Packing A Boden Swimsuit,Beautycounter Sunscreen and Much More in My Pool Bag

Updated July 2020: Will and I were at our neighborhood pool this weekend, and ironically, I was wearing this same Boden swimsuit that I bought in the summer of 2011 and showcased in this post so many years ago. The suit has faded a little, but it still fits. I have also bought two other Boden swimsuits over the years, too, and still, swear by this brand. 

As we were sitting there in our lounge chairs with a pool bag filled with nothing, but Countersun Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Mist, I noticed several families in the pool who had children about the age of my kids when I first wrote this post. My kids were under the age of six at the time. 

I looked at Will as we sat there with no children with us, and said, "I don't miss the days of bringing young children to the pool with swim diapers and all of the stuff." He laughed and stated, "It was so much work. By the time we got to a pool, applied sunscreen, and put on their floaties, it was then time to go home because it was their nap time." 

We no longer keep up with the gear, swim diapers, or any pool accessories that parents need to take to the pool these days. We just have to keep up with where our kids are now when we're relaxing at the pool. Lucky for you, websites like Globo Surf, do all the research for you on the best swim diapers to use on your brief trip to the pool.  Enjoy this trip down my parenting lane from 2011. Parents, I promise you that you'll be where Will and I at the pool sooner than you think. I must also be frank with you. I don't miss those pool days at all. I was wrong on my prediction that I would miss them. But I love going to the pool now.  And this child, nine years later, even carries her own swim towel, but I'm still left toting the pool bag. 

Summer 2011

I remember the days when I loved going to the pool.  I would pack up a cute little tote with a book, magazines, and a bottle of water, and I would sit in a lounge chair with not a care in the world for about an hour.   Do you remember doing that in your younger days?  Heck, I was doing it when I was 36.  Fast forward six years and the pool season is no longer what I remember and could perhaps be my most dreaded time of the year.  As a mom, you know what I'm talking about here.  Taking young kids to a pool is incredibly hard work. It's the most laborious work I've ever done for only an hour of entertainment.

Gone are the days of sitting in a lounge chair with a good read.  Yes, I was one of those people.  Every season, I would have a cute bathing suit, hair, and makeup always completed, and my swimsuit rarely got wet.  These days, I'm lucky if I'm even able to sit down at all, my swimsuit could be on backward for all I know, and it's highly likely I'm hiding my no-makeup face behind a big pair of sunglasses.  My hair usually looks as if I have already gone for a swim.

Large pool bag filled with snacks, towels, and toys

As for that little pool tote, it has now been replaced with a big pool bag filled with sunscreen, snacks, sippy cups, extra diapers, pool toys, wipes, clothes for two kids, Zip-Loc bags for wet swimsuits, grocery bags for dirty diapers, and, of course, towels.

It also never fails that I always leave something important at home.  The bag is so full and heavy that I lean to one side as I peer through the crowd to find a seat for us and all of our pool loot. It's only 10:30 a.m., and it looks as if the early birds got the best places fo sit. The pool doesn't open until 10:00 a.m.  Those early birds need to teach me how to pack a pool bag quickly.

We find our lounge chair, apply our sunscreen, and are ready to hit the pool fountains at zero water entry, which is perfect for a toddler.  Let the kid fun begin! 

What's that sound? It's a whistle.  Oops!  You guessed it. It's kiddie break time for ten minutes where people who are like the "old me" can frolic in the water splash-free.

Mini Boden Swimsuit

I dig in my bag for snacks. It's never on top, so I sift through goggles and sunscreen to find the goldfish.  Even though we just got there, this is my chance to sit for ten minutes because the rest of the time, this middle-aged mama will be standing in water with her rear end for all to see instead of lounging in a chair where my backside would be nicely hidden.  At least this year, I'm attempting to stand there in a cute Boden swimsuit. If only I looked as attractive as the model in the catalog, though.

The scorching, southern heat kicks in as it is approaching lunch and my daughter's naptime.  Pool fun must end.  And yes, it's just as much work to pack up that bag and change everyone into dry clothes as it is to get us ready to go.  One day, I know I will be able to park my backside in a lounge chair again while my tweens tote their own pool bags to the pool. I'll see all the younger mamas with their behinds in the pool with their little ones, and I bet I'll say, "I do miss those days!"

pre-schooler with googles

See you at the pool! 

