of kicked me out of her troop leader's driveway. I drove away & felt ALL the feels-- she's doing everything without me for days! I know she'll be fine- she's with good people, & if she doesn't feel comfortable asking someone to brush the back of her hair & it gets knotted, I'll be able to fix it. It'll be fine... she'll be fine without me.
My son is just doing day camp, but it's a big first for him, too. He didn't know the boys from our area who were going, but we all agreed to carpool, & he's the kind of kid who becomes fast friends as soon as he meets someone. They were exchanging stories about injuries practically before we left the parking lot. He hopped out of the car full of energy, & when I asked him how the day went this afternoon, his only complaint was that some kids fooled around during the safety drill & cut into his archery time. Fair complaint, buddy.
So my kids are off having their adventures & growing, & I have free time. I'm trying to book up this week as a treat to me, but I keep thinking about the kids & where they're at during the day. I met up with an old friend for breakfast today, & I probably talked about them too much... but they're my constant companions during the summer. This is a new world for me. Trying to embrace it... but I'll be glad when I've got my kids under my roof together again. In the meantime, I'm going to try going to the beach & not have to pack 10,000 snacks... that could be fun.
What I Want Before 50: The ability to stop apologizing when something isn’t your fault & start apologizing when you’ve made a mistake.
Recently, I was reading a post in a teacher community, & I think I found a great way to illustrate how I've changed with each decade. Here's the question posted:
How would you respond to a coworker who doesn't put her best effort into giving feedback on group work?
Here's how I'd react to this question during each decade:
20-something me: Worry if I give enough feedback when I assign group work
30-something me: Think "Jeez, lady, she's probably figured out that the only kid who reads the feedback on group work is the kid who did the work & that kid probably doesn't need the feedback."
40-something me: Write "Tell her 'I'm sorry you have such a judgmental coworker'" and POST it.
I've always been pretty good at apologizing when I need to-- it's so freeing. I live with guilt for a long time when I screw up, and saying sorry allows me to move on. I try to model it for my children, too, because I want them to be able to move beyond their mistakes. If I snap at them, I apologize, explain what I was feeling, and how I'm going to try to do better the next time. If anything, I hope to apologize more in the future and continue to take responsibility for my actions.
That said, I'm so over apologizing for other people, and I'm over apologizing just to make conflict go away. Sometimes, I deserve the apology, and I ask for it when I do. Now, with my daughter that sometimes takes the form of a loud, sarcastic "Sor-ry," accompanied by an eye roll. That's a work in progress. I will continue, however, to insist that other people take responsibility for their actions. I'm done owning others people's mistakes, and I like to think that it makes everyone a little better when we hold each other to that standard. My daughter has yet to be convinced... but again, a work in progress. :)
Sometimes You Need to Create What You Need...AKA: I couldn't find what I needed to read about midlife, so I decided to write it.
There is a new tab at the top of this page-- It's called "Before 50," & it's a passion project of mine. It's definitely a work-in-progress... you know, like me. I'm in a pretty good place with my mid-life status, & I feel like I'm making some of the strides I want to make at this point in my life. I wanted to write them down to hold myself accountable & inspire others to do some good things for themselves as we head towards the next milestone. Head over there for more, & thanks for following along!
I cried yesterday, and I absolutely terrified my 10 year old daughter.
She was mad at me because I said no about something, and when I went to hug her, she tried to duck me and instead, the back of her head hit me square in my mouth. It HURT. I know I shouted out when it happened, and then my eyes instantly filled with tears. And then they fell out of my eyes, and my kid fell apart.
While I was in the bathroom dealing with a bleeding mouth and a quickly swelling lip, I was also saying things like, “Try to take a deep breath,” and “I’m ok,” and “I know you’re sorry,” and, in a moment of weakness, “Why is this all about you right now?”. She could not stop crying, and it took about 20 minutes to get us back to where we were. The good news: she’d forgotten she was mad at me. The bad news: she seemed mildly scarred from seeing me cry.
I definitely considered myself a crier for most of my life. It was a pretty normal reaction to stress for me (or Sarah McLaughlin dog commercials). About five years ago, however, I went on a mild anti-anxiety medication, and tears definitely don’t come as easily now. My kids don’t see me cry often, and my husband is not a crier. They don’t see adults expressing emotions that way very often, and I wonder how that affects them.
