Friday, August 21, 2015

five on friday

How's about a little listicle to ease my way out of the summer blogging slump...


If you follow me on IG {@cheesefiend}, you've likely noticed we recently completed a sort of swim lesson bootcamp.  Living in Texas, swimming is a pretty essential part of summertime survival {plus there's just a lot of open water and pools posing safety risks}, so we knew swim lessons needed to be a priority before school began.  L has always enjoyed splashing around and "swimming" in her Puddle Jumper, but, ever our cautious child, refused to jump into the pool or put her face in the water; her personality is such that I really didn't think traditional swim school lessons {"let's blow bubbles!"} were going to do the trick.  I had two separate moms stop me after watching me try to work with her by myself at the pool and tell me I needed to "call Ms. Cathy."  After a bit of research and three additional recommendations by friends, we signed L up for two weeks of, what I've come to call, Tough Love Swim Lessons with Cathy Vance {here's her website for any Austinites who are interested}. 

I knew the first couple of days would be...uh, "stimulating" {you are basically forking over $300 to this woman purely because she has the balls you do not have to push your unwilling child underwater... there is a lot of crying (the kids) and a lot of mental tallying of potential future therapy bills (the parents)}, but the transformation after four lessons is unbelievable.  By the end of the eighth and final lesson, all the fishy-meatloaves are bawling again, because they don't want "swim school" to be over. 

The girl who wouldn't put her face underwater 3 weeks ago can now swim, face down and eyes open, 20 meters with just one {assisted} breath in the middle.  She dives {starting from the steps} down to touch the bottom of the pool and gather "treasure."  She begs to swim back and forth between adults over and over and over again.  She has perfected straight leg {freestyle-type} kicks and "rocket arms," and knows you use pinwheel arms when you want to swim on top of the water and scoopy-cup arms when you want to swim under water.  She is still wary of jumping off the side of the pool {she'd rather you throw her in or "gimme a little push"}, but she conquered her fear of jumping off a {rather high} waterfall in Ms. Cathy's pool and of going down the water slide.  

She is truly a different child in the pool, and we couldn't be more proud {see also: relieved it didn't totally fucking backfire into pool PTSD}. Most importantly, she is so proud and confident in the water, and lord help anyone who steps foot near our house as you best believe you'll be accosted with pleas to watch "Ms Cathy videos" {sorry, mailman; you're a trooper!}. 


I've had 3 dresses in heavy rotation this summer, and, oddly, each of them are black and white {additionally: super comfortable}.  This embroidered linen shift from Madewell is my very favorite {and the "fanciest" of the bunch}, and is currently on sale.  Perfect for cousin's al fresco foodtruck birthday parties, Trainwreck guffawing, and Thursday night margaritas {and practically every other event I've attended in the last 3 months}. 

Excuse my Post-Margaritas Face

The linen is double lined and thick {in a good way}, and I do believe the black will transition nicely into early fall, but I'm totally considering snagging the white/cobalt version for next summer, as well. In regards to sizing, it's rather roomy and also short {my preferred fit when I'm in fluffy shape}, so size down if you're on the cusp but don't plan on corralling any ankle-biters in this frock. 


This one is majorly lame... but I care not!  I live for a "crazy fridge" packed with drawings and photos.  Stainless steel looks nice {for the seven seconds it's clean before being the baby licks it...again}, but I hate how it isn't magnetized.  I used washi tape on our old fridge, which didn't mark up surfaces too terribly, but I've found something even better... 

UM! Brands Cling Clips use some sort of invisible suction technology I neither understand nor took any time to read about {self-awareness!} to magically stick to your fridge {or any nonporous surface} without adhesive or any kind of residue.  I bought two 3-packs... the ones pictured are organizing crap we have to bring to our new doctors / B's nursery school crap / L's nursery school crap {yay color coding!}; the other three are waiting in the wings for all that adorable handprint art I can't throw away to amass.  


