Good morning. Raise your coffee mug with me & cheerily say goodbye to July, which mercifully will come to an end this weekend. Certainly Saturday will dawn hot & humid, but it will be August's heat & humidity, & that's one step closer to football & turtlenecks & hoodies & Kirk Herbstreit & an endless list of things I love, love, love about fall. I promise I won't drone on & on about the weather, much, only insofar as it relates to events that unfolded that prompted me to sit & write what you're reading right now (how about raising your coffee cup a second time to my use of insofar?).
Last week, we needed groceries circa Thursday. Unfortunately it wasn't until Saturday that an opportunity for me to get groceries sans children opened up, & so we made do with what was left & ate some weird food combinations until Saturday because I just cannot, cannot, face the ordeal of groceries with two kids when it is so hot outside.
Getting everyone unbuckled & unloaded, followed by the trek across the scorching asphalt parking lot, takes about twenty minutes. Once inside the store, panting & sweating, I hoist my heavy, long-legged son into the front of the grocery cart, which is followed by the inevitable debate with Reagan about whether she will ride in the back of the cart, or walk. Lately she's opted to walk, which results in a preposition lesson throughout the store as I explain & reexplain the difference in walking beside the moving cart verses walking in front of the moving cart.
So it was with considerable joy that I drove, alone, to the grocery store on Saturday. Despite the 100 (as in degrees) staring back at me from my dashboard as I drove home loaded down with milk, eggs, cheese, & popsicles all sweating the weather worse than me, my mood remained light. Perhaps even better than grocery shopping alone was the nail polish I discovered in the mailbox when I got home.
Seriously, the nail polish absolutely made my Saturday. I'm going to tell you a little more about the nail polish, & then I am going to share with you a few other things I think are awesome. One of the things I love about some of the blogs I read are the recommendations women have. I sat down Saturday night with my laptop, stared at my freshly painted toenails, & decided to share with you some of the goodies that are keeping a smile on my face during these sweltering weeks of summer.
Do understand that I am paid by no one whose product I rave about in the remaining portion of this blog. Also, I am a picky, hard to please (but self-aware!) person, & so you should know what follows is gold.
So, the polish.
A year or so ago I received some free samples of Morgan Taylor nail polish. These samples are the only polish I've used since. It is good stuff. I don't know where Morgan Taylor is sold other than salons, as I've not seen it on the shelf in any store, & I have looked.
I still have ample amount of the samples I received, but none of them are red enough in color for my taste, so I ordered the polish below from Amazon. I was secretly so hoping it would arrive in the mail by Saturday so I could paint my toenails for church Sunday because, as you know, excitement is my middle name.
The shade is Pretty Woman. Excuse the blurred label; I am not a professional photographer.
Here's a more professional-looking photo of some of their color options:
Nail polish is not something I'd normally consider blog-fodder, but it is important to me to find good, lasting polish because I cannot stand for anyone to touch my feet in any way at all, ever, & so all foot care is done by yours truly. This polish glides on easily, drys quickly, & stays put. Additionally, when you take it off, your nails are not yellow so going without polish is a viable option. It is worth every penny, & it doesn't even cost that many of them.
While I was in the bathroom taking blurry pics of the nail polish, I snapped this pic below as well. If you don't use Aquaphor, you should.
In the fall of 2012, I was newly pregnant with Henry, & so my body was in full-scale revolt, doing odd, odd things. I recall standing in our kitchen, watching Paul Ryan deliver a speech somewhere, & fretting over the painful, gaping hole that was opening on my dry, cracked lips. That night I drove to a drug store & bought a ton of Aquaphor, & I haven't gone to sleep at night since without smearing it all over half my face.
It's also great to slather it on your feet, put on socks, & go to bed, particularly if you're a person for whom a pedicure is kind of torturous.
Naturally everything else that follows is edible. Since Reagan's diagnosis I've learned a good deal about food. These are a few things I've discovered that are amazing both for their taste & their lack of carbs.
You know of my cream cheese love. Last summer, I wrote an entire blog inspired by a cream cheese appetizer at a local restaurant; you can read that here, oh ye fellow cream cheese aficionados.
It's not often I find myself in fancy restaurants that serve fantastic cream-cheese-themed appetizers, but since discovering this . . .
. . . my fridge is never without a tub. There are five carbs in a serving (which I believe is a tablespoon) & endless ways to enjoy those five carbs. Plopping a Hershey Kiss in the middle of that tablespoon is highly recommended.
