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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Vacation, I Love You.

Before too much time passes and I become that annoying person who won't shut up about their vacation (just kidding, that's already me), I wanted to share some pictures from our trip! 

We went to Hammock Beach Resort, and if you're looking for a relaxing beach trip, I seriously cannot recommend it highly enough. It was perfect. First of all, that picture up there was the view from our room. I feel like I could just stop there and it'd be enough, but I have approximately 43,392 pictures on my phone, so let us journey on.

The best part of this place were the pools. They had the gradual slope beach entrances, so Jack could just walk in, which made him love the pool way more. 

Speaking of how great the pool was...someone brought me a drink and giant plate of nachos every day, which I got to eat with this view. 

If you were wondering what my definition of magic is, now you know. 

There was a second pool on the upper deck that had an actual beach, so Jack could play in the sand while we laid by the pool.

See? Win-win.

The resort was right on the beach and came with free chairs and umbrellas, which is a close runner-up to my definition of magic. Jack loved the beach. The first day we took him, he just took off running down the beach. It was hilarious and adorable. 

We wrapped up our stay at the resort but decided to keep the beach trip going, so we went to our hometown and stayed for a few days in a condo right on the beach. Which means I drank my coffee with this view every morning. I love love love the ocean. 

We spent a few days just hanging out with Jack on the beach and it was the best. We got to see family and friends and just spend a few days in the sun. Magic. 

We got Jack a little pack of beach toys and that little red shovel quickly became the new love of his life. He carried it everywhere. 

Pro-tip: If you're taking a toddler to the beach, get a blow-up pool. He could splash around and cool off without one of us having to take him into the ocean.

See? Love of his life. 

It was the best. It was relaxing and refreshing and worth every single cent and minute we spent on it. If you're on the fence about taking a vacation, DO IT. You'll never regret taking a few deep breaths and making some good memories. So, so worth it. 

Are you taking a trip this summer?

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Friday, May 26, 2017

What May Taught Me.

That taking a break is good. This is the first time in a long time that I took a real break. Usually, if I go out of town or take a vacation, I "take a break" but also check in with work, wake up early to work on blogging stuff, respond to emails, etc, etc. This time, though, I took a BREAK. No work, no texting people back, no emails. It was magical and very needed. 

Also, I feel like I learned a lot because of what I missed and what I didn't. I legitimately missed day-to-day blogging stuff. I actually missed working out (WHO AM I?!) But there's a lot of other things I do every day that I didn't miss at all. So I think taking a break from everything shows you where you're doing a good job at enjoying life and where you maybe need a little extra work. 

That going on vacation with a toddler is totally doable. Every now and then I'll see a few of my friends share some different version of the same article about "Why I'm Never Having Kids." To be fair: I completely respect and support anyone who makes that decision for themselves. I just think the, I'll keep my money/body/career/free time while you're stuck at home and miserable pieces are a bit overdone. 

Anyway, one of the main themes of these seems to be that once you have a kid, you can never go anywhere else other than your living room (and maybe Target). While I was a little nervous about taking a vacation with Jack, it was actually amazing. We stayed at a super nice (read: not "just for kids!") resort, ate at fancy restaurants, stayed at the beach all day, drank cocktails by the pool...all with Jack. A vacation with a toddler is totally possible, and beyond that, totally enjoyable. 

That the beach will always be my happy place. Any beach, anytime, anywhere. There's just something about being that close to the ocean that makes me feel like nothing else really matters and that all my problems are so much smaller than I thought they were. More beach days, please. 

What did this month teach you?
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Give Yourself Grace.

Last night, I placed my first order with Shipt (a grocery delivery service). I was so excited to not have to do the dreaded post-vacation grocery shopping and instead have someone deliver them straight to my door. What a time to be alive. 

Sadly, it was not a good first experience. My delivery was an hour past than the end of the window I gave, and even though I live right down the street from Publix, there was an hour between the driver texting me that she was on her way and actually getting here. I was tired and hungry and just irriated. 
After she delivered the groceries, Chris said, "I feel sorry for her. She feels really bad for messing up." Side note: I wish that I could say I had the same immediate reaction, but alas-tired and hungry, friends. Tired and hungry. 

I was still annoyed, but as the night went on (or maybe just once I ate dinner), my resolve to leave a bad review and mark her as late started softening. I went in the app and tipped her anyway. Because I thought, everybody has bad days and why not make her's a little better instead of worse?

Thinking about that this morning, all I can think is this: Why don't we treat ourselves this way? 

