I don’t have a ton of energy to talk about anything important. If you’re curious about how I feel about this inauguration today, see this post.
I did hear something interesting on my favorite NPR show, Fresh Air, this week. You know that quote, “Well behaved women seldom make history”? I’m sure you’ve seen it somewhere before and you may have even seen it attributed to many different women.
It was actually written in 1976 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a historian and Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize winner. She didn’t mean it the way we all have come to understand it. The quote has become a rally to break the rules to get noticed. And I’m fine with that if that’s what you’re into, by the way. If you’ve already crocheted your hat and are on your way to march in your city tomorrow, you go girl. It’s a worthy cause. We’re a worthy cause and if marching is what you want to do, go on and do it.
But, if you are a well behaved woman and you don’t want to break the rules, fear not. Because Laurel Thatcher Ulrich was just stating a fact, not issuing a rally cry. The quote is from an article, “Vertuous Women Found: New England Ministerial Literature, 1668-1735” about the well behaved women who came before us and how important their lives were in history. The point wasn’t that the well-behaved women were not doing enough to change the world. The point was that women like Laurel Thatcher Ulrich wanted to tell their story.
So, if you’re not marching tomorrow or if you’re not interested in making history, then your job is to continue to be the strong, if quiet, woman that you are and shine a light on and lend support to other strong and quiet women around you. Because we might not make the history books, but we will change the world if we all uplift the women around us.
Happy New Year, if I haven’t said that already. I should have said it when I wrote my New Year’s post about my word of the year, Commit. (See here). This year I’m working on committing. To my commitments. So that I actually do the things I want to do. For instance, I’m going to actually *go* to the gym, so that I can follow through on my commitment to get healthy. See how that works? The only problem is how do I get myself to the gym on those nights when I really, really don’t want to go. Why, with bribery, of course! Well, sort of. I have to convince my brain that going to the gym has something more to offer me than just boring old getting healthy. And it totally does offer more than that, you know. Thanks to the miraculous technology that we all hold in our hands called a cell phone, that 45 minutes I spend at the gym can be thought of as 45 minutes of watching whatever *I* want on tv, or reading a book for 45 minutes or listening to a podcast for 45 minutes without having to take out my earbuds every 90 seconds so someone can ask me a question. Now, that’s 45 minutes that I am seriously looking forward to!
That dude is seriously pumped. That’s how I want to feel about going to the gym. To get there, I’m setting myself up with some self indulgent entertainment that I can hold in the palm of my hand, courtesy of Netflix, Amazon and some free podcasts.
What to Watch on Netflix
Gilmore Girls – A Year in the Life – I can’t believe I haven’t already breezed through this Gilmore Girls reboot. I loved the original show and listening to witty quips passed between Rory and Lorelai would pass the time on the elliptical in a blink!
The Americans – I watched the first episode of the first season of The Americans and I’m definitely intrigued. I love a good spy story and I’m obsessed with Keri Russell’s hair. How does hair go from that curly to that straight?
River – This is a British detective/murder mystery and it also involves talking to dead people. Pretty much right up my alley. I’ve already finished season one and am eagerly awaiting season 2.
Sherlock – I’ve already watched all of the available seasons for Sherlock, but with a new season about to start on BBC, I’m thinking about binge watching the last season so that it is fresh in my memory. Sherlock is hands down my favorite television show that sadly airs almost never. If you haven’t seen it, definitely add it to your list on Netflix!
What to Read
First, a note about how I find new books to read. I am a Bookbub girl all the way and I highly suggest joining this free service. Basically, you pick out what kind of books you like and they send you an email everday with deals on those types of books. It’s like a book concierge who only brings you super affordable books. I know I’m missing out on great brand new books that are still super expensive, and I will seek those out and splurge on them occassionally, but my 2 a week book habit requires access to cheap books or I will go broke. Bookbub provides me that!
Missing – Monty Marsden – I’m addicted to crime novels. They are my guilty pleasure. Missing by Monty Marsden is a good one. It hooks you in from the beginning with a good story and interesting characters. This book is set in Italy and for me, one of the best parts of reading is getting transported to a place. This book does that.
