Hello Monday!

Monday, June 18, 2018

How is it already June 18?  Slow down, summer!  How was your weekend?  Mine was good and pretty low-key.

Friday night we headed to the mall as a family and did returns for my husband’s birthday gifts.  He didn’t like the Birkencrocs and he wanted to try a smaller size pant.  We also came home with a new Lululemon men’s polo shirt.  I don’t even own any Lululemon!  I think I’ve created a monster!

This is what I wore. It was time to put on some “real” clothes!  This kimono can double as a cover up (from my post on coverups).  I am still on my walking streak except for a break Saturday a.m.  

I was bummed going into the weekend because of this below.  

While at the mall we went to Yan Kee Noodle for dinner.  One son and I split the chicken pad thai.  It was pretty decent.  My hub got chicken teriyaki and my other son got chicken fried rice.  His was the best, in my opinion.

The boys wanted to stay home Saturday and we had plans for a movie later that afternoon so hub, Ernie, and I decided to try the boat for just a bit around 11 am.  I took Shannon’s advice and got Ernie a puppy whip from Starbuck’s when I was getting us sandwiches and a tall skinny vanilla latte for me.  My husband doesn’t drink coffee or cocktails with me.  He mainly drinks his favorite soft drink called Ale 8 One.  

You know what’s better than Starbuck’s?  Starbuck’s on a boat!

We parked the boat and I ate the tomato spinach panini.  It was good.  

Ernie loves his Daddy!  We ended up staying until about 2 and had a really good time.  

When I got home the mail had come!  Why do I love the mail arrival in the summer so much?  These are the $11 American Eagle slides I ordered.  I think I could have gone up a size but I’m hoping the band across the foot stretches a bit.  My husband asked me what in the world I was wearing on my feet.  I don’t think he is a fan!

I also received the cork and como earrings!  The cork has a nice gold shimmer and the camo is really dark and subtle.  I think I will get a lot of use out of these.  See my post from Wednesday for information about this Etsy shop.  

Then it was time for our movie!  This was the birthday gift from one son.  The movie was entertaining, but silly, like we knew it would be.  It was a little bit off color for the boys but we are pretty liberal with movies they see.  

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Let me tell you how we have to do the movies…my husband loves the movies and must have popcorn and we buy the refillable bucket and bring our own giant baggies so we can share the bucket between the four of us.  It’s a spectacle, I tell you!  

Sunday morning, I read with my coffee on the patio.  I abandoned my last book without finishing and started this one.  I’m in such a book rut!  I can’t promise you I will finish this one, either.  

It was time for a nail refresh so I redid my nails with this OPI “Po Boys and Rich Girls”.  I do my nails a couple of times a week and I actually enjoy it.  It saves a bunch of money.  I haven’t had dip or gel since April, I think.  

For our Father’s Day, the boys wanted to make their Dad happy by boating!  Oh my gosh, I was such a baby and could hardly handle the heat!  We only lasted a little over an hour.  My husband made a canopy for more shade.  The air felt like you were stuck in someone’s armpit.  It was bad.  

We laughed as we were leaving because this boat was called “Prestige Worldwide” from the movie “Stepbrothers”.  Have you seen it?  There are so many good lines in that movie!

Also, on Sunday, I took advantage of Loft’s 40% off sale and bought a few tops.  I did spend $125 so I could get free shipping, but I’m sure at least half will go back.  I feel like I need some more cute and easy to throw on tops for summer.  Tip:  Never buy from Loft when there isn’t a sale and never pay for shipping if you can help it.  I have a store about 5 miles down the road for easy returns.  I will show you my loot next week or whenever it comes in!

Sunday night’s plans  involved a dark English man named Ross Poldark.  I finished season 3 on Amazon Instant Video and I’m going to watch Season 4 live!  I did miss the first episode of season 4 and can’t figure out where to watch it.  Let me know if you have any tips!  Have you started Poldark yet?  If you were/are a fan of Downton Abbey, I think you would like it.  

Hope you had a great weekend and thanks for reading!  

