Fashion Friday: Edition I’m going to the beach

On Saturday morning Caroline and I have an 8:30 a.m. flight to Alabama where we will be picked up by Sophie and Alex and we’ll all head to the beach. Needless to say, my last few hours have been spent in a fury of strategic packing because I am determined that we will make this trip with one carry-on bag and a backpack. It’s an ambitious goal, but so is drilling for oil in the Gulf and look how well that’s turned out for everyone.

And, seriously, if P asks me one more time if I’m packing HazMat suits for Caroline and me, it will cease to be mildly amusing.

The truth is that I grew up going to the beaches in Galveston in the 70’s and 80’s. I didn’t even know there were beaches without tar and oil until I was fifteen years old. I thought everyone picked out their oldest bathing suit to wear to the beach and had to wipe themselves down with gasoline at the end of the day. It was the price you paid for lounging in the sun eating Fritos and bean dip and then going out to ride the occasional wave.

Anyway, as I’ve packed I’ve thought about the essential beach items. And even the non-essential beach items. Basically, I’ve thought about things I think are great for the beach and thought I’d share them here.

1. Zebra beach towel

A good beach towel is a must and I’m a big fan of the chocolate brown zebra print.

Of course if you want something more understated, you might prefer the Regatta stripe towel. It would be perfect for attending a Regatta Gala.

2. Valencia tote bag

3. Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sunblock SPF +70

I could write several paragraphs about how particular I am when it comes to sunscreen, but I will spare you all the details of my sensitive skin and the BURNING, my word THE BURNING, that happens when I use the wrong product on my face.

That’s why I have fallen in love with this Neutrogena sunblock. It’s gentle enough for my face, but strong enough to use everywhere.

I think I sound like a commercial.

4. Ruched guard

I have a regular rash guard that I wear sometimes, but I like this one so much better because the zipper keeps me from feeling like I might suffocate. And the ruched sides are just cute.

5. Strapless smocked dress

I love these smocked dresses from Victoria’s Secret. They’re the perfect thing to throw on over a bathing suit.

6. Reef sandy sandals

I’ll admit that I haven’t always been faithful to the Reef flip-flop. There have been others along the way. But I always come back because they are so comfortable.

7. Smocked tank dress

8. Maxi jersey dress

This maxi dress is perfect because it provides a little more coverage than the normal maxi dress and it comes in this delightful hot pink and green combination.

9. Serengeti sundress

10. V-neck jersey dress

How many comfortable dresses are too many for summer?

11. Turquoise banana shell necklace

This would look so great with a simple white shirt. Or with a maxi dress. Or really with anything.

Now I’m off to go cram a few more things in a suitcase.

Also, I’m probably going to take a summer hiatus from Fashion Friday. I reserve the right to change my mind on that, but there are only so many times you can show a pair of shorts or flip-flops or cotton dresses.

What I’m trying to say is it’s hot. And it’s summertime. And the living is easy.

Y’all have a great Friday.

Electricity is good

Last night we were eating dinner with some friends when a huge storm blew in. Their electricity went out and we decided we better get in our car and head home before the hail kicked in. I’d hate to get a dent in my brand new radiator.

As we drove the three blocks home there were huge limbs down everywhere, the rain was pouring and everything was dark. Caroline said, “THIS IS THE SCARIEST NIGHT EVER.”

But it was about to get worse because we arrived home to discover our power was out. Which means our air-conditioning was out. I’ve spent a lot of time this year trying to grow as a person and make myself do things that are a little out of my comfort zone, but sleeping without air-conditioning on June 2 in South Texas is really beyond what I am equipped to handle.

(It’s always seemed like it wouldn’t be so bad to be without power in the middle of winter. It always looked so cozy on Little House on The Prairie except for that time they were all stuck in the schoolhouse during that blizzard. Of course I live in a city where the winter temperatures rarely get below thirty degrees so I’m probably not an authority on the subject.)

I put Caroline in my bed and laid down with her until she fell asleep. Then I got up and went into the living room to sit in the dark with P and watch the lightning. Fortunately P had equipped us for an occasion such as this so we had plenty of flashlights, candles and glo-sticks. Sadly, none of those things provide cold air.

Around 10:15 our lights flickered on and I was all HOORAY FOR BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, but my excitement was short-lived because they went right back out. And by 11:00 p.m. I began to accept that I was going to have to attempt to sleep without air-conditioning. Like a real pioneer.

I told P I was heading to bed and he said, “Don’t go in there if all you’re going to do is toss and turn and complain about how hot you are and that you can’t sleep.”

“Umm. Have we met? Of course that’s what I’m going to do.”

