y’all. all I ever ever wanted to be growing up was an archaeologist. or paleontologist. or anthropologist. or a combination of those three. I didn’t, because… reasons… some having to do with a super conservative upbringing where women have a specific role and it doesn’t involve digging in the Valley of the Kings. and also an enormous lack of self confidence. and a general fear of getting the thing that I want. and my college counselor telling me she would’t write me a recommendation to the schools with the good archaeology departments.
“why would you want to do all of that work, when you’ll know all the answers when you get to heaven anyways?” (not a quote from my guidance counselor, just a thing I was told growing up.) but what the actual fork?!
the point – I’ve stopped listening to MSNBC in the car, and while I miss Nicole Wallace and the righteous rage of Steve Schmidt I don’t miss the anxiety or Joe Scarborough’s pompous snark. So what have I been listening to instead? Glad you asked. I’ve been listening to National Geographic’s: The Great Courses. Specifically Archaeology: An Introduction to the World’s Greatest Sites. Which, I did NOT pay 234.95 for, I used a single Audible credit. (14.95) And while I feel a little jealous when he is obviously showing images to the camera I also feel like I can put the $220.00 that I saved towards my Nile River Cruise in 2022.
it is a FANTASTIC listen, and one I highly recommend. Chapter 10 is “How do you excavate at a site?” and he goes into specific things like tools (Marshalltown Trowels, everyone should bring their own) to pick axes. (provided at the site). at one point he says something about how his dig volunteers are mostly students but they’re not all students. sometimes they’re retired doctors or people who want to check ‘archaeological dig’ off of their bucket list. at which point, 5 minutes from the office, at 7:30 in the morning, I’m crying in my car.
I can do that! I’m 42 and the fact that I’m not an archaeologist is 100% on me now and next year we will have 2 kids in college so volunteering on a dig sounds about my speed.
my dad loves convenience stores, his dad did too. They’re open on holidays, some are open 24 hours, they all have news papers and Life Savers and their milk and bread are usually delivered more frequently than they are to the grocery store. Our milk ALWAYS came from the convenience store. I also love them, because I love fountain soda – and other than McDonalds, 7-11 usually has the BEST fountain soda. also I love snacks.
when I was a kid he’d tell me I could have candy if I could decide *right now* so sometimes I didn’t get candy because I’M THE WORST AT DECISIONS. Also, I love him, but patience isn’t a thing he’s known for. I get that from him too. I go from zero to WHAT THE FORK?!!! in 6 seconds or less. My lack of decisiveness isn’t Chidi level bad but I’m constantly second guessing myself. Anyways. I want an Away Suitcase (I love shit that gets hyped on instagram, and so far have not been led astray) Annnnnyways (again) They have these collaborations that sell out SO FAST and I want one of those but the next day they’re gone. So I have to decide that I 245 dollars love something split second and that is hard for me. I don’t think I 245 dollars love anything at first sight. But their genius marketing requires that kind of decision making which works in direct opposition to my anxiety.
I have spent HOURS researching what people say about them, does the Bigger Carry-on fit in a JetBlue overhead bin? (seems to) Does the battery actually charge 5x? (seems to) Do they actually fit all that much? (seem to) Am I going to be one of those people dragging a suitcase with a broken wheel? (seems not)
and during that time collaborations have come and gone. The one I’m saddest about I didn’t even KNOW about before it had already sold out. Endor (the green one) was MADE FOR ME. #returnofthejedi4lyfe
they have nine solid every day colors, but… eh? They did a collaboration with Dwayne Wade that included a WINE SUITCASE. Do I need that? no, I wouldn’t have bought it, but I DID like the Bigger Carryon in two tones of blue with a cool liner.
they even did a Minions collaboration! Would I have bought a 245 dollar thing to troll my children with? Probably not. But maybe… but probably not.
Rashida Jones did a collaboration. Her colors were good. That one happened before I realized that I wanted one…
Which leads me to Violet. Violet released yesterday and is still available today! So now, like a jackass, I’m going to “zen of shopping” it and say… if it’s still available tomorrow I’ll get it. Which I probably won’t, because 245 seems like A LOT to spend…
My super talented and creative friend Laura Fisk of Fisk & Fern is THIS MINUTE creating a Breakfast Taco tea towel for you to add to your extensive tea towel collection. (I KNOW I’m not the only one with an extensive tea towel collection… right?) Anyways. When she releases it I’mma put it up here. So watch this space. And in the meantime here’s Queso and Margaritas. Which are the perfect bookends for tacos.
I love Austin, Texas. I belong there. Even through hundred degree summers I forking THRIVED in Austin. We are flying down tonight and I’m READY.
There are so many things that could be #3 on this Austincentric Favorites list. Obviously my friends. (but I count them in as just being Austin.) Pluckers, Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Deep Eddy Vodka… but this week it’s the reason why we are going to Austin.