Amy 

Friday Favorites with 3 Easy Recipes!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Favorite #1)  Easy Recipes that seem impressive! You don’t have to tell people our little secret – shhhhh!  This is the time of year that you may go to a potluck or a cookout or you may have out of towners staying at your house.  I have an app, a breakfast item, and a frozen pie for you!  Did you see my Tuesday post about Entertaining?  Check it out here for ideas!  Do you need a fun cocktail or mocktail?  Check out yesterday’s drink recipe here!  

Sun dried Tomato Cheeseball

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light cream cheese, sundried tomatoes, some juice from the jar, garlic powder
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Roll mixture on top of finely shredded cheddar
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Refrigerate to solidify

Sun dried tomato cheeseball:

This is my sister’s recipe and I think you’ll like it!  It is a crowd pleaser among my people!

I like this with the water crackers made by Carr’s or my Kroger has their own store brand Private Selection.

Ingredients needed:

about 1/3 jar of sun dried tomatoes (I like Trader Joe’s and one jar can make you 3 cheese balls)

1 package of light cream cheese (I use Kroger’s neufchatel)

garlic powder

finely shredded cheddar

Instructions:

open up cream cheese, put in mixing bowl,  and slightly melt for 30 s. in microwave

pour a little bit of the sundried tomato juice into it

chop up about 1/3 jar of tomatoes and add

sprinkle about 1 tsp. garlic powder in 

pour about 1/2 cup shredded cheddar (or more if you want to)

combine

get out some plastic wrap and sprinkle more cheese

put your mixture onto the cheese and roll using the wrap so that the cheese covers the outside of the ball – add more cheese if needed

Refrigerate for at least an hour.  Serve.  Reap the compliments and pretend you came up with it!  I do give credit to my sister when I serve it.  I hope she’s finally reading my blog now that school isn’t an excuse!  I made this to serve at my patio happy hour/dinner Monday night!

Easy mini cinnamon rolls

img_2536Unroll a roll of crescent roll dough but keep all of the triangles together so you will have four rectangles.  On each rectangle spread some melted butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Roll up each rectangle and cut into 5 equal pieces that will be your rolls when you turn them sideways.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 min.  When finished, spread a frosting of melted butter, powdered sugar, a drop of vanilla and a splash of milk. 

I sent these to work with my husband on his birthday to share with his co-workers.  

Lemonade Pie

Into a graham cracker crust, pour a mixture of melted vanilla bean ice cream (I used about 1/3 of a half gallon) and half a can of frozen lemonade concentrate (freezer section by the breakfast foods).  I set both of these on the counter to melt for about 30 min. after doing grocery store run.  Put in freezer to re-freeze for several hours.  I served this on my husband’s birthday Wednesday night.  He loves it.  This is my aunt’s recipe!  

Favorite #2)  Catching up with friends now that it’s summer!  

This was part of my set up for my patio happy hour/dinner Monday night.  I served the cheeseball, an orange bundt cake, mango spiked lemonade, bowtie pasta with artichokes and sundried tomatoes, tomatoes and mozzarella balls with balsamic glaze, and a salad.  

Favorite #3)  Time for coffee on the patio in the mornings.  The rain held out for my dinner on Monday night, but on Tuesday morning I enjoyed my coffeee with my rainchain gutter decor. 

Favorite #4)  Celebrating the ones we love.  My husband requested Mexican for his birthday so I made Mexican chicken, carnitas from Trader’s, chips, salsa, guac, rice, and pie.  He was happy!  I gave him plastic Birkenstocks  in olive green (not sure if he will keep) and Lululemon men’s work pants.  One son gave him tickets to TAG – the movie and one son gave him socks.  

Happy Friday to all!  Can’t wait to read your favorites!

Amy 

Thursday Thoughts – Purple Rain and a Podcast

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Purple Rain. Purple Rain.  I know you just sang that. Who doesn’t love Prince? His songs are part of so many of my good memories. From dancing to “Little Red Corvette” in 6th grade to dancing to “1999” the minute it became midnight on New Year’s Eve 1999.

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Let me introduce you to Purple Rain – the drink:  

This is one serving.

Half of a Crystal Light grape. This does have caffeine FYI.  

A shot of vodka

A small splash of grape juice

A small splash of water

Stir or shake

I like to pour between two cups a few times.

Pour into a cup with ice and top with Sprite Zero.

This is very low calorie, too.

