Keepin’ It Real November 2014

Ahhhhh, November. I love November, not nearly as much as December, but it doesn’t need to know that. I am behind on my blog. Because it has been so cozy, I have wanted to do nothing but bake and read books. I apologize for my being behind on comments. It is my selfish book reading heart’s fault. I have not been on the internet as much this week. My kids had the whole week off and it was just so nice to decompress with them. I hope to be back on schedule this week. As a family, we went and saw “Big Hero Six.” This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I give it a ten out of ten. Bring tissues. And be sure to stay until after the ending credits.

My family and I were so sick for two weeks of November. Two weeks. I remember on day twelve bursting into tears because I was so tired of feeling awful, but it did pass. For that, I am grateful. November is a grateful month. It is the dark month of reflection. The lightness of laughter remembered. The darkness of finding light in trying circumstances. I know so many people who are going through a hard time. It is very difficult for me to be happy sometimes when I know their struggles.

My grandmother’s birthday was on the seventh and my heart felt so heavy that day. Yet, I am so thankful for the time I did have with her.

Here is November briefly recapped with things that did not make it on the blog:


I rescued a sea lion.


On Thanksgiving, my aunts, uncle and mother gave me back the last Christmas present I had gifted to my grandma the week before she passed away. It was very sweet. It was a sad moment that day when we watched my laughing grandma on an old VHS tape.

And so now I have this bowl, knives and kitchen mittens that I feel I need to do something special with. That I am terrified of breaking. And yet, they make me feel weary. Tired. My grandma never used them, so even though I try to tie an emotional connection to these things, I find myself incapable of doing so. Unwilling, if you will. For my grandmother never used them when she was alive, so they sat unused because… she died. When I look at these items, I remember her death. Not her life. Hence the weariness. I need to contemplate how I feel about this more. I think instead of the items being a tribute to my grandmother, I will remember them as being lovingly saved by four siblings as a gift to me. I will remember my mother, my aunts and uncle when I use them. Of overcoming insurmountable grief to think of another person during a dark time. Of the love that was saved for me. Ahhhh…So many ponderings over kitchen items.


I have a problem. A tuna problem. I cannot quit it. I ate a whole entire tuna pie all by myself in three sittings. Is there a meeting for this?


Today is Cyber Monday. Because I purchased so much the week of Black Friday, I am sitting this one out (unless you know of an amazing waffle maker on an amazing deal, because I had to throw away my old one yesterday). And I don’t want to do yet another shopping post. However Modcloth is having an awesome sale today offering 25% off everything with code CYBERMONDAY. I will tell you, the following links are affiliate links. Purchasing through the links will provide a small income for this little ol’ blog. Everything I am listing is actually sitting in my cart awaiting a future indulgence (except the blue dress which I all ready purchased through Dear Creatures). Modcloth always offers free shipping on orders over $50:

1. The Chilly Commute Dress. This is adorable. Easy. I like the colors. I like the shape. I like it.

2. Gnome Man’s Land Socks. Oh! I want these so badly! Actually I want ten pairs of these so badly. I have to stop looking at them or I am going to buy them.

3. Channel The Charm Dress by Dear Creatures. If you missed out on Dear Creature’s 40% off sale, where I purchased this dress, this is still a good price with the code. Plus, the return policy is much better.

4. The Copious Comfort Poncho looks almost exactly like the poncho from Anthropologie that I missed out on last year.

Outfit Outtakes:


Ollie being a stubborn bulldog. Original outfit post here.


Being a dork. Original outfit post here.


I found my perfect restaurant. Individual brewed iced teas and tuna sandwiches. What more could a girl ask for?


Coming Up In December:

Three Stripes Your Out-fit
House Tour
Sisters In Tulle
Crazy Searches
The Easiest Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

I am also going to need some help deciding on some purchases I made during Free People’s awesome sale. I bought these boots in red for my husband to gift to me for Christmas. Well, I could not resist peeking at them or trying them on. Now I am unsure. My thighs are much larger than my calves. I feel like having the boot stop right at the start of my thigh is unflattering. I might post a picture soon to see what you think. And I am thinking of returning The Embroidered Moto Jacket. I love the embroidery but I am not sure of the fit on me. And I need some styling help on The Eyelet Duster. So would it be wrong to have a post about items I need help deciding on?