Austin City Limits. Three days, drinking wine out of sports bottles in a field. Where my friends are. And also all this music, and usually sunshine, and beer, and the most ridiculous food. Right now it is looking like it could be overcast and rainy so I’mma need someone to get Dick Cheney to turn on his weather machine and fix that shirt.
So I was reading this piece written by author Amy Stewart about packing to go on a book tour. It’s smart and useful advice that I never really considered.
I like her method and I’m a notorious over packer and this wouldn’t necessarily work for Disney because — glitter and color and princesses and sweat, but it could work for going down to Austin for a foodie weekend, or to Tampa for a foodie weekend or over to Nantucket for a foodie… ok. I like to go eat places.
Anyways- I’m reading her piece fully prepared to just buy all the things she has in her suitcase- the stuff on the Brass website is cute and simple and perfect for the 45 minutes per year that I think I want a capsule wardrobe. But XL is the largest size they have and XL is a 12/14. And as a 14 I don’t trust it- the model who wears the LG on their website is an 8 maybe. What the hell, man?! Why you gotta be so size exclusive? More women come in sizes 14 and up than in 12 and down. And we want capsule wardrobes and chill dresses with pockets and sleek work blouses made of natural fibers that have intact shoulders and come in neutral colors. (Shocking that sometimes we might not want rayon cold shoulder blouses in fuchsia zebra print, I know.)
Ann Taylor Loft started selling clothes in 16 and up this week, IN STORES! Which is the real test – you want to take money from fat women but don’t want us seen in your stores? (Madewell- looking at you here. “extended sizing available online!” gak.)
Selling clothes for EVERY SINGLE WOMAN shouldn’t make you feel like you’re doing us a favor, taking our cash shouldn’t be this hard, and it CERTAINLY should be seen as an act of charity.
this is just a series of incomplete thoughts, I know. I’m just feeling really ragey and disappointed.
I shipped a box down to my Disney hotel on Tuesday so that we can restock our Owner’s Locker with shampoo, conditioner, my new favorite beach waves hair cream, a box of glow bracelets… I should have take a photo of the contents but until 15 seconds ago I didn’t know what my favorites were going to be this week.
We are leaving Friday for the long weekend. Our youngest is turning 18 on Saturday and we cashed in all of our JetBlue frequent flier miles and Disney Rewards Visa points to bring her and 2 of her friends to stay at Bay Lake Tower. We are going to the Halloween Party, it is the first weekend of the Food & Wine Festival and Tiffany is going to be singing for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, I can’t wait.
I think half of the battle for regular Disney visitors are finding:
the perfect park bag.
the perfect park shoes.
the perfect comfort/convenience items.
So here we go:
My perfect park bag is the Kavu rope sling bag. I’ve been using the same one for the last several years and it still looks BRAND NEW. Which is awesome, but also- c’mon! I want a new one. (Specifically the space pops one– how great is that?!) There are a ton of pockets- the front one fits my iphone 7+ perfectly, and that’s a monster so I can’t imagine a phone that wouldn’t fit there to be easily accessible. It is comfortable to wear, I don’t find myself getting all sweaty under it. It fits EVERYTHING. I generally start the day with a couple of bottles of water, a cooling towel, charging cords, a sunscreen, a single neatly folded poncho, my phone, and a small wallet with ID/Annual Pass/Gift Card/Disney Visa Card. I generally end the day without the water bottles but WITH a cake pop or school bread or carrot cake cookie, a set of ears, various souvenirs, three damp ponchos, and still room for more.
I love this bag.
I go back and forth on the perfect park shoes. For a year or two they were Sketchers lace up sneakers with memory foam cooling insoles… and then my feet decided that being confined like that would RUIN EVERYONE’S DAY. So I’m all set with that for now.
I have had much luck with Sanuk Yoga Mat Slings – they have fabric that hugs your foot while still giving them lots of room to breathe – which keeps them from getting cranky – which keeps ME from getting cranky. (never wear these to the beach, you will never get the sand out of the sling bit)
BUT THEN I bought a pair of these Fit Flop Uberknit flip flops. I committed the first Disney mortal sin of wearing brand new shoes, straight out of the box, for a full day at Disneyland and they were so comfortable I broke the second Disney mortal sin of wearing the same shoes two days in a row. No regrets. I bought a second color and these two pairs might be the only shoes I bring for the weekend.
And for #3 I’m essentially asking Genie for a million wishes because I can’t pick a third and instead I’m listing some of my favorite convenience items.
The Disney Park Poncho – the original and the best – I decided one year that I was going to buy those disposable little ponchos and it ripped while I was putting it on mid-rainstorm. So.
I mentioned I have an Owner’s Locker the locker is packed with ponchos, ears, full sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner, any meds we might need, bandaids, sunscreen, bug spray, aloe, etc. So now I store our ponchos in the Locker, but before that I’d just bring them back and forth each in their own quart sized ziplock bag.