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – This should be required reading for every woman right now. It’s set in a dystopian future where women are even less valued than they are now. Hard to believe? Read it. You will be more afraid of this book than any of the creepy mysteries I read. I’m not saying this book is where we are headed, but I am saying that I find it more believable than I did on Monday November 6th.
The Drowning Game – L.S. Hawke – So, you’re going to want something a little less dense after you finish The Handmaid’s Tale. The Drowning Game is a fun, fast paced thriller with young people in it. This will do the trick while you’re burning those calories on the treadmill.
Cold Granite – Stuart McBride – This is the first in a detective series that I absolutely adore. They are set in Scotland and you are absolutely there in Aberdeen as you read each book in the series. The characters are people you want to know (or not know, as applicable). I’ve read the whole series and I’m excited for the new one that will be out in June!
What to Listen To
Ted Talks – I’m a fan of TED Talks. I listen while I’m cleaning to motivational stories, or funny stories or just plain interesting stuff, like, what is CRISPR and why should I care about it? Download the app to your phone and start exploring. Start with “The most popular talks of all time” and you won’t be disappointed, then start browsing through categories that interest you. Totally addictive.
The Moth Podcast – The Moth is story telling. Little slices of life that are deeply personal and poignant. The podcast is a re-airing of the The Moth Radio Hour from NPR. I love these.
Fresh Air – Terry Gross – I found Fresh Air by accident. Somewhere after turning 35, I found I couldn’t stand listening to music in the car anymore, so I tried NPR. I’m totally hooked on NPR on the whole, but I didn’t discover the national treasure that is Terry Gross until fairly recently. Terry is on in the middle of the day (2PM) on my NPR station and that just happens to be right about the time I am driving home. Terry interviews interesting people. Movie directors, tv personalities, authors. I listen to her just about every week day and every time I listen, the interviewee says something like, “Wow, I’ve never been asked that before” or, “Well, I didn’t think I was going to talk about that, but ok”. She somehow pulls the humanity out of everyone she interviews. She also tackles big stories like Fake News and the Opiod epidemic. You can find a weekend wrap up on NPR’s website to listen to.
Alright, that’s a whole lot of A/V content to motivate me to get to the gym! I’m going right now! Just kidding. It’s closed. This post took forever. I’m going TOMORROW!
Remember that time I did some posts about what I want, need, wear, make and eat? That was awesome. Let’s do it again!
Instant Pot: I discovered the wonderful Instant Pot this week and am dying to get one. Why so expensive, Instant Pot? I need a sale and a 30% off coupon from Kohl’s. Stat.
World Market Sofa: Sofa’s aren’t technically a need but I, like, *need* one. Both of my current sofas have major issues. I’m not saying I need to replace them both immediately, but it would be nice to have one nice-ish sofa. And this one is on sale. And it’s pretty.
Tunic: I only want to wear tunics for the rest of forever. Or at least all of tomorrow when it is going to snow here all day and I want to just sit on the couch and be cozy.
Cuddle Throw Tutorial from sewcando: Speaking of cozy, how awesome is that throw from Sew Can Do? I got a sewing machine for Christmas and I think I can probably make one of these, using the tutorial provided, of course! Click the pic or the title to get the instructions!
Thumprint Cookies from Texanerin Baking – I love a good gluten free cookie recipe and these look delicious. I am brainstorming a twist on these, but you can click the pic or the title for the full recipe!
***This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and buy a product, I may receive a small commission*** My son had to have some dental work that required him getting anesthesia this year. The anesthesiologist told him that the mask would smell funny, kind of like when Mom does her nails. I realized in that moment that my son probably had no idea whatsoever what Mom doing her nails smells like. So sad. I love painted nails, but I hate going to the nail salon because I find it super awkward to sit across from someone and hold hand with them and not have a clue what to talk about with them. I just can’t do it. I have one of those gel manicure light kits and it’s fantastic, but it’s kind of an ordeal to get the whole process completed. What’s a girl to do?
