Friday, January 31, 2020

Movie Review: 1917

Another Oscar nominated film for my movie date and myself! Steadily checking them off.

Plot: April 6, 1917. As a regiment assembles to wage war deep in enemy territory, two soldiers are assigned to race against time and deliver a message, that will stop 1,600 men, from walking straight into a death trap.

Review: Before going to this movie, I had mixed emotions. On one hand, I find war movies tough to watch - they are always sad, I always get anxious, just tough. [Duh, war isn't fun.] However, I am always trying to learn more history and after my love affair with Downton Abbey, I do find WW1 to be highly interesting to learn about. So I was nervous but excited to see this one. And after it was over, I had ALL THE EMOTIONS. It was SO good, but everything I was worried about was right - it was sad, it was bittersweet, it was tough. When it ended, I just felt like I needed a drink, ha. Allison and I both thought the acting was amazing, the visuals were top-notch, we'd be totally happy if it won Best Picture. I don't think I'll ever love war movies {which is funny given my love of WW2 books}, but this story was just amazing.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Life Lately - January 2020

It's photo dump time! I like doing these little month-end updates to share/remember the normal life - stuff not cool enough to get its own post but stuff that I want to remember always!

We started out the month with Lego building...

...and silliness!

Making a birthday wish

Movie snuggles...we watched How to Train Your Dragon 2

I like how they're sitting alike

Every night, this one ends up in our room.
I keep a pallet on the floor next to the bed for her.

Trail Walk #1 - Complete!

Movies with her sleep sack and thumb - her perfect day!

Nintendo time with friends!

Goggles at breakfast? Why not!

We've had some beautiful days to enjoy outside.

Went to a Chamber of Commerce dinner in our town.
Had fun prom posing with our group, ha!

We're doing her horseback riding twice a month now.
And she spends 2 hours helping care for the animals before her lesson.
She LOVES it!

AND it's hard work!

Making more progress with Drew's room transition.
I hope to have them finished someday soon.
Still need to figure out book shelves for Trent and paint in Drew's room.

First real haircut for this one. 
Aunt Patty's mullet chop from a year ago was looking raggedy, ha.

And a much-needed trim here.
I need to do better about getting her hair trimmed regularly.

She suckered me into this headband. But it's so cute, right?

A balloon with the haircut? YES!

I promise Trent is in our family, he just hates pictures ha. And I guess the same could be said about Brent. I'll try to do better in February!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Skincare: My Newest Crunchy Obsession

As I am really giving 40 the side-eye, I've started focusing more and more on my skin health. I have mixed feelings - On one hand, I want to do ANYTHING to not have wrinkles and age spots or look old. On the other hand, I don't want to do anything that can give me cancer, ha. 

Right now I have a mix of clean and dirty products and am working my way to more and more clean products with the hope that I can really take care of my skin and always look 10 years younger than my age, ha, with the cleanest products possible.

Bodywash - I currently use either Young Living or Dr. Bronner's bar soaps. I'm happy with the clean factor of these products but they definitely aren't anti-aging or anything. Not sure if I care if my elbows look old or not? BUT I do know age spots will start on my hands and my decolletage {romance novels for the win here} so maybe I should care more?

Shampoo/Conditioner - I rotate between different versions of Young Living. They are 2- and 3-rated on EWG, so it's not the top rating {which you'll see below in some other products}, but I'm happy with that.

Facewash - This is where I get a big, fat F. I have oily-skin and even at 39, I'm prone to acne. I use a Neutrogena face wash that is a 10 on Think Dirty {an app that tracks how clean, 1, or dirty, 10, your products are}. SO BAD.

BUT there is hope here! I just bought a Beautycounter charcoal cleansing bar that is for oily skin. [Beautycounter are insanely clean products, like everything is EWG verified, and I'm really excited to trying out their skincare and make-up. The problem is...they aren't cheap. So I can't just do a 180 and get everything from them, which is what I'd like to do.] I'm starting out slowly here and using it just at night. If I don't break out, I'll increase to mornings too!

Lotion - Our whole family uses a Young Living body lotion, but we don't use lotion too often as it's got a higher rating for a YL product [4]. A lot of times I also use coconut oil for the kids mixed with an essential oil - for example coconut oil mixed with lavender oil is great for Trent's winter eczema.

Wrinkle Cream/Eye CreamI currently use a couple of Young Living products - one is a daytime lotion and one is a wrinkle cream that is a little thicker so I use it at night. As far as I can tell, they both fall in the 'good not great' range, so I will be slowly moving these over to Beautycounter as well. I just got 1 Beautycounter product in their Countertime line {their anti-aging line}, so it's too soon to tell what I think, but my BFF has the whole line and LOVES it.

