Five Things That I’m Loving Right Now – May 2019

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Okay, so…May has been SURVIVAL mode for me. I’ve felt like a chewed up piece of bubble gum on a busy bathroom floor for most of this month, so I’ve been clinging to the things I love, and besides and family and friends, I’ve had these five amaze-balls things I’m loving right now.

Rebel Creamery Mint Chip Ice Cream

Where Did I Get Mine? H-E-B Grocery Store ($4.98)
Why I Love It: Because Big Girls Wanna Eat Dessert Too

Let’s. Talk. About. How freakin’ delicious this low carb ice cream is. I’m a Texas girl, so Blue Bell is my jam most of the time. But when I was trying to make better decisions and add more low-carb snacks into my life, I found Rebel, and I’m wishing that this mint chip ice cream had existed my whole life. It does NOT taste like fake sugar, or have a weird texture like most “healthier” ice creams do. Even the little chocolate shavings are sweet, but also not *too* sweet. I’ve tried other flavors, and they’re all damn good. The mint chip is my FAV, though, and I highly recommend it.

Udemy: Online Courses

Where Did I Get Mine? udemy.com/courses (Paid and Free)
Why I Love It: Because I don’t have time for more college courses RN

I don’t know about you, but I’m the Queen of buying books and letting them sit there on my bookshelf, as if the information is going to magically float to my brain during the night. I recently purchased a $12 class on Udemy and I freakin’ love it. It’s a digital marketing class, so I figured I could use some insight for my ol’ faithful blog, and lo and behold, they have ALL KINDS of topics to choose from. They have lifestyle courses (which I’ve linked above) but they also have professional development courses, all on video so you can just follow along at your pace and learn visually if that’s your thing. For the price of a few coffees, you can sign up for a class that interests you, and feel like a super-smart kid while you’re at it. Cheers to growth!

Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories App

Where Did I Get Mine? Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories App ($39.99/year on up to three devices)
Why I Love It: Because Momma Needs Sleep

Confession: My daughter is going to be five in August and SHE JUST STARTED SLEEPING IN HER OWN BED. There, I said it. Homegirl got sick two years ago, and I let her sleep in our bed, and the rest was history. I *finally* had to do something to get her to stay in there. After redecorating her room, adding twinkly lights, night lights, a TV, her favorite cartoon plastered on the walls, and basically everything but paying her to stay in her room, I decided it was time to try Moshi Twilight after I heard about it on Mom Brain podcast. For $40/year, I’m here for it if it helps my kid sleep in her own bed. We turn on the story, tell her to close her eyes and imagine what’s playing out in the story, and POOF! She falls asleep. Something about these stories are different, and relaxing, and help your kiddo really *listen* and rest. Lord Jesus, thank you!

ILU Citrus Crush Lavish Hand Cream

Where Did I Get Mine? Feliz Modern Gifts, Party, & Home Decor Shop ($10)
Why I Love It: Because I Wanna Smell Like Barbie

This hand cream, tho. I recently went on a trip to Feliz Modern, and let’s start off with commenting on how that store IS MY HEART. This cute little gift shop has all kinds of fun little things that I fully intend on spending all my money on over the course of my lifetime, including the coffee cup scrawled with “Let your conchas be your guide,” with a pic of a pink concha OMG GIVE IT TO ME. But I focused my efforts on what I really needed this trip. I wanted a small lotion to keep in my purse, and I smelled this magical tube of floral/spicy goodness and I wanted to buy out the whole store. It’s not TOO overpowering, but also, if I’m in a pickle and need to freshen up in like, 5 seconds, I lather some of this on and I smell like Barbie. Enough said.

Simfamily Reusable Menstrual Pads

Where Did I Get Mine? Amazon.com ($14.99)
Why I Love It: Because Plastic “down there” is weird

Alright, listen. I catch a lot of shit for these from my sisters, but I’ve NEVER liked tampons, and I sure-as-hell don’t like wearing plastic in my undies either. A few years ago, I purchased a few pairs of Thinx period undies, and I love them still, but these reusable/washable pads are seriously my favorite thing about getting my period. It takes a little while getting used to bleeding on fabric and being okay with it (flashback to middle school accident freakouts!) but once you do, you’ll thank yourself for getting something that can let your Who-Ha BREATHE for God’s sake.

Alright, friends. That’s it from Lola for the month of May. Onward to June, and other fabulous things.

Before the Internet: A Childhood Flashback

With all this talk of simplification and minimalism going on in the world right now, I’ve taken some time to sit on my cozy bed, in the dark, listening to only the whirr of the fan, reminiscing on what life was like 20 or so years ago. I was always ready to be a grown up, and though I think being an adult is the perfect age for me, there are a few things I miss about the “olden days” of the 90s. Here are a few of them:

Playing Grocery Store

“BEEP.” That’s the sound my make-believe cash register would make as I pulled a jug of milk smoothly over the “scanner.” I loved playing grocery store, because it gave me the chance to click away at the spare computer keyboard my parents let us play with. I’d make receipts, and write special “codes” on them for returns. My sweet mom let me save empty containers and boxes to keep on my grocery store shelves. Even now, I’ll find myself holding a box of Teddy Grahams in my hand for a few seconds too long, contemplating the joy it might bring Maggie and Ruby, who I’ve sort-of recruited to the cashier position that’s been open for 20 or so years. The sight of play food and kitchens and grocery toys still gets me thinking about our next “sale,” even though the reality of adulthood hits me when I drop $400 real dollars at H-E-B.

