The Lazy Genius Collective

Be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don't.

Be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don't.

Bracket of Guys: Final Eight!

The East Hot Regional Final

#1 Colin Firth vs. #3 Jimmy Fallon

I'm concerned by the number of buttons on Colin's shirt, but aside from that, I'm realizing with each passing week that he's basically a perfect celebrity to appreciate from afar. We don't know a lot about him (he's fairly private), but he's charming, classy, self-depricating, and has gone on record that acting is just fun, no matter how dramatic people try and make it. And he doesn't resent playing Mr. Darcy in four films; in fact, he's grateful. I never would've guessed he'd make it this far, but I'm so glad he has. 

Jimmy, on the other hand, is just Jimmy. He's everyone's little brother who happened to snag the most high profile talk show in the country. I'd go to bat that he's not actually that good (put away your pitchforks, please), but frankly he doesn't try to be. He's just himself - awkward, regular, and as much a fan of celebrities as the rest of us. I'd rather have Seth, Stephen, and even James, but I don't begrudge Jimmy his success; he definitely earned every bit.

The Midwest Hot Regional Final

#1 John Krasinski vs. #10 Benedict Cumberbatch

Is there an alternate universe where I don't have to make this decision? Can we go there, please? Let's be real - my decision is clear. It's just not easy. I'm an unapologetic Benedict Cumberbatch evangelist, and the only reason he isn't in my Final Four is because he's in the same region as my (already gone) James McAvoy. Yes, my James McAvoy. That said, John Krasinski is about as tough of an opponent as there can be. Neither is classically handsome, both are shocked by their sex symbol status, and while BC is clearly more talented and consistent in his work than John, no one can argue with the power of 1) Jim Halpert and 2) that dirty body in 13 Hours. I refuse to admit how many times I watched it in the span of one week. (Three. I watched it three times.) I believe the rest of you are like me; you know who you'll choose, but it doesn't make the decision hurt any less. Go in peace.

And just in case this is the last time I get to say it in this beloved Bracket of Guys, I LOVE YOU, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU.

The South Hot Regional Final

#1 Ryan Reynolds vs. #3 Matt Damon

Now, this one isn't hard. I don't know how you guys are going to vote here - an incredible tossup - but Matt Damon beats everyone always. In case you haven't heard (you have 100% heard), he's my most marryable celebrity. If it wasn't weird for me to say, I'd admit that I'm the tiniest bit in love with him, but it is weird for me to say since I'm happily married to my actual husband so... I won't say it. I won't say that I'm in love with him. Or that when his face comes on any screen for any reason - even those weird Stella Artois commercials - that I audibly gasp. It's fine it's fine everything's fine. Just keeping holding your daughter's backpack and blowing your bubble, Matthew Damon. YOU DO YOU, BABY.

But. Ryan Reynolds. I get it, y'all. Or at least I'm starting to. He's fine. Real talk, I need Facial Hair Ryan. Puffy Haircut and Clean-Shaven Ryan is not my favorite Ryan. I said it before and I'll say it again: he's going to have an impressive career when it's all said and done. An incredible character actor in a leading man's body. 

The West Hot Regional Final

#1 Hugh Jackman vs. #3 Chris Pratt

Y'all, Hugh Jackman is stupid handsome. Have you ever searched for him on Google or Pinterest? Have you ever encountered scroll after scroll of his beautiful face? Because it's what heaven must be like. A throng of chiseled Australian angels.

Perhaps I've gone too far. 

Like Colin Firth, I never expected Hugh to dominate the way he has, but week after week, it makes more sense. He loves his wife, his accent is magical, his body is ridiculous, his smile is melty, his personality is charming, his perspective is thoughtful, his way of being in the world is humble, and he can freaking dance. When the same guy can successfully host the Tony Awards and play Wolverine for a million years, you know you've got a winner. I've always thought he was great, but of all the Bracket of Guys contenders, he's the one whose star has risen in my eyes the most. I truly appreciate his body. Of work! His body of work. 