So far, it has not made them less likely to cry, and for that I am grateful. My kids share their big feelings all the time, and I like to think we do a good job of addressing them. We talk about their emotions and positive ways to manage them. When a big emotional explosion happens, we ride it out with them and process with them once it passes. I tell them about some of the ways I handle stress or sadness, like journaling, listening to music, and going for walks. I try to model self-care.
I also recently told the kids that I see a counselor once a month. I have anxiety, there’s a pandemic, I’m hitting midlife… I’m sure my counselor has a bunch of boxes she can check off when she’s putting in the paperwork to my insurance for reimbursement. I benefit from having someone to talk to, and I want my kids to know it’s ok– in fact, it’s good– to admit you need help and get it.
Maybe they don’t see me cry very often, but I do talk to them about my feelings and they do see me dealing with my emotions in (usually) constructive ways. I’m far from being a model parent, but I like to think I’m doing enough to leave the door open for them to find their own ways of dealing with life, and isn’t that the point of parenting? Maybe my kids will cope through crying in adulthood, and maybe they’ll find other strategies. At the very least, I hope they’re better at ducking and weaving when a kid’s skull is headed straight for their face. That’s a skill that’s always useful.
#parenting #parentinggirls #momming #momlife #parentlife #momstruggles #motherhood
Every year, I make a reading goal in GoodReads. This year, it was 45, but I came in a couple shy at 43. I'm still counting that as a good year, though! 2021 was another wild ride, & I'm glad to have these books as entertainment/ an escape. I've written little notes on many of these to help you decide if you'd like them. I've added a link to my favorites to encourage you to read them! Here's what I read in 2021:
Squeeze Me- Carl Hiassen
All Adults Here- Emma Straub
Canceled Out- Jack Beale
Brewed Awakening- Cleo Coyle
Life's Too Short- Abby Jimenez-- she's quickly become one of my favorite authors-- highly recommend!
The Vacationers- Emma Straub
All the Ways We Said Good-bye- Beatriz Williams- my favorite writer of historical fiction
A Good Marriage- Kimberly McKreight
Eliza Starts a Rumor- Jane L. Rosen
Say You're Sorry- Michael Robotham
Star Island- Carl Hiassen
The President's Daughter- Bill Clinton & James Patterson
The Palm Beach Murders- James Patterson
Title Wave- Lauren Barrett
People We Meet on Vacation- Emily Henry
56 Days- Catherine Ryan Howard
The Personal Librarian- Marie Benedict- probably my second favorite historical fiction writer :)
Murder in the First Edition- Lauren Elliott
Rock, Paper, Scissors- Alice Feeney-- so creepy-- & so hard to put down!!
"Romance"/ "Click Lit"/ Light Fiction:
Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses- Jenny Hale
Simply Irresistible- Jill Shalvis
The Sweetest Thing- Jill Shalvis
Shipped- Angie Hockman
Paris is Always a Good Idea- Jenn McKinley-- nice jaunt through Europe!
About a Dog- Jenn McKinley
The Hating Game- Sally Thorne
Rescue You- Elysia Whistler
Anchored Hearts- Priscilla Oliveras - this is actually book 2 in this series. You might want to start with Island Affair
Passion on Park Avenue- Lauren Layne
Title Wave- Lauren Barrett
Life's a Beach- Portia MacIntosh
There's Always a Catch- Stephanie Taylor
No Judgments- Meg Cabot
Mom Jeans & Other Mistakes- Alexa Martin
Santa Cruise- Fern Michaels
Pride, Prejudice, & Mistletoe- Melissa de la Cruz
Middle Grade/ Young Adult Lit:
The Westing Game- Ellen Raskin
Spring According to Humphrey- Betty G. Birney
Nat Enough- Maria Scrivan
The Twits- Roald Dahl- Roald Dahl is always a good idea with kids-- we've listened to this on Audible twice
Sideways Story from Wayside School- Louis Sachar- Same as above-- listened twice, loved twice!
Walt Disney: The Magical Inventor!- Mark Shulman
The Kids of Cattywumpus Street- Lisa Jahn Clough- my kids loved these characters & making connections between them
Wow- Only 1 Non-fiction Book This Year!
Palm Beach Babylon- Murray Weiss & William Hoffmann
Fun fact about me: I studied writing in college, & I concentrated on children's literature. I love reading it & I loved writing it. I took another children's lit course a few years into my teaching career and wrote a story called No TV for Me! that I got a lot of positive feedback about from my classmates. I workshopped it with other people & looked into getting an agent, but nothing panned out & I got busy with life.