Deodorant - Another one from Young Living [2 rating on EWG], but I have others I want to try with the top pick being Native. I think this is something you just need to switch around ever so often, and I'm excited to have several clean options. Years ago I used to sweat SO bad, I have a really funny story that I might share here one day that highlights how bad my sweating was in college. Well, a friend of mine told me about Certain Dri and how amazing it was. I tried it and sure enough, it COMPLETELY stopped me from sweating. I used it a couple of times a week and it was magic. You know why? It's CHOCK FULL OF ALUMINUM. I seriously used this for probably a DECADE. Now I don't sweat to the same degree I did in college - and I'm hoping it's not because I've somehow poisoned myself so badly my body can't recover - but I'll gladly take some pit funkiness know...cancer.

Foundation - This is where I majorly struggle! I love using a mineral powder but my 2 favorites - Bare Minerals and a Neutrogena one from Target - both rate a 7 on Think Dirty sooo...not great. I switched to a Young Living version, rated a 1 on EWG, but I don't love it. It seems to need twice as much to provide decent coverage, which I'm not crazy about. I've heard good things at W3LL PEOPLE, so I want to try it soon. Beautycounter doesn't have a mineral foundation currently, but I'm hopeful they might someday!
Lipgloss - I use Burt's Bees Wax constantly, I am 100% addicted to it. Luckily it's super clean. When I want some color, I add Jane Iredale lipgloss which is also super clean. I bought some at my annual Lake Austin Spa trip with my mother-in-law 2 years ago and then this year I bought another color and also tried their mineral foundation - I figured if the lip gloss was super clean the powder would be too...nope, ugh.
Blush/Eyeshadow - I found ones I REALLY like from Young Living that are a mineral powder, yay! And rated 2s on EWG!
Mascara/Eyeliner - Is it bad that I don't care about these 2 at all? Any grocery store or pharmacy brand works for me, ha.

I might do a post after I've been using Beautycounter for a while {or other products I try that are known for being 'clean} to see how they stack up. I know Young Living and Beautycounter have representatives and are MLM companies, but I just want to use clean products!

Was this interesting or terribly boring? I find this stuff fascinating and love learning about clean products, so hopefully I didn't bore anyone...and if you made it to through this long and rambly post, I owe you a prize!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Currently: Bring On Spring

Current Book

Current Song

An EXTREMELY hard jazzercise butt routine
but a super fun song!

Current TV Show

Couldn't resist after all the raving on Instagram!

Current Podcast

Fascinating to hear 2 British journalists talk about all things Royal Family!

Current Drink

My fabulous MIL got me a chai today, yum!

Current Food

Schlotzsky's BBQ Chicken Jalepeno pizza, so so good!

Current Shame-Inducing Pleasure

How off-rails I have been with evidenced by drink and food above, ha

Current Outfit

If this doesn't scream ALLENA, I don't know what else would.

Current Celebrity Crush

Elizabeth Holmes is my new favorite on IG {@ehomes}
She is a journalist who writes a lot about the Royals - yes, I'm obsessed - 
my favorite thing she does is SMT - So Many Thoughts - 
where she talks about clothes.
It might sound silly but she got a book deal off it about 
how fashion is very important to the message the Royal Family wants to send.

Current Mood

Is January over yet???
Ready for some sunshine instead of the dreary days we've been having.

Current Anticipation

One of my best friends is moving into our neighborhood!
Kelly and I have been friends for over 20 years - 
we ran track together in high school, lived together in college,
were in each other's weddings...

Current Wishlist

We are really getting to the point where a new mattress is no longer a wish but a necessity - 
I'm hoping we can make a decision really soon.
I wake up every day with my back hurting.
Hopefully it's the mattress and not that 4-0 is right around the corner!

Current Film

Allison and I plan to see 1917 and Ford v. Ferrari in the next 2 weeks.
Brent agreed to watch Marriage Story on Netflix with me
And I think that's all I'll see of the Oscar films, will be 7 of 9!

Current Picture

I went to training this week for my manager promotion.
Got to spend time with 2 people on my team, yay!

Friday, January 24, 2020

2020 Goals

As January winds down, I figure I need to get my goals for 2020 posted! I debated even doing goals this year because I don't feel I've done very great the last few years, but I kept thinking of things I wanted to try, so I decided to go for it again. No repeat goals on here this time either, I'm starting fresh!

1. Trail Walks - In my never-ending quest for more and more outside time, I want us to get exploring! Georgetown has a ton of trails through our fabulous Parks & Rec department plus there are a lot in surrounding cities and in Austin. I'm setting this goal at 20 trail walks - they don't have to be different trails, but I want us out and about 20 times this year. To be honest, we've already got 1 under our belts!