And then there's Chris Pratt! Have y'all been watching him on Instagram and his What's My Snack bit? Hilarious and full of beautiful biceps. He just has it, that thing that makes him greater than the sum of his parts. From Andy Dwyer to wrestling dinosaurs in dirty Henley shirts, from being a doting father to smitten with his wife, from chubby to hello there, this guy has it all but still seems like he'd be cool just getting a beer with you. 

This choice is IMPOSSIBLE.

Time to do the impossible!

The East Hot Region Winner Is...
The Midwest Hot Region Winner Is...
The South Hot Region Winner Is...
The West Hot Region Winner Is...

Bracket of Guys: Round Three Winners!

I thought voting would get harder... is it getting easier? Are we so set in our favorites that the clicks aren't as painful now? That's how it appeared after these votes were tallied. All the races were admirable, but none were nail-biters. I was only surprised by two things, both of which I'll share once we ogle some dudes for a quick sec. 

East Hot Region

#1 Colin Firth vs. #5 Ryan Gosling

#3 Jimmy Fallon vs. #7 Adam Scott

Midwest Hot Region

#1 John Krasinski vs. #4 Mark Ruffalo

#3 Jason Bateman vs. #10 Benedict Cumberbatch

South Hot Region

#1 Ryan Reynolds vs. #4 Tom Hanks

#3 Matt Damon vs. #10 Milo Ventimiglia

West Hot Region

#1 Hugh Jackman vs. #4 Robert Downey Jr.

#3 Chris Pratt vs. #7 Matthew McConaughey

The only two things that surprises me were 1) how strong Colin Firth's win was over Ryan Gosling. I thought he might actually win, but he was handily eliminated, and 2) that Tom Hanks lost to Ryan Reynolds. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about Ryan Reynolds, so to see him oust the most trusted man in Hollywood vexed me. But I get it. 

Will tomorrow's voting be tough? I mean, we have to choose between John Krasinski and Benedict Cumberbatch. That one hurts, y'all. See you tomorrow...

How are y'all doing? How's your bracket holding up? I still have two of my final four picks left, but losing James - my heart - makes it feel like I'm an empty vessel of sadness.

The Baby Stuff I'd Rescue In a Fire

My third born ray of sunshine turned one over the weekend, so I decided to talk about how a Lazy Genius raises a new baby on The Lazy Genius Podcast. It's all the things I wish I knew before I had kids. If you are or know a current or future mom of tiny humans, it's a good one to share. 

And so is this! These are my FAVORITE items from Annie's first year. No one is paying me to say anything; these are totally my opinions. There are a few affiliate links with Amazon if you decide to snag any of these for yourself or a friend. You don't pay more or take any extra steps; I simply get a few cents from your purchase as a thank you from Amazon which helps keep The Lazy Genius Collective up and running. If you do buy through me, I'm so grateful! But however you get these, I highly suggest you GET THESE. 

1. My favorite spot for a baby to sleep...

A week old.

A week old.

A couple of months old.

A couple of months old.

Four or five months old.

Four or five months old.

The Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Deluxe Rock ‘n Play Sleeper is a mouthful of a name but worth its weight in diapers. It rocks, vibrates, moves easily from room to room, and Annie slept in hers until she was seven months old. If it was time to sleep, we'd move the rocker to where we were and stick her in. Usually after a couple of rocks, she was asleep, especially in those early days. If she was extra cranky, the vibrator was magic. And for those mid-night, mid-nap wakings? Turn on the vibrator right away, and that baby might just settle back to sleep in a flash. PLUS if your baby has any amount of reflux, this rocker naturally allows for semi-upright sleep which is HUGE for babies with tummy troubles.

2. My favorite way to ease a baby's wretched gas...

Colic Ease is magic. It's an all-natural formula that you drop into your baby's mouth and then can immediately hear it breaking down her little gassy tummy. If your baby has gas pains or responds poorly to when you eat dairy, onions, or anything that TASTES GOOD, give Colic Ease a try. We used it with all three of our kids, and it's CRUCIAL to survive. Gas pains are no joke, y'all. 

