April 14, 2016: published Always Plenty.
May 2nd, 2016: started working as a retail associate at a boutique.
And now we are nearing the conclusion of my beloved June, once again and I’ve barely blogged this year. I am not apologizing. Between writing, illustrating and publishing a book, job hunting and work, 2016 has been brimming. Shortly after I began working at a children’s boutique fifteen minutes from Eyrie Park, I became the company’s sole employee (it’s a long story.) Suddenly I went from “trainee” who was working fifteen hours a week to a nearly full-time employee, splitting all the store hours with the owner. Since then I have felt a bit more like a manager than an associate, even doing much of the training for our two new team members! In short, it’s been a little stressful, a lot of fun and extremely educational. One of our new hires also happens to be one of my oldest friends, so I’m kind of sad training is over and she is “ready to fly!”
Learning how to keep a store in operation has been fascinating. And though we only have one shelf of books, the answer is yes: I do pretend to be Kathleen Kelly every day. We are even going to be carrying Always Plenty very soon! Eep!
But anyway, I am hoping that now that I’m not the lone ranger in the wild west of retail, I will get on more of a schedule and actually blog regularly again! After all, Charlotte did a beautiful job here and I will always love blogging. It seems like a good way to get back in the swing of things would be to do one of those fun “what I’m into” type posts about the little things that are making me smile this summer. I mean, there are some “things” that make me smile year round like Jesus and my squishy nephew, but I’m talking about “stuff.” Stuff like a certain shade of nail polish or a particular brand of chocolate. Ya know.
So here you have it (and I really hope you enjoy these as much as I do!) Stuff that makes me smile, Summer 2016 edition.
- Capitalizing “Summer” and the names of other seasons.
I know, I know, there are rules about these things. I was an un-schooler who learned to read and write by reading and writing, and most of what I read was old-timey. I like the old style of Capitalizing All Important Things. And Summer is super important to me. The Most Important. Sue me.
2. This quote:
“Summer afternoon, Summer afternoon; to me those have always been thetwo most beautiful words in the English language”
3. My car, Pigeon or Pidgy-Wagon for long. I share it with Jeweliet and it has made our lives so much easier. It’s magical. Yay.
4. Iced coffee. I know it’s cliché and probably on everyone’s list already, but I dream about this stuff, guys. I lie awake thinking about it. I love it. What could be better than deliciousness, caffeine, sweetness, and iciness all in one cup? I’m waiting for an answer.
5. VidAngel. Jeweliet and I had read about it and thought about it for months, but it sounded too good to be true. Not so, my friends. VidAngel is a free streaming movie service, much like Netflix with a large variety of movies to choose from. You actually buy the movies to watch them, but then immediately sell them back. Why buy? Because when you own a movie, you can edit it. Clever, yes? And editing is essential for folks like myself who don’t do much gore, violence, expletives or watching actors “make love” on screen. So as you can imagine, that rules out a lot of movies. I wrote before about why these qualms led me to get really interested in old movies, but sometimes we want to watch new movies. Okay, lots of times we do. VidAngel has opened up a whole new realm of cinema for us. In a nutshell, you can edit the movie however you want. Remove one word? No problem. Cut out whole scenes? Great. It’s really amazing!
6. My new tank top. Shopping in the kid’s department is economical and often makes more sense for my body type. I cannot stand how every sleeveless top I pick up seems to have gaping arm holes. My arms are small and I don’t like to display half my side to the world. This tank is cute (and very accurate: I’m a bonafide sun bug) and fits way better than the women’s tanks at Old Navy. Score!
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
7. My friends Megan and Nick got married last month and then we hired Megan at the boutique. I love those people! They gave me a super sweet gift for my birthday which included this “Hello, Beautiful” body mist from Bath and Body Works. I haven’t used body mist in ages, but I’m really enjoying this scent! It smells very fresh and Summ’ry.
