Love Letter to Mr. Coleman

My children ride the school bus every day.  After years of sitting in the car line and balancing preschool and childcare calendars, the school bus feels like a miracle.  All I have to do is get my kids out the door, and someone will pick them up AND bring them back home?!?!  No traffic, no fuss.  I don’t have to get dressed.  Seriously, it is the best thing ever.

I know that other people in our district have trouble with their bus drivers, but not us.  Mr. Coleman has been our driver for two years, and he is an absolute dream.  He pulls up to the curb each morning, on time, with a huge grin on his face, waving to my kids and wishing them a good morning.  He chats with me and wishes me a good day while my kids sit down, then off they go.  Then, after school, he drives up on time, again with a smile, and says goodbye and waves until the next morning.  In bad weather, he sits at the curb and beeps for us, because he knows we wait in the house.  On mornings that we run late, he waits at the curb and beeps a few times to let us know he’s there.  He drives safely.  When my kids forget something on the bus, he always takes care of it until we see him the next day.  He throws a pizza party for the kids, on the bus, on the last day of school.  He pays for the food and cleans up after, all on his own.  We are so thankful for him!

Last week, Mr. Coleman disappeared.  On Wednesday morning, the bus never came.  The same happened on Thursday and Friday.  After school, my children usually arrive home at 4:00.  Without Mr. Coleman, my kids got home after 5:00.  The substitute drivers would not make eye contact with me, did not speak to me or my kids, and drove away.  I called the bus garage to find out why the bus wasn’t coming, why it was late, and what I could do.  I had been late to work three days in a row because the bus didn’t come.  I had worried about my children when they arrived home an hour late with no explanation or call.

On Monday, the morning bus finally came, but 30 minutes late.  On Tuesday, it came 20 minutes late.  Both days, the driver started driving while my kids were in the aisle, and I saw my kindergartener pitch around.  That made me nervous.   I was despairing of ever being to work on time ever again…until after school yesterday, when I caught sight of the bus coming down the road at its usual time.  

The bus door opened to reveal the smiling face of Mr. Coleman!  I was so relieved, I started waving and grinning.  I told him how much we missed him, and he laughed.  He didn’t offer an explanation of where he’d been, and I didn’t need one.  I was so relieved to see him back in our life!

Mr. Coleman, thank you for being punctual.  Thank you for driving safely with my babies each morning.  Thank you for cheerfully greeting my children and myself.  Thank you for your reliability, for your compassion, and for doing a tough job with a smile.  Please, don’t leave us ever again!

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DIY Shamrock Shake

As a kid, I loved Shamrock Shakes at McD’s.  I looked forward to St. Patrick’s Day every year because they were so good!  Now, as an adult who is pretty health-conscious about ingredients . . . well, I don’t have Shamrock Shakes anymore.

I was so excited to see this recipe on today.com!  Make your own Shamrock Shake – I can’t wait to try it out later today when my kids get home!  I, of course, made a few tweaks to avoid food coloring.  You all know how I feel about that.

Shamrock Shake (edited from the Today Show)
Makes: 2 servings
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup milk (any fat percentage)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1/2 C spinach (for color)
  • Whipped cream, for garnish
  • 2 cherries, for garnish

Blend the ice cream, milk, mint extract and spinach together in a blender until smooth.

Pour into 2 16-ounce glasses and garnish each with whipped cream and a cherry. Serve immediately.

Home to Work to Workout Wear

I play so many roles in my day, dressing for everything is no joke.  If I had a separate outfit for each role, I would change my clothes three times a day, or more.  This is simply not possible – the laundry alone would kill me.  Over the last few years, I have managed to figure out a style that can take me from work, to my morning workout, back to work, out for lunch, and to my after school activities with my kids, all with minimal fuss.

To begin, put on your workout clothes.  Then, layer as follows:

Loose tops
Loose tops are my BFF.  When I get dressed in the morning, I put on my workout gear then layer a loose top over my workout shirt.  When it is time for me to get my sweat on, I just take the loose top off.  After class, I give myself a quick clean and put the loose top back on – ready to head back to work or lunch or life in an instant.  The key is that the loose top be long enough to cover my bum.

My favorite loose tops are from Zara.  I picked up a few in Paris and I get compliments on them ALL the time.  Here are some of my favorites for Spring:

Image 1 of KIMONO SLEEVE STRIPED BLOUSE from Zara   Kimono blouse $49.90

Image 1 of OVERSIZE SHIRT from Zara Oversize Shirt $79.90

Image 1 of COLOR-BLOCK BLOUSE from Zara   Color-Block Blouse $59.90

Leggings
We all know that a good pair of workout leggings is an investment piece.  A poor quality pair shows the world everything you’ve got when you are in downward dog.  A good quality pair of leggings is completely worth it, as they wear well and look amazing.  Here are some of my favorites:

Wunder Under Pant  lululemon wunder under pant $82-92

C9 Champion® Women's Compression Knee Legging  C9 leggings $17-18

Boots
Boots pull it all together, friends.  When the weather gets warmer I will transition to ballet flats or sandals, but this time of year, boots are my jam.  They are easy to pull off for class and dress up my outfit just a bit.

Frye boots $215 on sale!!!

  Steve Madden boots $130

Leg Warmers
I did an entire post devoted to leg warmers previously, and my obsession remains.  There is just *something* about the way leg warmers look when combined with leggings and boots.  Not to mention, when I get to barre or PiYo class and I wear my leg warmers during warmup, I always get compliments on them.  If you don’t have a pair or three, stock up.

Scarf
Top the look off with a loosely wrapped scarf.  If you don’t know how, do a google search – it is super easy, I promise.  The best part of a scarf is the versatility – I have used mine as a shawl, a headcover during a popup rain storm, a blanket for my chilly daughter during soccer practice, and of course, as a scarf.  It adds a bit of polish to the ensemble.