I decided to give the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Manicure a try. It does not require a UV light and it is only two things that you apply to your nail, the color and the top coat. I had read some good reviews, but honestly, I had low hopes that this would actually work. I’m pretty rough on my nails and any at home manicure (including with the gel light!) only lasted about 3 days. I was so sure it wouldn’t work out that I put it off for quite a few weeks because I thought it wouldn’t be any fun to blog about how my manicure didn’t work out.
Well, guess what? It worked! I am on day 6 of the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Manicure and it is the first day with a chip! To be honest, I was getting kind of antsy to try a new color at this point, so I was kind of happy that it was time to start again.
On the sixth day there is a tiny chip on my pointy finger, but you can barely even see it without a close up:
The process for getting this gorgeous manicure is simple. You apply two thin coats of color and then one coat of the top coat and then let it dry. That is the only downfall of this system that doesn’t use the UV Light. You do have to wait the traditional waiting time for your nails to dry. I did mine while I was watching The Challenge on MTV and they were basically dry by the end of the show. The kit I have that uses the UV light gives completely rock solid, dry nails after using the light, but it takes about 37 steps to get to that point and really, ain’t nobody got time for that.
I’m so excited about this, guys! I haven’t bothered doing my nails in years because they were always ruined in just a few days. To know I can get more like a week out of this manicure and to have it done in three easy coats is awesome! Off to paint my nails Gold. Oh! And my toes!! Don’t forget the toes!
Let me start this off by saying that the best testament I can give to how much I like Rodan & Fields Sunless Tanner is the fact that I have posted a picture of my insanely white, pudgy and not in shape legs for all the internet to see. That takes guts, people. But I am brave and I wanted to share this wonderful product with the world, pudge be damned!
So, I did no editing whatsoever to these photos. I swear there was no magic photoshopping to get that almost invisible white skin in the Before shot. Ditto for the nice warm color in the after shot. I took the pictures wearing the same shorts at the same time of day with the same camera next to the same wall so that the color difference would be be captured as accurately as possible.
Five Things I Love about Rodan + Fields Sunless Tanner
1. Great Color
I love the color that the Rodan + Fields sunless tanner gives. It’s warm and natural, and not orange-y at all. This is always the first thing I look for in a good sunless tanner. When I started my annual quest for a sunless tanner this year, I found a lot of great reviews of the color and as luck would have it, a good friend of mine had just started selling the Rodan + Fields skin care line, so I already had a trusted consultant to buy from. If my smokin’ hot legs have convinced you to buy some, you can use thislink to purchase through my friend. No affiliate link to disclose here, just trying to help a sister girl-boss out!
2. Ease of Use
This is by far the easiest sunless tanner I have ever used. It is actually a foam as opposed to a cream, so it goes on quickly and absorbs in minutes instead of the forever and a day that creamy tanners take to apply. I get out of the shower, throw on a little lotion and then I apply the sunless tanner and by the time I’m done brushing my teeth and blow drying my hair (which takes like, 4 minutes for me), my legs are dry and I can put clothes on. With the lotion tanners, I swear it would be like an hour of standing in the bathroom waiting for my legs to completely dry so that I could get in PJs. Ain’t nobody got time for that. By the way, if you’re wondering, the after picture is after 3 applications of the sunless tanner.
3. No Streaks
It seems to be impossible to get streaks with this sunless tanner. You do have to be careful around knees and ankles. I am sometimes a little careless and if look you close, my ankles might be a smidge too dark. Oops. Totally user error people, don’t blame the product. But, there is not a streak to be found. I don’t think I could make a streak if I wanted to. I think it probably has to do with the consistency of the foam. It’s very thin, so it spreads evenly and quickly.
4. No Smell
I have tried sunless tanners that smelled really bad. This one has almost no smell. Not medicine-y, not weird. There is a scent, but it’s kind of clean smelling, if that makes sense.
5. Created by Doctors
I didn’t realize that Rodan + Fields was started by the dermatologists who created Proactiv. That makes me feel safe using their products. I do also use the Reverse skin care regimen from Rodan + Fields and I have been very happy with my skin since I started using it.