A few weeks ago I discovered this at our local Brookshire's grocery:
It's advertised as having more protein, more calcium, & less sugar than regular milk, & is "ultra filtered." I don't know what all they're filtering out, but it cuts the carbs in half. I was thrilled when Reagan drank it & loved it. The 2% has six carbs in a serving (which is eight ounces) compared with twelve carbs in an eight-ounce serving of regular milk. The chocolate milk has thirteen carbs in an eight-ounce serving, & let me tell you, it is good, rich chocolate milk. Had I tried it without reading the label, I'd have guessed it had at least twenty-five carbs in a serving.
This milk is not inexpensive, but hey, neither is diabetes. In addition to the 2% & the chocolate, it comes in 1% & whole milk varieties as well. If you're interested, this links to their website. From visiting their website I learned the milk is lactose free as well. If you enjoy drinking chocolate milk, I can't imagine there is a better, healthier option for you than this. Seriously, somebody buy some, preferably from Brookshire's, because I am going to be so sad if they quit stocking it. I know a couple of attorneys who have an in with Brookshire's, lending them a hand when people sue them for various reasons, & if I have to I might play that card to attempt to keep this stuff coming to the store.
Also on the beverage discovery front is this V8 water. A friend on Facebook was raving about this infused water, but I was skeptical until I saw the nutrition information.
A serving size is one bottle, which is sixteen ounces, & the entire serving has only seven carbs. Each bottle contains one serving of vegetables & has no added sugar & no artificial sweetener. One bottle costs about what a regular bottle of water does. There are three favors (that I am aware of) & they are Cucumber Lime (pictured), Mandarin Orange Ginger, & Black Cherry Pomegranate. Don't buy this thinking it tastes like sugar-laden juice, because it does not. I personally do not care for sugar-laden juice, & it's really something you ought to consider cutting too because IT IS SO AWFUL FOR YOU.
I like drinking plain water, but if you (or your child) don't care for plain water, but need to drink more water, this is a good option. I've only found these at Target locally, & again I say, go buy some because I'd just love it if Target continues to stock these. If interested, click here to visit V8 Infused Water's website.
This next one is something that's long been a staple in my pantry. Given that Reagan can't down milk or juice all day, I always keep a pitcher of cold tea in the fridge. Recently I've been making the tea by steeping one bag of regular black tea (decaf) & two bags of this (also decaf) Honey Lemon green tea. Sometimes Reagan drinks it with no sweetener, & sometimes I'll put a little stevia in it. I like hot green tea occasionally, but this Honey Lemon variety is wonderful cold, and, AND, I recently read that green tea helps to stabilize blood sugar, in addition to its other known health benefits.
Lastly, I cannot quit without recommending you find a way to incorporate a little Apple Cider Vinegar into your diet. I like to pour a teaspoon or two into my cold Honey Lemon green tea, but it's also not bad when added to a cup of plain ice water (admittedly you may think this is awful . . . I like it, & actually crave a little Apple Cider Vinegar toward the end of the day if I haven't had that day's fill yet).
There's a long list of the heath benefits of ingesting Apple Cider Vinegar. Some may be more legit than others, but I do think it helps my skin & digestion. I sneak a little in Reagan's tea from time to time as it is another thing that is said to help stabilize blood sugar.
I always buy the Bragg's brand, pictured below, because it's organic & unfiltered, which is supposed to maximize the benefits. You can look at the Heinz version in the bottle & tell it is very filtered.
We'll chat again in August. The kids & I will, the Lord willing, spend the first day of August at the church building for VBS. If you're wondering, yes, I have finished the Ruth script (see here if you're confused & care enough to work through that). We might discuss Ruth further next week, unless I write nothing because I am still in the bed recovering from VBS, which begins at eight-thirty Saturday morning. It begins at eight-thirty, which is, as you know if you've been reading lately, the middle of the night for me & my kids. I'm not sure what all is planned for the kids, but I do know my dad's been trying to find a pair of chaps to wear, so that sounds promising.
I'll close with what I know you're wanting to see, my feet.
As an added bonus, I'll throw in Reagan's feet as well.
After her bath Saturday night, I painted Reagan's toenails to match mine. I kind of love that the color is Pretty Woman, as Julia Roberts was already on my mind while painting two sets of toenails. All I could think about when I was wielding the brush Saturday is the scene in Steel Magnolias in which Shelby exclaims, "Mama, this nail polish is drying up way too dark. 'Delicate pink' my foot! It looks like a stuffed pig bled all over my hands."
Unlike Shelby, I favor the stuffed, bleeding pig look over Shelby's infamous blush & bashful. Actually, I favor wearing boots because it's freezing cold outside, rendering toenail polish color irrelevant, but I am sweating with a smile now & will likely be sporting my new Pretty Woman shade until, at long last, the polish comes off & the boots (& stylish loafers!) are unboxed.