My Dad Never Says, “I Love You”

It’s totally true. He never says it. One time, in middle school, I jumped out of his GMC truck, grabbed my backpack and said, “I love you!” and he squeamishly responded, “Okay!” I’ll never forget that, mostly because I think that’s actually the perfect metaphor for my relationship with my dad. I’m all heart and he’s all Papa.

Father’s Day had me thinking about him, of course. I don’t know how to describe him well enough to actually portray his complexity, but I’ll try. My dad is an engineer, and appreciates facts and reason. He’s kind of course and messy, like the outside crust of a just-smoked brisket. He says what he’s thinking, has no filter, and has no patience for bullshit. He’s an old-school, hispanic male who can’t help but be a product of his hard-as-nails upbringing, sometimes a little callous.

But he’s also the guy you call when the shit is really going down, and he will help you figure it all out, with a level-headed “we’ll get through this” approach. He’d hate for you to know he’s got a thoughtful, squishy side that thinks and feels beneath the top layers. I once took a personality test, and it explained that I’m the type of person who pours a bowl of cereal, and thinks about the people behind the cereal, like “Who are the people that made this cereal?” or, “What’s their life situation like?” I get that from my dad. Basically, I know not to expect a lovey-dovey, card-writing, emotion-sharing, “Daddy” dad. I know to expect a smart, thoughtful, but tough guy who would do (and has done) anything for me or my sisters; who loves us tough, but loves us whole. He’s also funny as hell, and makes the best barbecued-anything you’ve ever had.

I’ve learned from my dad that the world can be a tough one. It’s not fair, and there isn’t a group of people, clapping and waiting to go out of their way to watch out for you. That’s what family is for. I’ve learned that right when you think you’re not good enough, there’s a little nugget of something that lives inside of you, and it glows through the night until you figure out you are good enough in the morning. I’ve learned that when things in your life are falling apart; your friendships, your marriage, your damned self, and you accidentally fuck it up by hiding from the problems, that you learn from your mistakes and get back up again. Bonus points if you apologize to the people you hurt in the process. I’ve learned that sometimes, you’ve gotta spit on the ground, roll up your sleeves, and FIGHT for it.

So, no. He doesn’t say, “I love you.” He just does it, and shows it, and I’m grateful as hell to him and my mom for teaching their girls to be transparent, but strong. To be loving, but to be badasses too.

This Father’s Day, we took a dozen Bill Miller chopped barbecue sandwiches and those mushy, hot fries to my parent’s house. I plopped those bad boys on the table, and made my way into his humid man cave with shelves of African violet sprouts and yellowed papers. I sat down at his dusty PC, logged into my Amazon account, and emailed him a $25 gift card. He wrote me this morning and said he planned to buy a nose hair trimmer, you know, because he’s a dad. It doesn’t get any better than that for me, y’all.

Clearly, I love my parents so much. I hope you celebrated your dad, or someone who filled the role of saving your ass while kind of kicking it too.

Happy Father’s Day, Papa. You (and Mom!) really are my heroes.

P.S. Quick, someone email this to my dad because OF COURSE he doesn’t subscribe to my blog.

Five Things (Under $15!) That I’m Loving Right Now – June 2017

Hey, friends! I haven’t done a “Five Things” list since 2016, so I thought I’d do a June edition in case you were in the mood to #treatyourself like I’ve been lately. Reminder: These links are NOT sponsored and I’m not affiliated with anything I post, other than I’ve been spoiling myself with these modern conveniences in the recent days and I want you to have them too. LET’S BE TWINS. I also increased my $10 splurge to $15, because it’s 2017 and we live in a weird world and God knows we need to be taking care of ourselves.

What: FarmHouse Fresh Fluffy Bunny Shea Butter Hand Cream 
From: Amazon ($13.50)
Why I love it: The next best thing to buying a fluffy bunny is buying FarmHouse Fresh’s Fluffy Bunny shea butter hand cream. I was hoping to find a small, L’Occitane-style lotion to throw in my purse for a little aroma-therapeutic pick-me-up, and thanks to the gods at Amazon, I found this cute little line of beauty products with a farmhouse theme. Fluffy Bunny smells like lavender and mint julep, and is the perfect little balance of calming and bright. P.S. It’s natural and vegan if that’s your thing! P.S.S. I love to be marketed, so the names of these damned lotions are enough to buy them for me. So cute, not fair. Let me know if you try a different smell.

