Weekly link recap, ending 4/8/23. Click on the item name to go straight to the corresponding site page of items I posted this week. To read the piece about the items, click on the TITLE of the piece. Thank you!
*Each week, I will post a recap of any links I have shared in any posts during the week prior. Happy Shopping!*
I have always loved travel. I love hopping on a plane with my husband, my family, or with friends and heading off to somewhere fun. But first I have to get there. Right out of college, I was a flight attendant for a hot minute. When you work for an airline and travel on an employee pass, there is a dress code. Traveling on an employee pass, I was required to dress professionally, and that set a tone for me. Therefore, I like travel clothes that look good but give me some comfort. You won’t see me on an airplane in athletic shorts…or shorts of any kind. You might see me in joggers, because they’re comfortable, and I can dress them up. As summer gets closer, more people travel, so I have some recommendations. Here are some travel outfits I love:
Wide Leg Jumpsuit. As I scrolled through Instagram a few weeks ago, I came across a wide-leg, short-sleeve jumpsuit perfect for travel. It has a v-neck, and it also has some spandex, meaning stretch, so it’s more comfortable on long flights. It comes in a variety of colors, but I prefer the darker colors. I have ordered this in several colors, but the black is my fave. It’s great, because the v-neck is flattering, and the wide legs make it easy-fitting. At just $35.99 (yes, you read that right), it’s a great buy. Pair it with a cute jacket for some dimension. I love to add a scarf for a pop of color; it can also act as a lightweight blanket on a chilly flight. To purchase this fabulous piece (picture below) from Amazon, click here.
Amazon Essentials Joggers. Somehow, I got lucky and stumbled upon the inexpensive Amazon Essentials Joggers a year or two ago, and since then, I have accumulated a collection. While they offer a variety of colors, my entire collection consists of black joggers. They’re lightweight. They’re cute. They’re flattering, and most importantly, they are wash-and-wear…so easy! I know what you’re thinking: sweatpants. Sure, joggers can be considered sweatpants, but these can be dressed up, without a doubt. In winter, I wear them with cute ankle boots and sweaters, while in warmer months, I wear them with wedges. Priced under $20, these joggers are so inexpensive, you have to get them. Purchase here.
V-neck tshirt. I am pretty particular about my “t-shirt” type shirts. I like long sleeves, but they also offer this shirt in short sleeve version. I like a flattering v-neck. And I like for it to fit my arms but not hug my body tightly. I found one on Amazon that has worked for me time and time again. It works great with the joggers above or with the Miramar joggers below. Purchase it here
Large scarf. I love a colorful scarf for “dressing up” an outfit. Years ago, I learned the “third piece,” whether it is a jacket or scarf, completes an ensemble…making the wearer appear more “put together.” It’s something I believe in, for sure. So when I’m wearing an all-black outfit, as a jumpsuit or joggers and shirt, I like to add a colorful scarf to break up the black a little and make me look complete. A large scarf can also help ensure I stay warm on a chilly flight. I found a couple of faves on Amazon that are pretty darn inexpensive. The first is a silk scarf that’s priced at under $20, and it measures 70″ x 35″…making it a good size. It comes in lots of colors and patterns, and you can purchase it here. For one that has a “cashmere feel,” and measures 78″ x 27″, click here.
Rag and Bone Miramar joggers. OK, y’all, I’m giving away a big secret here. No joke, I have only shared this info with my closest friends, but here it is: I wear sweatpant jeans. Yep. Rag and Bone makes Miramar joggers that are printed to look like cute jeans, but they are really French terry sweatpants, and they look great! I’m not going to lie…at $225, they are pricey, but I love them. In fact, I love them so much that, over time, I have purchased two pairs in each color. They are 100% cotton, so you need to remember not to put them in the dryer when you wash them, but other than that, they are pretty easy. As joggers, they have elastic around the ankles, so they are great for lots of heights. I’m only 5’2″, and I love these, because I wear them pushed all the way down to the ankle, or I can wear the elastic underneath a little higher on my leg to make them look more cropped. These are truly some of my favorite travel pants. I can pair them with a cute top or blouse and jacket, and I look finished. No one knows they are sweats, unless they are familiar with the brand. To see the Miramar joggers on Amazon, click here. Another company, BLANKNYC offers something similar at a much lower price. I haven’t tried them (yet), but if you’d like something similar without the sticker shock, try them. The BLANKNYC version is priced under $52 in the lighter color (click here) or the darker color ($81) here.
