Big things in small things

I’m just going to go ahead and prepare you that this week may be a week of schmaltz and sentiment. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a lot of emotional moments this past weekend or maybe it’s because I’m in the middle of a horrendous bout of PMS. Or maybe it’s because I had to go to church yesterday morning without sufficient time to fix my hair the way I wanted because P thinks the bathroom is a place to catch up on his reading.

Most likely, it’s some combination therein. Just be warned, SCHMALTZY.

Which is actually the word I need to use instead of just plain schmaltz since I just looked up schmaltz on wikipedia to make sure I wasn’t going to inadvertently offend anyone and discovered that schmaltz refers to rendered goose fat. Rest assured, there will never be a week that I will focus on rendered goose fat. Especially in light of all my issues with poultry.

Last Thursday night, my friend A.J. had a date. She’s been in town for all the Fiesta events because she is the official photographer for King Antonio, but on Thursday she was actually attending a party in a non-official capacity. She was just going as a girl with a date.

She told Gulley and I about the event weeks ago and we begged her to let us do her hair and makeup because we enjoy living vicariously through people who have a social life. It’s not that she isn’t capable of doing her own hair and makeup, but she is a little bit of a tomboy and just can’t be bothered with all that girly stuff most of the time.

And, honestly, it works for her. She is a natural beauty.

This is her before shot:

Can you tell she was so pleased that I wanted to document the experience with photos?

She showed up at Gulley’s house with freshly washed, damp hair, so I told her we needed to blow dry her hair before we could do anything else and asked, “Did you already put some product in it?”

“What do you mean product? I used shampoo and conditioner.”

“You know product? Like volumnizer or some type of styling serum?”

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

Clearly, I have heretofore failed her as a friend and a mentor.

We introduced her to the power and wonder of styling products and then Gulley began to blow dry her hair. And then I got serious with the hot rollers because that’s how I roll. (Every time. I’m powerless against the pun.)

She began to look a little nervous so I assured her that it was not my intent to make her look like a member of the cast of Hee-Haw and she said, “What’s Hee-Haw?”

Then I cried because I am old. And I vividly remember a day (yesterday) when I would openly mock people who make dated cultural references.

After I secured all the rollers in her hair, Gulley took over with the makeup. Because while I feel secure in my ability to do good hair (name that movie), I’m not as confident when it comes to doing anyone’s makeup other than my own. And, honestly, I could use a lesson in the proper application of eye makeup.

Gulley began to apply foundation to A.J.’s face while I sat on the edge of the bed and watched. All of a sudden I looked down and noticed she was wearing a pair of camo Toms. Knowing she had open-toed shoes for the party I asked, “Have you painted your toenails?”


Oh, but I know her.


“I don’t know. A few weeks ago.”

We made her take off the Toms and the polish was totally chipped and unacceptable. At first she attempted to paint them herself. Even though she totally balked at the hot pink polish I picked out.

But eventually Gulley couldn’t stand it and took over.

We are nothing if not a full service operation.

It was around this time that Caroline and Will came running into the bedroom, stopped right in their tracks and Will yelled, “What are you doing to Alissa?”

I said, “We’re making her look pretty. She has a date tonight.”

As they ran back out of the room, I heard Caroline tell Will, “Dates are disgusting. She might kiss a boy. I don’t EVER want to go on a date.”

Don’t think I’m not going to remind her she said that when she’s fifteen and begging to meet some boy at the movies.

Ultimately, the makeup was applied, the hair was teased and sprayed until I depleted the ozone, and she was ready to go. We wanted her date to pick her up at Gulley’s house but she declined for some reason. I hope it didn’t have anything to do with the kids’ belief that a whoopee cushion is the best way to break in a new acquaintance.

Here’s the back of her hair. I only stabbed her with about sixty bobby pins before it was all said and done.

We made her put on one more swipe of lipgloss, hugged her, gushed about how beautiful she looked and sent her on her way. And then we cried just a little bit.

Because here’s the thing. Thursday night was the three year anniversary of her mother’s death from pancreatic cancer. And her mother was one of the most loving, beautiful women I’ve ever known. She had a smile that could light up a room and a way of making everyone she came in contact with feel like they were the most special person she’d ever met. In the time that I knew her she taught me so much about being a good wife and mother just by her actions.

A.J. is such a tomboy, but her mother was more of a girly girl. There were many times when we’d walk out the door to go somewhere and she’d holler, “Don’t forget to put on some lipstick!” or “Get back in here and put on some earrings!”

At the time Gulley and I pleaded to do A.J.’s hair and makeup for the party, neither of us realized the significance of the day. We just thought it would be fun. And when it did dawn on us, neither of us knew if we should even bring it up.

But that night as we rolled her hair and helped her with her eyeliner, she said, “Kay is up in heaven dancing with Jesus because y’all are making me paint my toenails hot pink.”

This story isn’t about Gulley and me helping A.J. get ready for a date. It’s about God’s faithfulness.

Gulley and I met A.J. twelve years ago when we were chaperoning a ski trip and she was a fifteen-year old girl who fascinated us with her stories of spending summers doing Outward Bound Adventure camps and using leaves as toilet paper. Honestly, I think we got on her nerves with all our questions, but she was the closest thing to a pioneer that we’d ever encountered and we were fascinated.

Back then none of us could have known what the next twelve years would bring. We couldn’t have imagined that her mother would be gone and she might need a few women in her life to fill just a little bit of that gap. But God knew.