If you think it’s too grapey, you can add more water or less of the Crystal Light powder.

Let me know if you try it.

By the way, I make this as a “mocktail” for the kids in my life. One of my cute nieces is obsessed with it. Her mom told me she’s been asking about it lately! Lol. Another one I make is “mermaid juice”. I will keep you waiting on that one!

Purple Rain tastes better on a boat.  

One should wear purple glasses when drinking Purple Rain.

Podcasts – Do you listen to them?  My favorites are Happier with Gretchen Rubin, The Big Boo Cast, By the Book, and my friend’s that I will talk about now!

One of my very best friends is a guy that I met in 2nd grade.  We were in almost every class together after that grade and we remain friends today.  In fact, I’m responsible for him meeting his wife!  When we were 26 I took him to a Christmas party and the rest is history.  He worked as a d.j. in high school and now as a side gig, he has a podcast called “Fortyish” where he and his co-host discuss things that people in their forties need to know or want to know.  I was their guest in April when we talked about my “story” and my thoughts on being a teacher.  This past Monday, he asked me to guest host as his regular co-host was unavailable.  We talked about summer as a kid and summer now that we are fortyish parents.  

If you want to listen to Fortyish or any of my other favorites, it’s super easy.  Go to your purple podcast button if you have an iphone and search the titles.  You can either download a specific episode or subscribe to the podcast, which means you will be alerted when there is a new one.  

If you want to listen to my co-hosting gig about summer, click here

http://www.40ishpodcast.com/episode-88-create-a-magical-summer/

What podcasts do you listen to?

Any recommendations for me?

Let me know if you try Purple Rain!

Amy 

Wednesday Wish List, Shopping List and What I Wore

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Today is my husband’s birthday!  He opted for dinner at home rather than at a restaurant, so I will be busy today making his favorite foods and wrapping up some gifts for him.  My boys will be helping, too!  

Here are some things I have my eye on:  

From Old Navy:

This dress

I can’t get enough of jungle/tropical floral prints.  I think this swing or shift style dress is really flattering.  You could wear this to a cookout, to a restaurant, or to church.

this graphic tee

You know I love my collection of graphic tees.  This would look cute under a kimono.  

Here are some things I’ve purchased:

From Amazon:

this maxi dress

Melanie Shankle and Sophie Hudson have been talking about the Verdusa caftan but I thought I needed a little more structure so I took a chance on this – in the dark grey color. I think I like it.  I haven’t put it with my correct undergarments and accessories yet, so I’m not positive.  I love Patricia from Southern Charm and her caftan collection.  I’m not sure I life a caftan-worthy lifestyle!  

From American Eagle and local boutique:

The day after my husband’s birthday is my 17 year old niece’s birthday!  I hope I did well for her.  I went in American Eagle and found this mauve/burgundy peplum tank and this tie-dye tank.  Both were 60% off!  I then went to a cute local boutique and found this white bandeau and little earrings.  

O.k., I will admit, while in American Eagle I found these slides for 40% off, making them only $11 dollars!  My size was not available, but they are on order for me.  

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Also, the ones below would be so cute for 4th of July.  They are a true red even though the photo doesn’t look like it and they are the same price.  I left these in the store, because I do have some self control!img_2525.jpg

While in a local boutique, I tried these Corkys Boutique wedges but they only had my size in camo.  The camo is super cute, but I knew the pewter was what I would wear more.  I have been searching for a wedge like this that didn’t break the bank.  These were $49 and so comfortable.  I did have to order from Amazon because the boutique was out of this color.  I did try to shop locally!

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From Etsy:

I love these leather earrings and have used this Etsy shop twice.  Their prices are fair, the shipping is quick, and they come packaged in such a cute way!  I added a cork and a camo pair to my collection.  I’m so excited and seriously wear this type of earring almost everyday!  img_2530

 

What I’ve Worn Recently: 

This is one of my garage sale bracelets from Saturday. 

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This is what I wore to brunch with my niece last week. 

This is what I wore to run errands one day.  I think that is sunscreen on my mirror – keeping it real.  I will go clean it now!  img_2444-e1528845905494.jpg

This is another errand running outfit.  img_2453.jpg

And, finally this is a picture my sister sent me to illustrate why we don’t like the high waist trend.  Why did we think this looked good?  I’m on the left and my sister is on the right.  She was voted best dressed in high school!  