Utility Shirt Jacket. I love a good utility shirt jacket, because it can add to so many different outfits. For travel, I have a few I use, but a favorite is definitely a Lucky Brand version. It’s olive green, so basically a neutral. I will wear it with all of the items above, and it’s offered in more than one color. It’s lightweight and well-made, and because it’s a neutral, it can be used in various ways with different styles of outfits, even dresses. Get yours here.
Blazer. If you prefer a more tailored look, a blazer might be the way to go. I have a few of these lightweight blazers from Amazon. Priced under $50, they won’t break the bank, and they’re comfortable and travel well. Offered in 15 colors, they make a great addition to any travel wardrobe. Get a few colors, and switch things up! Purchase here.
And this is when I tell you that, in order to keep these pieces from looking too casual, I never wear sneakers on planes. Personally, I prefer comfortable wedge sandals in spring and summer and comfortable boots or loafers in fall and winter. It’s just my way of dressing it all up and pulling it together. But by all means, you do you. And always remember that, if you are checking luggage on commercial airlines, you need to pack at least one change of clothes in your carry-on bag. I always pack a swimsuit in my carry-on too, if I’m going to a warm location.
Our daughter is returning to college for the second semester of her freshman year. In just 36 hours, our blissful month of having her under our roof will end. She and my husband will load up her car and start the 450 mile drive back to her university. She will drop him off at the airport before she goes to her dorm. He will fly home…without her.
And our house will be eerily quiet…again. It will be as quiet as it has been for the past few months, since we dropped her off in August. That dorm move-in is a distant memory now. Remember all the planning? Remember all the boxes of dorm supplies and decor stacked up in my foyer? I can hardly remember it now.
She survived first semester. With medical emergencies, the flu, late nights, lots of fun, lots of new friends…she survived. Not only did she survive, she thrived. Our girl was made for the big college atmosphere. It’s her happy place, for the most part. Don’t get me wrong; there were occasional tears. If you have a child leaving for college next fall, just know there will be tears. Sometimes they just have to get through the tears to get to the good stuff. I have told our daughter that in many late night phone conversations. If we didn’t have the bad, we wouldn’t appreciate the good. It’s absolutely true. The good seems so much better after you experience the bad. If your child calls you crying from college, remind them and yourself of that.
I will be having to remind myself of that over the next few weeks, as we adjust to a quiet house again.
Our house has felt like our house again for the past month, while our girl has been home. We had her friends in and out of the house at all hours. Many times, I was up at 2am, making grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for a gaggle of friends. I’m not complaining; I loved every minute of it. Some nights, I was picking her up from a friend’s house or a party in the wee hours of the morning. After the murders at the University of Idaho, I wasn’t real keen on her taking an Uber. That horrible crime was a reminder that a background check is just a check of what someone hasn’t been caught doing or hasn’t done yet. It’s scary to think young girls all over the country hop into the car with strangers all the time, right? So while our daughter was in Charlotte, I was her personal Uber driver if she needed me. *Say a prayer for the families of those University of Idaho students.*
Did my husband love the late nights? No. It drives him crazy to have to stay up past midnight. He leads a very structured life, and if the timing gets messed up, he’s not happy. I’m a total vampire who flies by the seat of my pants, so in my world, I love the chaos. I love spontaneity. I love getting in the car at 1:30am to pick up our daughter and friends to bring them back to our house. I love standing in the kitchen, in my pajamas and robe, preparing food for them after they get here. And I’m going to miss it.
Will we get to bed at a reasonable hour every night? Yes. Will the amount of laundry I have to do decrease exponentially? Yes. But honestly, I will miss the extra laundry. I will miss watching the clock as we wait for her to come home. I will miss the late night talks in her room. I will miss watching football games with her.
I will miss her.
Thank God we have some vacations coming up soon, so we won’t be in this quiet house. Before we know it, she will come home for a visit. If she doesn’t, chances are I will hop on a plane and go see her one weekend soon…just because I miss her. She’ll need a Mama hug, and I’ll need to see her face to make sure she’s OK.