What: HeyBeauty Eyebrow Pencil with Brush
From: Amazon ($8.99)
Why I love it: Thank God for Moms, am I right? I made it all the way to her house to drop off the girls before work when I realized I didn’t put my eyebrows on. I borrowed this pencil from her, had her send me the link, and had that baby on the way to my house in a 45-minute turnaround. It goes on smoothly, and has an edge that makes it easier to “guide” the pencil along. I’m admittedly out of the eyebrows-on-fleek cool kid crew, but this thing is awesome. I ordered it in light brown and love it.

What: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
From: Amazon ($8.07)
Why I love it: Hey, no fair. I’m double promoting this book that I’m reading for my summer reading challenge (#klreadingchallenge WHAT WHAT) but I love, love, love it. Another shout-out to Kim for pointing me in the direction of this delicious writing. Who doesn’t like to read advice, even if you’re screaming something completely different in your head. Treat yo’self.What: Paper Mate Mates 1.3mm Mechanical Pencils
From: Amazon ($3.79)
Why I love it: Yes, it’s a pencil. Yes, they’re only $4. Yes, I’m totally serious. I ordered these for work for me and an admin friend (Allison – hey, girl, hey!) because we are both nerds with office supplies, and I loved them so much I ordered my own little batch for my house. It’s a mechanical pencil, but the lead is THICK like an old-fashioned pencil. It almost feels like you’re writing with a small chalk pen. That good, y’all. Love them, and they’re in assorted colors, which is my middle name. Alyssa Assorted Colors Smith.

What: LIHIT LAB Bag-In-Bag Laptop Sleeve
From: Amazon ($13.66)
Why I love it: So, I used to throw my bills into a bag and let them get crumpled, because I felt like that was a pretty good metaphor of how I felt about them. But, since I’m a superstar and have made an effort to get my shit together before I turn 30, I bought this neat little sleeve that allows me to neatly place my 8.5×11 papers, so that I can at least appear to be a grown up with straight papers in front of others. This bad boy holds my bills so I can pay them on time (whaaaat?) and is also home to a few emergency thank you notes and birthday cards, because I’m prepared, dammit. Sometimes, organizational tools at least inspire you to be better, and this one has worked for me. I even bought a green one for Marc so I can shove his “to-do” papers in his backpack before work. BOOM.

I hope you find some time to relax and spoil yourself a little this month. If you have time, hop over to Instagram and document your summer reading time on my challenge hashtag. If you’re feeling crafty, hop on over to YouTube where I’m filming weekly layouts for Project Life. If you’re feeling tired, go take a nap. Love you all.

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Lola’s Summer Reading Challenge 2017

It’s summertime, y’all, which means it’s time for an old-fashioned reading challenge. Do you remember when we were little and would get a fancy little worksheet from our teachers with cute little spaces to document our summer reading progress? My sisters and I even got to turn in book reports to my grandparents for money. Those were the drinking-water-from-the-backyard-hose days, am I right?

Well, inspired by my BFF, Becca, who asked for a reading challenge but totally won’t do it, I decided to make a fancy little sheet of my own for Lola’s First Ever Summer Reading Challenge. [Queue Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch” here!] If we’re gonna fail, let’s all fail gloriously together.

Current nightstand view:


(Shoutout to my new friend, Kim, who sent me a loving, thoughtful email with suggested reading. I ordered How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly’s Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life by Heather Havrilesky and Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed as soon as I could!)

Rules:

  1. There are no rules. We’re gonna have fun, okay?
  2. Read if you can, but don’t feel bad if you can’t. I’m shooting for 15 minutes a night, which is about 1,000 years in Mom Time.
  3. Use the blank space on the worksheet for whatever you want. Ideas: write a three-word summary of how you feel after you read, OR write the thing you *should* have been doing instead of reading, OR write the thing your heart needed more than reading, like Cheetos.

