Life Update: I’m not Okay

In September when I gave my latest Life Update my last sentence was “So, while we are doing well with our current routine right now, it might all be blown back apart in a few weeks…”

Consider my life blown back apart.

I really wish that fear would not have come true, but here we are. I was asked to return to the office two days a week at the beginning of this month. However, Jack’s school also went to a hybrid model in mid-October. Easy-peasy, right?


After much discussion, we decided NOT to send Jack to school for the hybrid model, which would have had him in school on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. Instead, due to a large variety of reasons we decided to keep him on the 100% virtual schooling model. Which means that on the two days a week I go into the Baltimore office… we needed to do something with Jack.

We decided that Travis would take off work on Tuesdays to stay home and oversee virtual learning. Then, on Thursdays I’d drop Jack at my parent’s house so my mom could serve as home-base for the day while Jack is in his online classes.

I knew this would be hard. But I hadn’t anticipated how much extra stress this would put on me.

Extra Stress #1: After my second day in the office I was exposed to someone whose daughter had just tested positive for COVID. STRESS SPIKE. I returned back home and my coworker quarantined at home and tested (the first one came back as negative and the second one should be coming in soon). This just opens my eyes yet again HOW EASY it is to be exposed to someone who may be sick. So, every single meeting I have, I’m worried. Especially when meeting with someone who pulls down their mask to their chin and keeps talking. Add that to the fact that COVID numbers are spiking again and yup… there goes my stress.

Extra Stress #2: SO MUCH MORE PLANNING. In order for me to leave Jack in the hands of someone else, there is a billion more moving parts to deal with. Everything from planning to cook double-dinners on Mondays and Wednesday so we can have an easy dinner on night’s that I get home late. To laying out every possible notebook or item that Jack may need to put his hands on throughout the day (oh wait, you need that art project from 3 weeks ago… yup, that’s RIGHT here!). To making sure Jack’s backpack has every possible thing in it he may need at my parent’s house. To my own prep and packing to go back and forth to the office when I had everything perfectly set up in my home office. It is a forever changing list of stuff I have to remember that lives in my head.

Extra Stress #3: Jack is not doing well working with other grownups in my absence. We have our routine down for getting classwork done and it just simply is not working when daddy or Mimi is in charge. This causes me even more stress with a fun guilt + stress + frustration combo. This also means that at the end of the day after driving an hour to work, working all day, driving an hour home… we still have the majority of the classwork to review and complete in the evening when we are both exhausted.

Extra Stress #4: Money. Since I’m not taking the metro, I’m paying to park in the building garage two days a week. Add onto that the fact that Travis is taking off work on Tuesdays and losing an entire day of work (he’s a self-employed truck driver and gets paid by the job he completes), it’s making a financial dent. Which gives me something else fun to worry about.

I’m a problem solver though. And I know that the way to solve this problem is to tell my boss that I can’t do it. I can not work full time + oversee virtual schooling full time + come back into the office 2 days a week + deal with the constant stress of getting COVID when both me and my son are high risk + EVERYTHING ELSE.

And I know that he will understand. And I hope that the other partners would also understand.

But here’s the thing – I’m an overachiever. I love my job. I love being a working mom. I love ‘doing it all’ and I feel like if I say I CAN’T DO IT ALL then I’m failing.

So, I’m holding off. And the stress bubble is just growing larger and larger. And I know this is not sustainable. And I KNOW that I will have a sense of relief if I just say I can’t do it anymore.

But dang it, it is also so hard to give up.

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Have you used Olaplex?


If you’ve dyed or highlighted your hair during the past few years, it’s likely you’ve heard of Olaplex. In fact, in July 2015 I actually tried out an Olaplex treatment as part of my partnership with the Red Door salon (you can find the post here). When you get an Olaplex treatment done in a salon (either as part of a color service, or on its own), it is supposed to dramatically reduce breakage and also make your color last longer.

Since the pandemic, I’ve stopped having my hair professionally colored and have returned to the world of box dye. This has actually been an improvement for my hair – as the salon dye seems to have been too harsh for my hair and I’ve seeing more healthy regrowth since I’ve taken over on my own.

However, I do have concerns about hair breakage. To be honest though… I’m not sure if it’s hair breakage or hair regrowth, but I have some little curly bits around my hairline. I tried a silk pillowcase for a while, but didn’t see any difference (and didn’t love it) and I often use a deep conditioner, but when doing my research, I was reminded of Olaplex.

And they now have an ‘at home’ version of their products.

So first up, what does Olaplex really do? Well, here is their claim: our patented active chemistry works on a molecular level to improve hair strength and repair the broken bonds that come from coloring treatments, bleaching, or heat damage from blow dryers and curling irons.