I threw back the bedding and tried to get as comfortable as possible considering that I was about to attempt to sleep next to a forty-two pound heater that was snoring in a not so delicate manner. P walked by my bedside table and placed a headlamp and a flashlight on it and said, “I’m putting these here for you in case something happens tonight.”

I wasn’t sure what might happen that would require a headlamp. Was there going to be trouble in the coal mines? Maybe an impromptu skit that would require me to play the part of DooLittle Lynn from Coalminer’s Daughter?

I fell asleep in the midst of thinking about my favorite scenes from Coalminer’s Daughter and feeling unbelievable sympathy for everyone who lived before air-conditioning was invented. Finally around 4:30 a.m. the fan clicked on and I knew everything was back up and running.

Needless to say, three hours of good sleep have left me feeling refreshed and rested and totally ready for all the end-of-the-school-year activities that are taking place later today.

Which is why I’m off to take a nap.

Under a blanket.

With the thermostat pushed down all the way to YOU DON’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW.

Car and driver

Last Thursday night Caroline spent the night with Mimi and Bops while P and I pretended to be sophisticated and attended an art auction with some friends. If we had any doubts about our complete inability to appreciate all forms of contemporary art, they were put to rest that evening while we walked around like the Clampetts and occasionally marveled, “FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR A PILE OF OLD TIRES?”

But we were feeling cosmopolitan enough to eat dinner in a restaurant at 10:30 and stay out until after midnight. Two things that haven’t happened on purpose since sometime in early 2002.

However, I wasn’t worried about living so fast and loose because Mimi and Bops were taking Caroline to school the next morning and I knew I could sleep late. Until I was washing my face at 1:04 a.m. and remembered that I had an early appointment to drop my car off at the dealership to get fixed. I really wanted to just bag on doing the whole automotive repair thing, but according to P it’s a bad sign when you have to refill the coolant every other day which I’d been doing for the better part of six months because procrastination is my place of comfort.

And since when is P an auto mechanic?

So I dropped off the car and drove to the library to meet Caroline’s class for a field trip. The librarian talked to the kids about the summer reading program and explained that if they read ten books over the summer they can come to the library and choose a free book. Caroline was sitting in my lap and whispered in my ear, “Do NOT sign me up for that. I don’t want to read ten books this summer.”

Oh. I’m afraid summer isn’t going to meet her expectations.

Naturally, I signed her up because if we’re going to fight over how many minutes she has to read every day, we might as well get a free book out of the deal.

While I was in the middle of helping her pick out a few library books, I heard my phone do it’s little beep thing it does when I get a text. It was from P and it read:

“Pray that the warranty is still good on the car.”

I texted back, “What’s wrong with it?”

“LOTS.”

Perfect. One of my very top goals for the summer was to spend a lot of money that could be used for Coppertone and fluffy beach towels and cute floral dinnerware on AUTO REPAIRS.

So in the course of ten minutes I discovered my child has no desire to read ten books this summer and there’s a high probability that we’ll be eating Ramen noodles all summer to offset the cost of a new radiator. It all kind of made me feel yuck, much like the way I felt when I saw Craig M. with that sweater tied around his shoulders on The Bachelorette.

P texted me twenty minutes later to let me know that everything was covered and HOORAY we’ll be able to eat nachos at the pool grill this summer. (He didn’t actually say anything about the nachos at the pool grill but I’m sure he meant to because they are delicious)

And so we spent the rest of the Memorial Day weekend swimming and eating and spending time with friends and family and driving around in a sweet loaner car from the dealership that I will be sad to part with when I pick up my car and my new radiator later today. (It doesn’t even have a real key. Just a key-like thing and then you push a button to start it. Technology is a wonder. Next thing you know we’ll all have portable phones that we can carry with us wherever we go. And maybe they’ll even have a computer in them!)

Anyway, after all our Memorial Day fun, Caroline was exhausted when I woke her up for school yesterday morning. She said, “Mama, I am still so TIRED even though I slept like a stone last night.” Stone, rock, whatever.

I dropped her off at school, but I had to go back later in the morning because she’d forgotten to bring her gift for her fifth grade buddy. I parked the loaner car in front of the school and walked over to the playground where her class was killing time. Because that’s what these last three days are all about. Killing time. Yesterday was bubble gum day, today is pajama day, tomorrow is crazy backwards day. I have a theory that they’re really not learning anything at this point.

After I dropped off the gift I walked back out to the car, opened the door and got in. I noticed it smelled a little different but didn’t think much of it until I realized I couldn’t figure out where to put the key. And then I realized that it had tan upholstery. And a stack of things in the passenger seat that didn’t belong to me.

I was sitting in the wrong car.

And I could not have jumped out faster if it had been on fire.

It’s time for summer. My brain is tired. And unlike my radiator, it’s not under any kind of extended warranty.