Here's this woman who I will probably never see again, who did a bad job and gave a bunch of (seemingly not very real) excuses and then laughed about it, and it took me all of thirty minutes to just get over it and have grace on the situation. But I know that when we mess up ourselves, we rarely extend the same kindness. 

Why don't we give ourselves grace?

There are a lot of answers to that, I'm sure. We have higher expectations of ourselves. We want to be better. We were taught to strive for perfection, or no one taught us to be kind to ourselves. We think mistakes make us look unprofessional, or we've trained our brains to view every mistake as a huge setback. 

Whatever the answer is, whatever the reason we don't give ourselves grace as easily as we extend it to others, we need to get over it. Because we all need a little grace every now and then, especially from ourselves. 

If we were meeting for coffee, and you were 15 minutes late, I would get over it. Sure, I'd be annoyed, but I'd get over it quickly, because we're friends and because grace. If you didn't respond to my email in time, same. If you told me you were going on a diet and a few days later I saw you at McDonald's, I can promise you my first thought wouldn't be, What a failure. It would be, She's human and homegirl needed a cheeseburger. Because you're my friend, and because grace. 

So next time I'm running late or delayed in responding to an email or I break my diet or make any other hey-I'm-human-mistake, I'm going to try to offer myself the same kindness.

Because I want to be my own friend, and because grace. 
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Monday, May 22, 2017

Coffee Tastes Better on Vacation.

Happy Monday! I'm coming in with a real-time coffee date today, sipping on mine with my favorite view ever. I don't think I'll ever get over how much I love the ocean. It's just so peaceful and powerful and perfect. Plus, Mondays usually find me chugging coffee for survival, not leasurely enjoying a cup at my own pace. It's nice to switch things up. And by "it's nice" I mean can I please stay on vacation forever? 

If we were having coffee...

...I'd tell you all about my vacation. I'd tell you that Jack has had the time of his life and enjoyed the beach way more than I expected. I will never ever forget watching him run up and down the beach, laughing and eating the sand. He's had the best time and I've had the best time watching him have the best time. 

...I'd ask if you have any upcoming vacation plans. And if you didn't, I'd help you make some. Because you need some. I've been saving money since January for this trip, and I wondered if I would be sad to see all of that vacate my bank account...nope. Not a bit. Getting away and enjoying life is worth every single bit of time and money and effort it takes to do so. 

...I'd tell you that I bought the Love Sweat Fitness Sweat Guide & Meal Plan. I've done her free Youtube workouts forever and loved them, so I'm super excited to try this. One, because, vacation. Aka, lots of pool nachos and drinks. And two, I am too tired/busy/not knowledgeable enough in this area to figure out what I should eat on what day and what workouts I should do when. The idea of someone telling me exactly what to do to kick-start being healthier is very appealing. I'll let you know how I like it! 

Whether you're having your coffee with an ocean view like me, or are reheating it for the third time while you chase your kids around, or are sipping on your latte in your cubicle, cheers. I hope you have the most beautiful Monday.
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Monday, May 15, 2017

Let's be Happy Today.

Let's be happy today. 

It's Monday, for one thing. That means that if you are in need of a fresh start, here you go! It's here. Use it! Let it be the starting line for you becoming the happiest you have ever been. 

Know what else is here? Summer. (Or, if you live up north, maybe it's alllllmost here for you). And there's something about summer that just seems a little more light and carefree, even when you become an adult and summers are really no different than any other time (lame). There's something about sunshine and barbecues and pool days and vacation that just whispers, you should really, really be happy. 

So whatever it is you need to do today in order to be happy, I think you should do it. If you need to quit a bad job or a bad relationship, do it. If you need to get healthier, do it. If you need to make amends with people in your life, do it. If you need to get back to that hobby that makes your heart sing, do it. 

Wherever you are, whatever kind of mood you're in, whatever circumstances you find yourself in, I just wanted to remind you that life is both entirely too short and entirely too long to not be happy. 

So let's be happy today.
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Friday, May 12, 2017

Ways Being a Mom Has Surprised Me.

It's no secret around here that Jack was a surprise. I had absolutely no plans to get pregnant and spent most of my pregnancy just trying to get used to the idea of having a baby (instead of doing research and planning for actually having him). So it's safe to say that most things about being a mom have been a surprise for me. But here are five big things that I definitely did not expect. 