I keep reminding myself that in just four short months, she will be home for summer. We will take mother/daughter trips again. She will likely want to visit friends in different cities, and that’s OK too. We will just be happy to have her here when we can. Just having that to look forward to will keep us going. Well, that and some fun trips.
Meet us in the Bahamas, but bring your own snorkel gear!
Tuesday was a long day for our family. I took my husband to the airport in the morning to catch an 11:00 flight to Birmingham. Our daughter had finished her first semester college finals and was ready to come home for the holidays, but since her school is 450 miles away, we didn’t want her to ride alone. Therefore, my husband was flying down to make the drive with her. I know some folks will think that’s crazy, but I don’t care. Even our daughter protested, “Really??? I can drive alone!” If purchasing an airline ticket for my husband would create a hardship for us, I might have considered letting her drive home alone, but it’s a long drive for anyone, and well, you never know when something will happen. Our daughter is a great driver with lots of driving experience, but because I have been stranded on the side of the highway before, I know how scary it can be as a woman…especially a young woman. Yes, she has a AAA Automobile Club membership, and she has roadside assistance for her car through the manufacturer, and all of that makes me feel better, but I just don’t feel good about the possibility of her being stranded on the interstate highway. My husband doesn’t either, so that’s why he flew down to drive back with her.
She picked him up at the Birmingham airport at about noon, and they started the 6-hour drive back to Charlotte. Over the past couple of years, we have decided that, because of the road construction and heavy truck traffic on I-85 between Charlotte and Greenville, South Carolina, it’s easier to travel on I-20 and I-77 between Birmingham and Charlotte. Its a slightly longer drive…20 minutes or so, but it’s just a more peaceful drive. Well…usually it is.
After they had passed through Atlanta, my husband noticed a vibration in the car that was just too much to continue. The tires were not inflated properly. They were showing various pressures, so when he called me, we decided that might be the issue. He decided to stop at a tire store in Conyers, Georgia, to try to get the issue resolved before continuing. Thank God they stopped when they did. It took a couple of hours to get the issue straightened out…rotation, weights, and alignment…but eventually, they were back on the road. I even suggested they might stop at a hotel and just come home in the morning, because in addition to the fact that it was getting late, there was also a heavy fog settled over the Carolinas. They would have none of that; they both wanted to get home.
At about 11:30pm, they turned into our driveway. I went out to greet them as soon as they parked. They were exhausted and hungry, since they hadn’t stopped for food anywhere along the way. We all came in, and I made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for them before we all turned in for the night.
I was just thankful they had arrived safely. Yes, it was a long trip for them and a long day of worry for me, but they made it. I also said prayers of thanks that my husband was there with our daughter, so she didn’t have to deal with all the issues alone. I would have been driving to meet her somewhere if he hadn’t flown down to ride back with her, and I would have been terrified for her. It’s a good lesson. If you ever question whether you should go help your child with something like a long drive, err on the side of caution. I’m not even a particularly cautious mom, but when it comes to long drives, I am.
Now, we are enjoying the holidays and preparing for another drive, as my daughter and I are traveling to Charleston with friends tomorrow morning. I’ll be riding with my friend, and our daughter will be driving herself and the daughter of said friend. We are meeting some friends who are flying in from Ohio, and we plan to enjoy as much shopping and dining as we possibly can over the course of a few days!
When I was growing up, there were young people in and out of our house all the time. Likewise, when our daughter was growing up, we had young people in and out of our house all the time. And then, this past August, she went to college, and our house became a lot quieter. She came home once in September and once a few weeks ago, and we got to see one or two of her friends, but now that Thanksgiving is upon us, they’re all home from college, and there is so much activity! It has been like a revolving door of friends since she got home, and we couldn’t be happier! If you have seen the SNL video titled Back Home Ballers, you know where I stole my title. If you’re not familiar with it, you can see it here. And if you’re a parent of a college student, you get it. Your husband is probably the “valet,” carrying bags up and down the stairs. At our house, I’m the mom who just went to Costco (or Publix, in my case) in anticipation of the college student’s arrival…and hopefully, there are lots of friends dropping in too! And the students themselves? Well, they are just enjoying every minute of the attention and preferential treatment.
