The Week That Was: May 29, 2015

I’m glad this week is over and I’m looking forward to a fresh start on Monday. We’ve had two weeks of back-to-back visitors which translates to eating and drinking way too much! I’m terrible with self-discipline when we have guests. They’re on vacation so I act like I am, too! The gluttony will continue this weekend, no doubt, as we head to College Station to celebrate my nephew’s high school graduation. I think we need to do a cleanse next week.

Plenty of friends have texted or emailed to make sure we’re not floating away. We’ve had tons of rain the last several weeks and some scary weather over the weekend. Fortunately, the only thing we experienced were a couple of power outages here and there. Others weren’t so lucky and I know there are several people who are still unaccounted for in Central Texas. Tragic.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, stay safe, dry and keep your bellies full… Monday’s a new day!

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Splurge-worthy travel essentials. Noise-canceling headphones: check! (Sadly, they don’t get much use when I have Nora in tow.)

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I’m looking forward to seeing my nephew graduate today, and to see how many of these I witness.

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Consider yourself warned: you’re probably going to want a doughnut.

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Sage advice. But I think we can all stand to slow down a bit, even if you’re not a parent.

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Sad but true, this is the garbage we read in women’s magazines. And I’m guilty of reading the trash even when I’m not on an airplane.

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Goonies never say die.

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So I’m not the only one who’s had enough with J Crew.

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Bedtime in our house these days.

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Have a lovely weekend!

“You Are My Sunshine” Birthday Party

Nora Turns Two!

Nora turns two!

I’ll make the cliché statement right up front: I can’t believe Nora is two. You hear people say things like this all the time, and I remember when I was a kid, we’d see distant relatives once every few years and they’d act startled that I’d grown since the last time they saw me. “You were only this big,” they’d say, positioning their hand mid-thigh or wherever, indicating how tall I was the last time they saw me. As a kid, I found it so annoying. But it’s true. Time goes by so fast. Seems like I was just rocking my little newborn to sleep after fumbling through a feeding session, then I blinked and she was climbing up the ladder (by herself!) to her new swing set.

We had a small birthday party with family to celebrate Nora’s birthday. I landed on “You Are My Sunshine” for the theme, after a brief detour down the cowgirl theme path (we’re Texans now, after all). “You Are My Sunshine” is one of the two songs we sing to Nora at bedtime every night, and I’ve sang it to her for as long as I can remember. And when she sings it now — particularly when she stretches to reach the really high notes — it’s the best. Also, it’s an easy theme! Anything yellow = sunshine-themed.

“You Are My Sunshine” Birthday Party Décor

I thought it would be really easy to pull together the décor for Nora’s sunshine birthday party, but finding an invitation that I liked proved to be a bit of a hunt. There are a lot out there, but I couldn’t find any that were my taste (read: not cheesy looking). I found this adorable design from inBloom Studio in their Etsy shop.

You Are My Sunshine invitation

I kept the decorations simple, placing framed photos of Nora, a framed party invitation and fresh flowers on our entry table. I also bought one of those chalkboards from Michael’s to create a board of Nora facts. I thought it was a great idea that I could repeat for every birthday (or use for other parties and holidays). Nice idea, except for the fact that the chalkboard I bought isn’t technically a real chalkboard, I guess, and the chalk markers that I used won’t wash off. Guess Nora can hang onto that for posterity… The one thing that had me kicking myself was my brilliant idea to make sunshine photos of Nora from her second year, which I clipped onto the wreath above our entry table. I can think of many other useful ways to spend my time rather than cutting out twelve little sunshines.

You Are My Sunshine birthday party decor

Luckily, “You Are My Sunshine” must be a popular theme at the moment, because everywhere I go I see all kinds of canvas artwork — and they’re inexpensive. I picked up a couple at TJ Maxx and put one on our mantle along with a big framed photo of Nora from last fall. I also got wooden T – W – O letters from Target and painted them yellow. Voilà!

You Are My Sunshine birthday party decor

Much to Nora’s chagrin, I made her another party hat this year. And it was as well-received this year as it was last year. By that, I mean she only agreed to wear it for a few photo opps before demanding it be removed. The hot glue gun scar I’m now sporting on my left wrist wasn’t worth it!

Party hat

“You Are My Sunshine” Birthday Party Menu

Since Nora’s party was an afternoon soirée and not at lunchtime, I decided to just serve snacks. Originally I thought about doing all yellow foods, but that menu got a little odd… so I nixed the idea. Instead, the spread included: chips/salsa/guacamole, mac and cheese bites, meatballs, hummus and pita chips, lemon Jelly Belly beans and chocolate-covered Oreos (with a yellow drizzle!). The signature drink — because what two-year old’s birthday party doesn’t have a signature drink — was this delicious sunshine punch. I channeled the baker in me to whip up a lemon sunshine cake, which didn’t come out half bad!

You Are My Sunshine birthday cake

I have no doubt that our little sunshine felt the love on her second birthday. And I have no doubt that I really will have a scar from that hot glue gun mishap. Guess that’s what I’ll hang onto for posterity.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I’ve taken a little time off — partly intentional, partly just being too damn busy moving into our new house and partly wanting and needing to make some changes to The Globetrotting Gal.

Shortly after my last post, we closed on our house (hooray!) and immediately thereafter I had a girls’ weekend in Los Angeles with some of the loveliest gals I know (more on that soon — I hope!) and then shortly after I returned, we moved into our new home. Things were a bit hectic. It’s amazing the number of things you have to have fixed and/or redone in a brand new never-before-lived-in house… Isn’t that supposed to be the beauty of buying brand spankin’ new? Guess not.

Being busy doesn’t typically stop me from keeping up with the blog, but I’ve been in an uncertain place with it for a while. What’s the point? Why am I doing this? The focus of the blog doesn’t really fit my life anymore. Maybe I’ll start all over. And so on, and so on… When I started this blog three years ago, my intent was to chronicle my travels for my family and friends. (I can’t believe I’ve been writing this for three years, by the way.) At the time, KP and I did our fair bit of traveling. I worked in travel and it was my biggest passion. Less than six months into the blog, I got pregnant and that really impacted our travels, both while I was pregnant and pretty significantly thereafter. I commend all the parents who keep on keepin’ on with their travels after the baby arrives. And we did it, too, taking Nora on her first flight around three months old. But our travels have changed drastically; they’re not nearly as frequent and they’re different in terms of where we go, what we do, our style and our needs. Someday we’ll be globetrotters again, but that’s just not what our life is right now.

And as such, it became hard to write a travel blog when there wasn’t a whole lot of traveling going on anymore. We travel at times, and I’ll continue to write about that, but I’m going to make some changes to the blog, primarily by shifting focus from travel-centric to lifestyle (no, I am not dreaming of becoming the next Gwynnie, Blake, Reese or “lifestyle maven” du jour, but it’s the term that best fits what the blog will be). The Globetrotting Gal will be my day-to-day — mom stuff, family stuff, recipes, food and wine, musings and yes, travel. I might complain about my super sleeper who now cries any time she’s put in her crib, or the sauvignon blanc I’m loving at the moment (still trying to find one I like more than Kim Crawford), or a weekend getaway with one of my girlfriends (two planned for the summer — yippee!). The Globetrotting Gal name will stay the same and so will the address, but I’m also hoping to revamp the style of the blog in the near future.

So hang with me if you’d like. Things might look a little messy while I figure it all out. And don’t be surprised when you come back and see something not at all related to travel. I hope you’ll enjoy what’s to come.