May Odds & Ends

April showers bring May flowers, or if you live in the Bay Area… more showers. Can you believe it is raining here for the next week? It’s that time of the month again when I share some of my favorite tips, tricks and products with you. Don’t forget, in addition to my one giant Odds and Ends monthly post, you will be able to find each individual tip or trick in their corresponding category on the Parker Posts menu. This way if you want to go back and just read about my Favorite Finds at Costco, you will be able to easily find it in the Favorite Products category. Don’t forget to let me know if any of the tips and tricks below make your day a little brighter or your life a little easier 😘.

BRUSHONBLOCK Mineral Sunscreen

I was thrilled to spot this brush-on mineral sunscreen at Costco. My dermatologist’s office staff had told me about BRUSHONBLOCK last summer, but it was already sold out when I visited my local warehouse. I immediately grabbed a package when I spotted it at Costco recently. Two spy 30 applicators cost $29.99. An opportunity to try the sunscreen occurred during a sunny, 14 hour day at Disneyland the following weekend. I applied my daily moisturizer with SPF 30 that morning, then applied the BRUSHONBLOCK a couple hours later to ensure that my face remained protected from the sun throughout the day.

In a recent Consumer Reports article they suggested “brushing on a liberal coat of powder sunscreen” over your makeup as an alternative to removing makeup and starting over every time you need to reapply sunscreen.

The sunscreen was easy to apply and best of all eliminated any oiliness that had occurred over the past couple hours. It left my skin feeling fresh and non-greasy. I also gave a quick brush over the tops of my shoulders and chest area. At the end of the day my skin wasn’t pink and I didn’t feel as greasy as I would normally feel after a day in the sun.

If you don’t have the opportunity to visit a Costco warehouse in person I found a similar brush-on sunscreen available online at for $36.99. It is more expensive than BRUSHONBLOCK, but significantly less than the $65.00 it typically retails for at my Dermatologist’s office.

Babysitter Approved: A Date Night Dinner for the Kids

Looking for an alternative to ordering pizza or leaving out a box of mac & cheese the next time you have a babysitter coming over for the evening? This meal takes the same amount of time to prepare, but delivers a healthier alternative that is just as popular with kiddos. I always have a package of Trader Giotto’s Cheese Tortellini in my fridge or freezer for nights when my middle school age children need to make dinner for themselves. Anyone with the ability to boil water on the stovetop will be able to prepare this quick and easy dinner that will be ready to serve in under 20 minutes.

Tortellini with Pesto and Tomatoes

serves 2-3


Trader Joe's cheese tortellini, pesto and grape tomato recipe


  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Tortellini
  • 1/4 cup pesto (I use this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half


Cook tortellini according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, slice grape tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Drain pasta. Toss pesto with tortellini. Add sliced grape tomatoes. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

 Hint: Fresh pesto is quick and easy to prepare. I like this recipe. It is simple enough for my kiddos to prepare independently. If you would prefer to buy pre-made pesto, this imported basil pesto from Costco is a great one to keep in your refrigerator and use for a variety of recipes.

Costco Kirkland Basil Pesto

Whether you are on the hunt for a weeknight meal that can be made in a jiffy or a date night dinner for the kids that a babysitter with minimal of kitchen skills can master, this recipe for tortellini with pesto and tomatoes will fit your needs.

Promotion Gift Ideas for Tweens and Teens

Spirit Wear

A new sweatshirt or t-shirt with the logo of the students new school is a great gift for boys and girls alike. Contact the school the student will be attending next fall to find out when and where spirit wear can be purchased. We bought my son a sweatshirt with his middle school logo when he promoted from 5th grade. He wore the sweatshirt every opportunity he could find that following summer because he was thrilled to show off his new middle school’s gear.

An Engraved or Hand Stamped Bracelet

MantraBand bracelet

I gifted my daughter a slender wrist cuff by MantraBand as a 5th grade promotion gift that was engraved with the words Be True, Be You, Be Kind Middle school can be a time when kiddos feel a great deal of pressure to “fit in” I wanted my daughter to have a concrete reminder of what our family values.

hand stamped bracelet from Lemon Gift Shop, Danville

I discovered these custom hand stamped bracelets at one of my favorite local boutiques, Lemon. They look very similar to MantraBands, but you have the opportunity to personalize them or purchase bracelets that have been stamped with the name of the local high school the student will be attending.

A Beauty Service

Treating your daughter to a special manicure, pedicure or hairstyle before their promotion party or ceremony is a fun gift that will leave them feeling extra fancy for their big day. Locally, the Blow Dry Bar Studio in Danville offers blowouts, braids, updos and make-up application for special occasions. Prices start at $46.00 for a blowout. I’ve been visiting Ann for manicures and pedicure at Princess Nails in San Ramon for almost 20 years. The space is clean and decorated by one of my favorite former home decor spots, Le Jardinet. Prices are extremely competitive in comparison with other local nail salons.

An Experience

Tickets to a local ball game, concert, musical are a great opportunity to spend some quality time together before the student starts their next stage of life and provided the perfect opportunity for you to have a heart to heart. My husband and daughter are attending the Billy Eilish concert at the end of May in San Francisco to celebrate her 8th grade promotion with another father-daughter pair. I’m excited that they are going to experience one of my daughter’s favorite performers together.

It’s hard to believe the end of the school year is already here! A big congratulations to all of my readers that have a loved one promoting or graduating this month. I found myself tearing up today as I dropped my daughter off for her high school sport try-outs. I’m hoping I can slow time down a little these next four years. “The days are long, but the years are short.”

Must-See T.V.

I have never done a television show review on the blog before, but
I couldn’t not share my newest obsession! My friend had been telling me for months that I had to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The previews and reviews had not grabbed my attention, so I arrived a little late to the party. I finally decided to download season one when faced with a 3 hour road trip and nothing on my watch list. The very first episode had me hooked and every episode thereafter seemed to get even better. I enjoyed the first few episodes so much that when we arrived at our destination, I unpacked while holding the iPad in front of my face so that I could finish another episode. I thought I might have to put my life on hold in order to watch the remainder of season one and all of season two, but luckily I had a 16 hour bus ride right around the corner. Let me tell you, it was the most painless bus ride I have ever taken. I caught myself laughing out loud on several occasions and the hours passed in the blink of an eye.

Without giving away too many spoilers, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is about a 1950’s housewife, Miriam “Midge” Maisel, that decides to pursue a career in stand-up comedy when her life takes a surprise turn. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is not only hilariously funny, but the outfits serve up some serious eye candy. Mrs. Maisel’s collection of hats, dresses, coats, and heels is beyond fabulous! The show’s first season takes place in New York City, but the second season takes the viewers to Paris and the Catskills as well. If you thought summer camp with Baby looked like fun in Dirty Dancing , just wait until you see where there Maisel family vacations!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is free to Amazon Prime members. If you don’t have an Amazon Prime Membership, I would highly recommend paying a visit to someone who does and asking to watch their TV for the weekend or sign up for a free trial subscription.

Warning: This is not a show for the entire family. There is explicit content that is not appropriate for children under age 15. For further details click here.

I’m looking for a new show to add to my watchlist now that I’ve finished season two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Send me your recommendations!


  1. Patti Sorsky

    May 26, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    I’m Kimberly Schaefer’s mom!

    1. Parker

      May 27, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Welcome to Parker Posts! Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. I always enjoy hearing about Kimberly’s latest adventures and projects. She is so incredibly creative. Did she get that from you?

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