LifeSavers (but not the Gross Minty Ones)

Before we get started, I just want to say... YAY, YAY, YAY! I HAVE A NEW BLOG DESIGN! There's the new logo (designed by my BFF who is amazing... more on that in a minute) and new layout provided by Best For Blogger. They were insanely affordable and so easy to work with! Guys! I've been blogging for five years this month (whaaaat) and in all that time my blog has broken every rule of what a pretty, visually appealing site should be. (So embarrassing.) I finally took the plunge and did something about it and I'm loving the result. Simple, but just what I wanted. 

If you've ever eaten LifeSavers candy, you know that the white mint ones are gross (such a weird texture) but the fruity ones are delicious, and for some reason were my go-to "church candy" in junior high. If you didn't grow up in church then perhaps you aren't familiar with the concept of church candy but it's totally a thing. Basically, you have a candy to give you something to suck on for a long time that keeps you from starving to death in church. (Some people had a stockpile that would make Willy Wonka proud but I usually kept it simple with a roll of LifeSavers... or peppermints, which were my favorite but the wrappers were so noisy that I usually avoided them, as you do.)

That was a lot of information about church candy, a term I just coined. Also my current church candy is lemon drops from Cracker Barrel.

ANYWAY, LifeSavers are (obviously) little round candies that resemble (what else?) actual life savers, or as we fancy people call them, floaties. =) And THOSE life savers are meant to provide a support... they even have another name, "life preservers." Interesting!

So perhaps these things I'm about to share aren't quite saving my life, since that's a tad bit dramatic given the current uneventful state of the McNeese union, but they are preserving it. Sustaining, perhaps? Whatever. Let's just call them lifesavers and keep things simple.

-daily walks. I'm pretty obsessive about hitting my step count every day (and by that I mean I haven't missed it once in the two months I've had my FitBit.) I wish I could just not care about getting my steps in but it's like this tracker has a hold on my soul. Oh well, it's for the best. But considering my, ahem, mostly sedentary lifestyle, I'm not going to hit 10k steps in just my day-to-day routine, chasing a toddler and daily workout notwithstanding. (That should tell you something right there.) So every day for anywhere from 25-45 minutes, I load Al up in the stroller and away we go. It's fresh air and a distraction for Alice (our neighborhood has a serious problem with letting dogs run loose which drives me insane but brings her no end of delight) and I get my steps and a little more exercise in. Win-win. I'm not entirely sure how we'll work it out to continue these as the weather gets warmer (aka unbearably hot) all too soon but today it was about 50 degrees and glorious. I guess we'll have to head to the mall. Bummer. =)

-Barnes & Noble story time. I have been meaning to take Alice back to story time at the library for months, but both the baby and toddler times would mean she would totally miss her morning nap, which is hanging on by the slenderest of threads as it is. Cutting it out completely just isn't an option at this point, so I was thrilled to learn that B&N offers story time three days a week and at a time that won't interfere with anyone's nap. (Hey, I nap sometimes, okay?) Anyway, we went last Thursday and it was great. The lady who runs it is about 102 so next time I'll know to arrive late and get there just as she's shuffling up to actually start reading. (It's a long story. The lady really is adorable but my 15-month-old can only last so long. =) After it was over (meaning after we left amid a chorus of pterodactyl screams coming from SOMEONE'S baby, the nerve) we shared some Chick-fil-A so it really was a delightful morning.

SO into the story. Very deep plot.

-LAYERS. Texas weather is nothing if not bipolar. For example, yesterday morning when I ran it was 39 degrees. By the time I went on a walk with Alice it was SEVENTY (not that hot but the sun felt like a furnace.) On days like these it's so crucial to be wearing layers that I can peel off one by one in an attempt to avoid feeling like a boiling chicken. Fortunately we're not yet to the point that being modest while wearing as little clothing as possible (not a great visual, sorry) is the goal. Can you tell I'm a little hung up on the weather and that I make most of my plans around it? Sorry. Anyway, I already know my go-to piece for the coming spring (yes, it's January but yes, we're having spring weather) will be a tissue-thin cardigan like this one from J.Crew Factory. It's sitting in my shopping cart waiting for the next free shipping sale because I'm a cheapskate. The idea isn't really warmth at this point, just an extra layer for visual interest that can be removed to avoid sweating. (I work very hard to avoid sweating unless I'm exercising.)

Layers and an easy necklace. So fancy.

-easy necklaces. Given my embarrassingly large collection of statement necklaces I've accumulated over the years, it's a bit sad that I've shifted my focus to simpler, easier pieces, but such is life with a grabby baby and an aversion to wearing anything that feels "fussy" these days. I have a collection of about 5-6 different long necklaces that are simple but really pretty, go with almost everything, and most importantly that I really love. Several of them are from J.Crew Factory (they really do have the greatest flash sales ever) but my very favorites are from The Jones Market. They're perfect for anyone but are specifically designed for moms to wear because they're tuggable (aka Alice-proof) and the wooden beads are non-toxic so when they're inevitably stuffed in Alice's mouth they won't poison her. I got my first one last year for Mother's Day and wore it a TON (still do) and then I got another one for Christmas and I've worn it at least three times a week since. They're just the coolest addition to an outfit and I can throw it on and make even a plain sweatshirt or graphic t-shirt look more polished. (I've already requested one for Valentine's Day!) And these people have no idea who I am; I just really love their products so you're welcome for the free commercial.

-speaking of "you're welcome"- the Moana soundtrack! Disney music? Check! The genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda? Check! THE ROCK? Check! These songs are so sweet and happy and I just love them. Not to mention that Alice lights up as soon as she hears them. It's the cutest thing. I guess technically I should say that Apple Music is saving my life, but this is what I'm playing most often so there you go.