I remember my friend, Angela, visiting me at my mother’s house when I was in my forties. I had gone down to Alabama to visit with Mother for a few days, and lucky for me, Angela lived nearby. One particular trip, Angela came over, and we were playing “Heads Up” with our smartphones, laughing and poking fun at each other. We talked and laughed and talked and laughed some more. I remember Mother saying, “Having y’all together here makes me happy. Y’all bring fun energy into my house.” I heard her, but I didn’t fully understand what she was saying.
Now I get it.
Now I understand what mother was feeling. I feel energized with all these friends of our daughter in and out of the house. I’ve been to the grocery store four times in anticipation of their visits. Normally, I do not enjoy the grocery store, but this week, I have enjoyed every minute of it…practically skipping and dancing down the aisles! I have tried to purchase all their favorite comfort foods, because I want them to feel comfortable and a little nostalgic. We have a few more days before they all head back to college, so I hope to prepare a few more meals, snacks, and desserts before they leave. My refrigerator is still bursting at the seams, so they need to come over as often as possible to eat all that food! The benefit for me? While they hang out in my kitchen, laughing and talking, I absorb their fun, positive energy, and I get to laugh a lot! Good times.
Last night, in fact, a few friends were here, and we stayed up well into the night laughing and talking…even crying some too, but it was good crying. I have watched these young people grow up! Obviously, I have known my daughter her whole life, but I’ve known most of her friends since they were five or even before that! We go way back…lots of history there. Now they have new lives at their universities spread across the country, so there was lots to cover there too.
I have even been able to drive my daughter and some of her friends to the homes of other friends…and even pick them up late at night! Many of these college students are home without their cars, because they have to fly back and forth to their universities. Our daughter doesn’t have her car here, so I almost feel like I used to feel before she was old enough to drive! Yes, it was aggravating sometimes then, but now I’m the mom driving late at night with a big smile on my face! I’m just so happy! That is my life right now! It’s real, y’all.
And you know what? I’m loving every minute and trying to lock things into my long term memory!
*Feature photo from NBC’s SNL* I wish I had thought to get our daughter and a group of her friends to pose like this!
She’s coming home Thursday…a whole week before Thanksgiving.
Sunday afternoon, I was texting with a friend in Mobile who sent me pictures of her wrapped Christmas gifts! Yes, I said wrapped Christmas gifts...lots of them! She is even in the process of decorating her tree! She has two sons in their early 20s, and she is way ahead of the holiday game! I am impressed, especially because I have done very little to prepare for the holidays. Don’t get me wrong. I’m shopping. I have purchased a few items…a couple of gifts and some stocking stuffers. I have a little bit of holiday travel planned. I’m trying to figure out everything else. But decorating? It’s mid-November! My holiday game just isn’t there yet.
But then I realized…our daughter is coming home from college later this week, and it might be fun for her to come home and find a festive atmosphere.
I’m not ready to start wrapping gifts. I’m not ready to put up the tree. But I started thinking about what I can do now to make it feel festive when she arrives home this week, and it occurred to me that I can, at the very least, get the dining room table set and decorated for the holidays. Sorry…I’m skipping right over Thanksgiving table decor and moving on into Christmas decor. It’s not like I have ever decorated for Thanksgiving before anyway. I’m a bit of a holiday decor minimalist…especially for anything besides Christmas, but by most standards, I’m pretty minimal at Christmas too.
So yesterday afternoon, I went up to the attic and brought down some of the decor…not much, but some. And I got busy removing the regular china from the dining room table and replacing it with Christmas china. Some of the silver needed polishing, so I did that too. I didn’t go so far as to start playing Christmas music while I worked, but I might have been singing my own version of some Christmas carols. The dogs didn’t howl as I sang, but they did run to the other room. My husband came home in the middle of my chaos. I felt sure he would ask why I was decorating before Thanksgiving, but nope…he just kept his head down and kept walking. He probably was afraid I would ask him to help! (I didn’t.)