Fast-forward about 8 years, & I really wanted to give that story life. I found an artist through Fivrr, worked with her remotely for months, & then spent a good deal of time formatting & putting it all together. Now, I've published it! I'm so excited to have it out there in the world, & I how it came out. I'm so excited to share it with you, & I'd love to hear what you think. You can grab it here.
If you do read it, please add a review on Amazon. It will hopefully help others find it. Thanks so much for your support!
I started planning our Disney adventure a year & a half ago, with the intention of going in the summer of 2020. That didn't happen, so I had an extra year to plan, & I felt like I needed it! Those who've planned before know-- there are about a million & a half details to consider when planning a Disney vacation. I had lots & lots of time to make tons & tons of decisions. Here are the calls that I made that I felt really good about:
1. For me, this was huge-- pick a hotel that offers transportation BESIDES the bus. We stayed at Pop Century & got to take the tram to Epcot & Hollywood Studios. It's so awesome to be able to switch it up, & it's especially nice right now because you get some safe time riding with just your party.
2. You'll enjoy the breaks, too-- don't hesitate to take the breaks. I planned a day off in the middle of our week & we all enjoyed it. We went to the character breakfast at the Contemporary, road the tram & explored other hotels, & visited Disney Springs.
4. Do a Walmart + delivery!! I ordered a bunch of things delivered before we left. I wish I'd asked about how we'd get our food before we got down there because I lost some time finding our things when we got there (it didn't help that somehow Walmart's delivery service had me under my maiden name even though I'd been married for 12 years...). Our hotel had the food delivered to the spot where you can leave luggage if you arrive early. I scheduled it for shortly after we arrived & was so glad to have gotten all of that stuff affordably. We ordered things like sunscreen, bottled water, quick breakfast foods (a must!! So much easier to just grab & go & not be fighting & rushing if you're trying to get to a park as it opens), & easy easy snacks like Pringles & apples.
5. Bring a metal cup to fill with ice every morning. I brought my Yeti. We filled it with ice at the hotel & I threw a couple of extra bottles in my backpack. We refilled each person's cup as needed & everyone had cold water all along.
6. Order a pack of pins and a lanyard before you go-- this 4-pack of lanyards was an incredible deal over what we'd pay on site. It was fun for my kids to swap pins with the staff members in stores, & it would have cost a FORTUNE if we bought every pin there. This is definitely the way to go, & my kids were smart about trading up to pins they loved.
7. Know that you'll forget things, regret some of your purchases, & learn a lot. That's ok! Adapting is always part of the adventure when traveling. Have a blast!
Good gosh do I love Key West.
I first went to Key West in February of 2020. A friend & I drove down from Miami, spent a day, & then headed off to another island. We vowed to return as soon as we could. Then, you know, March of 2020 came.
Fast-forward through all those crazy months to June of 2021 & we made it back, & we've already said we'll be back again soon. Key West has just the right vibe for people looking to enjoy good food, good drinks, independent shops, history, live music everywhere, & water views at every turn (it's a pretty small island).
This time, we got a great flight deal from Jet Blue & flew straight into Key West. If you can, I highly, highly suggest it. First of all, the drive from Miami is about 3 hours. Second of all, the Key West Airport is a small airport that's a real throwback, & you're immersed in the island immediately (you can grab a drink the second you enter the airport :) ).
If you want to get right into the island vibe, grab that drink & start walking. If you stay at Hampton Inn, you can WALK to your hotel from the airport-- it's .4 miles away, & you can walk along the water the whole way. The hotel itself has a nice pool, a great poolside bar/restaurant, & VIEWS. The breakfast was better when Covid wasn't a thing, but it's still ok, & you can always get coffee in the lobby (#1 reason why I love Hampton Inn :) ). They also offer a free shuttle to the Duval St area, so you don't have to worry about getting a car or Ubering.
After checking in & having a relaxing drink by the pool, I'd suggest heading to Duval Street for shopping, entertainment, & dining. Without question, our favorite dinner spot is Fogerty's. It's popular & right in the middle of everything, but we've never had to wait to eat. The food is wonderful. We got the bruschetta the first night & it was SO GOOD (& a smart idea if you're also having one of their alcoholic drinks). The salads were fantastic, too.