3. My favorite thing to put on a baby's feet...

These adorable leather moccasins from Geo and Gem are so fly and - bonus! - they double as a portable chew toy. Baby's fussy? Take off her shoe and stick it in her mouth. Because she's not walking and that's not gross yet, it's the best. They come in a ton of colors and are the BEST. I never would've bought them for myself, but fortunately I have thoughtful, beautifying friends like The Nester who put magic on my baby's feet. 

4. My favorite way to give a baby a bath...

Don't let the photo fool you. This was her first bath... which never goes well. I mean look at my hand! It's bigger than her entire torso. She basically five minutes old in this picture and is hating life. But this actual bathtub is the coolest, sleekest, futuristic spaceship bathtub ever. It folds flat. I KNOW. It stores anywhere because IT FOLDS FLAT, and when it's bath time, you just stick it in your sink and rinse that sweet baby bum. Once Annie was close to sitting up, we moved to a regular bathtub, but for bathing babies in those first few months? The Puj Flyte Compact Baby Bathtub is the only way to go.

P.S. This shampoo/soap/bubblebath brand is my favorite EVAH. Great for sensitive skin, natural ingredients, great smell, and it lasts an eternity. Plus the brand is 100% Fair Trade and gives portions of profits to empowering women in African villages. I mean, come on.

5. My favorite way to carry a baby...

Eleven months old on a walk.

Eleven months old on a walk.

Eight months old at church. This happens every Sunday.

Eight months old at church. This happens every Sunday.

There are a million wraps out there, so you pick yours and ride it proud. Me? I went with a Solly and would never choose anything else. Here's why it's worth the extra $15 bucks compared to other carriers. 

  • The color and pattern choices are killer. I can't resist a stripe, but the colors in their new collection? Sky? Tigerlilly??? Stop it.
  • The fabric is so lightweight which means no sweaty mamas and babies, especially in the summer months.
  • The fabric also stretches a ton to help get the coziest fit while still being insanely secure.
  • It's a small business run by a mom. Always a fan of that one.

I wear Annie in this at least once a week at church (which is right in the middle of her nap time) and used it all the time in those first few months. It's sometimes hard to know when you're supposed to wear your baby, but when you have two other little kids requiring clean butts and a packed lunchbox, you figure it out pretty dang fast. Love my Solly.

6. My favorite way to let a baby hang out...

A couple of weeks old.

A couple of weeks old.

A couple of months old. #thighcrease

A couple of months old. #thighcrease

Five or six months old.

Five or six months old.

Before your baby sits up on his own, this BabyBjorn Bouncer is a lifesaver. I'd put Annie in this little chair when I made dinner, when I sat outside while the boys played, or anytime she needed to be close by but not directly on my body. We even used it as a makeshift highchair in a pinch which, to be honest, didn't work great because Annie likes food and bounced so hard that she got covered in yogurt. It happens. But this little chair has a hefty price tag compared to other baby seats, but this one is sleek, highly functional, folds flat for easy travel, and actually looks good in the living room. I registered for this, knowing that if I didn't get it as a gift, I wouldn't get it for myself. Man, I'm glad I got it as a gift. Worth. IT.

7. My favorite way to get snot out of a baby's nose...

You basically suck it out with your mouth and a tube and some weird styrofoam thing. It sounds gross (because it is gross), but it WORKS. And, no, your baby's snot will not go into your mouth. Gone are those teal green bulb things; the NoseFrida is the Rolls Royce of snot suckers. GET IT.

8. My favorite books to read to a baby...

We have a lot of baby books left from the boys, mostly about sharks and trains. Annie's a fan. But I wanted to get her some books for her own, and these make my so happy it hurts my face. The BabyLit series is a blast. The illustrations are stunning, the baby lessons are real (opposites, colors, counting), and the English major in me gets to nerd out every time we read. We have Little Women (playtime activities), Emma (emotions - LOVE this one), Pride and Prejudice (counting), Sense and Sensibility (opposites), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (colors), and Wuthering Heights (weather). They're magic. I love them. Please read them to me forever.