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Serving 22,000 steaks a Month and 14 million Guests through the Years, Raleigh's Angus Barn Celebrates 60 years in Business

As a child, I remember a black and white photo that was in my family photo albums that were of an era before I was born. Dad was wearing a jacket and a tie. Mom had on some green patterned skirt and white frilly collar blouse that screamed the holiday season. The shirt became popular again in the early nineties. To find that photo now would require hours of digging in a box. For some reason, that photo always fascinated me. They were celebrating the holidays at Raleigh's Angus Barn in the mid-sixties. I came along at the very end of 1968 and changed their lives. I look back now at a much older age than they were in that photo, and I laugh now because I realize their life was turned upside down upon my arrival. No doubt, they had a pretty good 14 years before my fabulous entrance. 

When I moved to Raleigh in 2000, one of the first things I wanted to do was to dine at the Angus Barn just like parents did so many years earlier. It was interesting to me to think that a restaurant was still thriving after so many years. I've written about the Southern tradition of the Angus Barn during the holidays on the blog before and how it is so wonderful for families during the holidays. 

The Angus Barn in Raleigh, NC circa 1060
Angus Barn exterior circa 1960. Photo credit courtesy of Angus Barn

The Angus Barn, located on Highway 70 near the very-small Raleigh-Durham International Airport, opened its door to the public on June 28, 1960. Truthfully, it was in the middle of nowhere. Nothing was out there except an airport that had about twenty flights a day. Ironically, this new cutting-edge restaurant was located just a few miles away from where my parents resided. 

In 1959, novice restauranteurs Thad Eure, Jr, and Charles Winston bought 50 acres of pastureland on a desolate section of Highway 70, halfway between Raleigh and Durham. Believed by many to be misguided due to its rural location, the young entrepreneurs were unable to receive any bank funding. 

However, Eure and Winston were determined and borrowed from every person who had a modicum of faith in them to raise the money. Based on dining preferences of the time, they decided that the restaurant would have a steak and potato-based menu; and the legendary Angus Barn concept was launched.

With a strong hospitality vision,  the southern gentleman with no previous restaurant experience ended up establishing a local and national landmark. There is a lot of history behind those now-famous red-barn doors. The restaurant has seen its customers through tragedy and triumph. The barn came back better than before after a devastating fire in 1964.  At the age of 60 this month, its one of Raleigh's oldest restaurants. 

Fire destroyed the Angus Barn in 1964
The Angus Barn Fire of 1964 in Raleigh, NC/Witek Marketing 

In 1978, Eure bought out Charles Winston, who went on to pursue other successful hospitality endeavors. After Thad Eure Jr died in 1988, at the young age of 56, his wife Alice and daughter Van continued to co-own and manage his beloved "Big Red." 

Owners of the Angus Barn
Thad and Alice Eure, original owners of the Angus Barn 

Now owned and operated by Van and her husband Steve Thanhauser, the Angus Barn is staffed by a loyal, hard-working team, many of whom have built lifelong careers at the Angus Barn. "I may own the barn," says Eure, "but the customer is the true boss. Customers can choose to close your doors simply by taking their business elsewhere. I am here to guide my Angus Barn family in recognition that each guest to walk through our doors is our boss."

During COVID19, the  Angus Barn had to adjust business to curbside take-out like many other restaruants
Current Angus Barn Owner Van Eure Serving Guests During Curbside/Witek Marketing 

Through its trials and triumphs, multitudes of loyal guests have made the Angus Barn one the nation's 50 highest-grossing independent restaurants, consistently ranked as one the 100 best restaurants in the United States. In 1989, Wine Spectator magazine bestowed its coveted Grand Award upon the Angus Barn Wine Cellar for the first time. It received the exact same honor this week, almost 30 years later to the day. 

The Angus Barn is 60 years old on June 28, 2020
The Angus Barn Celebrates 60 years on June 28, 2020/Witek Marketing 


Since that first night in June 1960, over 21,000 nights and 14,000,000 guests later, generations continue to make the Angus Barn a cherished part of their lives. Today this historic restaurant can seat close to 900 guests and employees over 400 team members. Although it is still famous as a "Beef Eaters Haven," serving over 22,000 steaks per month, the menu of the barn has expanded to include poultry, seafood, and pasta, as well as options for today's more nutrition-conscious guests.  

