An oh-so-deep post about The Bachelorette

Confession: I started watching The Bachelor(ette) a few years ago solely because I wanted to join in my coworkers’ conversations on Tuesday morning. Peer pressure, I tell ya. Well, I’m still watching it but my new ‘coworkers’ don’t watch TV yet, so I’ve decided to share my thoughts with you guys instead. Here we go.

the-bachelorette

(source)

My (very deep) thoughts during The Bachelorette:

– As soon as I saw that Wells was the one going on the one-on-one date, I knew he was a goner. I mean, he still hasn’t kissed JoJo yet?! Of course I knew that, but I was feeling so awkward during their date. And if I was feeling awkward, I can only imagine how they were feeling. And did you see that cheek kiss?! Ugh, just ugh.

– Speaking of their date, I had the chance to see Fuerza Bruta in NYC, and it was the craziest thing ever! I honestly will never, ever forget it. Watching the date brought back such fond memories. Plus I was insanely jealous they got to play on that sheet of water… It was like a sexy slip n’ slide! I want to do that, darnit.

– Oh Buenos Aires, how I love thee! Tim and I visited BA (and our good friends who were living there) in 2013, right after we found out we were pregnant with Clara. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to drink the wine during our trip! The group date was pretty laid back this time, which I liked. And I guess I’m glad James T made that soccer ‘goal’, but I don’t think that goalie was trying too hard, to be honest.

– Luke… Can he just win already? I think I should probably go ahead and tell Tim that if something tragic should befall him and if Luke decided he was super into short moms with two babies under two years old, I would be okay dating him. I mean, me and JoJo are basically the same person so I’m sure Luke would be able to move on from her and start dating me immediately. I can only assume that Tim will feel relieved knowing that I’ll be taken care of.

– Whhhy did James feel like he needed to talk to JoJo about James? It was such a desperation move and I do not approve and now I’m over James and I’m sure JoJo is, too. And then of course we need to watch the confrontation between James and Jordan and watching guys bicker is not my idea of entertainment. Or maybe it is, actually, because here I am still watching this show.

– Since Derek and Chase are both on my fantasy team (oh yes, of course I participate in a competitive Bachelorette league), I am not thrilled that they went on a two-on-one date. Going into it, I assumed Chase would come out victorious (and I was right), not that it matters, because neither of them are going to end up with JoJo at the end. My prediction is Robby and Luke as the final two.

– I wanted Alex and James to both go home, but instead neither of them went home! I was actually surprised with how the episode ended, but I guess we’ll just see at least one of them leave next week. I wonder if she’ll give Alex the coveted one-on-one date…

In short, I was pretty satisfied with this episode, but I can’t help but still think that JoJo’s cast of men leaves a lot to be desired. I like Luke and Robby but the rest of them… meh. However, this won’t stop me from continuing to watch, because I am committed, darnit.

Did you see the episode? What are your thoughts?

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How To Be An Awesome Airbnb Guest

Did you know Airbnb hosts get to leave reviews for the guests? Yep. And you’d better believe that I look at those reviews before a guest arrives in my home. A host can decide not to host you based on negative reviews, and you don’t want that to happen! Usually I leave a pretty standard review for guests, but I have left a negative review a time or two. Basically, reviews are important and you should try to get a few good ones.

Before becoming an Airbnb host I am quite certain I didn’t know how to be an ideal guest, but now I do and I now feel obligated to share this wisdom with you.

How To Be An Awesome Airbnb Guest

How To Be An Awesome (or at least an above-average) Airbnb Guest:

+ Don’t smoke. If the rules say you can’t smoke, don’t smoke! This is especially an issue in Washington state since marijuana is legal here. But, even if it’s legal, we don’t want it in our home, and we say so in our rules. The issue isn’t that we mind the smell (we actually don’t), but sometimes we turn our unit over within three hours and there is no way to get the smell out in that short of time frame. Please be considerate to hosts and future guests and smoke elsewhere.