It's been easier than I thought it would be. I vividly remember one of the last times I went to Target before Jack was born. I was getting in my car, and I saw this girl getting out of her car with her baby. She had the baby in one hand, got her stroller out and opened it up with the other hand, and proceeded to load the stroller up with bottles and bags and who knows what else, all while bouncing her baby to sleep. It looked so hard.

But here's the figure it out. You just do. Overnight, it became second nature for me to have a baby in one hand and (at least one) bag in the other. It becomes instinct to swerve out of the way so you don't get spit up in your hair. Something happens and you just instinctively know all this stuff. That was incredibly comforting to me to realize, because I felt so behind since I hadn't made a five-year plan for having a baby. Spoiler: I don't think having a plan would have made a big difference. 

It can be lonely. This is surprised me because I have friends. Great friends. But it can still be lonely. Because you're responsible for this entire little life. And when your little life is going through a loud phase, you can't just go out to dinner with friends. When they're going through a clingy phase, you can't road trip to see an old friend. This can result in feeling left out. 

Another way motherhood can be lonely is that it comes with the feeling that you can't make anyone else understand what you're going through. This is obviously a lie, there are millions and millions of mothers in America, so you're not the only one who has ever felt a certain way. But it can sure feel like it, especially if you're the only mom in your friend group. Michelle has been a lifesaver for me lately when it comes to this. Because someone who doesn't currently have a toddler might not understand how a skipped nap and a Target tantrum left me dissolving into a puddle of tears for three hours, but since she's in the thick of it, I can just say, "HEY THIS HAPPENED" and am immediately met with a hurricane of both sympathy (need a little bit) and you're-not-alone-because-me-too (need way more).

I actually feel a closeness with Jack, not just love towards him. This is surprising to me, because how can you feel like a one-year-old is your friend? I expected to love him, of course, but I expected it to be a one-way street for awhile. Guys, it's not. It's insane to me how early human's personalities develop, but they do, and when Jack shows his and "talks" to me and runs around doing all of his tiny little routine things, I don't just feel love for him, I feel like he's my tiny little bff. 

It made me more laid back. I guess I thought the opposite would happen? I wouldn't necessarily say I was an uptight person, but I was definitely a neeeeed to know kind of person. I needed everything to have a plan. The thought of being just a few minutes late somewhere would make me cry. But becoming a mom totally chilled me out. Can I come to your BBQ on Thursday? No idea, depends on how the afternoon goes. Will I ever be on time for church again? Probably not. And you know what? It's all okay. 

I am still 100% myself. I still listen to rap music in the car. I still go to happy hours (when my tiny human is in a good mood, at least). I still have people over. I still go to the pool all the time. I still read books and do yoga and blog and all the other things I loved doing before I became a mom. I wrote about it here, but to summarize: Becoming a mom reminded me of who I was. It made me more myself than I've ever been. And that has been the most welcome surprise. 

If you're a mom, what are some ways it has surprised you?
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

3 Things You Need to Know About.

This mermaid shirt. Because even mermaids get cold sometimes. Bonus: This shirt is TWELVE DOLLARS. You're welcome. Notes: It's listed as a sweatshirt, but it's thin. Like a thicker t-shirt. I ordered a large because I wanted it to be super extra slouchy, and it is. So I would say it runs true to size. Also, I'm wearing this lipstick in shade "respect the pink."

Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. Want something you cook to taste like you spent a lot of time seasoning it without actually doing it? This is for you. It's delicious. It really tastes like an everything bagel. 

This After Sun Lotion. This is my favorite lotion, ever. It smells like vacation and it leaves your skin feeling way better than the sticky mess that comes with using aloe gel. Also, it definitely makes your tan last longer. But what's probably the best part is that it's $7 and will last all summer. I love when cheap things are actually the best. 
Tell me something I need to know about! 
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Monday, May 8, 2017

What I Really Want For Mother's Day. Alternatively Titled: I Have a Toddler.

In magazines, blog posts, and advertisements on Facebook, I keep seeing Mother's Day gift guides pop up. They're pretty, usually pink, and full of things like expensive candles and body scrub. And obviously the people writing these are doing a good job, because I'm a mom, and I nod along and think, yes, yes I do want that. 

But, since I am a mom, and Mother's Day gift guides are for people buying gifts for moms, I thought I'd give you a little inside peek on what I really want for Mother's Day. 

Sleep. All of the sleep. Seriously, all of it. I cannot stress this enough. I don't mean I want a nap or to sleep in on Sunday, I want all. of. the. sleep. So if you could just pack up a few of your extra hours and wrap them up with a bow, that's what I want. 