The month of June starts this Thursday, so get your butt on Amazon, and two-day ship your summer read. Or just grab the book that’s been on your shelf for 10 months staring at you, calling you names like “lazy” and “dummy.” I haven’t decided which of these two books I’ll pick for the official challenge, but it doesn’t matter since I’m really only in it to impress whoever walks into the room and witnesses me being a Fancy Book-Reading Lady.

Document the fun at #klreadingchallenge, especially if you’re doing something way more fun than reading, like drinking wine or eating those Cheetos we talked about.

Click here to download Lola’s Magical, but Profanity-Laden Reading Challenge PDF Printable, but not if you hate bad words.

Love you all, and can’t wait to read/possibly fail at this with you.

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How Many Points for Pinot Noir?

Happy Seven-Weeks-Since-Having-A-Baby Day!

It’s time for me to review (only some of) the desperate things I’ve done in the past few weeks to feel like a competent human being:

  1. Spent hundreds of dollars on some shadow ombre highlights, because you KNOW I’m not going in every 4-6 weeks to update my damned hair, but I needed some blonde to feel alive. See you in the fall, Brooke the Hair Girl, who I owe my life to.
  2. Ordered all the closet organization tools I could find, because THIS IS THE YEAR I’ll finally publish a home organization book on the side, right?
  3. Created a spreadsheet of things I need to remember to do on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis, including brushing my teeth. Wish I was joking.
  4. Went emergency clothes shopping with mom since I tried on my “normal” pants the Thursday before I went back to work and I felt like a can of just-opened biscuits.

Which brings me to my favorite self-improvement effort I’ve done so far: joining Weight Watchers. Yeah, girl, I did that! I ain’t mad about it.

After the biscuit can clothes debacle, I sat myself down in the rocking chair I’d been feeding my new baby in hours before, and gave myself five minutes to cry. Marc sweetly approached me and asked if he could do anything, and through big, dramatic tears, I declined, telling him about my five minute cry plan, and reiterating that if my girls were this size, I’d honestly think they were beautiful. So, it was 9:55AM and my five minutes was up. Time to get a move on. I joined a week later.

My main goal is to learn to be healthier, and losing weight will be a bonus. Listen, I’m fully aware that my zero-point Diet Coke is not “good” for me. But right now, it’s better than ALL THE THINGS I want to put in my mouth, so I’m taking baby steps until I can become a certified, organic, bean-sprout-eating fool. I’m already down 7.6 pounds, thankyouverymuch. I don’t even care if that was 7.6 pounds in tears from crying in the rocking chair. I’m not letting anyone rain on my parade, because I’m doing what I can to better myself, and this works for me, for now. Okay? Okay??? Wish me luck.

P.S. New Rule: if you search for the things that you really want, and it doesn’t show up, you get to go with the lowest point of all the listings. Pretty sure Weight Watchers would approve.

Love you all, and the desperate things you’re doing to make yourself a better one.

The Plural of “Girl” is “Girls”

If there were a clean list of all the available emotions that can happen in a human brain, and there were 8,429 of them, I’d say I’ve felt all 8,429 of them since April 3, 2017.

The first thing my sister texted me after giving birth to Ruby was, “So is it true? Do you really love both of your girls equally, or was mom lying all these years?” I laughed. And then I cried. Because my heart is joyful, and scared, and everything in between, all at the same time. Figure that one out, guys.

Marc and I decided we wanted to get pregnant last summer, and luckily, it happened quickly for us. We always knew we wanted at least two babies, so this was it. Here we go, making life happen! But I never could have prepared myself for all the feels I’m feeling, y’all.

I am immensely proud of my two human beings, just for being alive, which I think is a pretty good deal for them. So what’s the deal with the spread of emotions? I can stare into Ruby’s eyes she inherited from her dad, and I can fall deep, deep into her world; her tiny world of short, quick milk breaths, baby squeaks, warm body rolls and seedy mustard poo.

(Full disclosure: I love the smell of newborn poop. If you think that’s weird, that’s okay, but we’re not friends anymore. Love me or leave me.)

