Summer 2015 Favorites: People, Surgery, and Stuff

Although summer isn’t “officially” over, it is for us teachers, so I gotta get this in now! Another season, another set of things to appreciate…

First, let’s start with Tom and my in-laws for their love and support before, during, and after my surgeries this summer. Tom helped me get comfortable by gently arranging pillows to my liking, brought me food sometimes, hugged me when I was frustrated, and has literally been my crutch a lot since my foot surgery. My in-laws have been nothing but generous in letting me stay at their house to recover, letting me take over their couch, and making me feel welcome and comfortable throughout the whole summer. And, finally, Finster for his wonderful cuddles and endless entertainment…except when he’s napping, which is 75% of the time.

Cuddle time!!

Also, for all the people, friends and strangers alike, who have reached out and offered help and/or encouragement in any form since having my surgeries. I seriously appreciate you all.

Touching story time: on our way back to Stony Brook from Brooklyn about a week ago, Tom and I had to actually cross over the track at Huntington because our connecting train was on the other track. Usually the connection follows behind the current train, but whatever; usually, it’s not a problem. However, I was moving at a snail’s pace because I was only 2 weeks out of surgery.

We made it to the elevator to go up just as the doors were closing, so a man inside held them for us. We walked over the train via the platform and found the elevator to go down on the other side; by now, about 5 minutes have gone by, so the train is about ready to take off. When we finally got down to the ground, I was telling Tom to run to the train and hold the doors, but he refused to leave me.

Wouldn’t you know, as I’m walking up the flight of 5 steps to the platform, I saw the man from the elevator standing halfway out of the train, waving to the conductor to wait for us. I was so grateful and totally exhausted from that trek, so when Tom and I sat down, I bawled like a baby. Silently, so as not to draw attention, but nonetheless, tears were a-flowing.

I was frustrated with my lack of mobility and felt hopeless and scared about a potential future like this. Mainly, I was having flashbacks of my mom when she used a cane, and then a walker, and then a motorized scooter. I was always the one by her side and appreciated the people who helped her and me during those tough times.

And now, I was so thankful for this man that took the time to hold the train for me. He could have just gotten on, taken a seat, and not had a second thought about me. But he didn’t. I thanked him as we got on, but I wish I could thank him 100 times more. He doesn’t realize just how much that meant to me.

Gah, all the feels.

Which brings me to said surgeries. Although they’ve been burdensome, and as much as I may have cursed myself for doing them while in the recovery phase and feeling like my summer was nothing but recovery, I’m happy I went through with them and am glad I got them out of the way!

redressed feet

Now let’s go to some of my favorite products from this summer: First, my trusty Batiste dry shampoo. I’ve mentioned this in multiple blog posts and will continue to recommend it to anyone interested in minimizing the number of times they wash their hair in a week. It’s been great all summer as I let my hair go unwashed for 3-4 days while also sweating and/or being pretty much couch-ridden after surgery.

Similarly, I used Oribe dry texturizing spray while I stayed at my in-laws after my foot surgery. It smells delicious and doesn’t leave any trace of white film or powder in my darker hair. I received a sample size in my Birchbox subscription, so it’s handy for traveling. What’s not handy is the price; the teensy weensy 2.2 fl. oz. purse sized one retails for $22. Yeah, disgusting! A regular 8.5 fl. oz. costs $42.

Batiste Hint of Color Brown Dry Shampoo     VS.   Oribe dry texturizing spray

>>MATH TIME!!!! Batiste is usually around $6 or $7 for the 6.7 oz. can – at $7, that’s $1.04 per fluid ounce; Oribe costs $4.94 per fluid ounce for the full size can! You’re paying almost $4 more per fluid ounce with the full size of Oribe! But wait, it gets even grosser: the Batiste travel size is usually $3 for 1.6 oz, coming to about $1.90 per fluid ounce while the Oribe comes in at $10 per fluid ounce for the travel size! Horrendous. Awesome product, I just don’t see it being worth that much money.<<<

Speaking of, my next favorite is wearing my hair 95% au naturel during most of August. After washing my hair, I’ve been letting it air dry with just a couple spritzes of my It’s a 10 Leave In spray and it actually doesn’t look all that terrible. I love not having to use heat on it as it’s already 80° so I’m sweating a lot, I save time, and my hair feels sooooooooo much healthier! I think I’ve only used heat (in the form of a straightener to curl my hair for my birthday dinner with Tom) once in the past month. Woot! I totally recommend anyone who wants to try a no heat challenge to do it – embrace your natural hair and notice the difference that it makes when you let your hair be who it wants to be without heat. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

au naturel hair

I am loving the Lash Sensational mascara by Maybelline. I’m on my third tube and really enjoy how it makes my lashes look fluttery and separated while also lengthening and defining them. I have been using the Very Black non-waterproof one and I have had no fallout or flakes and it stays all day; it actually takes quite a bit of [gentle] elbow grease to remove it entirely at night!