Collecting Chicharra Shells

Recently, I plucked a chicharra shell from a solitary tree in my parent’s backyard to show Maggie a relic of my childhood summer nights.

That’s really disgusting, Mom.” -Maggie, 4.5

That’s not exactly how I remember our brown paper lunch bags stuffed to the brim with those tiny, crunchy locust exoskeletons we’d throw in each other’s hair. We thought of them more as a treasure, a prize. Whoever collected the most was the winner (of what, I still don’t know), so we’d scour from backyard to backyard plucking, crunching, and laughing. I still don’t hear the sound of a chicharra chirping without feeling the warmth of a memory.

Playing School

“Excuse me, Johnny, will you please sit still?!” I’d scream at my imaginary class no matter where I was – inside my room or outside on the “playground.” My poor Mom probably wondered a few times if I was insane (WHICH I AM, thank you very much!) when I’d spend the afternoon grading papers, writing frantically on the chalkboard, and pouring over that day’s lesson plans. ONE TIME, my mom volunteered to make copies up at the school, and while in the copy room patiently waiting for her, I snuck a triplicate nurse’s slip into my backpack, and basically won the lottery. We never dreamed of writing on that slip until the moment was absolutely right, when a troupe of cousins came to play. When we finally “sent” that student to the nurse’s office, we slowly, firmly pressed our white-bodied Bic Pen ink on the form, letting our letters glide importantly over the lines and check boxes, one by one. Don’t forget the tacky, huge signature at the bottom that every teacher must sign when doing something as important as this.

Coloring the Day Away

I can close my eyes and SEE the box of used, broken, very loved crayons we had at my Grandma Glen’s house next to a stack of coloring books. There were skinny crayons, fat crayons, sharpened map pencils, and even a few pens in that bucket of gold. I had no idea what stresses and worries anyone around me felt, or even the fact that my Grandma Glen was dying from ovarian cancer, because I was in another world. A waxy, beautiful world where the extent of the world’s sadness was just having to stop coloring.

Fun fact: my favorite color in the box (still!) is Cerulean Blue. Thanks, Crayola.

Stealing My Mama’s Coffee

Didn’t everyone drink the rest of their mom’s coffee while she chatted with her mom on the phone every morning? I found out years later that my mom knew I was drinking her coffee, but let me do it so that she could talk to her mom just a few minutes longer. I get it now, Mom. I totally get it.

Playing Outside Under a Street Light

Despite mutant mosquitos and the fading sun, the neighborhood kid bunch carried on, while our parents sat in the driveway in lawn chairs that looked like colorful seatbelt straps woven together, drinking margaritas, eating chips and queso, and playing board games on card tables. The front doors of our houses would be opened and shut, about 25 times each night, while we decided whose house to create our next mess in. I remember playing hide and seek, and almost peeing my pants a few times. We’d play basketball by the glow of the streetlight until someone scraped their knee and ruined the night.

These are things I know I can’t exactly recreate for my kiddos, but I hope to channel the warmth and energy to them through similar experiences. Even when Maggie says, “Hey, Google. Read me a story” when the night finally ends.

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.

KLpbsmp

Love You More, Girl Dad

Dear Marc,

We’ve been together for half our lives, but I still learn something new about you nearly every day. Sometimes it’s good, like when I learn that you can sense when I need you to do things like pick up around the house without me asking you to. Sometimes I learn less-awesome things about you, like that throwing your dirty clothes in the hamper instead of next to the hamper is apparently more difficult. (I still love you, though). But you know, we’re in the thick of raising a 2.5 year old little girl/crazypants, and getting ready for another, and I’ve been meaning to sit down and tell you what else I’ve really learned about you in the past few years that I honestly didn’t expect to.

You and I have had our ups and downs, haven’t we? We’ve ranged from “How are we gonna do this marriage anymore?” to “I’m glad we get to do this life together, exactly how it is.” I look at our lives now and thank God we made it through those bad times – Jesus – look what we’d be missing. Especially our kids. Which brings me to my real point, Bub.

I always knew you’d be a good dad, but I have to admit that when I found out we were having a girl the first time, I wasn’t sure how you’d navigate that one. You already have Crazy Me, and here comes this other Thing that could be crazy too. Being a sensitive teddy bear ain’t your thang, and I’m cool with that, but this little person is going to need you even more than I do, and she’s going to count on you to help build her up in this weird world. You don’t even have a pet name for me, because my name is, in fact, Alyssa. How were you going to handle this new person who will hope for bubbles and laughing, and thriving, and loving? (You know, Me 2.0?)

And then you knocked it out of the fucking ballpark, dude.

The minute we became parents together, it all changed, didn’t it? The last two and a half years have dragged on, and flown by, all at the same time, and it’s you who has been my slow-and-steady friend through the magic and the miserable. But even bigger than me and you is your love for our daughter, and that’s what makes me most proud to be your wife, your co-parent, and your friend. And if we had to nail down an exact moment when I knew you win this Girl Dad thing, it was when you bought Maggie FOR HER SECOND BIRTHDAY I Dissent, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg being a strong, smart little lady. Sigh. We’re yours, forever and ever.

Listen, you drive us crazy with your rules and things, (Why can’t we have 8 kittens???) but we appreciate you, and love you more than M&Ms, which is a lot. You’re really our hero.

Now go put your clothes in the hamper.

KLpbsmp

marc and mags