I’m so excited about my newly tanned legs that I think I will actually start exercising to reverse the pudge! And maybe buy some more shorts! Which I will wear when it gets above 55 here in Massachusetts.
I break blogger rule number 1.34L (there are a lot of number one rules of blogging). I know, I’m such a rebel. Rule number 1.34L is that you should have a picture of yourself prominently displayed on your blog so that people will connect with you. I hate that rule. And I will continue to break it. But, I love the rule about connecting with your readers on a more personal level. It’s rule 2.675B, if you’re wondering. In the handbook. HA! Gotcha, there’s no handbook!! Actually, there are about a million handbooks and they all say the same things about 700 different ways. But I digress. Let’s get back to the topic at hand. ME!
Who am I?
The age old question. I’m not the typical mommy blogger demographic. I’m on the senior circuit for mommy bloggers, I don’t have any little babies hanging around and I don’t plan to either. In fact, if I did, there’s no way I would be writing this blog. I don’t know how mothers of little babies find time to do anything besides mother and shower. Occasionally. Here’s a summary of me, by the numbers:
41 (although the first number that comes to my head is 34) years old.
Married for 14 years.
Two children, a daughter who is 11 and a son who is 9.
1 house with 7 rooms that I love to come up with crazy plans for.
2 cats, one who is 16 years old and acts like she’s 2 and one who is, not unlike a professional wrestler, from parts unknown, age unknown and easily disgruntled.
1 bunny who has no interest in the humans in this house whatsoever but if you accidentally leave a cord near him, he will chew that, electrocution be damned.
Why do I write a blog?
I can’t lie. I write this blog because I want to make money from it. I know. Evil greed. But it is more than that. I want to make money from this blog because I LOVE writing this blog and I want to be one of those people who actually makes money from doing what they love. I want to quit my day job (I’m halfway there! I moved to a part time schedule about 6 months ago!) and do this full time. I also write this blog because I am super competitive and it does allow an outlet for that. I’m way into page views and how many more I got today than yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all jealous of or competitive with other bloggers. I was a gymnast growing up. Gymnastics is very much an individual sport and my competitiveness is in trying to beat myself. Do better than I did the day before.
Do I believe in God?
Weird question to throw in, but important to know about me. I think it’s important to know this about me because I do notice that there are a lot of bloggers who are Christian and who include that fact in their bio snippets and so I assume that means it is something that blog readers are curious about. I was brought up Catholic and I have a very strong faith in God and heaven. I do not have a very strong faith in the church itself, sadly. I disagree with the church on many topics. It kills me every time I go to church with my amazing daughter and see the priest on the altar and know that she is not allowed to be a priest. Because she is a girl. I have this thing about following rules just because they are rules. I’m not down with that. If a rule is stupid, it should be changed. Don’t even get me started on North Carolina. I heard a lawyer on the radio yesterday talking about the families he is representing who feel their privacy is being violated by allowing transgender children into the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity. He actually said that it’s not fair for the biological girls to have to wear their dirty gym clothes all day because they are too uncomfortable changing in a locker room with a trans child. So, we’re putting dirty gym clothes above the health and safety of another child. Really people? REALLY? If you want to make an argument against transgender people being in your bathroom, please, for the love of God, make it something that COUNTS! Not dirty gym clothes. My point is, I believe in God and Heaven and Morality and Kindness. I do not believe in rules, ancient or not, that are stupid and/or irrelevant written by someone who is more than likely no smarter or more moral or closer to God than I am. And for that reason, I have a difficult relationship with my church.
Interesting how without even planning this blog post very thoroughly in my mind that I mention my dislike for rules in two separate paragraphs and on two completely different topics. Perhaps I have some problems with authority? That is probably the most telling thing I have written about myself in this entire post. 🙂
***Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.*** I’ve had my Fitbit Flex for almost two months now and I thought I would offer a few things that I love about mine. Here are Five Things I Love About the Fitbit Flex
1. It’s a Motivator
Did you know that the 10,000 step per day goal that is pre-loaded into your Fitbit is just a random number chosen by a Japanese marketing company to help sell pedometers? It’s true. It’s even on the Fitbit website. However, it has since been studied and 10,000 steps is a good number of steps to aim for throughout the day if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle and help prevent things like heart disease and diabetes. I can tell you, if you work at a desk job during the day (even part time) and don’t consciously work steps into your day, you will not reach the goal. It is not easy to achieve. That being said, the little buzzer that goes off on your wrist when you DO reach the goal is a crazy good motivator. I usually do a serious happy dance when it goes off. Or, I fall immediately into bed because I am marching in place at 10:30pm until that buzzer goes off.