Cooling towels. I’m a better person when I have one wrapped around my neck. These are NOT in our locker, because they’d be all mildewy so I bring them home to wash between visits. At quick service counters you can ask for free glasses of ice water. I ask for 2, and one of them is just to submerge my cooling towel in. Game changer.
and finally – power. I have a few different kinds of portable power sources for our phones but the Fuel Rods available on property hold more than a full charge and are replaceable on site – so you don’t have to go back to your room to recharge. Your first fuel rod also comes with a little cord and a few different phone adaptors. It is expensive at $30 but I feel as if we have recouped the spend multiple times over so far.
So that’s what I’ve got. And other than the poncho and the Owners Locker these would work for a day at any amusement park or field trip or hike.
Y’all. I love wearing black. Don’t you ever marvel at the memes people share with you because they reminded them of you? I love that. For me those things are Disney, Jello Shots, Nail Polish and Black Clothing.
For example, every time this –> makes the rounds I get tagged at least four or five times and I love it, because it is true, and because it is awesome to know that people are thinking of me!
In the past – both recent and distant – when non-black items come into my wardrobe it is almost always because the black in my size was sold out, or it was much more expensive, and so I think to myself: “Now is the time! let’s buy these boots in brown, I wear brown now!” No. No I don’t. I don’t wear sky-blue cashmere hoodies because they were on clearance at Lord and Taylor, those things always get returned.
Until this year.
In February I went on a cruise for a week and I decided it was time to add some color back into my warm-weather wardrobe. I started with a bathing suit. It is pink and purple and blue, there are flowers- I ordered it, and about 4 other suits, from Swimsuits For All. The other suits were all black, and I kept the colorful one and returned the safe, “flattering” (UGH, another post for another day) suits that guarantee that my fat self on the beach doesn’t get noticed. Like women over a certain age, women over a certain weight are supposed to keep that shit locked down. “I don’t want to have to see…”* is the common refrain of the a-hole who thinks they get a say in what other people wear. But not this year. On that beach in Jamaica, drinking Red Stripe and getting the worst sunburn I’ve ever had, I was wishing my suit was NEON. *(Here’s a hint, if you ever hear yourself saying “I don’t want to have to see…” STOP LOOKING. no one is making you do anything.)
I still don’t have a neon suit but I just remembered that from returning the safe black bathing suits I had a big credit for Swimsuits for All, which brings us to the shopping part… I just bought THIS and I am going full on Poison Ivy at the pool this summer.
I have a discount code for you! 40% off if you use my link– consider signing up for emails as well because there is NEVER a reason to pay full price at Swimsuits for All, they have great sales pretty much all the time. But a tip- if you return things – don’t use their shipping label. Because then they refund in store credit rather than to your original form of payment. Which is less convenient for sure.
I have been in Disney World- Traveling My Feelings with a large side of Eating My Feelings- and celebrating my birthday. When things at work get crazy, or when I’m sad, or I’m happy enough to be experiencing a break in the clouds of depression that makes me want to DO ANYTHING… I plan Disney weekends. It gets me out of my head, it gives me something to focus on and to get ready for. Making dining reservations and fastpass+ ride plans is a concrete step forward while giving me something bigger to look forward to. Plus it is really fricking fun.
And there’s packing. I start packing in my head and on paper weeks before I go. I have an entire Disney wardrobe- clothing I would never wear during my day to day in Massachusetts where I have always worn black, even in summertime. (I’m working on that right now but that’ll be another blog post for another day.) The quest for the perfect park shoe is never ending- if you have a suggestion I’m open to hearing it! I’ve found that my old school Fit Flops work the best. Skechers GoWalk sneakers with the yoga mat soles are also awesome, but the INSTANT my feet get sweaty it is all over for me, so I can’t wear things that require socks. Your mileage may vary on that.
In the photo at the top of this I’m wearing a LulaRoe Carly dress, I think it is a size Small, which cracks me up every time- I wear Small and Medium in that style interchangeably and find them to be some of the best park dresses I’ve got. My shoulders are protected from the sunburn I would otherwise get and it is a swing style, giving me lots of room for Mickey Waffles and Dole Whips. I’m also crazy about the bag I’m wearing – it is a Kavu sling bag that I got from Amazon and I will never go back to another style bag for the parks. The Kavu fits 3-4 of the thicker Disney ponchos, a bottle of water, phone, a cord and a fuel rod. Plus the other little necessities of the day- sunglasses, cool towel, advil, sunscreen… they’re also cute and easy for security to look through as I enter the park. So. A Kavu Bag. The way to go for sure. I have the Black Topo style but see Space Pop in my future! (the link to Amazon is an affiliate link- if you buy it- and you should!- I’ll make a tiny bit which I’ll put towards my next one.)
Disney trip planning gives me an excuse to do all of the things I love all at once – shopping, list-making, thinking about food… and the payoff is a trip to a place I love with people I love.