And then there’s Maggie, dammit. She is so smart and beautiful, and fascinating to us. She’s my little buddy, my firecracker, my pistol full of life and a future potty mouth like her mother, I’m sure.

Together, they make my heart sing. SING, I tell you. But I guess it’s a part of every mom’s parenthood plight, to worry too. I worry that it will never be possible to explain how much I love them, together or as individuals. I worry that one will always feel inferior to the other. I worry that they won’t be friends. I worry that this world will attempt to oppress them, for being who they are. I worry I’m going to mess up. I know I will mess up. I worry.

And if there is one thing I’ve figured out with this whole parenting thing, it’s this: the previous life you knew and had is over. Somehow, when you don’t think it’s possible for the love and worry in your heart to grow, it doubles. It all doubles, and the weight and love, along with the fear and difficulty of being responsible for a human, is all there: waiting for you, smiling at you, and laughing at you.

But for us, it’s true what they say: that your love multiplies, not divides, when you have another one. Our hearts FULLY belong to these girls.

(GIRLS. I have girls. More than one. Plural. Shit.)

Our lives as we knew them are over, and now they belong to these people. These little girls, who we hope to raise into decent human beings. I consider myself truly lucky to have been given the chance to give up the lives I had before, for all this beautiful, gooey, girly mess we’ve been given. I’m all theirs, forever and ever.

So for now: books and hair bows and baby breaths and naps. That’s what we know right now. It’s good to be home y’all. It’s good to be a Girl Mom.

Okay with Today

Happy Fall, y’all!

It’s been a while and I’ve missed writing, so here I am with no particular plan and a cup of coffee, just happy to be here with you. I am so happy for June 18th, 2016 Me who had time to organize her pantry and make a blog post about it. The Me who even took before and after photos, attempting to organize a part of our lives while sharing with you. Good job, June 18th Me.

October 6th Me has been thinking a lot lately, not only about what to write about, but just how to think and feel about everything going on in our lives. The weirdest part is that it’s been really easy to think and feel nothing in particular. There haven’t been any big light bulb moments or fights or anything that has jolted me into a learning moment worth writing, or even talking about. It’s been weirdly – calm. All of me wonders if Pregnant Me is the most Chemically Balanced Me – scary for all of you people. I haven’t burst into tears or yelled at anyone. I haven’t felt despair or hopeless in a long time. I’ve had many people ask me things like if we’ve picked out names for the baby already, and I’m initially embarrassed to admit that if it weren’t for my app on my phone, I might not know how far along I even am.  When I share this with others, my initial reaction is to start with “I know this is terrible, but…” but the truth is, I don’t feel bad about it. I have a lot of really good things in my life – of course! – but also, me. Just me.

Is anyone else out there in left field, picking flowers and watching butterflies? I should probably be throwing a ball or running or something, but I’m just kind of – here and okay with it.

When I feel like this, I love, love, love to read Jenny Lawson, who seems to capture all the spectrum of feelings I’ve ever felt before. I always feel validated by her, even if we aren’t feeling the same way on the same day. She’s written three books, one of which we were lucky enough to stumble upon in Book Club (Shout out TN and WG – BOOKCLUB4LYFE!) called Furiously Happy. Sounds like a self help book, but don’t worry, it’s not. It is, however, really thoughtful and heart-warming, and weird like me.

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I hope you find something to cling to in this weird, weird time in America. That’s a whole separate blog post, but Jesus, people, be kind to each other. I hope when you’re feeling just okay like I am now – that you feel validated and worthy, still. We’re allowed the stillness of fall and pumpkin spice lattes, dammit. I love you all.

xoxo,

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Closets Aren’t For Crying, and Other Helpful Hints

Instead of apologizing for being gone for so long (again), I’m forgiving myself and skipping straight to it.

SHAZAM! A month’s gone by and we’ve moved from our small rental house into our MANSION (ok, fine, four bedroom house) that we never thought we’d be able to buy. I thought about sharing a helpful checklist for moving folks, and then I remembered that I unpacked a few boxes labeled “KITCHEN – I think?” and “CRAFT ROOM – Probably?” I’ll be leaving that helpful post for someone else to do, mkay?