-a best friend who's a wizard at design. Okay, I know this isn't fair to the rest of you peasants, but basically I can have just about any "printable" I want custom-made for me by my very talented friend. Like I said, I've been working on a blog overhaul, and she designed a logo (based on very vague ideas of mine) and then patiently adjusted tiny detail by tiny detail at a time while I sent obnoxiously specific changes via email, feeling a freedom to be picky that I would never feel with an internet stranger. Maybe one day she'll quit her actual job and offer her wizard services to others but in the meantime I will happily be the recipient of her skills and pay her in Starbucks gift cards and gratitude (and excessive pictures of Alice, which let's be honest, she's gonna get anyway.)

-realizing my limits. I think there's a fine line to be found between pushing yourself and accepting that there are certain things you just can't do (at least not on your own natural talent.) I'm trying to recognize this in more than one area, but I'll give you an example. You know my design wizard BFF? Before she stepped in to help with a print I wanted, I spent the better part of two separate nap times (Alice's, of course) working on them. Here's the thing. I don't think I'm a total schlump when it comes to design. I think I have a fairly good eye for it, and there are creative aspects of it that I'd love to develop skills for in the future. But at this moment, those skills just aren't in my bag of tricks. Outsourcing, however, is definitely in that bag. I decide to stop working myself into a tizzy over something I'm just not that good at and hand it over to someone with the skills to execute it. I still contributed ideas, but the actual product was out of my hands, thank goodness, and I'm happier for it. (My friend might not be, but... Starbucks. Baby pictures. Gratitude.)

 -Kindle books. Clearly these aren't new or anything but I feel like I go through different seasons of reading. I just came through one where I only wanted to read physical books, but it was like when I finished that stack I only wanted digital books. I don't understand it but I just go with it. I think the main reason is that more often than not, I'm either holding Alice or prying her away from something that could potentially shorten her lifespan so holding an actual book in my hands doesn't really work. I can read off my phone (obviously with one hand) and do it even while I'm carrying her. It just works better for the majority of my day, plus I can whip open the app when I'm out and about and have a minute or two to kill. Don't get me wrong- physical books are the bomb. I just need the digital ones right now. (And if you aren't using Overdrive to access your local library's online collection you need to get on that ASAP. Game changer.)

-dry shampoo. I know, I'm like four years late to the game. BUT instead of being behind the times, I like to think of myself as being smart and letting trends work the kinks out of their systems before I jump on board. Instead of being stuck with early dry shampoos that left you looking like an old lady (aka white/gray power everywhere) now they're not nearly as chalky, from what I understand. Anyway, at Christmas Amy had some and let me use it and let me tell you, that stuff is the bomb. I'm a little ashamed of my zero-to-tepid interest in hair and beauty products, but I feel very strongly about how awesome this stuff is. It's Batiste (I got the cherry kind, at Amy's recommendation) and not only does it smell great, but it makes my hair so smooth. It exponentially improves the texture of my hair which is a minor miracle since most hair products seem to have the opposite effect of whatever is intended. My hair is too oily to skip more than one day but with my new exercise schedule (every day!) I wasn't really able to skip and that was too hard on my hair. This gives me a day off (I use it when I do lighter workouts) and it is awesome. They sell it at Walmart and Target BUT I just saw it at TJMaxx for like two dollars cheaper so definitely check there first. It's amazing.

-deleting my Twitter app. If you're like me, you get overwhelmed by the insane level of division, strife, and downright hatred in our country. Unfortunately, all of those things can be found in limitless quantity online, and while there are certain negative aspects of all social media, for some reason Twitter had become the black hole that made me feel like my head was going to explode. I didn't deactivate my account; I just deleted the app off my phone and it has made a big difference in my mental health. That sounds dramatic but it's true. In the four days since I deleted it I've only checked Twitter a handful of times and I was even more selective with the attention I gave to the articles and threads I saw. I definitely like being informed but as an HSP it was definitely time for a break from the overload.

There you go! If there's anything that saving your life-  or time, or money, or whatever- do tell. (For example, apparently my life would be much better if I had an Instant Pot? That's the word on the street, anyway.) Happy Thursday, guys!

I'm linking up with Anne, whose blog and podcast are regular lifesavers, at least for the life of my TBR list. =)


  1. YES for Twitter! I did the same thing and it feels so good! I'm a bit concerned by missing mentions (I tend to forget it exists not having the app on my phone), but I set up email notifications for direct messages, so I should just calm down and relax, haha.

    Love the rest of your list, I just got excited about your last point, since I was afraid of being the only one super frustrated with Twitter. :)

  2. Yes to deleting Twitter! (I'm lumping Facebook in with it too. It's the worst!)

    The Moana soundtrack is fantastic! Lin Manuel Miranda can do no wrong.

    And kindle books are my go to for increasing my reading. I read a lot, but usually physical books. Those kindle daily deals are so enticing, that I usually buy a couple of them a week, that way I always have something read while standing in long lines at the grocery store or if I forget my book at work.

    Love your list! Happy halfway through winter!

  3. Ashley, you should check out a shop on Etsy called Dear Mushka. she has simple pieces of jewelry that all have a scripture verse attached to them. I have a lot of her stuff and wear it ALL THE TIME.

  4. Found your blog through the modernmrsdarcy link up and we seem to have a bit in common - bookaholic, grammar nerd, former teacher, fan of musical theatre and Jesus lover. Awesome! And, like you, I made the switch to mostly kindle books when my youngest was a baby for the very same reasons!

  5. This looks so good! Hooray for a new blog design!


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