After doing a bunch of research, here are the Olaplex products that I think may work best for me:

No.3 Hair Perfector, $28 for 100 ML: This is the original Olaplex product that they are famous for. It’s an at-home treatment that reduces breakage and visibly strengthens hair. You wet your hair, towel dry it, and then apply this from roots to tips. They say it should stay on your hair for at least 10 minutes, but in their ‘personal hair quiz results’ they sent me, I should leave it in for 45 minutes before shampoo and conditioning my hair and use it 2-3 times a week. They also recommend using it 2-3 times in a row before you color your hair to keep it extra healthy.

No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, $28 for 250 ML: This shampoo repairs and protects hair from everyday stresses by re-linking broken bonds. It is color-safe and proven to reduce breakage and strengthen all types of hair.

No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, $28 for 250ML: The conditioner is also supposed to protect and repair damaged hair by re-linking broken bonds and is also color-safe.

No 6. Bond Smoother, $28 for 100 ML: This is a highly concentrated leave-in smoothing cream that is supposed to strengthen, moisturize and speed up blow-dry times. This is said to be excellent for all hair types, including colored and chemically treated hair and will eliminate frizz and fly-aways for up to 72 hours.

While everything sounds pretty great and I’ve heard good feedback from multiple hair stylists, it is quite the chunk of change to spend on hair care. If I purchased everything on my list off the Olaplex website, my total would be $112!

They do have a Hair Repair Trial Kit for $25 that I was considering, as it contains 1 oz trial versions of the No. 3, No.4, No.5 and No.6. However, while the price was right, I was concerned that the bottles were too small for me to get a good idea on whether they work on my hair.

Then I saw that they currently are offering a Holiday Hair Fix Kit for $60. Still pricey, but it contains a full size 100 ML No.3, a travel size 100 ML No.4, a travel size 100 ML No.5, and a full size 100 ML No.6. I actually think this will be perfect for me so I can try the full list of products, and then after the shampoo and conditioner run out, I can see how the No.3 and No.6 work with my typical shampoo and conditioner before fully committing to the whole kit-and-kaboodle.

As I’m waiting for my order to come I’m very curious to know if this is going to be the THING my hair has been needing. Or, if it’s just snake-oil and will make literally no difference at all.

If you use any of the Olaplex system, I’d love to know your thoughts! Also, is anyone interested in a review post after I try it out for a few weeks?

Disclosure: Not sponsored at all!

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October Thrift Haul

{Pssst, you can read about my previous thrifting adventures here}

One of the things that I love about thrifting, is that I often find fancy brands that I previously knew nothing about. There’s just something in the feel of the material, or the design of the item that forces me to grab my phone and start googling… and often I’m SHOCKED at what people are donating to thrift stores.

And that brings us to one of the items I thrifted in October… a Beryll cashmere poncho.

I was going through the sweaters rack, as I typically do because I love an oversized v-neck sweater, or a fancy embellished cardigan. As I was swishing through each hanger… I saw something black balled up and thrown on the top of the rack. So, I rescued it and was planning to hang it back on for some good thrift karma.

But then… when I felt it, I investigated the tag and found one I’d never seen before: Beryll. It felt super soft, so I figured I’d do a quick little google search.

And I found the exact item that I was holding in my hands.


That’s right. This crumpled up item that I found in my local thrift store was a 100% cashmere Beryll poncho. And if that’s not insane enough, it is STILL available on their website. For $550.

But here’s the kicker. Mine had a yellow thrift tag on it for $4.99… AND IT WAS HALF OFF YELLOW TAGS DAY!

This is the part where I almost started hyperventilating. Because I bought this $550 poncho for $2.50. That is literally less than I spend on my typical Starbucks order!

I’m thinking that this will be the perfect ‘wearable blanket’ for this winter when the weather gets chilly. I can throw it on while working from home (or working at the office, because it’s awfully nice) to keep me perfectly warm. Would I have paid $550 for it? Um… heck no. But at $2.50 I will feel extra fancy as I type away at my laptop.

I do realize I should just go ahead and end the blog post here, because there is no topping that score. However, I did also purchase two items from the home goods section of the thrift store on that same visit.

Woven basket, $5.99

I really liked this woven basket and it was in perfect condition with no broken pieces or splinters. It also has dividers inside, so it’s great for wine bottles or other stuff that you may want to display in it.

For now, I’ve added it to my front porch and filled it with some gourds. In the spring, I’m imagining adding a couple glass vases filled with wildflowers.

Autumn Harvest Vintage Pyrex, $3.99

I always breeze through the home goods section when I’m out and about, on the lookout for vintage Pyrex. This cute little bowl is the Autumn Harvest pattern, which was made from 1979 – 1986. It is in perfect condition with no chips or scratches in the paint or lid and at $3.99 it was an absolute steal. Here it is added into my china cabinet with my other Pyrex goodies:

So while I only had one opportunity to stop at a thrift store early in the month and I only picked up three items… I’m pretty darn happy with my October Thrift scores!

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