I really hadn’t shopped in several weeks until this week.  It was nice to have the time to wander in a few stores.  How often do you shop?  I go in spurts.  I would say I average once a week if you are talking about going in a clothing store – including my consignment stores.  I don’t always buy something, though.  I don’t buy a lot of stuff online usually.  I really still like to see and touch items before I buy them. I make exceptions for Loft, Old Navy, and Target.com because I know I can easily return the items.  

Happy Wednesday!  Thanks for stopping by!

Amy 

 

 

Entertaining at Home – Why you should entertain even if your space isn’t perfect

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

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Make a list! This is my list for a simple girls happy hour/dinner I hosted Monday night.

It seems like too much work to have people over, but it really shouldn’t be that way. I’m always glad that I entertained afterwards.

Reasons why you might not entertain at home:

Raise your hand if you can’t keep your home as clean as you would like.

Raise your hand if you have husbands, kids, and pets.

Raise your hand if you have renovation projects that you would like to start or have started.

See, we all raised our hands and are all in the same boat!  Your home is never going to be perfect because life isn’t perfect.

I prefer to entertain at home in the spring, summer, or fall because I have a decent patio.  Maybe you don’t have a nice outdoor space, but you have a cozy living room.  Maybe you have a big dining room table.  Whatever space you have, I think you can make it work.

When you host people, you don’t have to do it all.  I think most people prefer to bring something to help you out.  I know I don’t like to show up empty handed and I will usually bring something even if the host tells me not to!

Maybe it’s a sign that I’m getting older, but I don’t enjoy going to restaurants as much as I enjoy going to someone’s home these days.  Restaurants are so noisy and I often feel that the amount I pay is just too much.  A cocktail for $10 when mine is better?  Ha!

When you invite someone into your home, they get to see the true you.  It always makes me feel good when I go to someone else’s home that isn’t perfect either.  Is that wrong of me to say?  We all have our piles of papers we don’t know what to do with and we all have nagging home repairs that need to be done.  

I read a really inspiring book called “Bread and Wine” by Shauna Niequist.  Pick it up and let me know what you think!  If you’re like me, you will want to have people over just like Shauna.  She might only serve soup and bread but it’s the act of gathering people around a table.  I think we have a notion that we have to be “fancy” when we have people over, but you really can just serve a normal meal and it will probably be special to your guests.  

Here are some ideas for you:

Use paper plates, napkins, plastic forks, and cups.  Make things easy for guests to serve themselves.  Set up a drink stand or a cute bar cart.  Make it so you can enjoy yourself and people prefer to help themselves, anyway.  

You could buy the hardest part of a meal and supplement with food you or the guests make. For example you could order pizza, but make a salad and dessert. You can order fried chicken and do sides. You can grab bbq for the main and do homemade sides.

Ask your friend(s) to bring drinks, paper products, dessert, a side, etc.  Most will probably ask what they can bring, anyway!

Please don’t try shopping the day of.  If you can do the shopping part the day before, you will be much more relaxed.  

A taco bar – easy!  You could even get the good chips and salsa from a restaurant.  Make your taco meat and keep it warm in a crockpot.  Have bowls of cheese, lettuce, sour cream, beans, etc.

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A baked potato bar – Bake a mess of potatoes and keep warm in a crockpot.  Or, individually wrap in foil and it’s one less thing to wash.  Have bowls of cheese, sour cream, chili, chives, etc.  If you feel that you need something else, you could do my little Hawaiian bun, ham, and swiss sliders or a big salad.

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A pasta bar (cook 2-3 types of noodles and marinara and alfredo sauce) – Provide salad and garlic bread, too, or ask people to bring these.

A hot dog bar – cook them standing up in a crockpot and provide the buns and condiments along with beans, mac and cheese.

A low country boil – I’m not sure how to do this, but it sounds like fun!  Go to my favorite Pinterest for recipes!

School cafeteria food – I have actually done this and it was a hoot!  You can buy the cafeteria type divided trays and have things like “buttered corn”, “chicken on bun” ,”side salad”, “jello”.  You could even print out a school menu.