After gathering everything, I realized I was missing several items…a couple of my red champagne flutes (broken last year) and some of the pieces for my “tablescape.” So I placed a couple of online orders for the things I need. I still improvised with what I have, replacing the red champagne flutes with regular crystal ones until I have all the red ones, and putting out as much of my “tablescape” as possible. Yes, I put “tablescape” in quotation marks, because I’m not much of a scaper. However, even with the minimal table decor I have now, the dining room will feel festive when our daughter walks in. ***For tablescape ideas, see links at the bottom of page***
I stopped short of dragging out any other Christmas decor.
My husband grows weary of holiday decor, so I don’t want to send his brain into Christmas overload too early in the season…or before the season even gets started! I did not put up the tree. I didn’t go out and put lights on the trees in the front yard. I didn’t put the garland on the stairs. I didn’t start baking cookies for Santa. However, I am still considering putting the bows on the front porch lanterns before our daughter arrives Thursday. I know she would love to see those when she arrives, but I’m feeling a little like I need to save that until after Thanksgiving. Otherwise, even I will be tired of looking at all of it before Christmas even gets here. Plus, I don’t want to send the neighbors into complete shock by decorating too early.
For now, I’m relatively happy with my dining room table. When I’m finished, will it look like I hired Martha Stewart? Nope. Not at all. Maybe it will look like I hired Martha’s friend, Snoop Dogg. I’m not knocking Snoop; I love him! Frankly, I’d love to have him decorate my house for the holidays! In fact, I think I’d prefer his decor over Martha’s.
And we will all feel festive as soon as our daughter walks through the door for her weeklong Thanksgiving break! Maybe she will want to help me with some holiday decor after she gets here!
****Here are some websites for table decorating ideas:
In less than a week, our college student daughter is coming home…for a whole week! We haven’t seen her for seven days in a row since she left for college in August! We have seen her for a couple of days here and there…two football weekends, one day when my husband visited when he passed through town, and she has been home for two quick visits. But soon, she will be here for a whole week! In fact, she will be home for a little more than a week! And we can hardly wait.
Back in September, I booked her ticket on American Airlines to come home Saturday. But then, two days ago, she called me and said she wants to come home earlier. My first question? “Don’t you have class Friday?” She told me her Friday class has been canceled. I kept her on the phone while I looked at the American Airlines website. We discussed flight times and finally decided she could come home on an afternoon flight Thursday for only $99 more than we paid for the original ticket. Sold!
Seriously, y’all, I was so flattered that she wanted to spend more time with us. Anyone who has college-age kids will tell you it’s fun when they’re around again. I told her I was excited we are going to get to spend some extra time with her. And that’s when she said, “Oh, well, yes…but I’m going down to Columbia, South Carolina, with friends Saturday morning for the South Carolina game.”And that’s when I realized she isn’t coming home early to spend more time with us. She is coming home early to go to the University of South Carolina! I laughed out loud, because of course that’s what she wants to do!
I remember what it’s like to be 19, so I’m happy she gets to go visit friends in South Carolina with friends from home! I loved going to football games at different schools with friends when I was in college, so I get it. Will we, her parents, be offended when she wants to spend every evening with her friends? Nope, not one bit. In fact, I hope she will bring them here to gather at least once or twice. We love the energy they bring into our home, and I love preparing food for them…grilled cheese sandwiches, avocado toast, or even a late night breakfast.
But I also realize that, because she wants to go to South Carolina for a day or two, she is still coming home earlier than she originally was, and that’s a bonus for me and my husband! We are so excited! Of course, at the end of her stay, I’m sure I will be writing about how little time we actually got to spend with her! And that’s OK too, because we just want her to be happy and healthy. Spending time with her friends in Charlotte will be good for her. When she returns to Charlotte from South Carolina Saturday night, I will be here, ready to feed her (and friends) when she gets home.
Plus, I’m sure she will sleep a lot. Our daughter who has never been much of a sleeper will need to make up for lots of lost sleep while she is here. Sleeping in a twin bed in a dorm just isn’t the same as sleeping in a queen bed at home. I remember that too. There’s nothing quite like sleeping under your parents’ roof, with your dog in the bed like old times. She will sleep soundly knowing her daddy will bring her coffee in bed in the morning, and I will call her down for a hot breakfast shortly thereafter. Just like her last visit, we will have all her favorites at breakfast: scrambled eggs, grits, hashbrown casserole, bacon, biscuits, and Conecuh Sausage (again, if you’re not familiar with this, you want to try it. It’s from Alabama, but they carry the original sausage at most Publix stores. See the Conecuh Sausage website here). Some mornings, she might want avocado toast too. And she will get it if she wants it.