Which brings me to Simple Micellar Water. I saw a couple YouTubers talk about this and I was suckered into trying it out. I think it’s great! It’s a facial “cleanser” (doesn’t foam up or anything…it’s, like, water) and makeup remover that is super gentle, doesn’t sting my eyes, and takes off makeup with a few swipes of a cotton pad! Plus, I don’t have to rinse it off like the oil-based makeup removers because it’s pretty much like using water already.

Going with the skin theme: sunscreen. I’m white. Like, ghostly white. I went to Virginia Beach in July with a group of my best girlfriends from high school and we spent a few hours lounging on the beach on our first full day there. I sprayed myself multiple times with SPF 50 as the sun was really intense, but between that and the fact that we were in and out of the water to keep cool, I got pretty darn burnt.

Which brings me to my next favorite: Aloe. Any aloe. I used an entire tube (with a little help from my friends, but mostly me) of Walgreens’ brand Aloe Vera because, well, it’s cheap. I got the one for sensitive skin so it doesn’t have any added scent or lotion or anything. Just aloe.

I’m glad I brought the tube because all of us benefitted from it at one point or another. I actually bought another tube after coming home because I ran out of the first tube. I got burned so bad, I ended up with some sun blisters…yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Even with the excessive aloe and lotion applications, peeling happened, but it wasn’t as gross or as extreme as I expected. It was bad, don’t get me wrong, but I think the aloe helped it a bit.

And even though I got sunburned, I still favorite time at beautiful beaches. Here we have Montauk at sunset – Tom and I stayed on the beach until all the stars were out because we don’t get to see them in Brooklyn.

Montauk beach

How about my smashbook? I’m happy with the progress I’ve made and hope to finish it by the end of this year! I got a lot of it done out in Montauk as we sat on the front porch of our bed and breakfast.smashbook collage

Side note: I got a different journal to house the smashbook – I went with this gorgeous one that has ring binding to allow more room for expansion as I fill it.

smashbook cover

I also loved celebrating my one year anniversary of marriage to the wonderfully handsome Thomas!!! And going to Montauk for a weekend away together!!!

At the beach

Last, but certainly not least, I’ll favorite that I’m a teacher and had the privilege to have a summer vacation. Cheesy, but whatever. I spent lots of time reading for school and spent some time prepping a bit for my classes, but I spent more time not doing work stuff. I hung out with coworkers [friends], and although work stuff always tended to creep its way into conversations, we always ended up talking about life outside of school, too. I’m excited to be going back, teaching all math, coaching volleyball, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones. And I can proudly say I love going to work every day even though it gets stressful and overwhelming a lot (second year teacher here, I’m sure all the veterans are rolling their eyes).

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. — Dalai Lama

The Proposal

Short version

Date: August 21, 2013

Location: West Meadow Beach, East Setauket, NYDSCN1149

Long version

Before we get into the proposal, there’s a back story that is important in making me not seem like a complete idiot. In May, Tom and I had looked at engagement rings at Jared, but I honestly didn’t think he would ‘pop the question’ until at least the end of this year. Whenever the topic of proposals came up, Tom assured me that I would not expect it.

More than once he said, “If I’m taking you out to a romantic dinner or it’s a holiday or anytime you’re expecting it, it won’t happen.” Okay, fine. I enjoy surprises, so that works.

Fast forward to my birthday, August 21. The plan was to go out to dinner, go to the beach to watch the sunset, and then have dessert. The thought of his proposing had crossed my mind once or twice, but each time I told myself it was too expected. I mean, it was my birthday. And we were going out to dinner. And watching the sunset?! Come on, that’s too romantic and too cliche!