In 2008, the Pavillion, a  large open-air dining and event facility overlooking Angus Barn's scenic lake, constructed almost entirely of reclaimed materials dating back to the 18th century was built. 

And if you dine at the Angus Barn, you will notice that this is not one of those a-la-carte type steak houses that became popular a few decades ago. All dinners come with your choice of garden salad, spinach salad, Caesar salad, wedge salad, French Onion soup, or the soup of the day. Plus, diners get their choice of baked potato, stuffed potato (my favorite), garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato, thin-cut fries, baked onion, white rice, or rice pilaf. Bread and homemade crackers are served at every table. 

The early years of the Angus Barn in Raleigh, North Carolina

If you ever visit, Raleigh, NC, experience a Southern tradition like the locals. We are so fortunate to have this outstanding restaurant in North Carolina. If only "walls could talk", I bet we would hear a lot of great stories. 

The Angus Barn is back open after weeks of closure because of COVID19 in 2020, just in time to celebrate its milestone birthday. Service looks a different right now because of the changing times.  Curbside Pick-Up/Take-Out is available with a limited menu. The restaurant's website details its current COVID safety initiatives. 

This post is made possible through the support of Beautycounter, a leader in Clean Beauty, banning 1800 questionable ingredients that are currently being used in the cosmetic and skincare industry. Any sales purchased through this link, directly benefits HinesSighBlog income. Let Leigh be your host for a virtual #BetterBeauty Education with your friends on social media. Email me at Leigh@hinessightblog.com to chat about it.  Hosts receive free rewards and products. 


The Best Quarantine Spinach and Ham Quiche Recipe

How much cooking have you done since you have been under a stay-at-home order for COVID-19?  I feel as if I have never cooked more in my lifetime.

I have really tried to have zero waste in my cooking these days. I had leftover Easter ham and decided to throw together a "use what I have in the fridge" quiche for another meal. I used this favorite quiche recipe of mine that I originally shared in 2012 on the blog and adapted it to work for what food I had in the refrigerator.

Spinach and Ham Quiche

It turned out well. So much in fact that I made the Spinach and Ham Quiche a second time.

Quarantine Spinach and Ham Quiche

1 store-bought pie crust
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced
Up to 10-ounces of fresh spinach, stemmed and washed
1/4 cup of diced ham
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup shredded cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Bake the crust until it just starts to color, about 10 minutes. Remove the crust. Set aside. Lower over to 350 degrees.

While crust is in the oven, melt butter in a large pan, add onion and cook over medium heat until soft, about five minutes.  Chop the damp spinach and add it to the pan with the onions. Cover and cook occasionally, until the spinach is tender and shrinks. Drain off any liquid in the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk the eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Stir in the spinach mixture, cheese, and add the diced ham. Pour the entire mixture into the browned prebaked pie crust and slide onto a baking pan.  Bake until the pie puffs, and the top is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let quiche settle for at least 10 minutes before serving.  It is even better when reheated.

Quiche on a plate.


Try Color Street for EASY DIY Manicure or Pedicure

Since you can't get to the salon for a manicure or pedicure during COVID-19. I have an excellent alternative for you that is easy to do and affordable.

Instead of dying easter eggs this year,  Liza and I did our nails using the nail polish strip Glamsterdam from Color Street.

Color Street DIY Nail Strips

I hesitated to try this DIY polish application at first, but I am glad I did. Sure, my nails are not perfect, but after I do them, I feel happier and more upbeat. My nails look 100 percent better than if I had tried to use nail polish on my own.

You need to try Color Street.  Trust me. Do their special. Buy 3 and get 1 free. You will love it.

My friend, Dana, introduced me to the products in January and I've become a big fan.

A pale blue called Chilladelphia

Color Street makes 100 percent nail polish strips that are easy to apply. In fact, they are so easy to use that my own daughter does hers and mine.  It's that simple. Your nails become a canvas for wherever your creativity takes you. 

You can go pastel, bold, glittery, neutral, or mix and match.  The first time I did Color Street, I started with the palest of pinks called Himalayan Salt. It is still a favorite of mine.

DIY Nails with Color Street

The color ideas are endless.

Neutral nail polish

You can design an overlay look, mix it up, or keep it solid. The choice and your creativity are up to you. There is even Clear as Day, which is just a clear nail, and it works great over solids to give it more protection.