We are excited for her to arrive Thursday. My husband can hardly wait to go pick her up at the airport…a job he has already volunteered to do. I will ask her what she wants as her “welcome home” meal, and I will have that ready when she arrives. Of course, she’s likely to eat and run…or as my late friend, Wendy, would say, “chew and screw,” which means the same as eat and run. She was from Boston, and I don’t know if that’s what other people say there, but I think it sounds funny, so I say it occasionally.
Now, we just play the waiting game. My husband started his countdown today, telling me she will be home in just five days!
We are excited!
***Feature photo from Charlotte Business Journal***
Mine is not. I know this, because she has worked out an arrangement with a friend who does her laundry. “You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours.”
Before you get all judgy and start lecturing me on how my daughter should be spending her spare time in a laundry facility, waiting for her clothes to wash and dry, let me remind you that I could have paid a laundry service to do her laundry. Instead, another student is benefitting from the fact that my daughter doesn’t have a personal washer and dryer. And the friend? Well, as part of the bargain, my daughter takes her friend to run errands weekly, since the friend doesn’t have a car. It all works out, and they are both happy.
Remember when we were in college? Lots of us did jobs for extra cash. I typed papers for friends. I had a word processor, and they knew I could type a paper in no time, thanks to my high school typing teacher, Mrs. Ruby Lewis. She taught me well, and I put that skill to work in college. I didn’t get paid in cash, though. I got paid in food, beer, Icees…whatever I needed or wanted at the time. So my friend, Angela, might have brought a paper to me and said, “I need this 10-page paper by tomorrow morning at 8:00. Can you make that happen?” We would discuss the terms, and I would start typing. Angela would likely run to the Corner Store (it was actually called that) and buy me an Icee for me to drink while I worked…plus any snacks or school supplies I requested. When we went out later, she probably bought my dinner and drinks for the night. No cash exchanged hands. She scratched my back, and I scratched hers.
I wish I could have found someone who was willing to do my laundry back then. But I didn’t do my own laundry in college either. I took it to the local Fluff and Fold, which was actually a laundry facility where I paid a nice lady to wash/dry/fold my clothes for me. They charged by the pound, and I didn’t mind paying whatever I had to pay. I needed clean clothes. It worked out nicely for the Fluff and Fold, and it worked out nicely for me.
Recently, on a college parents page, a mom posted, “Can someone recommend a cleaning lady or service to clean my son’s dorm room and bathroom?” You would have thought she was trying to hire a hitman! The judgy moms came out of the woodwork and totally attacked her. I didn’t. I get it. I have even told my daughter it’s fine to pay someone to clean her bathroom if someone needs some extra spending money. I pay someone to clean my house! What’s the difference?!? Isn’t life about finding ways to make things happen? In fact, to the mom on the parents’ page, I said just that. “I think it is absolutely fine to pay someone to clean your college student’s room. I pay someone to clean my house, so why would I hesitate to encourage my daughter to do the same?!?” It’s helping the economy and helping someone else, right? What’s the difference in paying someone to clean your room or type your paper? No one ever had issues with paying someone to type a paper for them! No one has issues with paying someone to walk their dog! No one has issues with paying someone wash a car!
So, lucky me. I know my daughter is wearing clean clothes. She isn’t having to turn her clothes inside out to keep wearing them for multiple days. She isn’t having to search through the dirty clothes in her laundry bag to decide what’s the least dirty so she can wear it to class. She definitely has clean clothes. Don’t get me wrong. She might opt to wear the same sweatshirt two or three days in a row, but that’s a choice, because I know she always has something clean she can wear.
And you know what else? She even has clean sheets! Can you say the same about your college student? If you’re not sure about that, it might be a good idea for your college student to find a friend who can do a bartering system to get his/her laundry done. Or maybe it’s your child who needs to be driven around to do errands? If so, maybe he/she offers to do someone’s laundry in exchange for a drive to do weekly errands…or a ride to the airport…or whatever.