9. My favorite way to swaddle a baby...

Post-nap on the left (you can see it under her) and pre-nap on the right (trust me, she likes it, just not the nap).

Post-nap on the left (you can see it under her) and pre-nap on the right (trust me, she likes it, just not the nap).

My babies are all a little nuts, so they were swaddled for long time. I need my sleep, man. If flailing arms get in my way, lock 'em up. I used regular swaddle blankets for the first couple of months, but once Annie started growing and turning into The Hulk, I had to find another option. Enter the Anne & Eve Swaddle Strap. It only straps the arms which is nice in the summer and as your baby grows. Plus, it goes on like a breeze. The only downside is the velcro; it's a little loud when you take it off. It shouldn't be a huge problem though since the legs are free, allowing for sleepy diaper changes.

10. My favorite place to rock a baby...

This one is weird because it's just a chair. And not even a baby chair. But that's why I love it. It's a knockoff Eames rocker, and it's the perfect proportion to rock a sleeping or nursing baby. And it's basically the hottest chair ever. We loved it so much we bought a second one a month after we got the first. We have one in each living room, and even though we don't use it for baby-rocking anymore, it's now used for regular sitting and does it beautifully. And it's a killer price. Love this thing. 

11. My favorite baby toy...

Sophie. It's a twenty dollar chew toy that seems like such a marketing scam and anything else will work fine. Yeah, they don't. Annie loved Sophie way more than any other toy for the first eight months of her life, and I've known a baby to not feel the same. Mom after mom has said to me, "Why does my kid like Sophie so much? I don't get it! BUT I CAN NEVER LOSE IT." Plus it's cute. Always a plus.

12. My favorite baby lovey...

Before I had my first baby, I read that giving them some type of lovey or blanket early on would help with feeling secure and even with sleep. CHECK. All of my kids started with an Angel Dear Blankie. My oldest's now looks like a knotted rope and my middle somehow snagged two, and Annie got a pink one and loves it. Hers has an elephant head, so we named her Ellie. I know; we're so original. But it's great to say, "Let's get Ellie and go night night" and watch her hug Ellie and more eagerly transition to sleep. Love these little things. Ellie was in more of Annie's pictures than any member of our family.

13. My favorite way to not look super pregnant after the baby comes...

I hate the baby body conversation. It's awkward and difficult, full of double standards and unspoken expectations. But when you have a baby, your ab muscles split in half and sometimes don't fully join back together. It can cause back problems, a compromised spine, and that little pooch that makes you look four months pregnant all the time. Oh, and if you try and do ab exercises without a fully repaired split? They make it worse. The actual worst. This book was my recovery. The exercises are small, more physical therapy than working out, and they work. My abs never came back together after my boys, so I had lost hope that they would with Annie. The damage had been done, right? But I started doing the exercises every day, and my abs were back together in three months. Crazy. Exercise After Pregnancy: How to Look and Feel Your Best is a great thing to read and put into practice after your tiny human enters the world. Because, you know, you have so much free time and everything.

::eye roll::

Don't forget to check out the podcast episode where I share the things I wish I knew before I had kids. If you don't have time to listen and want a quick printable list, I've got you covered.

 

 

 

Bracket of Guys: Round Three

It's the whole kit and caboodle. (Weirdest phrase ever by the way. Also did y'all have Caboodles? I filled mine with Dr. Pepper chapstick and cotton balls. My beauty regimen was cutting-edge.)

We're doing round three in its entirety. No more breaking up rounds week to week. This is IT. Our Sweet Sixteen. Let's see how difficult this actually is.

 

#1 Colin Firth vs. #5 Ryan Gosling

Yeah, okay this is really hard. They're both classy, kind, self-depricating, serious and talented actors, and vurrry handsome. This one might just come down to whose movies you like more. It's the Pride and Prejudice / La La Land throwdown we never expected.