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Last week, Marc and I celebrated our “date-iversary” (13 years together!), and by celebrate, I mean I cried in my closet because I’ve been a little (TOTALLYBATSHITCRAZY) stressed out lately. Is anyone else crying in their closet? Why aren’t all of you posting that shit on Facebook? Your perfect photos of your perfect life are making me feel badly about the dinner I just microwaved for my family.

But seriously, it’s been a weird time for me, and I debated whether or not to write about being depressed, because it’s not an easy thing to write about or even understand. I’m just going out on a limb and guessing that some of you have cried in a closet before, from depression or just having a plain ol’ bad day, and maybe you’ll find solace knowing that there are other Closet-Criers too.

I really, really wanted to write a list of helpful ways to deal with anxiety, but again, I’m not sure the person who ate a mint chocolate chip popsicle in bed last night while laying completely horizontally is qualified to share healthy tips and tricks on how to deal with things when they come flying at you.

So what do I write about? What can I share? I don’t have a good sugar cookie recipe, and if I did, I’d probably eat all the dough before I made the cookies. So it seems as though I don’t have anything helpful to share with you, except maybe this:

If you’re struggling, or lost, or lonely, or hopeless, or down, or overwhelmed, or any of those shitty things, surround yourself with people who let you raise your hand and admit all those things without judgment. There is not a person in my circle that doesn’t know I’m struggling right now, and they’ve all been there to listen and offer support, and I am so grateful for that. I am lucky to have a community of friends- like, REAL FRIENDS, including family, that I can say anything to, and they get it, and love me anyway. I can’t express how important it is to share, and not keep things inside, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up doing stuff that isn’t something the Real You would be proud of when you see the sunshine again. Hang in there, fellow magical human being! We will be magical again soon.

My hope is that when you cry in a closet, no matter what the reason, that it ends quickly, and that you have people who will love you through it. For what it’s worth, I will. Love you forever, friends.
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Five Things (Podcasts!) I’m Loving Right Now

Six months ago, I didn’t know what a podcast was. I would occasionally hear friends talking about them, but didn’t fully investigate them until I needed something to pass the time on my work commute. And since I hate the radio and can’t afford to buy 10 Audible books a month, I gave them a shot, and now I’m addicted. I tried to explain what a podcast was to my dad, and the best description I could come up with, being someone who thinks fax machines work by using magical messaging fairies floating in the sky, my best answer was: “It’s like a radio show that you download, and then listen to every week.” Here are my favorite five:

thismerican
THIS AMERICAN LIFE
– Broadcast weekly from WBEZ Chicago, hosted by Ira Glass – each show has a theme, and the hour-long program is broken up into acts. The themes are sometimes heavy, and sometimes they seem to come from left field, but I’m usually able to relate to every episode in some form or another. One of the first episodes I listened to was about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, so I cried, I don’t know, 11 times. One episode was about misunderstandings, and I laughed (out loud – a real LOL) like I was listening to a Comedy Central sketch. I find myself genuinely disappointed that the end of the program is here in 60 short minutes nearly every week. It’s hard to nail down what this podcast is “about,” until you listen to the show and refer to the title. Then it all makes sense.

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THE LONGEST SHORTEST TIME
– I heard about this podcast through a friend, when she invited me to a Facebook group called “Longest Shortest Time Mamas” and I was like, “Longest what the what?” It didn’t take long to figure it out though, after a few weeks of being in the group, when I realized a bunch of moms got together in a safe, non-judgmental space to share their experiences, good and bad, with each other. The podcast wasn’t too different, and listening to the host and creator, Hillary Frank made me feel like I was having lunch with a friend that I could share anything with. There’s been some recent drama (PODCAST DRAMA, WHO KNEW?) in the Facebook group, but honestly, the podcast is where it’s at. The title refers to the time phenomenon that happens when you’re raising people, but  it’s not just for parents. I’d totally listen to it even if I didn’t have a little person.