+ Arrive (and leave) when you say you will. It really helps the hosts to know when you’re going to be checking in and out. Tim and I are in contact with our guests pretty frequently and ask for time estimates for check-in, but if those times change, communicate! It’s inconsiderate to show up an hour (or more) earlier or later than you said you’d be arriving. If you come too early, we may still be cleaning (this past week Tim was half-naked cleaning the unit when the guests showed up! All of the parties involved were quite surprised), and if you come too late we may be waiting around for you to show up – and there’s nothing that annoys me more than wasting my time.

+ Remember that your hosts aren’t running a hotel. It’s fine for guests to ask for certain things, but remember that the hosts may not be able to accommodate you. For instance, I’ve had guests ask (months in advance) if they can check-in (or at least drop their bags off) early. Here’s the thing, I’m going to say no if you ask months in advance. The reason is simple: I have no idea what I’m going to be doing on a random Tuesday at the end of August and I’m not going to rearrange my schedule this far in advance to accommodate an Airbnb guest. Sorry (not sorry). That being said, if a guest messages me the day before they arrive asking the same question, I may be able to help since I will know if another guest will still be in the unit or whether I’ll be home for an early luggage drop-off. I’ve also been asked if we have a printer (no), if we have sugar (sure), etc. There’s certainly no harm in asking, but be prepared to hear ‘no’ for certain requests.

+ Don’t check-in really late, especially if you think you may have questions. We allow guests to check-in on their own via keyless entry, which works well for late check-ins (most of the time). However, we’ve had guests call us after midnight for pretty basic questions, which is frustrating. For instance, we’ve had guests call (at 1am!) to ask us to clarify where they are allowed to park in our neighborhood. There are signs everywhere, but I guess sometimes people get nervous when arriving in a new city (especially if they aren’t ‘city people’). Trust me, I understand having some questions, but I have a toddler and a newborn and I don’t want to be woken up unless there’s an actual problem. If you don’t know if you can park in a certain spot, find a spot that you’re certain you can use instead! To avoid a similar situation, I would advise checking in early(ish) so if you have questions you can ask the host without annoying them in the middle of the night.

+ When you check-out, make sure you secure the property. We’ve had some guests check out and leave the door to our property wide open, meaning anyone could have walked right into our house! This is not only an (obvious) safety issue, but it also allowed a lot of bugs into our home. Make sure you shut the door and follow all other check-out procedures.

+ Clean up. Some guests are so considerate of our space, and we really appreciate it! We especially love guests who take out their garbage and clean their dishes (which is expected – don’t be jerks who make us clean your dishes). We REALLY love guests who take off the bedding and throw used towels in the laundry bin!

+ Don’t come back covered in glitter. I have no idea where a certain group of our guests spent their evening (a concert, maybe?) but they must have come back covered in glitter because there was glitter all over our apartment after they left. Do you know how difficult it is to get every speck of glitter out of an apartment? It’s hard.

+ If you need something during your stay, ask (at appropriate hours). I would much rather a guest request something from us (especially something they would have expected to have in a rental unit) than leave a negative review because they were uncomfortable. (This hasn’t been an issue for us yet, thank goodness!)

+ Leave a review. I’m sure you know how important reviews are for any business, especially those that are really only run online – like Airbnb. We have some great reviews and really appreciate them and the guests who took time out of their day to leave some kind words! If your stay is not living up to your expectations, contact the host while you’re still at the property to see if something can be done to make your stay better. Also, don’t be too picky when leaving a review. Three stars (in the Airbnb world) pretty much means you had an AWFUL stay, while four stars means you were disappointed. Basically, I urge you to leave a five star review if the stay met your expectations, and if you’re not going to give a five star review, at least leave constructive criticism or a detailed review that will be useful for other travelers.

Happy travels! (I used affiliate links in this post and if you use one of them to sign-up for Airbnb, I get $25 and you get $25 of travel credits. YAY!) 