 

#3 Jimmy Fallon vs. #7 Adam Scott

America's favorite late night little brother against the nerdy husband crush in Ben Wyatt. I think this one will come down to how many Parks and Rec fans there are around here. P.S. I'd like to applaud myself for not mentioning that they're handsome, too. #morethanaface

 

#1 John Krasinski vs. #4 Mark Ruffalo

Back to the faces. Beautiful ones. John Krasinski is loved for three things: being Jim Halpert, being adorably married to Emily Blunt, and being jacked and sweaty like a beast in 13 Hours. Mark Ruffalo is also loved for three things: his eyes, his voice, and how ridiculously good he is in everything he does. So not really a hard choice or whatever. (This one will kill me.)

 

#3 Jason Bateman vs. #10 Benedict Cumberbatch

No, THIS ONE will kill me. I mean, I'm voting for BC without question, but based on the close call of Jason Bateman and my BELOVED James McAvoy, I'm so afraid he'll take out two of my favorites ever. P.S. I am grateful beyond measure that our collective bracket did not mirror my personal one when I had to vote between James and Benedict. Did you guys feel something similar to a solar flare a few weeks ago? Because that was my heart breaking.

 

#1 Ryan Reynolds vs. #4 Tom Hanks

TOUGH. I think this is a Tom crowd, but we'll see. I will, however, go on record as saying that Ryan Reynolds will have a long career like Tom Hanks. He won't be revered as the most trusted man in America or anything (Tom was by Reader's Digest a few years ago), but I think he has staying power, especially if he embraces his strength as a character actor who just happens to look like a Ken doll.

 

#3 Matt Damon vs. #10 Milo Ventimiglia

Not cool, y'all. Not cool. (But an obvious choice for me because Matt wins my everything.)

 

#1 Hugh Jackman vs. #4 Robert Downey Jr.

Match-ups are a funny thing. We're down to the absolute favorites, and it's less likely there will be runaway winners... except maybe here. I will be shocked if this one isn't a blowout.

 

#3 Chris Pratt vs. #7 Matthew McConaughey

Or this one. It just doesn't feel like a contest. Sorry, Matthew. You've still got those Lincoln commercials.

Voting is closed!
The winners were Colin, Jimmy, John, Benedict, Ryan, Matt, Hugh, and Chris.

Bracket of Guys: Round Two Winners!

East Hot Region

Some thoughts...

  • I'm not surprised at any of the winners. 
  • I am surprised at how Colin Firth SLAUGHTERED Adam Levine. Like, a massacre.
  • Will Smith fans? Be proud. It was super close.
  • Let's not talk about the Firth-Gosling matchup on the horizon. Good thoughts. Happy memories. Everything's fine.

Midwest Hot Region

Some thoughts...

  • Slaughters. All of them slaughters... save one.
  • My heart. My heart is broken. I knew it would happen, but James lost. BY ONE. FREAKING. VOTE. You guys just go on without  me.

South Hot Region

Some thoughts...

  • Again, no surprises.
  • Well, except for Milo and Steve. I thought Milo would win, but I knew it would be depressingly close. It was. Only about a 20 vote difference. It hurts, right?
  • These guys are really hot.

West Hot Region

Last thoughts...

  • Team #savetomhardy is no more. Good work, guys. We tried. I'm sure he's still on the Internet hugging puppies.
  • The biggest win of the round goes to Hugh. When votes are close to 700 and you can only scrape together 50? Sorry, Michael. You lasted longer than any of us probably expected though.
  • THE NEXT ROUND IS GOING TO BE IMPOSSIBLE.

Bracket of Guys: Round 2.2

How's everybody holding up? I made Round Two full of black and white photos because I figured we needed a win. The heart hurts so much, so the eyes get to reap the benefits. (Here are last week's in case you missed them.)

Let's get to voting. I'll see you next Thursday for the Round Two winners.

#1 Ryan Reynolds vs. #9 Jim Caviezel

Is your soul pierced yet? With Ryan, you either love him or are annoyed by him, and with Jim, you either love him or have no idea who he is. Will Jesus continue his streak?

