Archive for the ‘It’s the 3 Little Things’ Category

It’s the 3 Little Things: Spiced Tea, Music With History, & a New Family Member

Friday, April 29th, 2016

It's the 3 Little Things

I am so thrilled we have another fun guest post today from one of my longtime readers, Renee! I had to email her to tell her to share more about her favorites because I actually own none of these! Don’t you love discovering new things?  I love when I find a new favorite thing right along with you! Thank you, Renee, for making my wish list a little longer this week.

Here’s a few of Renee’s favorite things today!

Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea

Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea

I fell in love with Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea when I tried (and miserably failed) to give up coffee.  Even though I still love my cup of joe, I adore this tea.  It is so warm and comforting and smells divine. Every time I have a cup at work, people comment on how good it smells.  My administrative assistant has even started stocking it in the teacher’s lounge for my faculty.  It may seem like a winter drink, but I will drink it year round.  I get mine on Amazon.

Hamilton Soundtrack Free on Prime

Hamilton Soundtrack

I taught US History for 19 years before becoming a HS Principal.  One of my favorite history fellas to teach about was Alexander Hamilton.  He was an unstoppable force and now the musical about his life is impossible to see because it’s sold out for the foreseeable future.  Thanks to the awesome Amazon Prime, I have the Hamilton soundtrack to try to memorize (so many words!!!!!!).  Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius!  What I wouldn’t give to see the musical… I guess I’ll be reading the 1000 page book soon that inspired Miranda to write the musical.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

My whole family has fallen in love with the Amazon Echo.  A total luxury item, but Alexa has become a member of the family.  She’s especially good at playing the Hamilton soundtrack while I “dance-clean” the house.  I’ve never felt more organized because of Alexa’s voice activated lists and handy app.  She even reads my Kindle books to me while I cook.  My son loves to ask Alexa to tell him jokes and I get my news updates from Alexa while having my morning coffee.  Alexa is a great addition to our household.

This Week I’m…

ethan

Reading: Don’t You Cry, by Mary Kubica. I always love her thrillers! I can’t wait to read another one of her incredible books on my flight to California this week!

Eating: Far too many s’mores after discovering gluten-free graham crackers. We also are grilling up some of these easy chicken tenders for busy weeknights!

Playing: Loads of Exploding Kittens. A sleepover for his sister led to a lovely night with our teen boy. I am just documenting that he wanted to hang out with us (a rarity when you are that cool!)

Staining: My picnic table for another round of summer gatherings. I am thrilled with this deep rich stain I picked this year (leftover stain from this DIY project. Cost this year? ZERO!)

Drinking: Hopefully load of mojitos poolside with my blogging bestie, Kelly from Redefined Mom at our “work conference” (ahem!). If you can’t be poolside with me, check out this easy DIY mojito recipe!

Happy Friday, friends!

 *this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Perfect Petite T-Shirt, Laughs, & More Laughs

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Ramona Books

What a special week to know that one of my favorite childhood author’s turned 100! Happy birthday to Beverly Cleary.  If you haven’t dug into the Ramona books with your little girl, it is one of those moments you will always treasure. There were a lot of articles about Beverly Cleary this week, but my favorite was this interview. You can just tell she’s still got that wonderful sense of humor.

Hey, if you have a moment, I’d love to invite you to Like Us On Facebook. I have a little personal goal to see that grow to 20,000 this year so I am working really hard to keep it fresh and funny for you. I would be honored for you to be a part of that! 

audible

A Happy For YOU (and me!)

I was SO excited to see that Audible is giving THREE months FREE this month instead of their normal 30-day trial membership. It gives you one audiobook a month and I am totally cashing in on this freebie. I hope this makes YOU as happy as it makes ME!!

Here are a few other things that are making me happy!

Petite Dolman T-Shirt

(sources: black t-shirt, black leggings, necklace, & booties)

Perfect Petite Girl Dolman Top

I am working on showing off my spring/summer wardrobe for my next capsule wardrobe. I am keeping the wardrobe almost all gently used (thanks thredUP!), but one thing I needed was a white & black t-shirt. Those were two of the things I thought might be worth investing in since I tend to wear those the most in the summer.

I am IN LOVE with the oversized t-shirt styles, but I am petite (short and small framed) so oversized tees can quickly gravitate towards the nightgown look on me. The boxy style never seems to work out for me, but this week I found THE loose t-shirt that doesn’t look all wrinkly, can be dressed up or down, can be worn with leggings since it is just a little longer in the back, and it was on sale! Yay!

FYI, this is the XS. I could have sized down, but I really wanted the looser fit. It’s a little sheer so I have a cami underneath! It looks almost like linen in the front with a great draping and t-shirt feel on the back.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My Favorite Show is Back

Today is THE DAY that I have been waiting for because the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt begins and I am going to do all I can to really settle into a Netflix binge with my hubby for this next season. If you haven’t watched it, you must! As a good old-fashioned Midwestern girl, I can relate to a girl like Kimmy and her adventures in New York.

This awesome show is a Tina Fey-produced comedy featuring a young woman who’s trying to build a life for herself in New York City after escaping a doomsday cult.

Based on this description alone, you should watch it.

This is one of those shows that makes me laugh until I cry (repeatedly!).

Are you adding season 2 to your agenda too?

lol

Photoshopped Book Covers- One Big LOL

ADULT humor, friends, adult humor. Or not.  Kind of childish, but adult language. These photoshopped book covers are absolutely hilarious. Is it sad that this caption reminds me of my first kiss? It was pretty awful.

Look at these and have a good laugh without your kids. The Taco Bell title and the Exploding Sun are two of my favorites!

This week I’m…

The Nest

Reading: The Nesand so far I’m really enjoying it. In a way it reminds me of Jonathan Tropper’s, This is Where I Leave YouThis one has received a lot of mixed reviews. I am hoping it is a 5-star rating for me. Have you read it?

Eating: Surprising my kids with a Shrimp Boil tonight. It’s finally beautiful in Indiana and I look forward to their favorite feast on a gorgeous day.

Watching: Tiny House Hunters & Tiny House Builders came to Netflix. There are only a few episodes of each. Is it because they only had a few because only that many people would do that or was it a really short season? Let me know, HGTV subscribers! Regardless, I am dreaming of a tiny house again!

Laughing: These brothers are awful. And funny. Another crying laugh (no adult language- it’s one you can laugh at with your kids!)

Happy Friday, friends!

 *this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

It’s the 3 Little Things: Werewolves, Trips to Spain, & Forensics

Friday, April 8th, 2016

vail

I hope you are having a wonderful week. It is Spring Break in Indiana and my daughter and I went on a trip to see our BFF’s out in Colorado. We managed to squeeze in plenty of deer sightings, a trip to Garden of the Gods, antiquing, a day in Vail, and an afternoon in Breckenridge. Did I mention we did this in the matter of two days? We had some incredible tour guides! While we were doing all that, our son was having the time of his life with his grandma & grandpa catching the sites in Indy. What a memorable year this will be.

Here are a few other things I am enjoying this week!

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Our friends invited us to join them and and another couple, who are really into board games like us, for a delicious dinner and game night. How lucky are we? They brought One Night Ultimate Werewolf to play and after we got done playing, Ryan got to ordering it the next day. Yup, it was that fun. I had never heard of it. Have you?

This is a great group game (ideally six or more people)  and the game is composed of two people, werewolves and townsfolk. The objective of the werewolves is to kill off all the villagers without themselves being killed. The objective of the townsfolk is to figure out who the werewolves are and kill them. One of the townsfolk is a seer, who has the ability to tell whether other players are werewolves or not.

The game works with an app that will tell each player what to do, for example, “Werewolves open your eyes,” so that you know who the other werewolves are.  Other things that can happen are that different roles may be required to switch cards or peek at cards, as directed by the app while everyone’s eyes are closed. Once everyone opens their eyes, you share why you aren’t the werewolf, defending your case that you are a townsfolk. The better the liar, the stronger the game. At the end, you decide who you think the werewolf is.

Each round takes about ten minutes and it is a BLAST. It can be played with kids although every time my daughter said, “I’M NOT THE WEREWOLF. I’M THE DRUNK,” it made me laugh (which she did not appreciate).

I also rediscovered that all those years of lying as a kid REALLY pay off in this game.

If you are looking for a fun, easy, and quick group game, I can’t recommend it enough. We are so happy our friends shared this one with us!

 

Vina Fuerte Tempranillo La Mancha Wine

A New ALDI Wine to Love

I love trying out the new wine offerings from ALDI. As you know, one of my favorite bottles is their Chianti. Well, Chianti, there is a new sheriff in town, and it is this Spanish red wine, Viña Fuerte Tempranillo Crianza. It is $4.99 a bottle, making it an affordable weeknight splurge. The wine is dry and has notes of black cherry and plum with a hint of clove and spice.  If you are looking for a new red to try, this is a great one for the price point!

The Poisoner's Handbook

The Poisoner’s Handbook

We are still trying to make the most of that Prime membership and, thankfully, there are plenty of fun documentaries to watch. We started watching, The Poisoner’s Handbook, which is a documentary about the first dive into forensics. It’s an exploration of how forensics was used to explain murders that happened in the 20th century. I can’t rave enough about this because they do such a great reenactment of what happened along with forensic experts that share the process. Of course, prohibition and no regulations on what you can add to household products and cosmetics, made it so much harder to figure out if death were caused by murders or by the items that everyone was using in their home.


Here is the trailer for it! It’s really well done and I learned so much about the pioneers of forensics. Hope you can use your Prime membership for this one too and learn a lot like I did this week!

This week I’m…

Reading: This book for my local book club. Have you read it yet? It looks really good!

Eating: We are testing Indian recipes this week for the blog. Fingers crossed for our gluten-free naan tonight!

Toms Leila Booties

Wearing: My only souvenir from Colorado in a little shop that had ONE pair of these for a mere $49. Be still my beating heart. They feel like slippers inside. I can’t rave enough. Did I mention they mold to your feet and I wore them all day as a tourist and never had a sore foot or blister. YES!!

Laughing: Enjoy the hilarious Pocahontas number. I’m still laughing!

Happy Friday, friends!

 *this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: 3 Things That Made Me Think

Friday, April 1st, 2016

MomAdvice Family

I hope you guys had a wonderful week! We were dressed to the nines for Easter Sunday. If you can believe it, Emily & I both snagged our dresses on thredUP for nothing!  I had so much credit socked away after cleaning out my closet that I didn’t have to pay a dime for our dresses this year. Did I mention this a Kate Spade dress? What a score!

A tidier closet AND fancy frocks?

Winning!

PS- Did you spy our favorite family member behind us? I think she was mad we didn’t include her in the picture!

Today’s list is three things that I have been thinking about this week that I want to share with you…

The New Yorker Presents

The New Yorker Presents

I shared with you that I’m trying to really make the most of that Prime membership so I was excited to see that Amazon was offering a new exclusive series called, The New Yorker Presents. This is NOT one to watch with your kids, just because many of the topics are controversial, but it is an incredible way of experiencing The New Yorker in a new way.

Each episode is much like flipping through a magazine. You can watch the cartoonist at work, there are short comedic skits, poetry, and at least one REALLY thought-provoking documentary that usually leaves my jaw on the floor.

A few of the highlights for us were the first episode where they explore how the FBI could have prevented the 9/11 attacks… if it had not been for the CIA, the second episode had an incredible piece on bull-riding, and the fourth episode profiled a man who ran a bookstore out of his apartment and a flamboyant gay Mexican wrestling star.

We are just five episodes in, but it has lead to some really great discussions about our views on things. Watch it and tell me what you think!

A Compelling Piece On Race

It has been awhile since I have settled in with a This American Life podcast, but each time I do, I learn something new. A recent episode explored the topic of how people always tell us that we will understand when we get older. The episode starts in adolescence and then works it’s way into the older age. In the middle though, was a piece on adulthood that was really compelling.

Warning: before you listen to it the N word is said repeatedly in it, in reference to a name the two of them are called by racist people!! 