2. Book goals - This year I have some specific reading goals after looking at my stats for 2019.
- Book pile - I have  pretty sizable pile of physical books. I either need to read them or get rid of them. Some I've had for 5+ years so it's really ridiculous.
- POC books - Last year I read 18 books by authors of color which represented 19% of my reading. I'd like to aim for 24 books this year and would like to include books I read to the kids - instead of just Cinderella and Snow White, we can read about Mulan and Moana too. 
- Books about race - Similar but slightly different than just a book by or about people of color, I'd like to continue reading books ABOUT race. Last year I read 2. I'd also like to incorporate this into my reading with the big kids. Trent and I started a YA version of Just Mercy and we've already had several discussions about racism and we just finished chapter 2! We even watched a YouTube video about the Children's Crusade of 1963 - watching teens get sprayed with fire hoses was really impactful to him!
Classics - I'd like to read 2 classics this year. I usually avoid classics because I find them boring, but I'm going to aim for a little more culture, ha.

3. DiTL Quarterly posts - I loved when I did my Day in the Life posts on a regular basis and have fallen off. They can be a pain to document and type up, and I don't know if they're fun to read, but I love having them saved to remember what life was like in the trenches.

4. Knitting or Sewing Class - I've been saying for years that I'd like to learn to sew. I even have a sewing machine I got as a gift WHEN I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE. I also think Drew would love to learn knitting, she learned finger knitting in her kindergarten class and loved it. I'd like to find a class she and I could take together.

5. Photo Books - So this is a weird goal. I'm not sure yet if I want to make photo books, but one of my best friends was talking about finishing hers up and then Emily posted about theirs and so now I think I might want to go back and create them? So I might not do this goal, but I'm contemplating! Ha!

6. Antiracism work - I spent 2019 learning a lot about white privilege and things I need to do to help dismantle our racist system. But I haven't DONE anything yet. Reading and following people on Instagram only gets you so far, ha. I'm trying to find an organization to get involved with/some place to volunteer, and I want it to involve the kids!

7. Trent - Fruits and Veggies - I should maybe call this 'lack thereof'. He basically eats 2 fruits and 1 vegetable (apples, bananas, and carrots) and eats them M-F (with apples only on the weekend). I want to celebrate the fact that he consistently eats this - it was a struggle getting to here. But he's 10 and this needs to get better. I want to try a new fruit and vegetable every month and see if we can start growing his list!

Whew, this is definitely a list! And doesn't include anything for my health and fitness (which you know I'm still chipping away at).

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Three Things Thursday

Natasha posted this Three Things Thursday post, and you guys know me...I had to do it! Nothing I love more than talking about myself. {grin}

Songs That Make Me Think of High School

1. K-C and JoJo All My Life - Brent and I had many 'our songs' in high school, but this was probably my favorite


2. Nine Inch Nails Head Like a Hole - our class song! Bow down before the ones you serve!

Fun fact about our shirt: 
Originally the bowing panthers had '99, '00, and '01 on them and our principal wasn't going to approve the shirt. We had to remove those, but in our hearts they were still there. '98 Rules!

3. Metallica Enter Sandman - my track wife {Kelly} and I listened to this song before every race to get us pumped up.

I sound like some heavy metal person with these song selections which is 100% not true. I listened to mainly country and Top 40, but these songs definitely stuck out to me.

Things I Like to Give

1. Starbucks - I love to bring my people a little treat!

2. Giftcards - Who doesn't love a gift card? It's the easiest way to do a present.

3. Book recommendations - I could talk about books all day, every day in case you didn't already know that.

Things I Like to Receive

1. Books - Do I even need to explain?

2. Starbucks - My love for a chai latte runs deep and wide.

3. Candy - I am like a 5-year-old when it comes to candy.

Things I Hate That Many People Like

1. Nikes - I think these are the most popular tennis shoes, and I hate them. I don't have wide feet, but I swear Nikes are made for people with super narrow feet?

2. Foods - I have a long list of foods most people like that I DESPISE: tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, avocados, and eggs are my top 5.

3. Beer - Most of the people in my life love a good beer. Nope! I can handle a very mild shandy {heavy on the lemonade} only. Bring on the sweet wines or mixed drinks!

Clothes I Find Uncomfortable

1. Sweaters/long-sleeved shirts - I would much rather wear a short-sleeved shirt with a cardigan than an actual long-sleeved shirt, and I think most sweaters feel like they are choking me with their awful material.

2. Shoes - I would rather be barefoot at all times. You will catch me in flip-flops from March - October and I still try to wear them as much as possible in the winter. Two of my friends have really made me up my shoe game lately because I hate shoes so much I never buy them and I had a pitifully sad selection. In the last few months I've bought 6 new pairs of shoes!