I know my daughter has taken several friends to the airport an hour away. That’s a good opportunity for her to work out a deal! Maybe she needs someone to bake some cookies for her to take to an event? Or maybe she needs a dress hemmed? “I’ll take you to the airport if you will hem my dress for me next week.”
And despite what the judgy moms of the world think, being able to strike a deal that benefits both people is what makes the world go around! I love when I hear college students are getting creative to get things done! I take no issue with the person who wants to pay someone to clean a dorm room. My own parents thought it was hilarious that I typed papers in exchange for Icees, food, and beer back in the 1980s! I was quite the enterprising young college girl!
Let me know if you need me to type anything for you…especially if you are a good cook. Will type for food.
This morning, I walked into a local breakfast place and literally ran into a girl my daughter went to high school with. I was surprised to see her, because she is supposed to be in college hundreds of miles away. I’m sure I audibly gasped before giving her a big hug. She quickly explained that she is home for fall break and asked, “When is Milly’s fall break?” I replied, “She doesn’t get one.” Her eyes widened and she asked, “What? I thought everyone did!” Well, my daughter doesn’t.
When we moved her into college, I knew she wouldn’t get a fall break. I had already looked ahead at the academic calendar for fall, and I realized that while she doesn’t get a fall break, she does get a full week for Thanksgiving, which I think is ideal. I thought nothing of it. Why does anyone need a fall break, anyway? It never occurred to me that she might need it! Did we have those extra days off when I was in college? I don’t remember.
But she does need a fall break.
As it turns out, it’s midterm exam season, and she is worn out. She was sick with the flu last week. She is ready to come home and sleep in her own bed for a few days, but she doesn’t have a fall break. I’m going down to the football game this weekend, and I thought that might be enough to carry her through to Thanksgiving, but no…she wants to come home for a weekend visit.
So yesterday, I purchased her an airline ticket to come home next weekend. After completing the purchase, I said, “Maybe I should just stay home this weekend, since you’re coming home next weekend?” She said, “No. Please come to the game!” That’s all it took. As soon as I heard those words, I knew I was definitely going. Done! As parents, we know that as our kids get older, every minute with them is valuable, and if she wants some time with me, I’m taking advantage of it. So I’ll be leaving Friday. I’ll return to Charlotte Sunday, and next Friday, I’ll pick her up at the airport in Charlotte. She’s needing some Mama and Daddy time…and that’s OK.
She simply needs a reboot. And she needs to sleep in her own bed. And she needs some of her favorite foods…Mama’s grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup, some roasted veggies, cake batter popcorn (recipe here) and some homemade mashed potatoes…not all at the same time, of course. I’ll be going to the grocery store next Wednesday to make sure we have everything I need to make her favorites. And we will sit outside and have a charcuterie board for dinner Saturday night before she goes out.
I have a friend who has a daughter who is a sophomore at another college, and I vividly remember her telling me that when her daughter was a freshman, she would come home occasionally, and she seemed most excited about sleeping in her own bed. In fact, my friend said her daughter made “snow angels” in her bed the first time she came home from college, saying, “I’m just so happy to be back in my BIG bed!” Those twin beds in college dorm rooms are adequate, but who doesn’t love their own big bed in their own bedroom at home?!? Our daughter has slept in a queen bed in her own room her whole life, so I’m sure she is excited to sleep in her own big bed, with her own blankets and her own sweet dog, who misses her terribly.
So no, she doesn’t get an official fall break. She won’t get an extra two days off to come home, but we will create a fall break for her. She will be home for about 52 hours (the same amount of time I was in labor with her, by the way…don’t ask), and we will try to make it as special as possible. We will try to make her comfortable. We will give her lots of hugs. We will prepare all her favorite foods. And we will just love her. There’s no doubt in my mind that we will be happier than she is that she is home. We are thrilled to have a weekend with her…which will really be just a few hours that we get to see her, but that’s OK. There will be lots of hugs.
And she just called to tell me we will have a bonus! A friend is coming home with her! We will have lots of extra laughs, and I am going to call the friend’s mom right now to find out what her favorite foods are!
They just didn’t want to wait till Thanksgiving. We will welcome them with open arms and help them “reboot” to finish out the weeks till Thanksgiving. Sometimes, college students just need to be loved.