Women's Solid Oblong Scarf  Basic scarf $15

This look should take you from home to work to workout to soccer practice, all without major wardrobe changes.  Happy shopping!

Wardrobe Swapout!

It is *almost* time for my favorite part of changing seasons – the wardrobe swapout!  I started this tradition a few years ago, as crowded closets made me totally stressed.  I realized that I only ever wore what was right in front, because sorting through a crowded closet was impossible.  My clothes were wrinkly from being crammed together.  Constantly pushing aside clothes that were seasonally inappropriate was frustrating and time consuming.

So, I bought three big tubs for the off season clothes (one for each season), and now I only keep clothes in my closet that are seasonally appropriate.

This is great on several levels:

  1. My closet is airy and I can actually SEE my clothes.
  2. Opening a seasonal box is kind of like opening a present.  I am so excited to see pieces that I love!
  3. It gives me great perspective on what to keep.  When I take something out of the tub, if I am not super-thrilled to see it, I think pretty hard about whether it is time to send that piece to Goodwill.
  4. Unpacking everything and laying it out lets me think about the outfit combinations that I could put together.
  5. I can identify the pieces that I would like to purchase for the season – SUPER great.

All of this helps me with mindful shopping, which is a practice I try to implement as much as possible.  I used to be an impulse shopper, buying whatever caught my eye or was on sale as I went by.  Now, I try to be more purposeful.  For example, in looking at my wardrobe for spring, I know I want a pair of ripped, coated black cropped jeans.  So, I’ve been searching for the perfect pair, and I think I’ve found them!

If you haven’t tried it, give this method a try.  I promise that it will give you some great perspective on your wardrobe, and an airy, spaced out closet is such a a little luxury.

No Poo Co-wash Experiment Update #3

As you may know, I started this year with a no-poo experiment.   (If this is news to you, please see my first cowash post).  When I say “no-poo”, I mean “no shampoo”.  I’m not trying to confuse anyone or freak them out!  Below are some Q&A about how this works:

Why No Poo?
I’ve been unhappy with my hair for, oh, all my life basically.  As a teenager I washed it twice a day sometimes, and it was always dry and frizzy.  In college I cut it all off and highlighted it blonde, which was okay because it was short.  But, when I wanted to grow it out again, it was dry and brittle.  I have spent the last fifteen years trying product after product, in an effort to get my hair to look soft and moisturized.  Nothing worked long term.  A few years ago, I read some articles about how overwashing hair actually made it produce more oil at the root but dried out the hair shaft, so I decided to start washing my hair less often.  This had a great effect on my hair and I saw some great improvements, but I still lacked the healthy shine that I craved.  I tried the “no poo” baking soda and ACV method last summer, but I didn’t love it and there were articles claiming the pH of these ingredients are not great for hair.  In an effort to try something new, I did some more internet searching over winter break and found the Co-wash Method.  I decided to give it a try.

What exactly IS co-washing?
So, that’s a complicated answer.  A simple Google search gets you several different options.  Some people use a cleansing conditioner, like Wen or SheaMoisture.  As far as I can tell, these products are mostly conditioner, with a small amount of a shampoo-like substance mixed in to do some cleansing.  I am mostly unclear about how these work, and they didn’t sound like the solution I was looking for, so I passed.  Other people only wash their hair with conditioner, which is the option I decided to try, mostly because I didn’t have to buy yet another new product to try it out.

How do you co-wash?
The blogger Foodie With Family had a great explanation of how to go about it, so I gave it a try.  The basic idea is to get your hair really super wet, then goop a bunch of conditioner on your scalp and scrub it in all over the place.  Let it sit for a while, at least five minutes.  Then, rinse your scalp really well, scrubbing, tilting your head at every angle to be sure the water rinses all the conditioner away.

How is the co-washing going?
There is definitely a learning curve to this process – the first few times I co-washed, I had some greasy spots where I had either (a) not scrubbed conditioner in properly or (b) failed to rinse well.  At this point, I have not washed my hair with shampoo for two and a half months.  I LOVE IT.  I wash my hair twice a week – once on Saturday morning, when I give myself a fancy blowout and style so I look good all weekend.  This blowout lasts until Wednesday night, when I co-wash again and let my hair air dry for a curly, tousled look for Thursday and Friday.

How do you prolong the blowout?
The tip is a sleep bun.  I have been doing a bun at night for FOREVER, as it rejuvenates my wavy hair, but I totally love this explanation of how and why a sleep bun rocks.  Before I go to bed, I comb or brush my hair, put a little conditioning oil on the ends, then wrap it all up on top of my head.  I leave the sleep bun in while I work out in the morning, and then let my hair down once I get ready for my day.  On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, it is usually awesome and ready to go.  I will spray a tiny bit of hairspray on for staying power, but the sleep bun makes for amazing hair.  Wednesday is a mixed bag – I usually wind up with some dry shampoo on my roots and some sort of braid or ponytail that day.  Some weeks, though, it looks great even on Wednesday!

Conclusion?  I love co-washing.  My husband has not said anything about my hair looking or smelling gross, which he would certainly do if he noticed anything of the sort. I am losing a LOT less hair in the shower, only a few strands every time I wash.  Previously, every time I shampooed I lost a handful of hair.  My hair is shiny and bouncy, and I even though I usually co-wash twice a week, I honestly think I could get away with only once.  I may try that in the coming weeks, just to see what happens.  I have long hair, so I know what my ends typically look like three months after a cut.  They look great, compared to what I am used to.

If you are interested, I would really encourage you to give co-washing a try!  Your hair will thank you.