2. It Tracks your Sleep
The Fitbit Flex automatically detects when you fall asleep and tracks your sleep patterns all through the night. Or the afternoon if you happen to take a nap. In the morning, you can check your app and see how your sleep was. The app will show you when you were restless, when you woke up through the night and when you were in a good sleep. I find this fascinating. I did an experiment once and let my super active son wear it to bed one night and his entire night was filled with light blue and pink (to note awake times) lines. It’s definitely something we’ll be discussing with his doctor at his upcoming appointment. I was also surprised to see that I generally get just shy of seven hours of sleep each night. I always thought I was getting at least eight, but I never really took the time to figure it out exactly. Now I don’t have to. The Fitbit tells me. It makes my afternoon naps seem less like a guilty pleasure and more like a necessity.
3. Customizable Goals
The Fitbit allows you to set and track different types of goals. It’s pre-loaded with the 10k step goal, but you can change that to whatever you think is appropriate for you. I have also set up an exercise goal, 5 times per week and a sleep goal of 8 hours a night. The Fitbit app cheers you on toward your goals and lets you know when you’ve achieved them. You can also track calorie intake goals, weight loss goals and water drinking goals.
4. Food Tracking
So, when I say I “love” this, I mean I love the idea of it. I don’t actually do it everyday, but I should. You can enter everything you eat or drink into the Fitbit and track your calories in. Because the Fitbit is also tracking your activity, you can see what your calorie deficit is. Hint: That’s a big deal if you are trying to lose weight!
5. Silent Alarm Clock
This might seem silly and I bet it was sort of an afterthought for the designers of the Fitbit Flex, but there is an option to set a silent alarm. So instead of a blaring alarm in the morning, you get a gentle vibrating on your wrist. This has never failed to wake me from even the deepest of slumbers. It’s also great to set reminders to yourself. It’s like tying a string around your finger, except it’s around your wrist and it vibrates! There’s no way you can forget it’s there!
Do you have a Fitbit? What’s your favorite thing about it? Am I missing out on any cool features??
I have to confess I completely forgot about this great idea I had for a a recurring post called Want, Need, Wear, Make, Eat. It’s a riff on the idea that children’s Christmas lists should be four things, Something You Want, Something You Need, Something to Wear and Something to Read. Except I switched Read with Make (as in a craft) and I added Eat in randomly. Because, you know, food. Deliciousness. So without further ado…
Something I Want
If you’re not familiar with The Grommet, it’s a really fun site that allows start up makers sell their goods. I love the necklaces pictured above from Annie Howes. You don’t actually buy a necklace, you but a kit to make your own. And the kit makes 6 pendants! This would be a great girls night craft. How fun is that? Totally unique handmade with a fool proof kit. I’m sold.
Something I Need
So, I dropped my cell phone and smashed it the other day which means I really need a new case for my new phone that is coming tomorrow! I know, technically, I should be bummed that I broke my phone and had to spend money to buy a new one. Of course, I am. But, I’m also secretly happy because the camera on my old phone was horrible. I’m getting a refurbished phone, the Sony Experia. I’ve had this phone before and the camera is excellent and that is what is most important to me in a cell phone. The second most important thing to me in a cell phone is the price and the one I’m getting from newegg.com was only $149. Maybe someday I will not think it is insane to spend many hundreds of dollars on a phone, but today is not that day.
Something to Wear
I’m obsessed with this outfit (and every other outfit) on White Coat Wardrobe. PS, her Instagram is pictures of what she wears everyday. It’s so awesome.