Your favorite Pioneer Woman Recipe party – Mel of The Larson Lingo has done this.  You could exchange this for another popular Food Network star.

Brunch!  I love this.  Have everyone come around 11 and follow it with a hike (or not).  We have hosted a spring brunch on the patio with just one other family followed by a hike at a nearby park.  It was a lot of fun.  I’m more social before 8 p.m. anyway!

Lunch – Foods that we serve for lunch can oftentimes be lower maintenance.  I love this idea.  A lady in my book club had her hubby grill a bunch of chicken and then slice it up.  She had a make your own salad for our entree.  She had bowls of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, croutons, pine nuts, and a few dressings.  It was delicious!  You could also do make your own sandwiches.  

I recently hosted my department for a patio happy hour. I provided Mexican beer with limes and my low cal Jalapeño margaritas, guacamole and chips. Someone brought veggies and hummus and others brought sweet things.  It was perfect!

Have I convinced you?  Go ahead and start simply with just one other couple or one other family.  Get a date on your calendar.  You can always say you’ll call back later with details.

Enjoy!

Amy

Hello Monday!

Monday, June 11, 2018

How was your weekend?  Mine was my first weekend of summer and it was very relaxing.  It was a good mix of productivity, relaxation,  and fun!  

Friday evening we got to hang out with one of our favorite couple friends, my teacher bff and her husband.  We taught together for 17 years.  She changed schools last year but I’m happy for her and we will remain friends.  

We met for an evening boat ride and it was still so hot!  We parked at a restaurant and enjoyed some apps while we ordered dinner.  

Are you tired of my Target Universal Thread top yet?  That was 17.99 well spent!  

It finally started cooling down and we had a nice breeze as the sun was setting.  I try not to be on my phone too much when I’m with people so I don’t always get a lot of good photos.  

Saturday morning I took a break from walking to ride my bike!  But, I had a goal in mind – the neighborhood yard sales!  This bike was an anniversary gift from my hub about 15 years ago?  He is a great gift giver.  

I found some brand new containers, 2 bracelets, and a unique pouch made out of wrappers.  All of this was $5.

I rode back to the house to get my car to buy this $5 chair for the boys.  I thought it was pretty cool.  

I have several movies I want to see, but Ocean’s 8 was the one hub and I agreed upon for Saturday afternoon.  It was really entertaining.  I can’t wait to see A Star is Born with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.  It looks so good from the previews.  My husband loves to go to the movies and must get buttered popcorn and a giant Coke.  I take my own water but steal some of his Coke!  

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Saturday night we did dinner at home with the boys and watched The Grand Budapest Hotel with them.  They love to talk about films and they like the director of this film. 

I have been in a book rut, but I tried this book Sunday morning on the patio with my coffee.  I really like it so far.  

I found out Poldark season 3 is out on Amazon Instant Video finally!  I am afraid I’m going to go through it too quickly because I started on Friday afternoon and I can’t stop!  Seriously, watch Poldark if you haven’t.  It is set in 1700s England and it is about Ross Poldark who returns from fighting in The Revolutionary War in the U.S. to discover his love is to marry his cousin.  

Also, on Sunday, I did some serious cleaning and de-cluttering.  It feels so good to have less and be more organized!  I have a few donation bags to take care of this week.  I walked and listened to The Big Boo Podcast with Melanie Shankle and Sophie Hudson.  It’s one of my favorite podcasts.  

What’s up for you this week?  

Today, I’m the guest co-host on my friend’s podcast!  I will give you more information when it releases.  Tonight, I’m hoping the weather holds out for me to host happy hour on the patio for two neighborhood friends.  We met when our kids were in elementary school and we were part of the parents who had kids who walked home.  We would hang at the walkers’ door every day after school.  

I may have to move it to my dining room table, but I hope not!  Come back tomorrow when I talk about why you should entertain at home and ways to make it easier to do.

This week is my husband’s birthday, my niece’s birthday, and Father’s Day.  I have got to get busy!  

Amy 

Friday Favorites

Friday, June 8, 2018

Favorite #1)  Enjoying a cocktail on the patio with my new B & B candle!