I have put the player for you to listen to this particular piece above.

This American Life Since I am traveling this week and am worried that player won’t load, you can also listen to Act 2 (Adulthood) right here! See, I am covering all my bases this time!

In this piece, comedian Sasheer Zamata does this joke about her mom in her standup act that is about how her mom hates white people. She and her mother finally sit down to talk about why her mom feels this, and Sasheer finds out how mad her mom is at her own mom, for trying to make her get along with white people when she was young. Sasheer is a cast member on Saturday Night Live and there is a lot of humor in this piece, but there is also a lot of raw honesty.

I want you to listen to it too- it really made me think!

 

Summer 2016 Book Releases

Summer Book Reading Recommendations

One perk of this job is getting advanced readers from the publishing houses for upcoming books and promotions. With beach reading in mind, these are a few of the selections I am hoping to read and share with you in the upcoming months!

The A-Z of You & Me by James Hannah

Luck, Love, & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (you can read my interview with the author here!)

The Year We Turned 40 by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke (you can read my interview with the authors here!)

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

The Lie by C.L. Taylor

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Do you see any on this list you are excited about? Have any other books that are on your radar this summer? Let me know!

This week I’m…

Reading: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon (this looks like a promising debut thriller!)

Eating: Roasted Chicken In Bulk- it saved me during another busy week!

Basking: In the glow of being nominated for an Iris Award for Best Personal Blog in 2016. I can’t stop beaming!

Watching: This beautiful video with Andrew Bird featuring Fiona Apple. I will never tire of her voice!

Happy Friday, friends!

 *this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

It’s the 3 Little Things: Food Doc, Shiny and New, & Touch-Ups

Friday, March 25th, 2016

color

I hope you have some wonderful things planned for this Easter weekend. The kids & I are spending our Good Friday helping package meals for Pack Away Hunger  with our church today. We are really looking forward to doing this together. Although the weather got cold, I’m making preparations for spring with fresh linens on the bed and tulips from ALDI (just$4.99 for a little bouquet).  I’m moving forward with spring, Indiana, maybe you should too!

Here are a few other things that are making me happy this week!

Just Eat It Documentary

A Documentary To Watch With Your Family

I ran across Just Eat It when browsing through the documentary offerings on Prime and our family watched this together one evening. This is a truly eye-opening look at how much food we are wasting in an effort to only provide the most beautiful and appealing foods at our grocery store. In efforts to illustrate how much perfectly good food we are wasting, they take on a challenge to eat only discarded food with some surprising results.

REALLY thought-provoking and it made me more aware of my purchasing habits and how our family could do better to waste less food. It’s a must-see and something you definitely should watch with your kids. It lead to some great discussions in our home.

TouchBack Root Touch-Up Kit

Root Touch-Ups

I sure talk a lot about my gray hair around here, don’t I? Sometimes pesky gray hairs show up randomly between colorings and I found this TouchBack Instant Root Touch-Up tool to conceal the grays until I color my hair again works wonders on my grays. They have one that looks more like a mascara and then this one (pictured above)  that looks more like a marker. I have only used the one that looks like mascara, but it works REALLY well hiding the occasional gray that I get between my hair coloring. It just rinses out when you wash your hair and is super easy to put on and can prolong your time between getting your hair colored. I highly recommend this to save money! You can find it at ULTA or at CVS!

Baptism

Baptism

A Baptism

This happy was just for me. This past Sunday our daughter was baptized and it made my heart so happy that she has decided to follow Jesus. I can’t wait to see her journey unfold and it was so special to have both sides of our family there for this special day!

This week I’m…

Reading: Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan (I was blindingly unaware of what was happening in the world during this time. It’s been really eye-opening).

Eating: Linguine With White Clam Sauce (I used these gluten-free noodles)

Laughing: Over this article. Each time I read it, I laugh harder!

Happy Easter, everyone! xo

 *this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

 

 

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Podcast Loving, Dangerous Baths, and a Snarl-Free Existence

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Happy birthday!!