Something to Make
I really love these DIY Watercolor paintings from Burlap and Blue. I think these are just gorgeous and very diy-able, especially with the tutorial included on the blog. Click over and try these. Bonus, they cost about $2 per canvas!
Let’s start the weekend off with a bang and play a round of Buy It, Spy It or DIY It – Urban Outfitters.
Wait, you’ve never played? It’s so fun. I pick out a bunch of stuff I want for my house and then you guess if I’m going to Buy It, Spy It (find it somewhere else cheaper) or DIY It (make it myself). Let’s get it started.
Assembly Home Plus Sign Curtain– This was a close call. These curtains are 25% off if you buy two right now, which means a pair would be about $58. If that’s in your budget, I’d say go for it. If it’s a bit pricey for you, you could totally DIY these with a sheer-ish white Ikea curtain, a thick Sharpie paint pen and a whole lot patience. And probably a ruler.
Zoe Two-Tiered Stand – This one was really tough. I really really really really like this side table. A lot. On sale for $199 still makes this a little expensive for me, especially since I would want two for either side of my bed. I wanted to make this a Spy It, but, truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this before. So, perhaps I will save my pennies and buy a pair.
Detendre Peacock Chair – This one was easy. I definitely don’t have the budget to spend $498 on a chair, but I’m in luck. My mother has one in her basement! It’s a product of the early 80’s, so it’s not the modern update on a Peacock chair that this one is, but, to quote my father-in-law, if it’s free, it’s for me. I’ve seen these in thrift stores as well. They are a big impact and definitely need to be in the *right* room or it will look out of place and dated, but if you have that bohemian chic vibe going, this would work.
Three By Three Seattle Sort-It-Out Wipe-Off Board Wall Caddy – I seriously think this thing is GENIUS. Love it. So multi-functional, yet stream lined. My dream product that marries both form and function. HOWEVER, I would have a VERY hard time spending $46 dollars on it. I think this is a DIY waiting to happen, for sure.
Ceramic Food Storage Bowl Set – You love these. I love these. Let’s just buy them. How much more tasty will your leftover mac and cheese be in these adorable bowls? They are $34 for the set. A tiny bit pricey, but, I guarantee you I would be way more likely to not lose these than I would, say, cheap knock off tupperware from the grocery store.
Wire Wall Grid – I want this so much for above my desk. Again, the marriage of form meets function that sucks me in every time. You could definitely DIY this, though. Scour the local Home Depot for some type of metal grid and some copper spray paint and you could knock this out in an afternoon if the $59 price range is not in the budget.
Shell Trinket Box – How sweet are these? They are $10. They are totally special enough to spend $10 on. Love love love.
Emoji Sticker Sheet Set– My kids would LOVE these. And, actually, there is a craft project I want to try with stickers that these would possibly be great for.
Last fall I created a Capsule Wardrobe from H&M and I had so much fun doing it, I thought that since we are in March after all, it might be time for a Spring Capsule Wardrobe from H&M.
My one objection to the majority of capsule wardrobes is that they are generally devoid of any pops of color. Which I can understand because it’s hard to mix and match a small amount of pieces into a wardrobe if you have crazy clashy colors going on. But, I thought I would give it a go anyway. I’ve added a mustard yellow, a teal blue and a very pretty pink sweater to my capsule. I think having those pops of color keep the wardrobe looking fresh. I also added a sort of kooky shoe (yes, the black and white striped flat) and then a more traditional nude/blush pump that can pretty much go with anything.
In total there are 17 pieces, including the shoes and accessories in this capsule wardrobe. If you bought every item, you would check out at about $360. Not terrible for an entire seasons worth of outfits. I ended up putting together 15 “normal” spring day outfits and 8 more “chilly” spring day outfits for those of us who live in places like the Northeast where spring can resemble winter on any given day.
When I put together a capsule wardrobe, I try to make sure that it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing the same thing over and over again. I think I have achieved that here. It’s also important to me that the pieces can work in a variety of environments. I see outfits that I can wear to work, shopping on the weekends, to church or baby/bridal showers and maybe even a date night.
If you would like to shop some or all of these looks, here are the links: