Oh, hey, there. To quote my new best Instagram friend Leslie Jordan, “What are y’all doin’?”
It’s been a crazy couple of months. I feel like we need a check-in. I shared an updated version of one of my favorite dinners–our Beef & Green Bean Stir-Fry–but I also wanted a little discussion about how we’re all doing.
Does anyone feel like the last few months kind of haven’t happened and also will never end? It’s been weird. March feels like a lifetime ago, but I can’t really tell you what we’ve done in the meantime.
- Y’all know I’m going to be real with you and there have been parts of this very strange time that have been really hard. My son and I were supposed to see Hamilton in Atlanta in May. And then it got postponed to September. And then it got postponed to September 2021. Right now, it kind of feels like it’s never going to happen.
- We were supposed to go to Utah to visit my family. But because Louisiana is a perpetual hotspot and because my dad turned 80 this year and has some other health concerns, we decided to pass. At first, it was okay because it seemed like everyone else was missing out (is it bad that that made me feel better? 😂), but when more and more fun family vacations started creeping into my Instagram feed, I got more and more sad. If I had to pinpoint a month where I seem to struggle emotionally, I think July would be it (which is strange because October has perpetually been when the worst things in my life have happened, but I still love October), so to be stuck kind of isolated at home, in the dead of Louisiana summer, so far from my family, watching everyone else have fun has been hard. We’ve tried a couple of day trips, but honestly, the weather is so miserable and the shopping/eating in restaurants vibe is so weird that it’s ended up being not as fun as I hoped it would be.
- Right now, a lot of our social support system is self-quarantining because they’ve been exposed.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s been good stuff, too. Most of those good things center around my kids because apparently I live vicariously through them now.
- My son found out he made his high school’s elite acapella ensemble (he took the one open tenor spot) and I’m so proud of him! If you’re REALLY interested, this is a video they did last year…he’s not in this video, but they’re pretty awesome. This choir was one of the reasons he chose this school (we have open enrollment). We don’t know what the performing arts will look like in the fall, but it’s a small group (18 kids), so I’m hoping one way or another, they can find a way to safely rehearse.
- Before the world shut down for the second time, that same kid was able to do a theatre camp. It was good for him to see his friends and for them all to remember that they love each other because, as we all know, interacting only through social media can be a little bit toxic. Here’s a little clip of him and one of his BFFs singing “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors.
- My daughter has turned in to quite the digital artist. This is a little piece she worked on for a creativity loop that my friend KaRyn organized.
- She continues to play the electric and acoustic guitars, ukulele, has expressed some interest in the banjo and mandolin, and has even dabbled in song-writing.
- My youngest is just along for the ride and keeps us all laughing. He’s good at stuff, too, but he’s 8 and mostly I’m just happy if he brushes his teeth.
what’s kept me happy
I’ll try and keep this brief because I’ve already said a lot. As you can tell from this graphic, it’s been a mishmash of my basest instincts, but you know, sometimes there’s a pandemic and you just need some reality TV.
- Since we missed Hamilton in real life, being able to watch it on Disney Plus was a bright spot. I still haven’t seen it in person and honestly don’t know when that will be an option again, so being able to finally see it was amazing (much more amazing than I thought it would be…I had low expectations for seeing it on the small screen.) Daveed Diggs is a god and has supernatural talent and his table bouncing as Thomas Jefferson in the second act is the best thing I’ve ever witnessed.
- I’ve talked a little about my skincare journey over the last 9 months, and I’m still working out the kinks (guess what helped more than anything? Going to a dermatologist. 😂) That said, I’ve completely fallen in love with Stratia skincare. I haven’t tried the new retinol night cream because I have a prescription retinol I use at nigh. Also, the Vitamin C serum wasn’t a good fit for my (very very very) sensitive skin, but everything else I’ve tried has been amazing. If I had to recommend *one* of their products, however, it would be their Liquid Gold moisturizer. It is amazing and, like all of their products, very affordable compared to other similar products on the market.
- Lake Street Dive Radio on Spotify. I’ve listened to Lake Street Dive for a couple of years now and love their brand of blue-eyed soul, but their Spotify station is the perfect combination (for me) of blues, folk, soul, acoustic rock, etc. If I just want to have something on in the background that isn’t too overwhelming but also not sleepy, this is it.
- Mask-making. I’m not crafty and I kinda hate sewing, but I’ve taken some satisfaction in making masks. It’s mindless and keeps my hands busy and the masks are cute, and apparently that’s the base standard for happiness in July 2020.
- Grillo’s Pickles. These are THE BEST. They taste like my grandma’s homemade pickles. They’re in the refrigerated section and the closest place I can find them is 90 minutes away at our closest Whole Foods, so I buy a whole bunch at a time and then ration them out like a squirrel in winter.
- Blueland cleaning products. I know Sara has tried these, too, and I think we’ve come to similar conclusions. I ordered the cleaning kit as well as the dish soap. They all smell really good and the concept is very cook. I didn’t love the glass cleaner…it was a little streaky and I don’t know if anything will ever beat my favorite Sprayway Glass Cleaner. I’m neutral on the bathroom cleaner. But the things I really loved were the multi-surface cleaner, the hand soap (they all smell ah-maaa-zing, I love the bottle, and they’re cheaper and easier to store than my vast hand soap collection) and the dish soap. I was NOT expecting to love the dish soap–it doesn’t smell like anything and it’s actually a powder that you sprinkle onto a wet dish cloth or sponge. The whole concept sounded weird to me, but I’m not kidding, it is the BEST dish soap EVER. Whether I’m hand-washing things like my blender jar, enamel cookware, or reusable straws or wiping down my sink and countertops, nothing cleans like it. It cuts through grease and grime and leaves everything unbelievably shiny and clean. I like the texture of the powder–it adds a little scrubbing power–and there are some suds, but not so many that it’s hard to rinse them away. Who knew that in 2020, the quality of my year would be defined by dish soap?
- 90 Day Fiancé. I’m a trash person. But guys…it’s the best. My older kids and I get quite a kick out of it. I cover my eyes a lot out of second-hand embarrassment. I also rewatched Mad Men, which I maintain is the greatest television series ever created, but what can I say, I’m well-rounded.
- Animal Crossing. This has been a great way for my kids and I to do something together. We’ve also had Animal Crossing parties with people that we can’t see in real life–put people on speakerphone and go visit each other’s islands. Again, I never thought I’d be in a place where a video game with anthropomorphic talking animals was part of what was keeping me sane (and also insane, like when Flo the purple penguin was rude to me, so I went and dug up all her roses and blockaded her inside her house with furniture). But honestly, it’s a great, wholesome way for my kids and I to have fun together that doesn’t involve the kinds of murdery feelings we all get when we play board games.
That’s all folks
That’s all from me!! I want to hear how y’all are doing! What are your summers looking like? What’s school in the fall shaping up to be? What are your disappointments? What’s the good stuff?