the-moth
THE MOTH – I love, love, love listening to stories. Real, human stories. The Moth features stories from The Moth Mainstage, StorySLAMs and MothSHOP Community program, where REAL PEOPLE come together, enter their names into a drawing, and if picked, tell a story based on a theme. I feel a range of a million emotions when I listen to these stories, and these people are REALLY GOOD storytellers. They also teach storytelling workshops, and who doesn’t love that? I find myself listening to these over and over again in the bathtub, when I need a little getaway. I travel with the storytellers to exactly where they are, and come back home in less than 10 minutes. This is one of my favorites to discuss with Marc, because he adds a different perspective I don’t always see, and it’s all full circle for me.
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SLEEP WITH ME
– Sounds sexy, right? This podcast is the opposite of sexy. Like, COMPLETE opposite. Scooter is the host, and he is pretty darn good at his job: helping you fall asleep. I stumbled upon this one when browsing through popular podcasts, and was immediately drawn in. Lately, I haven’t needed his help to get to sleep, since we are cramming 4 life events into one quarter, but sometimes, it will come on in my car, and it takes away anxiety very quickly for me. You don’t really “listen” to the podcast, because there is definitely not a beginning, middle, and end to anything Scooter says. He just babbles, and kind of mumbles, which is a glorious combination if you’re needed to chill the f-ck out, which is me, all the time.

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SERIAL
– I ‘ve got to be honest that this season of Serial has me a little bored (Sorry, Bowe Bergdahl), but last season of Serial had me listening to host Sarah Koenig and dying for next week’s episode like it was a soap opera. She basically takes a sort-of-unsolved criminal case, and opens it up, starting from scratch and investigating the crime from start to finish. Spoiler alert if you want to listen to last season, which I recommend you do: we still don’t know what the bleep happened, and if that kind of stuff haunts you, then you’re gonna be upset. In my humble and unqualified opinion, though, it’s worth it.

BONUS! And maybe (definitely) my favorite of all:

  
WOMEN OF THE HOUR – If it’s my favorite, why the hell isn’t it first on the list? Unfortunately, for us, the season is short AF. Lena Dunham is the host, and she had me sitting in my car, late for everything, because I was so sucked in. It’s an hour-long show broken up into segments, and features a bunch of amazing stories from equally amazing women and their experiences. The entire season was five episodes that mimicked the chapters in her book (also the best) and each and every episode, for me, was empowering, inspirational, thought-provoking, and educational. I miss her. 

I hope you find time to listen to something that lifts you up, or allows you to get away from the craziness that life can bring. If you need me, I’ll be in the tub soaking and laughing. Actually, I’ll be packing because we MOVE TO OUR FIRST HOME in 10 days, but same thing, right?

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Love and Messy Kitchen Chairs

Valentine’s Day: maybe my second favorite day of the year (behind Thanksgiving!). I had big plans to be really cute and make some crafty things. I had plans to make everyone around me feel really special and loved. I had plans to get the babies something small and sweet.

I didn’t.

I’ve been in that kind of place where you just get the stuff on your to do list done, and there isn’t much room for anything more. I’m normally in what Marc calls “Initiative Mode,” where I’ve always got something up my sleeve, but this week, and today, I’ve taken it pretty easy, soaking it all up. I spent hours in my craft room this weekend, just sitting and reflecting. So, Valentine’s Day kinda snuck up on me, and I spent the day feeling a little guilty about not making it as big of a production as I had hoped or planned.

After running errands and picking up the house, Marc, Maggie, and I hopped into the car and casually headed to dinner at my Mom & Dad’s, no different than any other Sunday. We ate a delicious meal, and at the end of the night, my sister Amanda thought it would be a good idea to lift the baby seats so we could clean the chairs. Sure enough, I lifted the seat, and there was a menagerie of prehistoric vegetables, thrown in protest on a previous evening. I told Mom we needed to leave some cash for her so that she could buy new  chairs, since this recently-purchased set already had loving streaks of who-knows-what from the babies. And then she said something that filled up my Valentine’s Day cup:

“It’s okay that they got dirty. It means we have good times here.”

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I LOVE it when one sentence wraps up all the thoughts in my heart and head. Often times, I’m caught up in the day-to-day, and the BIG picture, that I lose sight of the little things, or even the good perspective. My mom was totally right about the good times, and those are so much more valuable than any heart-shaped something I might have cut out and hung in our house.