Coffee. All of it. There could be a river of coffee flowing straight through my house and it still would not be enough lately. I need it all. Like this, but with coffee: 
My pre-baby body. Actually, if we're getting technical, here's what I really want: My pre-baby body, my post-baby hips, and my newborn days boobs, because hot DANG those were nice. So basically I want like a Frankenstein kind of situation. Is that too much to ask for? 

A magical new caffeine source. Something stronger than coffee, but not quite illegal drug status, ya feel? I would like it to leave me wide awake but also feeling as if I'd taken a mild sedative. I'd like zero shakes, 100% awareness, and also the ability to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. So like a coffee-wine hybrid, but way better. Again with the Frankenstein gifts, I guess.

A glam squad. If by some chance, I am unable to be gifted all of the sleep and all of the coffee, I will settle for this. A group of people to follow me around, who's sole purpose in life is to make it look like I've had all the sleep and coffee in the whole wide world. 

Length-changing hair. I want the mom chop because it's easy and because you don't know what pain is until your kid rips out a handful of your hair while you're half-asleep. But also I want long hair because top knots are the easiest. But also I want short hair because I don't want to wear my hair in a top knot every day and look like a slob. Can someone please fix this cycle? It's Mother's Day and I AM A MOTHER. 

Okay, okay, this is getting a bit excessive and I don't want to come across as greedy. I am so blessed to be a mom, and truly, I don't need all of this. 

I'll just settle for that Frankenstein bod. 
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Things I Believe in This Week.

Spontaneity.  A few weeks ago, my best friend from growing up asked me if there was any way I would be able to meet her in Oklahoma to go on a wedding dress shopping road trip. The planner/mom/employee part of me was like, oh that would have been fun, but nope, not enough time to make it work. But the sentimental side of me was like, you CAN'T miss this, make it happen. And so I did! And it was the most fun. And nothing fell apart just because I did something spontaneously! More of that, please. 

Vacation. We are a week and a half out from vacation, so when I say I believe in vacation, you can trust that it is with a religious fervor. I am SO READY to just lay on a beach and do absolutely nothing. No emails or dishes or laundry. PRAISE HANDS.
Checking in with people you love. Like, really checking in. Asking about specific things. Keeping up to date on their lives. Sure, life is busy, but a five-minute phone call can make a really big difference in being there for someone. I'm trying to get better at this. You know how amazing it feels for a friend to come through for you and just listen when you really need them? Let's be that for other people.
What do you believe in this week? 

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Spending Your May: A To-Do List for Adventuring Through the Month.

1. Look up the summer fair in your town. Make plans to go! 

2. Get some cheap new sunglasses. The summer is not the time for expensive sunglasses. Especially when you can get some like these for under $10.

3. Plan a few summer trips. 

4. Dye your hair a fun color. 

5. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo! 

6. Tye-Dye something. A t-shirt, your hair...the possibilities are endless.

7. Make a summer reading list. Then hit up your library because FREE.

8. Try DIY cold brew coffee. 

9. Look up concerts in your area. 

10. Watch the sunrise and sunset in the same day.

11. Make grilling out a thing you do more often.

12. Pick three things you want to stop doing by the end of the summer. Mine: Drinking so much coffee, taking so long to respond to texts, complaining out loud. 

13. Pick three things you want to start doing by the end of the summer. 

14. Celebrate Mother's Day.

15. Invest in some pool floats. Like these:

16. Delete your texts. I wrote about this last month and I DID IT. All of my texts now fit on one screen with no scrolling. I don't know why this makes me feel so organized, but it does. 

17. Stop at the next ice cream truck you see. 

18. Stalk Ross / TJ Maxx / Marshall's for new beach towels. I was going to link some up here but apparently cute beach towels are like $85 now?? No thank you.

19. Host a good, old-fashioned BBQ. And by that I mean ask everyone to bring something and just hang out. No stress! 

20. Make lemonade.

21. Go to the beach.

22. Make a list of the things you would do if you had the entire summer off. When you get a day or a weekend off here and there, look at that list! 

23. Watch Elizabethtown. My favorite movie ever ever ever.

24. Take advantage of how delicious in-season fruit is.

25. Make some playlists for different moods.

26. Plan a road trip. 

27. Keep a list on your phone of people you'd like to send a card to. When your at Target, hit up the dollar section and mail them a little hello!

28. Perfect a smoothie recipe. 

29. Wear less makeup. It's too hot for all of that. 

30. Go for more walks. 

31. Eat dinner outside. 
How will you be spending your month?
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