Even though Thursday night was just about some hot pink nail polish and lipstick, it was a reminder for me of how faithful He is even in the small things. A reminder that He sees the whole picture even when we don’t and to everything there is indeed a time, a plan, a purpose.

And plenty of hair product.

Fashion Friday: Edition the best part of the swimsuit experience

Today is Battle of Flowers in San Antonio which is basically a holiday that the city made up over a hundred years ago to honor the heroes of the Alamo and commemorate the victory at the battle of San Jacinto. It’s also an official school holiday which means I don’t have to get up and make a ham sandwich at 7:00 a.m. only to have it later rejected in favor of the school cafeteria’s offering of a baked potato.

Viva Fiesta.

Freedom from tyranny, freedom from Mexico, freedom from having to wake up super early and pack a lunch.

And speaking of freedom, let’s discuss the beauty of the swimsuit coverup.

(How else am I supposed to transition from the men who fought and died for Texas to what looks best over a swimsuit?)

1. Coverups that look like a dress or tunic

My favorite part of the swimming pool experience, other than the delicious chicken fingers, ice cream sandwiches, and the occasional white wine spritzer, is the moment that I can put on my coverup. I like to keep it nearby at all times so I can immediately throw it on like a beloved security blanket. Plus, it’s easy to find so many great coverups because you don’t have to worry about pesky things like underwire and tummy control panels.

I love this medallion tunic by Becca.

But there are so many other cute options that I don’t even know how I’ll choose. In fact, I may have already decided that I like this one better.

Of course last year I headed down to El Mercado and found the best Mexican tunic that I wore as a coverup all summer long. Oh my gosh, look how cute this bubble top is.


Other great places to look for the perfect coverup are TJ Maxx and Marshalls, but I can’t link to any of those so you’ll just have to go dig through the racks and see what you can find.

2. Coverups that are just shorts or a skirt

Personally, I’m a fan of the coverup that is one easy piece, but I realize some of you may prefer to just throw on a skirt or a pair of shorts and I don’t want to discriminate.

Athleta has a great selection of swim shorts and skirts that can actually be worn in the water which is perfect if you’re looking for a little thigh coverage. (And who isn’t?)

But there are so many skirts and shorts that make perfect coverups even if you have to take them off when you get in the pool.

3. Flip-flops (You complete me.)

I believe it was Davy Crockett who first said, “There’s nothing better in the summertime than a good pair of flip-flops and a coonskin hat.”

And he was right. Summer shoes are so much fun because flip-flops are often inexpensive and you can buy them in an array of colors to match any outfit. Although I did have someone tell me this week that they will eventually ruin your feet and cause you to walk around hobbled in your older years. That’s a chance I’m willing to take.

I also love every single pair of these and would like to bring them home and make them mine.

Oh. And these.

I was going to get into a whole discussion on beach bags but I have to get to bed. I don’t want to be too tired to properly Fiesta this weekend. Although all that really means for me is that I may stay up until 9 or maybe even 10 ‘o clock on Saturday night.

Y’all have a great weekend.

Things I need to discuss

If there ever comes a day when you hear rumors that I’ve ended up in some sort of institution, there’s a good chance it will be directly linked to helping Caroline learn her spelling words for the week. I try, I TRY, to be so patient and understanding but when she starts in with the deep sighs and the “I KNOW HOW TO SPELL IT” yet continues to write “allreade” instead of “already” and insist that’s the way it’s supposed to be spelled? Let’s just say that I have to channel Frank Costanza and start telling myself “Serenity now, serenity now, SERENITY NOW”.

So I’m just going to do a quick rundown of a few things because I need to take a nerve pill and curl up in the fetal position.

1. Yesterday I made homemade salsa in the blender and was just about to pour it into the container when I accidentally hit the power button again. I’m sad to report that the lid was not on the blender at the time. Honestly, as I surveyed the salsa carnage, I thought it might be easier to just burn the whole kitchen to the ground and start over rather than attempt to clean it up.

And while we’re talking about my kitchen, it’s still not turquoise.

2. On Tuesday I burned my thumb while I was putting hot rollers in my hair. I’m not sure how I made such a rookie mistake considering I’ve hot rolled my hair at least three times a week for the last thirty years (with the exception of a few years in the late 80’s when I just rocked the spiral perm) but I think it was because I was experimenting with a new roller method where I roll the crown of my hair under and then use a curling iron on the bottom layers.

Anyway, I tweeted about my burn because I needed to share my pain and someone named Jenny tweeted back and said that I should put toothpaste on it and cover it with a band-aid for a few hours. I figured I had nothing to lose because it had to work as well as what I was currently using to try to ease the pain, which was a mixture of sticking ice on it, cursing the day hot rollers were created, and complaining about the pain to anyone who would listen.

And y’all. It totally worked. The blister went away and my thumb will live to see another day.

3. A few of you asked how I make my choffee. It’s a seriously complicated recipe that involves making half a cup of hot chocolate with Ghiradelli’s Double Chocolate hot chocolate mix with milk and then pouring it into a half cup of coffee. It’s usually just my winter time drink, but for some reason it has made the transition into spring with me this year.

4. I was going to save this for a future Fashion Friday, but I’m doing a whole thing on cover-ups and beach accessories tomorrow and I cannot wait another week to show you what I found.

Ollipop rings.

I’m in love with all of them, but I think that one is my favorite.

5. It seems like I had something else to tell you or another question I was going to answer, but I’m drawing a total blank. I guess it’s allreade time for me to call it a day.

But if you think of something I forgot to mention, feel free to leave it in the comments and I’ll add it to this list before the day is over.