#4 Tom Hanks vs. #5 James Corden

It's hard to imagine anyone causing Tom Hanks to be nervous in the second round, but surprisingly James Corden is a tough opponent. They're really similar - likable, charming, regular, not so hot you want to die... I'm excited to see who you guys pick.

#3 Matt Damon vs. #6 Eddie Redmayne

Did you need your eyeballs shattered from hotness? Because here.

(Matt Damon 4EVAH.)

(But Eddie is humble, crazy talented, and I have a massive crush on his sprite of a wife.)

#2 Steve Carell vs. #10 Milo Ventimiglia

I'm sorry. I'm just so, SO sorry. 

#1 Hugh Jackman vs. #8 Michael Caine

Bye, My Cocaine. You made a good run. 

I mean, right, guys? Hugh seems pretty invincible here. 

#4 Robert Downey Jr. vs. #5 Zachary Levi

Now here's where it gets tricky. First, they could play brothers. Second, they seem like similar people. Third, they started from waaaay different places (really bad guy, really good guy) but now inhabit the same charming, scruffy space. This one is such a toss-up; can't wait to see what you guys say.

#3 Chris Pratt vs. #11 Mark Wahlberg

MY HEART IS BROKEN. 

Chris Pratt is in my Final Four, but Mark Wahlberg was on MY WALL when I was a teenager. I have such a thing. This tears me into a million pieces. Say I'm not alone. (Chris is going to wipe the floor with Mark, isn't he?)

#7 Matthew McConaughey vs. #15 Tom Hardy

I'm realizing what a poor decision this black and white photoshoot idea was. Because now I can't see or think or feel my face. I will be shocked if Matthew doesn't come away with this victory, but I'm going to rally my #savetomhardy people to STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN. Take heart and be strong even if you know you'll lose. 

 

I have the best job.

Voting is closed! Winners can be found here.

When It Doesn't Matter That Your Walls Are Ugly

I got married when I was 20 years old and started domestic life at a disadvantage.

See, I had learned how to find the tangent of something, could write about Shakespearean themes, and graduated college with a minor in Snood. (Anyone else play that game?)

No one ever taught me how to hang stuff on the wall. 

It doesn't seem like a hard thing. Just pound a nail into the wall and hang a picture! Anybody with half a brain can do it. 

 Well, it looks like a lot of us are walking around half-brained and confused because my walls and maybe yours, too, don't ever look like they do in movies and magazines. 

My goal is this...

And my reality is most definitely this. 

IMG_7487.JPG

This was my living room for the first two or three years of my marriage. Yup. Working that Golden Gate Bridge photo like whoa.

I mean, they're so small, completely crooked, too high, and... just so bad. It makes me laugh at how bad. 

But you know what? I thought it was fine. I actually thought my wall was pretty great until Pinterest showed up and I saw how the rest of Internet humanity lived. 

Isn't that the way it always is? We do something, love it, see how others do it, and immediately fall into a pit of despair.
We're confident in what we do until we compare. 

That's why being a person is so hard now; comparison is part of life. We see the filtered lives of people (who are sometimes paid to post beautiful photos) and realize we're a big fat piece of Wrong. 

But, y'all, we're not. Yes, these young 20s walls were pitiful, but I didn't know and therefore didn't care. I remember being proud of those photos that Kaz and I took on our honeymoon. I didn't know about levelers and photo hooks, but I knew that I wanted to remember how happy I was being married when I looked at my early married walls.

So, yes, I've learned a lot along the way. I've figured out how a Lazy Genius puts stuff on the walls without needing an interior design degree. My ugly walls have evolved into slightly less ugly walls, but the truth stays the same...

Your walls don't define you. The way you decorate doesn't add or subtract value from who you are. You can not know what you're doing and still warmly invite people into your home. 

Learn some tips and develop a few skills, but don't do it because of comparison. Because if you don't compare, you're actually happier, ugly walls and all. 

What's your ugly wall? Is there anything in your life that you're happy with until you see others doing it differently?

P.S. If you are looking for a few tips, check out the newest episode of The Lazy Genius Podcast: The Lazy Genius Puts Stuff On the Wall.