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Favorite #2)  Enjoying my coffee on the patio!  It has been cool in the mornings!  So perfect!  Also, on this day, I did my nails.  I have been enjoying this light blue OPI color.  This makes it look like I never leave the patio but I swear I do all the things in between the coffee and the cocktail.

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Favorite #3)  This is my oldest niece who just finished her first year of college.  We got to have brunch together on Tuesday and it was so nice.  Have I told you I’m aunt to 9 nieces and nephews?  I love being an aunt!img_2436.jpg

Favorite #4)  Role Reversal!  During the school year I go to bed at 9 because I get up at 5.  Now hub is going to bed earlier than I am.  During the summer I try to stay up until 10 and then get up between 6-7.  I came to bed Wednesday night and someone was quite comfortable on my side.  img_2438.jpg

Favorite #5)  O.k., I don’t want to speak too soon, but I have walked every morning so far.  I realize it’s only been 4 mornings, but I’m proud of myself for not putting it off.  I’m really good at excuses.  One morning I took Ernie with me and let him off leash.  He gets two walks a day but I need to do a brisk 30 minute without someone stopping to sniff.  He slowed me down a little bit, but on this day I also took an after dinner walk.

Favorite #6)  This is Kroger brand, but I’m sure other brands are out there if you don’t have a Kroger.  This will open up a world of possibilities for cocktails and non alcoholic beverages.  My friend recommended this:  half of a stick of this powder with pineapple sparkling water.  It tastes just like a piña colada!  I didn’t have pineapple sparkling water so I used a splash of pineapple juice and non flavored sparkling water.  So refreshing!  I’m thinking this will be good with rum and some light fruit juices.  I will let you know after I spend time in my “cocktail test kitchen”.

Favorite #7)  One of the things my niece and I talked about at brunch was our plan for this sweet girl – our 17 year old German cousin who is coming in a few weeks.  This picture was taken in the summer of 2016 when my family of four got to visit for 2 weeks.  She loved Starbuck’s as much as I do!

Favorite #8) Speaking of Starbuck’s, I remembered to get my 50% off drink Thursday afternoon. I tried an iced mocha macchiato with coconut milk. I have a hard time trying new things because I don’t know how to order – so many words!

Favorite #9) Thursday night music and food. I cooked for 5 nights in a row and I was done. We got some Chinese food and listened to a cover band.

I don’t know what we are doing this weekend yet. Some of it is weather dependent.

Hope you have a great one!

Amy

Thursday Thoughts – Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Do you buy Father’s Day gifts?  If so, it’s time to start thinking about gift ideas because it will be here Sunday, June 17!  I buy for my hub, my dad, and my FIL. 

I love to shop for gifts and it gives me great pleasure to pick things out for people.  I love to give other people suggestions, too.  

I try to include my boys with ideas for their Dad and we like to do a couple little funny gifts for him in addition to some things I know he wants.  My hub loves clothes and he likes expensive outdoor brands from locally owned shops in town or big box department stores.  I know that if I pick the wrong color or size he will have fun doing an exchange so I don’t over think it.  I have also done experiences – before he owned his own paddle board, I found a Groupon for a one hour paddle board experience and he really liked it!  We will usually do a special meal of his favorites, too.  Maybe this year I will do a scavenger hunt to find the gifts – maybe my teens will write the clues.  

My Dad is super easy to buy for.  He loves everything I get or at least he fakes it well!  No, really, he will tell me how much he uses or likes something a year later.  He loves to get running clothes (he still runs daily), shoes, a button down shirt or polo (In his 70’s he has started wearing Under Armour highlighter color polo shirts – what’s up with that, Dad?), cologne, an Amazon gift card to buy books for his Kindle, cooking or baking supplies, technology items, and the list goes on.  

My husband usually does the gift for his Pop, but I help or give suggestions.  He is pretty easy to buy for, too.  He likes clothes, socks, and fishing equipment the most.  Because my husband and his sister call their Dad “Pop”, one year we did a funny basket of foods that all had the word “pop” in it.  We had popcorn, Corn pops, pop tarts – I couldn’t believe how many things in the grocery had that word in the name.  I will tell you it wasn’t a very health conscious basket!

Here are some ideas for you:

-If they have a hobby, get them something that works for that (Golf – a new pair of gloves, etc.)