Ten weeks until Christmas! I know! Time flies. Ten weeks ago, we had just moved our daughter into her college dorm, and she was fully entrenched in sorority recruitment. And now, in the same amount of time, we will be staring at Christmas Day. There’s a lot to get done before then…including Christmas shopping!
This year, I’m going to do things the way I used to do them; I’m going to get my shopping done by mid-November, if at all possible. And in keeping with that plan, I will share my 2022 gift suggestions starting now, and I will do it a little differently. I’m just going to post as things come to mind. Sure, I might post some as categories of things, but this first gift suggestion is something anyone can use. In fact, I have written about it before, but I’m even more adamant that everyone needs to have this item in their closet, because I love my own so much.
The item in question? Baboon to the Moon brand travel bags!
It has been just a little less than a year since I wrote about them the first time, but after owning one of their bags for over a year, I truly believe everyone needs to own one. Every now and then, I run into people in airports who also own a bag or bags from Baboon to the Moon, and every single person I talk to raves about them. When I was checking in for a flight recently, an American Airlines agent noticed my Baboon to the Moon carry-on bag and told me she has the same bag in a different color and loves it! Mine is a lovely shade of blue, and my daughter has one that is pink…both cute colors. Recently, as I stood waiting for a flight to board, I noticed the guy standing next to me had a Baboon to the Moon bag too, and I asked him how he liked it. He raved about his before noticing I had one too!
What can I tell you to convince you that these bags are must-haves?
The first thing to know is that every bag they make has a lifetime warranty. That’s important information as you go out on a limb to buy something you might not be really familiar with. What else? They are super sturdy, very well-made, and water resistant. And they come in lots of different colors, sizes, and styles.
My personal favorite is the Go Bag Mini (32 liter bag) because it can be a carry-on personal item that fits underneath the seat in front of you on most US carriers. I almost always fly American Airlines, and I have always been able to fit my Go Bag Mini underneath the seat in front of me. As with all Baboon to the Moon bags, it has a a sturdy zipper closure. On this particular bag, the zipper closure is on a flap on one side of the bag, making it easily accessible for the user, but when you’re wearing it as a backpack, it is completely inaccessible to others. It also has handles and straps, so it can be carried at a suitcase, a duffle bag, or a backpack. I prefer to carry mine as a backpack, because it leaves my hands free. Plus, wearing it as a backpack distributes the weight of the bag more evenly. It holds 1-3 days of belongings, but generally speaking, I use it for medications, a change of clothes, a change of shoes, a swimsuit, some PJs, a sweatshirt, and a giant portable charger…plus my crossbody handbag that I slip inside it while traveling.
Other bags they make? Several sizes of Go Bags, Go totes, crossbody bags, fanny packs, and day backpacks plus some packing/organizing bags. I have some of the packing bags, and I’m about to get myself one of their crossbody bags and a day backpack…Santa can deliver them to me at Christmas! My daughter has a Go Bag Mini, but I’m going to get her a Day Backpack for Christmas for our travels. When we are moving around big cities, it’s nice to have everything in a small day bag/backpack for hands free shopping.
And I should mention they offer their bags in some great colors. Right now they have some limited run colors that deserve your attention…neon and “submarine” colors. 40-liter Go Totes start at $149, while the Go Bag pricing starts at $159 for the 32-liter Go Bag Mini. Other Go Bag sizes are the 40-liter Small Go Tote and the 60-liter Big Go Tote, priced at $199 and $229 respectively. The 1.2 liter crossbody sling bag is priced at $40, and the 3-liter fanny pack is $50, while the 8-liter backpack mini is $89, and the 24-liter City Backpack is $119. Personally, I think any of these bags would make great gifts for the people on your holiday shopping list.
The best thing you can do is go take a look at their website here. Take your time, because there are lots of great colors and sizes from which to choose. Your more conservative friends or family members might like the darker, less flashy colors. But there are lots of fun colors for your friends and family members who like fun colors!
Just go ahead and add Baboon to the Moon bags to your holiday shopping list. It’s a great one-stop shop for almost everyone on your list! Keep them in mind at graduation time too! They make great graduation gifts!
***The featured photo is from the Baboon to the Moon website. Anyone who was a teenager or college student in the 80s likely thought it looked like an ad for United Colors of Benetton!***