Friday, July 10, 2020

Five on Friday - Leopard Running Shoes, New Snack, and Great Book Series

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Happy Friday, y’all!  It’s time to share a few of my favorite things from the week…

O N E – Leopard Running Shoes

I’ve seen this Walmart dupe for these Adidas running shoes all over blogland these last couple of months, and there was so much positive feedback over them that I decided to try them for myself.  I mean, how freaking cute are they?  And for less than $19, why not?

Y’all, I LOVE THESE SHOES.  They are positively adorable, they fit perfectly, they don’t slip on your heel, and you feel like you’re walking on a cloud because of that awesome memory foam in the footbed.  They’re also lightweight and the footbed inserts are removeable so you can pull them out and hand wash them if they get stinky.  I bought these strictly for the fashion aspect, as something cute to slip on while I’m running errands, but I can honestly see myself running and working out in them, too. 

I recently bought a new pair of Nike running shoes to use as my actual athletic shoes, and for the first time ever, I have to say that I don’t love them.  Super disappointing considering how much I paid for them.  These Walmart running shoes are better… and waaaay cheaper.  I haven’t worn them a lot yet so I can’t speak to how well they’ll hold up, but so far, so good!  And if you don’t like the leopard print, they also come in a beautiful pale purple, and also in gray. 



T W O – New Belvita Flavor

I’ve been a huge Belvita breakfast biscuit fan for years, so we always keep them on hand.  Pretty much every weekday morning I get hungry between breakfast and lunch, so I have them as a mid-morning snack along with my cup of hot sunset cinnamon tea.  They keep me feeling full until lunch and I look forward to having them. 

My favorite flavors have always been Cinnamon Brown Sugar and Dark Chocolate Crème, but they just released a new flavor that tops them all – Cinnamon Brown Sugar with Vanilla Crème!  They are soooo yummy and I just really look forward to having them (and my tea!) each morning… it’s such a nice little treat.  <3  And the very best thing is that I don't even have to leave the house to get them... Target.com has been keeping me fully stocked with my 5% off and free shipping since I have a RedCard.  ;o)



T H R E E – The Thousandth Floor Trilogy

I know I’ve already mentioned The Thousandth Floor trilogy here on the blog and I also mentioned them in my Instagram stories, but here they are again!  I just finished the last book in the trilogy this week, and oh my goodness, this series was fantastic!  I checked them out from the library initially, but I loved them so much, I’m going to buy them to have in my home library.  I will definitely want to read them again.

In case you missed my original review, these books take place 100 years in the future in the massive 1,000-story tower in New York City.  The book follows a handful of young adults and each chapter is told from their different perspectives.  The main characters are actually in their late teens (18-19) so the book is technically categorized as “Young Adult” fiction, but that didn’t make a difference for me… I thoroughly enjoyed all three.  One of the reviews for the books specifically notes that “these books will be gobbled up by Gossip Girl fans” and I couldn’t agree more!!  The Thousandth Floor is first in the series, The Dazzling Heights is book #2, and The Towering Sky is the third and final book.  From the very first page in the very first book, I was riveted, and I barely put them down.  I read each one of them in 2-3 days.  I highly recommend these if you’re looking for a good summer beach/pool read.



F O U R – White Fragility is Finally in Stock!

Speaking of books, I’ve had White Fragility on my Amazon wish list for months.  When the Black Lives Matter movement went mainstream a few months ago, I decided to go ahead and order it, but it was sold out everywhere.  That’s great because it means that white people are taking the time to open their minds and educate themselves on racism in America, but it stinks because I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy to read it for myself. 

Amazon finally put it back up for pre-order last week, so I was able to reserve my copy, and it’s supposed to be back in stock for shipping this week.  I’m really looking forward to digging in and learning more about racism so I can better myself.  A couple of people I know have said that the book helped them realize they were subconsciously hanging onto some prejudices, and they would have never realized that if they hadn’t read this book.  And everyone I know who has read this book has said that it’s “eye-opening” and “life-changing” and “something everyone should read.”  I’m ready to have my eyes opened so I can continue to help fight racism in this country.



F I V E – Essential Oils Tip of the Week

Have you ever researched what kind of gunk is in your dryer sheets?  Yeah, they are filled with toxic chemicals.  Once I saw what was in them, I was done.  Now I just use wool dryer balls with a few drops of lavender on them for each load… the dryer balls help keep the static and wrinkles at bay and the lavender freshens them right up!  The first time you sink into those cozy, clean, lavender-scented sheets you’ll never look back!  Heaven, y’all.  Toxin-free heaven.  ;o)  If you’re interested in getting started, just hop on over to this page right here on my blog.  All of the frequently asked questions are there along with a link to order.



Friday Funnies Things to Ponder

Yes, just have some respect for your fellow man and wear the mask.

Exactly.  It's not political.  It's the safe thing to do right now.  And it won't last forever.

For those of you who are still not wanting to wear one, maybe this will help...

And if you're STILL not convinced, #DoItForFootballSeason

And if you're still refusing after all of the above, well then, this one is for you.


On the Blog This Week





Happy Friday, y’all! 


*Linking up with A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites.



Thursday, July 9, 2020

Our Week - The One with Quarantine, Week 16 & Summer, Week 6 (4th of July)

Well, quarantine has been going surprisingly well these past few months, but last week we all hit a wall.  Nothing earth-shattering or bad happened, but our little fam all seemed to get in some sort of funk at the same time.  (Well, not Brian… he doesn’t ever seem to experience funks.  Must be nice!)  I think all of these weeks of staying home and not seeing many friends or family finally started to take its toll, and there wasn’t much we could do but wait for it to pass. 

I always get in a funk right around 4th of July anyway, so my funk was right on schedule.  Early July is the point at which the novelty of summer starts to wear off for me, probably because the weather starts reaching excruciating temperatures on the daily, so that’s the point at which I decide I’m done with summer and I’m ready for fall.  Throw in the pandemic and the fact that we can’t go anywhere, and it’s a recipe for disaster… all we can do is stay inside our own house because it’s just too hot to be outside during the day!  In addition to my usual funk + the pandemic, Jacob and Olivia, who get along like 99% of the time (yes, we know that’s really rare and we are really grateful for that), fought like cats and dogs all last week, and that definitely didn’t help matters.

However, we’re starting out this week on a much better foot, and I’m hoping that means that the funk has passed (although, my longing for fall has not – ha!).

Monday, June 29 (Day 108 of Quarantine)

Monday started out pretty good.  I had an appointment with the eye doctor, finally!  I was due back in February but failed to make my appointment until March, and as you all know, that’s when things fell apart and everything closed, so my appointment was canceled.  In addition to the pandemic, I was in the midst of switching to a new eye doctor for the first time in probably 15 years, so procuring new contacts without an appointment was a bit of a struggle.  My new eye doctor is very popular, and therefore, hard to get in with, so by the time they reopened in early May, the earliest he could see me was the end of June.  Shew. 

I’m happy to report that he was worth the wait!  The facility is so nice, the staff is fantastic, and the doctor is the most thorough I’ve ever had.  He’s also hilarious, and we also discovered that we know a lot of the same people because we both graduated high school in 2000 (although from different schools).  Which brings me to… this visit made me feel exceptionally old because I think this is the first time ever that I have seen a doctor who was not older than I.  How is it possible that someone my age can be a full-blown doctor?!  Last time I checked I was still 25.  ;o)


I had to have my pupils dilated for the first time in years, so I struggled driving home, but I did stop by Chick-Fil-A to grab lunch for B and the kids.  Olivia received some mail from her BFF, Becca, and that completely made her whole afternoon.


I spent the rest of the afternoon working while the kids played and watched TV.  After dinner, B and I took the kids to the culdesac at the end of our street to practice bike-riding.  Jacob was not remotely interested, and it put him in the worst mood, but Olivia was excited to practice.  B was able to let her go for a split second a couple of times, but girlfriend just has zero balance and falls every single time.  Somebody please send help!!  After a very frustrating 30 minutes (in the sweltering heat, I might add – haha) we decided to ditch bike-riding practice, and instead, let the kids take turns riding the scooter while we took Maui for a short walk.  They love that thing!




Tuesday, June 30 (Day 109 of Quarantine)

Tuesday morning, Olivia had her Zoom reading lesson with her teacher, and then after that, the kids and I washed Brian’s and my SUVs.  We usually just run them through the car wash, but I figured it’d be something different for the kids to do and a way to spend some time outside while keeping cool.  It started to rain just as we were starting Brian’s SUV, but we went ahead and got it done.  Both vehicles look so much better, but we didn’t quite do as good of a job as the car wash does. 


After we washed the cars, we checked on our baby birds, and we were excited to finally be able to see their little beaks, although they weren’t holding their heads up yet.


It rained all Tuesday afternoon, so the kids built a giant fort upstairs in the play room (read: made a MASSIVE mess – haha) but it kept them occupied all afternoon.  I sat down to do some work around 3 that afternoon, and 20 minutes in, the thunderstorm knocked out the power.  The power came back on almost immediately, but our internet was down for about an hour, so I couldn’t get anything done.  Sigh. 


Tuesday evening, I was pretty frazzled after struggling to get my blog post up for the next day, so when the kids decided to be whiny and uncooperative during clean-up time I was done.  Thankfully, B took over and I went out for an hour long walk around the neighborhood all by myself.  That helped me clear my head, so I was in a much better frame of mind when I got back home.

We all watched part of America’s Got Talent, and then the kids went to bed. 



Wednesday, July 1 (Day 110 of Quarantine)

Wednesday morning, I walked into Jacob’s room to see the kids working on the activities my Mama Cass had mailed to them.  She’s been clipping the kids’ activities in our local paper and mailing them to us and the kids have loved it!  There are mazes and word searches and things for them to color…

After that, everything went downhill.  Everyone was cranky and the kids were argumentative, and I just had zero drive to do anything.  Mid-morning, I decided enough was enough, so I dragged the kids outside to get some fresh air since that usually helps!  I ended up blowing bubbles while they chased and popped them (Jacob with a baseball bat but, whatever works!  Haha) and by the time we were done everyone was in a better frame of mind. 







A storm rolled in as we were coming inside, and the rest of the day was spent reading on the couch, doing summer homework with the kids, and working.  I didn’t have a lot of energy and I also felt kind of nauseated, so it was a very unproductive day.  I did Facetime with one of my old coworkers, though, and he and I got all caught up on life and the recent goings on in the world. 


After dinner, we decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood since the rain had cooled things off.  I had discovered the previous day that the new build we’ve been stalking was finally framed, so we wanted to go explore it since it’s the only house in our whole neighborhood to have a basement.  It turns out, it’s our exact floor plan, but with a few tweaks – including a third car garage and a full basement.  BRB, moving down the street!  Haha. 




We watched the rest of AGT after we got home, and then the kiddos went to bed and B and I watched some more of All American and Sneaky Pete.  All American is so good, y’all!

Thursday, July 2 (Day 111 of Quarantine)

Thursday morning, I woke up with a bladder infection, and that actually made me feel better because that explained my lack of energy and nausea from the day prior.  I get them once every year or two, and I was long overdue, so it was time.  Thankfully, we have Telemedicine services with our health insurance, so I was able to schedule a phone appointment with a doctor right there from home, and they sent a prescription straight to my pharmacy.  Easy peasy. 

While I was waiting for my prescription to be ready, I tried to do a yoga workout, but I only got through about 45 minutes of the hour long workout because I felt exhausted and nauseous.  Apparently, my body was working overtime to try to fight the infection and it wore me out!  Luckily, my prescription was ready quickly, so I grabbed the kids and headed to get it right when it was available. 

I thought it would be good to get them out of the house, even just for a car ride, and they agreed to come if they could get cake pops from Starbucks.  Haha.  I ended up surprising them and telling them we could get Chick-Fil-A milkshakes instead if they wanted… they were ecstatic. 

We surprised B with a shake when we got home, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon working.  After dinner, I was feeling a little better, so we all went outside to play wiffle ball in the back yard.  It started to rain a little so our playing was cut short, so we headed back in to watch the very end of AGT and an episode of Be Our Chef.  Then, after the kids went to bed, it was more All American.  I'm obsessed.



Friday, July 3 (Day 112 of Quarantine)

By Friday, that nasty antibiotic had me feeling sick as a dog (anybody else get suuuuper sick when they take antibiotics?!) so I was on the struggle bus the second I got up.  Thankfully, B was off of work that day for The Fourth, so we were able to sleep in and then he went out and picked up donuts for breakfast.  We had initially discussed doing something special (outdoorsy where we could social distance, of course) since he had the day off, but since I was feeling pretty terrible from the infection and the meds I didn’t want to venture out too far.  We opted for the park near my mother-in-law’s house because the walking trail is in the woods, so it’s shady and cooler.  We walked for about a mile and a half and then headed back home, stopping by Zaxby’s to grab some lunch to-go on the way.  




The rest of the afternoon was spent laying in the back yard reading while Olivia played in the pool.  Brian pulled out his golf clubs to teach Jacob the basics since he’s been begging to go play golf.  We all showered later that afternoon and B and the kids played video games while I got some work done, and then B picked up Five Guys for dinner.



Friday night, we started a new show on Netflix that we’re all loving – Floor is Lava!  It’s exactly what it sounds like… a game show where people have to make it through an obstacle course and not fall in the “lava.”  We ended up watching three episodes that night and Jacob and Olivia are both obsessed!  It’s such a fun show to watch as a family.

Saturday, July 4 (Day 113 of Quarantine)

Saturday was July 4th and we had no plans other than to shoot fireworks that evening.  Saturday was the worst day for me, unfortunately, and I had the antibiotics to thank.  I woke up long enough to eat breakfast, and then I had good intentions to read on the couch, but I ended up sleeping instead.  B and the kids played board games while I slept, and I woke up just in time to play a game of Yahtzee with them. 

Honestly, this year, I really wasn't feeling super jazzed to celebrate our nation's birthday anyway.  We're more divided than ever, our leadership is lacking, and too many Americans haven't taken the pandemic seriously, making us the world leader for Covid cases and deaths.  We're kind of the laughingstock of the world right now, and I just felt like that didn't necessarily need to be celebrated.  I'm confident things will change for the better, though, and I'm praying that change comes soon... it will be nice to be able to say that the "United" in United States actually means something again.

We had lunch and then spent the afternoon hanging out in the back yard, reading and playing in the blow-up pool.  Late in the afternoon, I went in and showered, and by the time I was ready, I was exhausted again, so I lay back down on the couch to read and… fell asleep again.  Two naps in one day… who even am I?!  Stupid antibiotics. 

Fortunately, that nap was just what I needed, and I rallied by the time my father-in-law and his friend arrived at our house with pizza.  We spent the whole evening on the back porch eating, drinking, playing Cornhole, and shooting fireworks.  Tons of people in our neighborhood shoot commercial grade fireworks every year so we end up getting a huge two-hour long show right in our own back yard.  This Fourth of July may have been the biggest and the craziest for fireworks in our neighborhood ever!  Obviously, the city didn’t put on their fireworks show, and neither did anyone else in surrounding areas, so everyone just decided to do their own.  It was insane, y’all.  Insane.








We spent most of the night watching from our back yard and then we moved to the front yard to watch our neighbors do theirs in the culdesac.  Our neighbors down the street almost blew up their house at one point, but fortunately, all was well. 

I normally dread 4th of July night because people tend to do fireworks until at least 2 AM, but we were pleasantly surprised to hear the last of them in our neighborhood right around 11:15… right as the kids were getting in the bed!  Olivia didn’t even have to sleep with us that night!

This Fourth was definitely different than the ones in recent years since we normally throw a big party, but we still had fun, so that’s all that mattered.  Next year, I'm praying that our nation will be healthier as a whole, and then we gon’ throw DOWN to make up for this year.  I miss my people.

Sunday, July 5 (Day 114 of Quarantine)

Sunday we were all exhausted and B and I ended up sleeping in until 9:15!  We got up, had a quick breakfast, and then I did a nice, long dance workout before it was time to get ready for lunch at my mother-in-law’s.

We celebrated my brother-in-law’s birthday at lunch, and then spent most of the afternoon in the house since it was so hot.  We did step out into the garden for a bit to see how the fruits and veggies were coming along, but our time out there was brief.  Summa summatime temps are here and they are no fun!

We made a quick stop by Publix for some milk on the way home (the kids and I stayed in the car), and then the rest of the day was spent playing video games, getting some work done, and eating leftover pizza for dinner since my Momma and Daddy didn’t have us over for Sunday dinner.  They had to help my littlest brother move into his new apartment all weekend and they didn’t want to risk exposing us since they weren’t able to quarantine.

And that was our week!



Wednesday, July 8, 2020

2020 30A Beach Trip - Days 6, 7, & 8

Let’s continue with our beach trip recap…

Thursday, June 11 (Day 90 of Quarantine)

On Thursday, we knew the weather was going to be gorgeous, so we got up, ate our Donut Hut leftovers from the previous morning, and we hightailed it to the beach.  The water was really murky and there was still a double red flag in the morning, but it eventually changed to a single red flag in the afternoon.  We spent the entire morning down there, and the kids spent most of their time looking for shells.  The water may have been yucky, but that also meant that all of the good shells were washing up!  The kids found tons!  We had a quick lunch in the condo, and then headed right back down to the beach where we spent the rest of the afternoon.  Eglin Air Force Base is right down the strip from our condo, so we got quite a show that day... tons of aircraft flew over throughout the day!











We headed up to the condo to get ready later that afternoon, and then we decided to spend the evening in Seaside.  Seaside is one of our favorite places in 30A, and evening in Seaside is magical, so it’s always a must. 

We ended up finding a parking spot fairly easily this time, and then we walked straight to Bud and Alley’s to have pizza on the patio.  There were only two other groups out there with us and everyone was spaced really far apart so we didn’t have to worry about germs spreading.  Our server also wore a mask the entire time so we felt very safe about being there.  The food was yummy, the beer was cold, and the kiddos were in rare form, so it was an enjoyable evening.






We had all dressed up that evening with the hope of getting our family pictures on the beach at sunset, but since we’d eaten dinner so early to beat the crowds, we had a lot of time to kill before then.  There is a massive green lawn right smack in the middle of Seaside, so B and I sat on the perimeter while the kids ran around in the grass for an hour or so.  There were lots of people there, but everyone was being really great about spacing out properly, so we never felt like we needed to move or leave.  The kids knew to avoid the other kids on the green and they managed to steer clear of everyone while they played.  It breaks my heart that we’re having to train our kids to avoid human contact right now, but it is what it is.




After about an hour of relaxing on the green, we walked to the car to grab the tripod, and then we headed down to the beach to take pictures.  As per usual, we found a good spot near the dunes, we set up the tripod, and we snap snap snapped all of our pictures using the timer on my camera.  Works like a charm every time!  And I'll have a separate post up for those pictures next week.  This post is already too long without them!