Speaking of school crap, I bought a PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag for L's very first little "class" two years ago, and I love that thing something fierce.  It has gel stiched inside the fabric that keeps food cold for 10+ hours {no damn ice pack to take up space or lose!}, and it folds flat to conserve that valuable freezer real estate.  We've dragged that thing all over the place: it's kept our picnics and snacks cool at the beach, park, zoo, outdoor concerts, while hiking, etc.  It'll even keep a few adult beverages cool while you bop around between tailgate tents. 

I went ahead and ordered new lunch totes for both kidlets {since L's has probably been used 200x, no exaggeration, and is ready to bench-warm as emergency back-up}, and I am loving all the new patterns available on Amazon {L's is "Saturday" and B has "Monsters"}; you could Prime one today in time for school on Monday!  

Gratuitous / Poorly Executed Sibling Photo from B's Meet-the-Teacher this morning


I've mentioned Mystery Show before, yes?  SO GREAT.  There's only six episodes in the first season {yay for renewal, though!}, and they don't need to be listened to in any particular order.  Source Code is my very, very favorite, so I'd recommend starting there, but do what you feel / live your own life, baby! 

Any other podcasts I should definitely be listening to?  Y'all know I'm a CYG and How Did This Get Made addict, and I have a few other, typical-NPR-y streams in my feed {Fresh Air, This American Life, Snap Judgment}, but I could use some new blood!  

Happy Weekending! 


  1. Check out the Slate Gabfests - there's one on parenting called Mom & Dad Are Fighting that's funny and real and one called Culture Gabfest which covers pop culture and also more random things, like the "dad bod." I also like the feminist gabfest called Double X where they talk about Thelma & Louise, Lena Dunham's food diary, Amy Schumer, etc.

  2. I'm going to have to request to know what the other 2 workhorse dresses are. I love Madewell, but there dresses are always too short for me. Love yours though.

    1. Oops! Meant to reply but didn't format it correctly! See below!

  3. One is a maxi from Mod Cloth but it looks like they are no longer selling it. This is the other (also on sale!) from Old Navy...I would also recommend sizing down on this one, but it is a respectable knee length!!

  4. One Bad Mother is the only podcast I listen to (other than Serial, RIP) and it's so hilarious and relatable. I think you'd like it!

  5. First time commenter! (I think?) But I think you'd appreciate my new find, "That's So Retrograde". Hippie shit from two late 20s-early 30s LA girls. Also The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey (she's in Austin!) is my favorite.

  6. Those underwater photos are absolutely beautiful! I love that she is so proud of her accomplishments!

  7. Check out the Sorta Awesome podcast!

  8. Adorable dress. I kinda want to snag that white and blue one for next summer but have no idea what size I'll be in a year from now. Ah dilemma! It's so cute!!

  9. Scott Carrier's Home of the Brave is one of my favorite podcasts. I also love StoryCorps; I downloaded their free app and interviewed my husband. It was great fun!

  10. my regular listens are slate's xx podcast and Mike Pesca's The Gist. I also like the longest shortest time (this American life-type stories about parenting) and Freakanomics.

    For B - a plug for lessons at Emler. Our little one (same age) has been going since Jan and will jump in sitting or standing and swims for 10 seconds underwater. Not all teachers are equal - John M is by far the best. Amazing how much progress L made in such a short time - wow! Filing that info away for future reference!

  11. Thank you for the dress review! I rushed to Madewell to scoop it up. My six week postpartum body is extremely grateful!

  12. Coming back to say those underwater photos are too adorable. I am hoping to get S into some similar swimming lessons when she's a little older because my in-laws have a pool (but refuse to get a pool gate - don't get me started) so I get positively twitchy when we are at their house. Basically S isn't allowed there without us if there is no gate, but I hope that once she can swim I can feel a little more at ease when we are there.

    1. My in-laws also have a pool and no gate! Now I feel 1/2 as nervous when we swim... Brady is up next summer!

    2. Twinsies! Our lives are so parallel sometimes. Esp now that Siena is getting a baby brother!

  13. Longest Shortest Time is a delightful and lovely parenting podcast.


happy little comments!