I also wrote two other posts (here and here) about hosting through Airbnb.

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Making Ordinary Days Extraordinary (For a Toddler)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TopYourSummer #CollectiveBias

Confession: I didn’t read any books or articles on how to help a used-to-be-only-child adjust to having a younger sibling. I probably should have, but I didn’t. However, I’ve talked to enough friends and read enough article headlines to know that it’s important to have quality time with each child, especially in the transitional period. So Clara shall have some quality time, darnit! In reality, Clara has gotten way more attention than Isabelle over the last few weeks, but she’s used to having practically 100% of our focus, so I’m sure this new sister thing feels like a big shift to her. Anyway, with the awesome weather that summer brings and keeping in mind that Clara is probably having an emotionally rough time becoming a big sister, I’ve been trying to make every day just a little bit more special.

How To Make An Ordinary Day Extraordinary For A Toddler

Here are some ways to make ordinary days a little more fun for a toddler:

+ Get outside. Even if it isn’t summer, toddlers love to play outdoors. Our little one is a complete ball of energy, so getting her outside each and every day is vital for all of our sanity. Some days (with two kids) it feels like it isn’t worth the energy to get us all dressed and outside, but I still make sure we get out there. Usually we head to the playground, but sometimes we just walk to get coffee or to go around our block. Speaking of coffee…

How-To-Make-Ordinary-Days-Extraordinary

Did I mention that Clara often chooses to not wear shoes when we go outside? I’m choosing my battles with this one.

+ Actually sit down at the coffee shop. Usually I just run in, grab some caffeine, and run back out before either kid has time to have a meltdown, but when I want to make the event a bit more fun (and if Isabelle is asleep), Clara and I will sit at a table and have a mommy-daughter coffee date. I always order her a mini-doughnut or we split a bagel or something similar. Just the act of sitting down with my ‘big girl’ and talking to her while sharing a snack is really fun for us.

+ Read lots of books. Clara loves to read and so do I, so reading books together is a great activity for us. Of course, it would be ideal if we could sit next to each other and read our own books, but that day is far in the future. At this point I let her pick out which books she wants me to read to her and she brings me book after book after book and I read them out loud until my brain can’t handle the 18th reading of the same book within 30 minutes. I mean, some of these stories are just so boring. SO BORING. But, she loves to listen to me read and I love to see her happy, so reading is what we do! If Isabelle cries during our reading time I make sure to tell her she needs to hold on so I can finish the story with Clara. I do this because I want Clara to know that I’m trying to protect our time together and that Isabelle has to wait for her sometimes, too.

+ Act silly. Sometimes I forget to act silly. Between making lunch, breastfeeding, cleaning up, changing outfits, changing diapers, etc I just get too tired to have fun. Sad, right?! Luckily, having a toddler is the perfect excuse (and reminder) to act silly. Clara loves doing ‘happy dances’ and twirling around and doing somersaults. As often as I remember, I try to encourage her to dance and will sometimes join in with her! We also like taking pictures and videos together because she loves watching them afterwards. I’ve never been a big fan of the selfie, but Clara loves them so now we take them together.

Making Ordinary Days Extraordinary For A Toddler

+ Go on an errand. I know some people probably do errands quite regularly, but I’m not one of those people. And let’s be honest, if I ran to Walmart every time I wanted to get out of the house, I would spend way more money on things I ‘need’ than I would like to admit! However, Clara loves to get out of the house to ‘help’ me, and if we’re having a rainy day in Seattle, we load into the car to go shopping for a few minutes and to be around real (adult) people for a change.