3. Strapless anything - I think it's because I'm very busty {and gravity ain't helping} that I find strapless dresses or bathing suits or tops or anything extremely uncomfortable.

Things I Love Seeing Other People Post

1. Book Reviews - my favorite posts people do monthly and I wish more people did them!

2. Surveys - the proof is in the pudding.

3. Mom Stuff - I love reading other mom's struggles, successes, tips, tricks, etc. It's nice to realize I'm not alone or the only one who struggles sometimes.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Movie Review: JoJo Rabbit

Trent has been asking for awhile to go see JoJo Rabbit, and when I found out it was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, I was so excited to be able to take him!

Plot: A young boy in Hitler's army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.

Review: Trent and I both LOVED this movie. It was so smartly funny, we both cracked up so much. The plot description isn't the best because the best parts are around JoJo and his imaginary friend, Hitler. The portrayal of Hitler is hilarious, and we laughed so much. Rebel Wilson and Sam Rockwell were phenomenal in their roles too. There were also some really tough parts that were heart-breaking {as to be expected given this is a film set in Germany at the end of WW2}, but JoJo was such an endearing character. GREAT film and totally deserving of its nomination!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Drew's 7th Year

The upside to having your daughters' birthdays be 12 days apart? Joint well checks! The downside? Documenting it all! I'm crawling to the finish line of annual updates, and I'm sure y'all are tired of reading them too, ha. BUT I can't jip my sweet Drew, so here's how her year stacked.

Weight: 40 pounds {5%}
Height: 3'9" {9%}
BMI: 13.89 {12%}
Clothes size: XS {4/5} or 5T
Shoe size: 12

'Though she be little, she is fierce' could sum up our Drew Kathleen! She remains our tender-hearted, thoughtful, kind little girl. She loves her family something fierce.

Drew LOVES school. Her progress reports have been excellent! She has Trent's teacher from 3rd grade, and I think it's a perfect match. Mrs. Worcester is very gentle and kind, and Drew is just blossoming. Her reading has exploded, and Mrs. Worcester said she is getting lessons a lot with the second graders and is more mature than most of the other 1st graders. Love getting this kind of feedback on her!

She has a lot of activities and passions. She is enjoying her dance classes and is doing lyrical and tap. She loves tap! She also started horseback riding lessons and loves it, she really has a heart for animals. She is also very big into art. She loves drawing and writing and also doing crafts. I'm always impressed by her creativity.

Most of the time she is the best sister. We try to play up her role in the family - she is the only one who gets to be a little sister AND a big sister. She mothers Paige and they play together amazingly well. She and Trent don't have quite as much harmony - he can't help teasing her and she has no ability to ignore him. But they do play some video games together {Bee Swarm and Minecraft}, and it's cute watching them interact.

Drew is my biggest helper. She is always willing to help me clean, fold laundry, cook, anything. 

She has lost 2 teeth and has 4 wiggly ones. Trent lost 5 teeth in the same span of time, so she's definitely behind him.

Her 'style' has changed a lot this year. It's now a fight to get her into a dress, and she wears a lot of black and gray. Pink is definitely NOT her favorite color, and I catch myself wanting to buy her something that is so cute, and then I remember her new style, and it makes me a little sad, ha. 

She is still a very good eater when it comes to fruits and vegetables. She isn't wild about meat and doesn't like cheese by itself, but overall she is a good eater. She loves tomatoes, broccoli, cooked carrots, peas & corn and a ton of fruits. I love that my girls are such great eaters!

She still rarely lets me fix her hair. She usually wears it down or in a ponytail to school. If I bribe her or tell her way ahead of time, I can get her to do something else with her hair...but not often.

Drew is very snuggly - she loves hugs and to cuddle. She still 'worries' her hair but luckily not as much and she never gets knots anymore. Just the other night I went in her room and she had fallen asleep holding her hair. It made me wonder if I'd find her that way in high school or college.

She has a little collection of girlfriends - some going all the way back to her CMS days. I love watching her little friendships grow. She loves playing with our neighbor's granddaughter. She probably loves playing with Blair the most and loves when they get to sleepover together. She still prefers to be at home, and we sometimes have to force her to stay with our parents, ha.

She has such a chill personality but can also go from 0 to 100 really quickly - largely because of Trent. She can also be really silly and weird. She likes to make people laugh by making weird faces or being goofy. She has always been our more shy child but is growing out of that a little.

Drew is a great middle child and such a wonderful friend, sister, and daughter. Her kindness continues to amaze me, and I wonder what she will do when she grows up - I know it'll be something with a giving spirit. We love you, Drew-Drew!