About halfway through, a young girl came trotting over and asked if we wanted her to snap some for us, and we obliged even though I was cringing thinking about possible germs getting on the camera.  Lol.  You should have seen me wipe that thing down with an antibacterial handwipe after she was done.  Haha.  She told us she’s an amateur photographer, and she actually did a great job framing it up… I can’t even tell you how many times someone has offered to take our family picture, only to find afterward that one of us is missing half of our head or something.  Lol.  

After we were done taking pictures, we lingered on the beach for a few more minutes to watch the sun sink beneath the waves, and then it was back to the square to grab some ice cream for dessert.  By that time, Seaside was getting crowded, so we took that as our cue to leave.  Nights in Seaside are always my favorite, but again, we were being very cautious since we were in a pandemic… unfortunately we couldn’t escape that while we were on vacation.  Wouldn’t that have been nice?









Friday, June 12 (Day 91 of Quarantine)

Friday was our last full day there and we had more gorgeous weather on tap.  We ate some cereal in the condo for breakfast and then headed straight to the beach to soak up one last day there.  The water was murky again, but there were no waves whatsoever, so the kids were able to find loads and loads of shells and pieces of sand dollars. 







Jacob was digging in the sand in the surf at one point, and all of a sudden, he started yelling and crying.  I went running over to see what in the world had happened and he told me that a crab had pinched him.  Lol.  I know I shouldn’t be laughing because I know it must have hurt, but what are the chances of getting pinched by a crab?!  Haha.  Bless his little heart, his finger was all red and you could see where the blood had come to the surface where the pincher had gotten him, but he didn’t let it deter him and he got right back out there.

We had lunch in the condo as we always do and then headed back down to the beach afterward to spend our final hours there.  It was really hot on Friday and there wasn’t much of a breeze, so I was actually ready to head back to the condo when the time came.  The kids… not so much.  They were so sad!




We got ready shortly after heading back, and then we decided to have one last dinner at The Hub.  We grabbed burgers from Duo’s again and then we hung around and listened to the music… they had a DJ that evening and he was playing some great songs, but once it started getting packed in there, it was time for us to leave.  Waaaahhhh.  I could have stayed all night!  Stupid pandemic.  (It was also stupid because we didn’t even get to see our friends who live there.  We get together with them every year when we go down there, but we just didn’t think it would be wise to see anyone since we hadn’t even been seeing our own parents at that point.  Sigh.  Stephanie, if you’re reading this, we can’t wait to hug and you and Bobbie next year… we missed y’all so much this year!  Olivia especially missed seeing her Bobbie.  Lol.)





When we got back to the condo, I started to do some packing so things wouldn’t be as hard in the morning, and then we headed back down to the beach for one last sunset along with some crabbing.  We ended up seeing two that evening, so we ended our last night with a bang!

















Saturday, June 13 (Day 92 of Quarantine)

Saturday morning, we were up early to get ready, get packed, and head out of town.  On the way out, we stopped by Big Bad Breakfast to grab some French toast (theirs is so yummy) and then we hit the road! 




We made it back home without having to stop (except for gas, first time the whole trip), and then we all had a late lunch followed by lots and lots of unpacking and clothes washing.  I managed to get most everything put away (aside from the remaining mountain of dirty clothes) and then we had hot dogs for dinner since that’s all we had in the house.




After dinner, it was Mandalorian with the fam and lots of snuggling with Maui (we had missed her so much!), and then B and I watched the movie Breakthrough after the kids went to bed.  It was a little cheesy at times, but overall, I thought it was pretty good.  I enjoyed it even more when I found out that it’s based on a true story.  Wow!! 

And that was our 2020 beach trip during a pandemic!  I’m just so grateful that we were able to make it work, and I know we’ll cherish the memories forever.  It was surely one of the brightest parts of this crazy, unforgettable-for-all-the-wrong-reasons year.


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