How To Make An Ordinary Day Extraordinary For A Toddler

+ Share a sweet treat. Clara cannot watch me eat any food without demanding I share it, and there’s no food she loves sharing more than ice cream! Plus, everyone knows that ice cream tastes best when it’s shared. If we’re being extra-crazy, we even add Smucker’s toppings to our ice cream! Living on the edge, I know! But seriously, ice cream and toppings are just better together! Plus, eating ice cream + toppings makes me feel like we’re at an ice cream parlor without the hassle of getting the girls ready to actually go out into public. Clara prefers chocolate toppings, but I like strawberry so I can get a serving of fruit with my dessert (that’s how it works, right?!).

How To Make An Ordinary Day Extraordinary For A Toddler

Making An Ordinary Day Extraordinary For A Toddler

Smucker's Toppings - Better Together!

So I challenge you, go forth and make today an extra-special one! (And to help with that, earn cash back on Smucker’s Ice Cream Toppings with the free Ibotta app!)

Posted in favorite things, motherhood | Tagged | 1 Comment

A little of this and a little of that

Clara is finally making herself useful! The other day I was walking with her and looking at my phone (it was important, I was trying to do ‘research’ on Instagram to figure out whether a certain ice cream truck would be in the area that day) and she yelled “DOG POOP!” right before I stepped in it. It was such a close call. My mom heart was so proud that she was 1) able to identify what dog poop is and 2) was so gleeful in pointing it out.

I tried the vanilla sweet cream cold brew from Starbucks and was NOT disappointed. Plus, it’s only 110 calories compared to my ‘normal’ caramel macchiato which is 250 calories.

A little of this and a little of that

This is how I’m writing this post right now. #multitasking

Clara decided to wake up at 1:30 last night. She stayed awake until approximately 4am. Ohhhh the things she wanted to do. She is such an enthusiastic little being in the middle of the night. Isn’t my newborn supposed to be the one keeping me from sleeping?

Also, my adventurous toddler keeps crawling onto the top of her dresser and getting stuck there and then we (of course) need to go rescue her. There is no physical way I can keep her from that dresser, I’m afraid. She just pulls out the drawers and scurries on up. I just wish she could get safely down.

I love this sunscreen and supposedly it isn’t filled with as many chemicals as the stuff I currently use, so I suppose it’s worth the higher price tag. For some reason I have a difficult time justifying spending a lot of money on stuff that goes on my skin, but I get that it’s important so my credit card will just need to get over it.

I’m going to do an entire post on this later (famous last words), but I bought this backpack to use as a diaper bag and I love it and I’m now convinced that diaper bags in general are a scam because backpacks are so much better/easier/etc.

I started watching season 4 of OITNB but have heard the last two episodes will make me cry so I can’t even be excited about it. OK, that’s a lie, I’m still excited about it. I freakin’ love this series.

Well, Clara just woke up from her nap an hour early (insert all of the swear words here) because of this darn construction happening literally 10 feet from our house, so I must let you go. Until next time…

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The kind of dad he is

Yesterday I co-hosted a baby shower and arrived home at 9pm. (Four beautiful hours away from my girls – I was practically skipping I was feeling so free. Or maybe it was the Pinot Grigio.)

I walked in the house and found Tim holding Isabelle and Clara yelling something from her room.

Happy Fathers Day

Tim: Oh good, you’re home. Here, take Isabelle, I think Clara’s yelling because her baby doll has to go potty.

… And then he ran upstairs to take the doll and assure Clara that he would make sure she went to the potty.

Because this is what it’s like to have a toddler (or at least it’s what it’s like to have our particular toddler). And Tim, instead of rolling his eyes as we are often tempted to do, handles these types of ’emergencies’ with understanding and patience and a great sense of humor.

That’s just the kind of dad he is.

[Lest you think I abandoned him all day to watch the girls by himself on Fathers Day… this is only partially true. In the morning we took a family ‘adventure’ (walk) to get doughnuts a mile away, but unfortunately we had to abort the mission since both girls were having meltdowns. However, we did get him gifts! I got him a Chicago neighborhood print and a Seattle neighborhood print and a gift certificate to Float Seattle.]

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