-Check Groupon for an experience – we have done a bourbon tasting, but you could do a beer tasting, a museum, a city scavenger hunt, an Escape room – this could be really fun if you include siblings and grandchildren, too.

-A shirt

-A pair of shoes

-Cologne

-New shaving bag

-Grilling tools

-A cooking gadget (an as seen on tv item – some are really good!)

-Photo gifts – a mousepad, a coffee mug, a t-shirt with grandkids picture 

-A Tervis tumbler or a Yeti cup (I love mine so much!) They also make a short and squatty Yeti coffee cup that keeps my coffee hot for 3 hours or more!

-A variety of K cups if they have a Keurig

-A beer sampler – get several 6 packs of beer that you think they would like to try

-A gift card to their favorite store or restaurant

I hope I’ve given you some good ideas!  Leave me your best idea in the comments!  Oh, by the way – our budget is usually $25-50 per person.  Gift giving can really add up.  This is not a great deal of money to work with so I think the thought behind it and the message that you include is the most important.  

You can find a lot of great things at TJ Maxx, Costco, Target, and Amazon if you are on a budget.  And, please DO NOT pay more than $1 for your greeting card.  Go to your dollar store where they are 2 for $1 and really cute or Trader Joe’s has super cute cards for $1.  I recently discovered this myself.  

I don’t want to forget those for whom this is a hard day:

If you are missing someone in your life, it might be nice to do a tribute to them by cooking or eating a favorite food of theirs, taking flowers or that favorite food or item to the cemetary (Think Day of the Dead in the Hispanic tradition), watching an old video of them, or sitting around and telling stories about that person.  This can be a really hard day for some.  I try to text my friends (I’m not always good about this) that are missing their Dads just to say I’m thinking about them.  I always hope it doesn’t make them sadder, but I’ve decided ultimately that it is a nice gesture.  I’m going to go put this on my calendar now so I don’t forget.

Amy 

What Should I Wear Wednesday?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Today’s post is going to be a little different from a typical Wednesday “What I Wore” post.  If you want to check out previous What I Wore you can go here, here, here, and here.  

I thought this would be fun to write and it was inspired by a co-worker (Hi E!) who didn’t know what to wear to a concert recently.  I tried to think of my typical summer activities and what I would ideally wear to each one.  I hope this helps you, too.  

What should I wear this summer to a…

concert that is indoors?  jeans – maybe distressed – and a cute black top – maybe sleeveless with some cool details, clutch purse or crossbody – depending on if you will have a seat.  For shoes, wedges if you will be on your feet or a flat sandal would be fine, too, I think.

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outdoor concert?  a romper (just don’t have to go to the potty too much!), a knit swing dress, a sundress, denim shorts and a knit top, crossbody purse, flat sandals like Birkenstocks or Chaco’s if you are a Chaco type of person.

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girls night out? white jeans, floral blouse, clutch purse, wedges

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date night?  white jeans and a black top or regular jeans and a black top, clutch purse, wedges

farmer’s market?  graphic tee and denim shorts with a kimono if it’s not too hot (see my post on graphic tees here), crossbody purse and a reusable tote or a cute straw tote, Birkenstocks. If you have a straw tote, lose the crossbody and put a pouch with your essentials down in the tote.

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running errands?  cute shorts (Old Navy linen), knit top with details – Universal Thread flutter sleeve from Target?, Birkenstocks, crossbody purse (hands free is so nice – even if just going to the grocery).

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back to school open house, church meeting, doctor’s appoitment?  White linen pants, sleeveless top or a floral blouse, wedges

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Look how few pieces you could actually get by with:  (and you could narrow it down further and still have options)

one pair white linen pants

one pair white jeans

one pair normal jeans

one knit swing dress

one sundress

one romper

one pair denim shorts

one pair linen shorts

one graphic tee

one kimono

one crossbody purse

one clutch

cute straw tote for market and beach

one pair of Birkenstocks

one pair of wedges

one pair of cute flat sandals

a few knit tops with cute details 

a floral blouse

What do you think?  What did I forget?  If you are building a wardrobe from scratch this summer due to pregnancy, weight gain or loss, etc.  do you think you could use this to create a summer wardrobe? 