We are now in December. My very favorite month. I love the brightness of the big holiday. The colors everywhere. The excitement. I love giving gifts. I love the smells. It can be overwhelming, though. Because of this, I do a random act of kindness every single day this month. It makes me put the holidays into perspective. It is something I do for my soul to try to balance the present greed. With that in mind, I want to note that while it is so awesome to donate toys for children at this time, please do not forget the elderly amongst us. I definitely will be donating toys, but this is the month when my heart goes towards the forgotten amongst us…

The day after Thanksgiving, I ran into a grocery store to quickly grab two items. I decided to cut through the cookie/cracker aisle to get to the register. As I entered the aisle, a lone woman was slowly pushing her cart in front of me. She was in her late sixties. Not old by any means. Her pants had slid down underneath her bare bottom.

I did not know what to do.

I did not want to embarrass her, but I also did not want a mean person to laugh at her circumstances. I approached the woman and said to her, “Ma’am, you’re pants have slid down.”

She thanked me as she groaned. She was ill. It was the day after Thanksgiving. She was sick. She was shopping for food. By herself. Alone. Like so many elderly people. They have to venture out sick, alone, spend the holidays by themselves. I did not know what I could do for her. My family was waiting in the car. My husband had to get to work. Selfishly, I did not want to get sick myself. So, I left. I have many excuses, but none of them are enough.

I am so imperfect.

Yet it breaks my heart. Makes me feel helpless. Overwhelmed. Guilty.

It could happen to any of us. And so for me, I try to concentrate on making sure I am remembering to take the older generations into consideration this month.

How was November for you? Are you more excited for December? How do you decompress during this busy season? Are you reading anything good? I have read five books this week. I can recommend one of them. It is One Came Home. I will be doing a review about it soon, but it is an easy (it is a children’s book) beautiful read.

It’s The Little Things: Truly


My children were gone for eight days. They went camping with their grandparents. I am not going to lie. It was a wonderful feeling to have a continuously clean house. Alone time with my husband. A whole house just for adults. It felt wicked. And calm. Serene. Partly empty. But still. And free.

And now the kids are back.

And with them, messes.

And more messes.

Did I mention messes?

And more food to prepare. More people to feed. More worries.

But more cuddles. And more laughter. More stirrings.

It was interesting to get a small glimpse into how my husband and I will be in a few short years when the kids are out of the house. You never know what an empty nest will feel like or the impact it will have on a marriage. It is good to know that we are fine in the silence. And in the calm. We had movie nights and even indulged in popcorn. This is rather a big deal, because popcorn has been banned from our house in the last three years of ongoing teeth braces for the children.

But it was also nice to appreciate the moments with my children now that they are back.

It made me realize how quickly that empty nest is approaching. It is something I will not be able to fly away from.

So, whilst I deal with yet another load of dishes. Another load of laundry. A random sock on the floor. And an unwanted eye roll here and there.

I know that these are the little things.

That make everything big.

I will not take them for granted. At least for a little while.

Although, I will admit that now that I have had popcorn after the long break, it is all that I am craving.

With extra butter.

I guess that will be something else to look forward to, in the long years to come.

But for now, I am enjoying the rustling.

The pitter.

And the pattering.

Of ever-growing feet.

Because, too soon those feet will have stopped growing, and will walk right out that door.

It will not feel little.

And with every pop of that long-anticipated popcorn, the cracks in my heart will pop a little, too. I now feel like despite the cracks, the structure will remain true. The house will survive. I will survive. Our marriage will survive. But I am not quite ready for that moment yet. And so I am taking each of these days, and enjoying them. With the laundry. The smiles. The dishes. The laughter. The quarrels. And the mess.

Little by little.

It’s The Little Things: Gel Nails

This “littlest things” post is a bit different. In that I am not necessarily advocating or recommending something. Because there are pros and cons to the thing I am discussing.

First, my family and I are traveling to Maui today. And I plan on blogging while I am there, but it might take me a day or two longer to respond to comments. I will still be reading them, though, so please feel free to respond. That makes my day.

Before we go on a vacation, I always go and get a manicure and pedicure. The last few times I have traveled, I have indulged in a gel manicure. This trip to Maui was no exception.

Gel manicures typically last for two weeks. This is pretty fantastic. I never get regular manicures because the minute I get home, it seems I ruin my nails with doing dishes or other household chores.