For brunch, I suggest Blue Heaven. Get there early... or at least don't get there too hungry. It's busy, but worth the wait for yummy food & the coolest atmosphere. We listened to live music while chickens wandered around. It's not gross like it sounds (I may have made a TikTok there if you don't believe me :)-- I"m @BeyondMomJeans). It just feels chill because that's how Key West is. Chickens are all over the place, & even though I'm not a big bird fan, I found myself cheering on little chicks as they crossed the street. Everyone's kind to everyone here.
I think that's the main reason why I love Key West so much. I've spent time in tons of beach communities on the East & West Coast. They tend to fall into two categories: honky tonk or snobby. Either they're selling you American flag string bikinis (not the look for me) & bongs or they're selling you $50 lobster rolls & making you feel like you may not be worthy of that lobster roll.
Key West is neither of these things. Yes, I'm sure I could have found a bong & an overpriced lobster roll somewhere on the island (don't buy Maine lobster in Florida, btw- that's just weird). That's not Key West's thing, though. Key West's official motto is "One Human Family," & they live that motto. The vibe is relaxed & friendly. There's good food, good drinks, good music, ocean air... pretty much everything you need to unwind & reset.
My favorite sale of the year has arrived! If you have a Nordstrom card, you can start shopping on the 16th; if you don't have one, you can start on the 28th. I have a card, so my big day is almost here! For more details on the logistics of the sale, click here (my blog post over on Coupons, Codes, & Killer Deals).
This post is about THE GOODS. What do I recommend, & what do I want to try? The answer is: LOTS.
I always buy:
1. A Barefoot Dreams cardigan-- the softest, & they never pill or get less soft. I live in these.
2. Bliss Plush Throw-- these also hold up well to washing. They make a great gift, too.
3. Zella leggings-- they don't sag on me even during a good workout (or a bunch of hanging out on the couch :) )
Those are my tried & trues... & here are the things I've added to my wish list to try out this year.
1. Free People Leo Henley Tee. a pretty, casual long sleeve for fall~
2. Sperry boots. really unique colors this year!
3. Bomba socks!! I have one pair & they really are next-level comfy
4. Sorel boots- Save $70!- I have one pair... but I love them so much that maybe I need two...
Please let us know what you snag!!
#Nordstrom #Nordstromanniversarysale #barefootdreams #sorel #freepeople #bomba #sprerryboots
I went on my first girls' trip (post kids) a few years ago. My oldest friend & I went to Washington DC for three days. We stayed at a beautiful old hotel on Embassy Row, wandered around the embassies, visited museums, ate sushi, checked out the remodeled Watergate, read, talked about our kids, talked about things other than our kids, and checked out an amazing bakery/coffee shop that a student of mine had recommended. It was the perfect escape, & we're brainstorming for our next one.
Since that trip, I've gone on three trips with another girlfriend. We hit up Epcot's Food and Wine Festival for my 40th, & while we were there, I mentioned that Key West was on my bucket list because I was afraid it wouldn't be there forever (darn you global warming). We decided we'd have to check it out, & went back to Florida a few months later. We did one day in Key West, 1 in Marathon, & a couple where she had a home in Palm Bay. From that trip, we learned that Key West deserved more than one day, & vowed to go back.
A year & a half later, post-quarantine, we gave Key West its due & spent three days there (I highly recommend this affordable hotel, btw). The food, the music, the relaxed atmosphere...I am madly in love with that town (it'll get its own post at some point).
I'm also madly in love with girls' trips. Here's what I've observed about girls' trips that make them uniquely rejuvenating:
Now I don't mean to sell men short, & obviously there are exceptions, but this is my ode to girl trips, so of course I'm going to highlight what's awesome about women as travel companions. We rock, & if you haven't traveled with your gals yet, get to it!
Anyone else feel like this as they emerged from quarantine?? I feel like I "get" this doll.
Another quick update-- I posted another article over on Coupons, Codes, & Killer Deals. I took some time over my February vacation to read about the newest trends for spring/summer. Check it out here!
I'm so grateful to have you here with me. I LOVE being a mom, but I'm trying to still be "me" while being a mom, & this blog has been a tool for me to figure that out. Hopefully it's that for you, as well. I look forward to hearing from you so that I can make this blog meaningful for you. Thanks for being here!