Walktober Challenge!

I have been working a lot on my mental health recently, and have realized that walking is so therapeutic!  I love being outside, submerged in nature and organizing my thoughts.

As October is quickly approaching, I have decided to push myself in hopes of walking 250,000 steps!  I can’t wait for cooler days, more leaves falling, and more time outside.

I’d love some company on this personal challenge!  Please let me know if you’d like to join the challenge for yourself or join me for a walk.  I plan to keep a spreadsheet of each day’s steps to help keep tally and stay focused on reaching my goal.

So, grab your pedometer, grab a friend, and let’s get to walking!

live, brooke

Happy #2 Brooke’s Brain!

My little blog turned two this weekend!  To celebrate, I wanted to share a few of my favorite humorous posts! 4.  I wrote this over a year ago and still feel its 100 percent accurate!  https://brookepeck.com/2017/05/22/what-she-wore-fishing/ 3.  This post is amazing because it mixes two of my favorite things: honesty & emojis!  https://brookepeck.com/2017/08/09/diy-emotions/ 2. This is… Continue Reading →

My little blog turned two this weekend!  To celebrate, I wanted to share a few of my favorite funny/embarrassing posts!

4.  I wrote this over a year ago and still feel its 100 percent accurate!

3.  This post is amazing because it mixes two of my favorite things: honesty & emojis!

2. This is probably my most read post.

1. No one ever likes to talk about this.

Thanks for loving me and my blog!

love, brooke

Kindergarten Newbie

We have officially made it through our first full week of half day kindergarten! JB is doing really well, making new friends, and learning classroom procedures. It’s been such a blessing to have him in such a loving environment!

All that said, there have been a few things that have caught me off guard.

1. Pencils

I don’t know why I didn’t think about this, but pencils are now very valuable at our house for handwriting practice. Thankfully, I’ve been saving them for years in preparation for school one day so we have plenty. Unfortunately, we don’t own a single damn sharpener. None. So, we do our handwriting practice with colored pencils because those come pre sharpened. 🤷🏼‍♀️

2. All the stuff.

JB is at school for 15 hours a week. How the heck did he manage to make 21 pieces of “art” in his first week?!? All those “treasures” are now piled in the mudroom eagerly anticipating their judgement day to determine if they make it into the air conditioned house or will retire/die in the blue carport bin. When asked about this mass creation of art, he explained that art center is his favorite and he goes there first every day.

So far, creations include “cook books” (ie, homemade books with yummy desserts glued on the pages cut from a magazine), “origami” (ie, construction paper with a million folds rolled up together with tape to keep it closed), a large painted cactus with toothpicks glued on it (my fav so far), goldfish glued on a giant sheet of paper to spell out his name, and a sheriff badge/name tag with a star decorated in sequins.

3. Homework.

Silly me, for some reason I thought 15 hours of weekly instruction was enough for a 6 year old. But, they want us to teach him at home too. Technically, this is homework but so far, I don’t have a problem with any of the content!

laugh, brooke

Cocktails in the Garden

We love being members at the Atlanta Botanical Garden… especially because of their evening events!  Tonight, we went to Cocktails in the Garden and it was so much fun!  Each Thursday night, the garden is open from 5:30-9:30PM from May through October for drinks and a variety of entertainment.  The garden staff does a wonderful job of planning so many activities to appeal to all ages:

We saw several of the “Imaginary World” exhibits

We listened to live music, danced to the DJ, and helped with a collaborative art project.

We watched a man do fire breathing and magic tricks!

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We played lawn games- including giant connect four, jinga and corn hole.
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We visited the tall Chihuly installation at the reflecting pond.

 

 

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And of course, all of the gardens were open for exploration.  Check out these super cool pink bananas growing near the Earth Goddess permanent exhibition!

 

 

 

Such a great night!  But… who wants to be my (21+ up) date ?  I’d love to do some reviews of the cocktails next time!  Also, looking forward to cooler weather!

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live, Brooke

How to Buy a Used Car in 20 Easy Steps

We just got to experience the joy and happiness of car shopping, so I thought I’d share what we learned in 20 easy steps:

  1. Figure out a general idea of what kind of vehicle you want (suv, minivan, sedan, truck, etc).
  2. Go to Carmax and look at every single one of those types of vehicles.  It’s the only place you can see so many year models and options in one place.  Note: salespeople just love this.
  3. While you are there, get a quote from them to buy your current car.  Try not to cry in the dealership when you find out your car’s value.
  4. Narrow down the make/models that you are interested in between 3-5 cars.  For me it was a Toyota Highlander, Lexus GX 460, Toyota 4Runner, and Toyota Land Cruiser.  
  5. Research the different options, trim levels, body styles and price points.  
  6. Go look at your short list of vehicles at the respective dealerships to see what they look like/drive like/cost if you were to buy brand new.  Try not to throw up when you see the price tags.
  7. Determine if you like the newest models or an older version.  For me, I did not like the new Highlanders and instead preferred the older body styles.
  8. Narrow down what you can buy in your price range- mainly the year, mileage and trim level.  
  9. Start searching for cars that check those boxes daily- and heck, twice a day if you want.  Search Carmax, carvana, auto trader, Craigslist*, and individual dealerships.
  10. If you see a car you like, check the Carfax (provided for free by most dealerships on their website).  This is when the fun starts. See if the car has been wrecked, where it’s been registered, and if the title is clean.  This is the most time consuming part of your searching. “Oh, that’s a good price… let me check the Carfax. Oh, it’s been wrecked three time and lived in New Jersey for 4 years.  Pass.” This step will help you weed out 85% of the cars in your search results.
  11. Send your partner/family/friends links to any car that passes step #10.  
  12. Call/text to see if the car is still available.  If so, haul your kid and husband to see it ASAP. If car shopping in June in Georgia, bring copious amounts of cold water and a well charged iPad.
  13. Climb through the car to see how many people you can fit in it, set up every possible seating arrangement you could possibly use, check all the buttons/gears, screens, windows, trunks, jacks, floor mats, DVD players, and look under the hood. If this passes, take it for a test drive.  If not, don’t waste your time.
  14. Ask the dealer what they did to the car after they bought it off trade, they should give you a list.  Double check the carfax report to be sure the VIN matches the VIN on the car.
  15. Try to negotiate on the price. Know that dealerships don’t have as much negotiation room as they used to.  Also, know that Carmax and Carvana do not negotiate so dealerships have gotten their advertised prices as low as possible to bring in buyers.  Keep in mind that many used cars only come with one key, if you need/want two, negotiate that in with the purchase.
  16. If you come up with an agreed price, take the car to your mechanic for review- along with a copy of carfax to be sure things are accurate- before buying.  
  17. If the car checks out, know that you can put up to $3,000 on a credit card at most dealerships.  If paying “cash”, they want the rest in a personal or certified check. They offer financing options but you can usually get a better rate at a credit union or bank.
  18. The dealership will do the paperwork to get the car registered before you leave but be sure to call your insurance company to have coverage on the new car before you drive it off the lot.
  19. If you car comes with any warranties, be sure to fully understand them before you leave the lot.  
  20. Drive off in your new-to-you car and try to keep your son from dumping pretzels all in it within the first hour of ownership!

*We had a scammy experience with potentially buying a car off Craigslist.  Don’t buy a car from anyone who has a POA to sign the title to you.  There is no way to be sure it’s legal.  Also, if the mileage seems to be too low- it probably is.

learn & laugh, brooke

May is a Marathon

For many, May is the slammed together book ends of school ending and summer starting.  It’s full of overlapping sports seasons, teacher appreciation gifts, dance recitals, swim team practices, graduations, Mother’s Day gifts/gatherings, Memorial Day travel prep, and end of school parties.  It’s exhausting just writing it all.

So today, I salute you parents who make it all happen…

…Those that make sure that their daughter’s bangs are glued to her head with a series of butterfly clips and level 6 hair spray.

…Those that stay up late making egg free cupcakes for the last day of school party even though the egg free kid won’t be there.

…Those that hold their two year old while also nursing their six month old so everyone is quiet and happy during the dance recital.

…Those that set an early morning alarm on a Saturday for a kid’s swim team practice meet.

…Those that drive around to 5 different stores to purchase gifts for each child’s teacher.

…Those that make grocery lists and shop so that you can pack it all up and take it with you to the beach to prevent going to a store once you arrive.

…Those who construct a homemade bamboo structure for VBS decorations.

…Those who show up for swim team practice every day with twin ten month girls in tow.

…Those who plan an end of the year party craft that the kids don’t want to make.

…Those who decide to paint their entire basement the last week of school because childcare will be limited in the coming months.

What are you doing this month that’s totally insane and deserves mad props?!

laugh,

brooke

 

How to See Portland in Six Hours

Blue Star Donuts

I was pretty stoked to try Voodoo Donuts as it’s a place many friends recommended we visit when the heard we were traveling there. But, our Seattle native traveling partner insisted that Blue Star was the best donut in Portland.

When we first walked in, I was underwhelmed. It was way too clean, modern and sparkly white to have delicious fried balls of gooey dough to enjoy. Then I say the prices. $3.50-$5/donut?! What?! That’s what a whole dozen of Krispy Keene cost when I was a kid. Hesitantly, I ordered the Lemon Poppy Seed Buttermilk donut. My husband ordered a Meyers Lemon key lime donut. It looked like a hockey puck covered in powdered sugar. I also negotiated he get a carrot fritter too. This was a good call on my part. The carrot fritter was everything I want in a fancy donut- dimension, sweet balanced with carrot, plenty of moistness with a perfectly fried/crispy exterior. It took the cake (or donut) for our trip to Blue Star.

Pittock Mansion

This historic mansion offers so much to visitors. Free access to the grounds allows you a breathtaking overlook of downtown Portland. Even with mist and low clouds, we still were blown away by the far away views from the mansion’s front yard.

For $11 each (my five year old was free), we had a self guided tour of the mansion. It is filled with history of the city- damaging storms, immigrants, fires, floods, and rebuilding issues. I also loved seeing how the wealthy lived in the early 1900’s (husband and wife had separate bedrooms, closets and entire bathrooms). The hand carved, built in storage/furniture throughout the home is phenomenal.

If we’d had a longer time, I would have loved to hike some of the trails on property.

Tasty n Sons

Y’all, this southern gal loves a high filutin brunch. This place delivered x10. We sat at community table which was a bit awkward at first but everyone was really nice. To be honest, the menu was a bit mature for JB to be in tow, but we made do. I highly recommend the salmon platter, potatoes bravas, and radicchio salad.

Aerial Tram

This was a big hit for my 5 year old traveler. It’s a transportation option from WaterFront park up to the Hospital. The majority of the folks who use it are medical staff with a few tourists sprinkled in (🙋🏼‍♀️). The city views are incredible while riding over the city. At the top, we exited to see the city from the hospital outdoor deck.

That’s how we spent our 6 hours in Portland!

Xoxo,

Brooke

#Portland