It is either quit doing the chores. Mmmmmmm. Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Or quit wasting money on manicures.


Well, I have now had five gel manicures and I can say that they have lasted through all of the abuse I have thrown at them. Or thrown with them, as it were. Not a chip. Not a snag. Nothing.

But let’s ponder that.

How is that possible?


Because the stuff is like concrete. It costs an extra $20 in addition to the regular manicure price at the salon I go to. And to get it off, you need to get it professionally done at a nail salon. Which costs $5. Plus tip. Plus you know you will not want to leave the nail salon with your now-naked nails. So, it is a vicious cycle.

There are also some health concerns to consider when getting a gel manicure, as addressed in this article.. When I get a gel manicure, my nails will burn like they are on fire for two seconds each time they go under the light.

I always end up picking the nail polish off at midnight exactly two weeks after my manicure. And it hurts. And it isn’t smart. And my nails are thrashed. And I mean thrashed for two months after that.

So, why do I keep getting them?

Because for two weeks, I will have perfect nails.

And that feels so good.

Until it doesn’t.

Have you tried gel nails? What did you think? Are your nails healthy or brittle afterwards? What are your thoughts on this process? Has anyone tried the new gel nail polishes at home? Is the process easy and does it last? Thank you. I really am curious. I would like to see what other people’s experiences have been.

Reading: “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”

Have you heard of “The Bloggess”? Honestly, I had been writing my blog for a year before I did. And it wasn’t until my favorite author, Patrick Rothfuss, mentioned reading her book (you can read his review about it here) that I took notice and actually clicked over to her site. Who is this other blogger capturing my crush’s attention? I will admit to a rush of jealousy.

So I clicked over to her blog to read. And I immediately saw why she has earned the accolades that she has. Jenny is hilarious. She tells the funniest stories. I feel like we would be best friends if we were ever to meet. As does everyone who reads her blog and her book. She is very personable.

Seriously, who writes, “Watermelon is the secret code word” in place of their name on those awful name tag stickers?

Jenny Lawson does.

And don’t you just love that? If that was all you knew about this woman, (and if you had not heard of her before this post, that would be it) you would want to meet her based just on that.


She does curse a lot. So, if you click on a link I have provided here, please be prepared. My blog does not have curse words, because I want it to be able to be read by all ages, but it works for her and all of her stories. I just wanted to put that warning here in case you have an aversion to profanity, so we can delve into the good stuff without any more disclaimers.


Her book is called, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”. You guys, I laughed so hard I cried and then I snorted and cried again. It is a collection of short stories from her life. She is working on her next novel right now.

Jenny grew up with a taxidermist father. The stories she tells about all of the crazy situations this led to, well, it cannot be described. You just gotta read it.


There is a story in the book that was probably the best short story I have ever read. It is about a squirrel. I read it while I hyperventilated in hysterics. Then I called my son into the room and I read it to him (I edited out the profanity). He also thought it was the funniest story.

My sister purchased the book after I recommended it to her and called me later so we could laugh about it together. And my friend told me she was mailed this book from a friend who said it was a book that had made her happy. My friend thinks we should pick this book for book club one day. I agree.


As a blogger I enjoy reading other blogs. Stephen King once said, “If you don’t have time to read. You don’t have time to write.” I completely agree with that synopsis. He meant it in terms of books, but I take it in terms of blogs, too.

The Bloggess became famous after she published a post in which she purchased a five foot tall rooster. And presented it to her husband. As an anniversary present. But that was not the best part. The best part was the note attached to the rooster. I still laugh when I read it.


The book has some of the short stories from her blog, but also a lot of new material, too. I definitely think it is a worthwhile purchase.

Blogger or not, if you enjoy funny short stories (with a bit of the absurd and a high dose of crass), I recommend this book.

Have you read “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”? What did you think?

*If you have read this book and liked it, I recommend Laurie Notaro’s
books to you. She writes short stories in the same vein of humor. I really enjoy them. Update 6/7/2014: I am bringing the book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” by Mindy Kaling, with me to Maui. It received good reviews so I want to try it. And if you want to read a funny short story right now, The Bloggess posted a link this week to a story that made me gasp with laughter: The Scary Ham.

This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing a book through the link will provide a small commission for my own scary ham this blog.