That morning, I woke up early and noticed that Tom’s dad was still at home. But I knew he should have gone to work by then. So naturally my mind started coming up with the worst possible scenarios. He must have had a heart attack! Why else would he still be home?!

I raced up to Tom’s room, apologized for waking him up, and asked why his dad was still home. He groggily told me not to worry, that his dad was going to work late that day. It made sense seeing as Mr. Harrigan had picked up Mrs. Harrigan from the airport really late the previous evening. Okay, so he wasn’t dead. Phew.

When Mr. Harrigan finally came downstairs, he said, nonchalantly, “Oh it’s your birthday today, right? We’ll do something later on, okay?”

Okay. I mean, we honestly didn’t have to do anything. I would have been happy just spending time with them. So I said, “Okay,” he left, and all was well.

The day went on pretty uneventful. I probably sat by the pool for a bit since it was a great day out. Tom and I waited for his parents to get home from work so we could all go to dinner together. Except then his parents decided we should just go together and they’d meet up with us at the beach or to grab dessert or something.DSCN1146

Hm, okay. I told Tom on the way that his parents could have come with us; they didn’t have to stay home, I would enjoy their company, too. He said something about it still being early and since his parents had just gotten home they would eat a little later.

We went to a restaurant in Port Jefferson called Schafer’s and got a seat on the top deck outside which overlooked the harbor and the Long Island Sound. It was a gorgeous day; not too hot or cold, not too windy…it was just perfect. We had looked up the sunset time earlier, so we knew what time we needed to be at the beach in order to see it.

By the time we finished dinner, which was delicious, we had about 20 minutes to get to the beach before the sun was completely set. Tom was kind of speeding, but he drives a bit fast sometimes so that didn’t really surprise me. The entire time we were in the car I was thinking, “Why are we speeding? There will be a sunset tomorrow…”

We made it to the beach with about 10 minutes of sunlight left, and it was gorgeous. I got some good pictures of the sunset, took a couple of us, and then I walked around in the water for a bit; Tom snapped a couple pictures of me in the water.DSCN1157

When I walked back up to Tom, he hugged me and said, “I love you.” I don’t know if it was the wine at dinner or what, but I was in a silly mood, so my response was, “Aww, I love you too.”

He was still holding me and then said, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Again a silly, “Aww really?” Gah, looking back on this, I was so dumb and naive!

Then. All of a sudden. He’s on one knee. And he has a box in his hand. And he opens it to reveal a gorgeous diamond ring.

And me? I’m in complete shock. I mean, I was just acting silly like we usually do and this turned into a completely serious and life-changing moment! But I had talked myself out of the possibility of this moment all day! And now it was actually happening, so my initial reaction was complete disbelief. That’s probably why I asked him, “Are you serious? Tom, you’re not kidding, right?”

Seeing as he was still kneeling on the wet, seashell-covered sand, he said, “Will you say yes, please?” So of course I said yes. Not because he asked me to so he could get up. But because I love him. This was the moment I had been secretly hoping for all day. This was the moment I wasn’t expecting to actually happen. And because of that, it was the perfect moment.DSCN1170

So I put the ring on, he got up, we hugged, and I still could not believe this was actually happening. Apparently a couple sitting on the beach saw the whole thing and started clapping for us. I was completely unaware of this because I was over the moon. And I might have taken a spin around Jupiter and Saturn on my way back. Ha, corny enough?

“Wait,” I said after a minute. “Did you ask my mom?” This was kind of a deal we had; it’s one of those traditional things, but I wanted him to ask my mom before proposing.

“Yep,” he said. So then my head started spinning even faster. I had just talked to her earlier that day. She called to wish me a happy birthday. She had said, “I couldn’t remember if you said you were working today or were going to be with Tom…” Oh she knew where I was and what I would be doing. Sneaky mom!!!

And of course Tom’s parents were in on it. They were waiting for us back at his house with pink champagne and cake! Hugs were exchanged, eyes filled with tears. Tom and I were engaged! Happy birthday to me!

While having cake and pink champagne, everything started making sense…

His parents skipping out on dinner.

The speeding to the beach.

It also came out that Mr. Harrigan had gone into Manhattan that day instead of work. Apparently the ring had been cast wrong (Tom got it custom made) so he went and picked it up from the jeweler. So this whole thing almost didn’t happen; but I’m so glad that it did!

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