Plaid about you is a great plaid overlay over any color

The nail strips come in petite (great for little hands), standard size, and pedicure strips. However, you can always use the standard strips for your toes, too.  You may need to turn the largest one sideways for the big toe, but it is easy to do and works just as well.

Color Street Nail Strips

The strips can also be used to cover gels from professional salons.

I came up with my own combo for UCA in Orlando. I used Holy-Teal-edo with the Coming Up Rose Gold overlay.  The teal is now a favorite of mine, and I think I will wear it to cheer competitions since it is our primary team color. It's lovely by itself, too.

You're probably wondering how easy is Color Street to apply. It is easy.  The pedicure is more challenging, but I did it.  If this non-DIY queen can do it, then I know you can do it even better.  Once they are on your nails, they are immediately dry.

How to apply color street nail strips

For a limited time, I have a virtual ColorStreet Blog party open with Dana. Buy 3 and get 1 free. Tell me about your favorite colors.  Shop at this Color Street link.

Easy DIY Nails at Home with Color Street

Disclosure: I do not sell Color Street or earn a commission from Color Street.  As a virtual hostess, I get free gifts and discounts. Talk to Dana about hosting your own virtual Color Street Nail party to receive the same perks.  All opinions about Color Street are my own and this post is editorial content only.


5 Easy Family Meals During COVID-19 Quarantine

2020 has not turned out as we all have hoped. We are only into the third month of 2020, and I'm already labeling it, "annus horribilis," however, I like to stay optimistic in my views for my own mental health. 

The year is not over, and in my opinion, there is still time for 2020 to become "annus mirabilis." At the very beginning of the year, my family had its own personal crisis which caused me to take pause with many things in life. My focus was somewhere else and not on this blog.

And then COVID-19 quarantine came into play. Normal life as we knew it has stopped. 

I am cooking quite often, and am also taking my own mother meals and leaving it on her porch almost daily. My daughter and I traveled to Orlando via plane in mid-March as COVID-19 was approaching, so I've been self-isolating with limited contact except for my husband and children since March 15. We are fine, but each time we go to the grocery store, we put ourselves at risk. 

Easy family dinners that require few ingredients.

When I made my first grocery run, store ingredients were limited. We all need simple, easy family meals with very limited-ingredients. The following five recipes are meals that I have made my family. 

Broccoli-Tofu Pasta is very easy, and my children love it. The original recipe calls for chicken, but years ago, I switched it to tofu, and it was a hit. You could also make this with shrimp. 

  Broccoli-Tofu Pasta Recipe (Pasta, Tofu, Olive Oil, Cheese, Broccoli make an easy meal.

This Chicken Tetrazzini recipe has been in my family for close to 50-years.  Another family introduced it to my parents before I was born, and I grew up eating this dish. It is my mom's favorite meal. This recipe can also be adapted to use with tuna fish or shrimp.

Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe (Easy Casserole recipe with breadcrumbs, cooked chicken, pasta, pimentos, green peppers and cream of mushroom or chicken soup).

If you can find a fresh eggplant, then this Eggplant Parmesan recipe is super easy. My husband does not really care for eggplant, but he likes this recipe. It is one of his favorite meals. I typically serve it with pasta.

Easy Eggplant Parmesean. (Eggplant, Cheese, and Pasta).

Will does not care for regular meatloaf, but he likes my Mini Balsamic Meat Loaves.  My children prefer the ground beef without the balsamic glaze so you can do them plain as well. I typically call them indoor hamburgers without the bun and cheese. That wording seems to please them more than using the word meatloaf.

Mini Balsamic Meat Loaves ( ground beef, breadcrumbs, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, )

I bought a bag of frozen whiting (fish) before food supplies became limited with COVID-19. This easy oven-baked fish recipe could also be used with any white, mild fish such as cod, catfish, flounder or tilapia. It's a good recipe to help switch up entrees in the kitchen.

Each Oven-Baked Fish (white fish fillets, breadcrumbs, butter, lemon)

Please let me know if you try any of these recipes.

I also made some other recipes during this time. You can find these recipes online.
Easy Tortellini Bake: I used spinach and cheese tortellini. I really liked it.
Oven-Baked Chicken and Rice:  If you use boneless chicken thighs like I did, I do think you need to cook them longer than 20 minutes. The chicken thighs I used needed more time so keep that in mind when cooking.

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