8. Saltwater Sandals!!! I first heard about these when I was hired at the boutique where we sell Saltwater Sandals in adorably tiny sizes. Then I discovered they are also popular for adults. Then of course I started seeing them everywhere (such as on Lime Ricki and the feet of the lovely Boyer sisters.) I put them on the “buy someday when I get paid” list but my parents were awesome and surprised me with a pair for my birthday. Mine are navy and really comfortable. They are made of real leather and you can supposedly wear them in the ocean with no damage. I’ll try that out in July!
9. My new swimsuit from Lime Ricki! It looks orange in these unedited, sunset pictures, but it’s really bright pink. I had a theory that has proven correct: a peplum tankini is really comfortable. Say “goodbye” to tight, clingy fabric on your midsection. The bodice lies flat against my chest, but the lower area is loose and flow-y, which feels great. I got a matching skirt and a pair of black swim shorts to switch out. It’s nice to get something new every once in a while.
10. Vinyl records! My parents also gave me a little turntable for my birthday, so the world of vinyl has just been opened up to me! I got four 33’s and my mom has a little box of 45’s from her childhood, so we had a blast listening to many of them on my brand new record player. Unfortunately, the record player is not performing as well now as it did that first day, so I’m probably going to have to exchange it, but we’ve already had a lot of fun. I named the player Trixie after Nurse Franklin in Call the Midwife.
11. Finding more and more ethnically diverse children’s books! My mom got me the one in the picture recently and it was really cute. Seems like the world is finally catching on that brown children read books too, and don’t only want to read about slavery and the civil rights movement. Ahem.
12. This scarf from Francesca’s my dear friend Lydia sent me. It’s light and bright and not my usual color scheme, which is great. I’ve worn it a few times already!
13. Hand-me-downs from my friend Suzanne. There is no shame in the hand-me-down game! Now when I wash my pair of old, trusty denim shorts, I don’t have to get too creative! Seriously though, friends who can give you free things when you would otherwise go shopping: priceless. Everything I brought home from her stash fit, except for the two things that fit Jeweliet. Win-win.
14. Braids. They looked so 90’s for a while, but the 90’s are totally back and it’s the coolest (talking literally here) way to wear your hair when you spend your summers in Central Texas. 90 degrees is “nice” this time of year. We usually balance out more around 100. Hair on your neck can drive you bonkers when the weather is this way. Thanks to Jeweliet and my mom for helping me photograph my own braid…haha!
15. Being at work so much, I haven’t tried any new recipes recently or even been in the kitchen much in general, but I still love to eat! A few of my favorites, especially while I’m at work, are sesame sticks (which I buy out of the bin at Kroger) and Izze sparkling blackberry juice. The sesame sticks have a salty, toasty taste and the juice comes in cans that are just the right size and don’t contain any added nastiness like dye, preservatives or sugars. These are the kinds of things I bribe myself with.
16. Crepe Myrtles. They are sort of the plain jane of our area because they are around every corner, but I like that about them. Even when the drought was at it’s worst, Myrtle stood strong. They have funny, crepey flowers in so many colors and lovely, peeling bark this time of year. I used to think they are excellent climbing trees, now I realize I was the size of a spider monkey. Today I drove down a long narrow street lined with them and the semi truck ahead of me brushed millions of crinkly blossoms onto Pigeon’s windshield like rice at a wedding.
17. Bronzer from Cowgirl Dirt. All I have used is samples so far, so I’m still trying to decide on my shade, but I think I’m sold. Blush is apparently sort of “out,” and I’m finally starting to see why. It seems like bronzer looks like a natural glow from the sun while blush made me seem just slightly embarrassed all the time. No, I don’t know anything about makeup so I was probably using blush incorrectly all the time, but bronzer seems to be “working for me.” (Shop through my affiliate link here.) I’ve also loved their “honeysuckle” eye shadow lately.
18. All Sons and Daughters. I am not a Christian music person. Most Christian music is geared toward a certain type of person and I’m simply not that type. There are few Christian artists I truly enjoy, but somehow All Sons and Daughters has made the cut. I can listen to their songs one after another and appreciate both the content and the artwork.
Okay, that was a lot! What are YOU into this Summer?? I really want to know!