Shop smarter, not harder.  Do not go to the sale rack automatically and buy something just because it’s cheap.  (I’ve actually read a blogger who says NEVER shop the sale rack!)  Create a plan that fits your lifestyle and not some imaginary lifestyle or some aspirational lifestyle.  Actually write down the activities you participate in and what you would like to wear to help you feel comfortable and confident.  

Many of these items can be found on sale or at a consignment store, but I do caution you to make sure a sale is really a good fit for you.  

Also, have a limited color palette to help guide you.  My summer palette is navy, white, black, yellow, orange, pink, floral, and striped more or less.

I wrote about getting dressed with Pinterest recently and that is a big help to me.  Simply type in the event and you will be shocked by how many ideas you get.  Example:  “Girls night out outfit”.  Try it!

The reason I write about this is that there is nothing worse than feeling like you can’t attend something because you don’t know what to wear. Maybe worse is getting to an event and not enjoying it because you feel uncomfortable in what you wore.  I hope this helps!

Amy 

Tuesday Tip – How to Stay Cooler in the Summer Heat

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Here in the southern midwest, we have four distinct seasons.  I love living where we get all four seasons! After a long winter of cold and snow we can’t wait for spring and summer and all of the outdoor events that come with these seasons.  This year, I think we skipped the wonderful May and June temperatures of 70-80 degrees, though.  We hit the 90s and humidity and we stayed here.  

I’m like the Goldilocks of weather.  It has to be just right for me.  I have a joke with my husband that he only wants to go camping on the hottest night of the year or the coldest night of the year.  He has taken me camping when the temperature was still 100 when I went to sleep with a cold washrag on my forehead.  He has taken me camping in late September when my nose was so cold it was numb by morning.  I used to think I liked camping but now I know that I just liked the sitting around the fire in the evening and the morning part.  I’d prefer my bed at night, thankyouverymuch!

Anyway, I digress… I think that modern AC has spoiled us and made us less able to tolerate the heat.  I have said no to outdoor events if it’s been too hot.  I hate that and I’m going to try my own strategies so I can say “yes” this summer!  If I can, I love to head to Michigan in the summer because that’s the perfect climate for this Goldilocks!  Andrea of Living on Cloud Nine is the Michigan guru and gave me some great tips for last summer!

If you want to enjoy an outdoor concert, festival, flea market, farmer’s market, or the like and can’t be in a bathing suit near a body of water, here are some tips I’ve tried and recommend.  I’m sure you know most of these already!

* Take a shower before going and keep your hair wet or damp.  Sometimes I will fix my hair but dampen the underside before leaving.  Wear your hair up if you can.  I also take a spray bottle of water sometimes.  It’s amazing how much this helps.  Also, while at the event, you can take an ice cube from your drink and put it at the nape of your neck.

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Look how cute my friend is – even if she’s wearing black and jeans!

* Do not wear black or jeans.  Wear light colored clothing that fits loosely and preferably is made of natural materials.  My friend wore a cute black top with jeans to the concert we went to on Memorial Day weekend and I joked that she was my example of what not to wear in 90 degree heat.  *  Wear shorts, a skirt, or a flowy dress.  Pants stick to your legs and make you hotter.

*  Drink lots of water before you go and while you are there.  Avoid drinking too much alcohol or any alcohol if you can. 

*  Bring a cute old fashioned fan.  I have a collection of cute fans from Spain that I use in my classroom.  They really work. img_2184

* Do not wear much jewelry.  When you sweat it makes you feel hotter I think.

 *Bring wipes to rub on your forehead or face.  Wear minimal makeup or none at all or this will be a mess.

*Eat cold things like watermelon, popsicles, and ice cream.  Ooookkkay, twist my arm!

*Wear sandals or something where your feet are free to breathe.  No socks, please!  They make me hot just looking at them! 

*Wear a wide brimmed hat.

*Find some shade or provide your own with a chair that has a sunshade or use an umbrella. 

*I can’t speak to this quite yet, but I just purchased this product at Bath and Body.  It feels very cool and refreshing and smells nice.  

What have I forgotten?  I’m sure the ladies in Texas like Shelly,  Melanie, and Shan, Louisiana like Laura, and Florida like Kellyann are laughing at me right now since I’m so far north in Kentucky!

Stay cool!

Amy