I look forward to getting back into “Initiative Mode,” since I have shit to do around here. But for today, for now, I’m taking Mom’s advice. I’m seeing things for what they are, and learning to love that my kitchen floor is dirty, because Maggie drops her “nuh-nana” when she’s excited. I love that we have a ton of laundry to fold, because we got rodeo cow poop on our jeans, and Maggie learned to “moo.” I love that Mom’s chairs are dirty, too, because she feeds us food and love all the time.

Happy Valentine’s Day, from the girl who LOVES love, but gets a little tired every now and then too. xoxo

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Five Things (Under $10!) That I’m Loving Right Now

It’s February, one of my favorite months of the year! Not just because the weather is nice and it’s Girl Scout Cookie season, but because it’s Valentine’s Day season, and I LOVE love. I’ve often hoped that Valentine’s Day would be as big in our house as Christmas and Thanksgiving are, because I love being loved, and expressing love. BONUS: Everything is pink, and that’s my favorite color. So BAM! Happy February!

I thought I’d kick off LOVE Month with five little things that make all the difference to me. I have treated myself (or someone has treated me!) with these little goodies in the recent days, and I want you to know about them! It’s worth mentioning these are NOT affiliate links and I don’t get paid for any of this. I’m just honestly sharing these small, but amazing treats because sometimes, we need a pick-me-up. If you’re saving your money like crazy right now like we are, it’s gotta be something small too. So, here we go:

Five Things (Under $10) That I’m Loving Right Now
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What:
Caldrea Hand Lotion in Green Tea Verbena 
From: Target ($7.99)
Why I love it: Oh, Caldrea. I’m not sure I even say the name of this company correctly (Call-Dray-Uh?) but DAMN! They’re good at what they do. Someone I know once bought me the Herbs of Provence lotion for my birthday, and then “accidentally” kept it on her vanity forever. (I’m looking at you, Mom). The Green Tea Verbena lotion is SO bright, uplifting, and fresh. I keep a bottle at work, and it smells beautiful, but not overwhelming. Just lovely.

IMG_3149What: Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap in Basil
From: Target ($3.99)
Why I love it: Hey, no fair! Two hand products! But really, Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap in Basil will make you want to do the dishes, just so you can use it when you’re finished. And God knows I need all the motivation I can get to do those ever-looming dishes.IMG_3152

What: Lettermate
From: Lettermate.com ($9.95)
Why I love it: Don’t laugh at me for buying a piece of plastic with four rectangle-shaped holes in it. It’s so much more than that. I’ve already written THREE handwritten letters and used the Lettermate, and if nothing else, it’s fun to use a tool to make it feel more official, and more thoughtful. It helps keep your lettering straight when you’re addressing an envelope, and if you’re already going to the trouble of sending something snail mail, then you might as well make it look good.

IMG_3150What: Sworkit Workout App on iPhone
From: SworkIt.com (FREE)
Why I love it: Please don’t’ think I’m the working-out type, and that I’m qualified to judge any exercise program, like, ever. But YAY for Sworkit. Shout out to my friend, Becca, for convincing me, as I literally stuffed chips and queso in my mouth, that this app was not intimidating at all, and that I should give it a try. My FAVORITE part is that it gives you an option to do a five-minute work out, and I LOVE a product that openly allows me to call five minutes of exercise an acceptable amount of time to exercise, because HEY! Five minutes is better than no minutes, am I right?! (March Goals: increase to 10? Maybe.)

IMG_3151What: Greenroom Binder Notebook
From: Target ($5.99)
Why I love it: It could be that I *particularly* love this watercolored version of this binder because my Mama gave it to me, stuffed with family recipes and notes that made me cry, but I LOVE Greenroom binders in general. They are beautiful, but sturdy, and make you feel like you’re a BAMF when you’re organizing your bills. I have three already, but somehow think of a use for another one every time I’m at Target. Someone keep me off of the office supply aisle already, SHEESH.

I hope you find a small way to treat yourself this week. Heck, I hope you find a BIG way to treat yourself this month. Try picking up something small for someone you love – a cupcake, a coffee mug, a funny book. I’m guessing it will make a big difference.

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