Happy Friday! We had a wonderful weekend last weekend was celebrating the love of my life’s birthday. He deserved every bit of it and more. I’m a lucky lady!

This week has been full of new experiences for me.  I tried my first Pilates class and I loved it although all of the machinery in the room was a little intimidating the first time, plus remembering which leg was supposed to be doing what while working said machinery. I kind of looked like a nervous mess in there. Although I was no star pupil, I made it through and am proud that I’m finding some fun new classes to try this year that are a little gentler on my body.

I also gave acupuncture a spin for my elbow pain. Again, kind of a scary thing if you haven’t done it before, but between that, the exercises she showed me, helping me with better posture, and telling me which tools will help me moving forward, I felt really good after I left there.

Note to self, do not drink coffee right before so you can attempt to take a nap while side is filled with needles…

Or maybe not.

I am hoping a few of these sessions will help me to feel like my old self again. I miss her.

Here are a few other things that are making me happy this week!

World's Best Bath Tray

The World’s Best Bath Tray

I can’t remember if I have given my bath tray a shout out on the happy list, but even if I did, it deserves a second round of applause. It has a place to slide your wine stem (unless you buy giant wine glasses like me that *may* hold half a bottle) and it has a spot for your book to rest on it. I have been soaking a lot in this bubble bath for a treat at the end of the day and this bath tray makes holding a book quite easy.

This tray is worth every dollar and then some for a book lover like me!

bath-tray

I do think I scared a few people on Instagram hovering  a library book over a body of water.

I like to live a little dangerously.

treatyoself_main01

Since my hubby & I are on a Parks & Rec kick, we recently watched the Treat Yo Self episode and now anything we want to do that’s fun we use this line for whatever we might feel entitled to.

Like going to bed at 8PM (TREAT YO SELF!)

Putting your pajamas on at 1PM (TREAT YO SELF!)

Watching junk television on Netflix for an hour (TREAT YO SELF).

That night it was a bottle of ALDI Chianti ($4.99), a fresh new library book, and some bubbles…

I treat myself well, yo! You treat yourself well too!

modern-love-podcast

Modern Love Podcast

I binged on eight episodes of the Modern Love podcast while I was tidying the house this week and I can’t rave enough about how beautiful this is and how many emotions it stirred in me. Articles that were submitted to The New York Times over the years are selected by a celebrity to read on the podcast. Although I went into it thinking it would be about dating or finding a mate, it is so much more than that. It’s an exploration of familial love, love for a pet, love for a condition that brings a family together, bad first dates, and love for unlikely people. All kinds of love.

After the reading, they talk to the editor to see why the article was selected for The New York Times and they do a follow-up with the people to see what has happened since they wrote the article and what the response was to their piece.

If you want all the feels, this one was my favorite. I hope it moves you as much as it did me!

 

The Wet Brush

The Wet Brush

Between my daily green smoothie and my new vitamin regimen this year, my hair has been growing crazy fast. I haven’t had long hair since I got married so I forgot about all those tangles and snarls that happen with it. I have been battling this for awhile so I decided to get The Wet Brush and it works AMAZINGLY well on my tangled hair. If you are struggling with tangled hair with your little ones, this is the brush to buy. My daughter & I both finally have snarl-free and tangle-free hair. I didn’t think a brush could make a difference, but it really does.  The reviews prove it too- I’m not the only one in love with it.

This week I’m…

Reading: Be Frank With Me (it was PERFECTION!)

Eating: Sheet Pan Lemon Paprika Chicken & Veggies (double batched to share with my sister for our library date)

Watching: I want to tackle this documentary this weekend- it looks like it will be very eye-opening on food waste in our country. Have you seen it?

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

 *this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

 

 

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: A Book I Couldn’t Put Down, Time Travel, & Hair Color Deliveries

Friday, March 11th, 2016

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

Happy Friday, friends!  It’s my husband’s birthday today so we are planning to go out this evening to celebrate at his favorite place. I also got him a really cool birthday gift this year that I secretly wanted to review for our site. Have you heard of Trunk Club before? My husband wanted to update his wardrobe with a couple of good pieces so I thought it might be a fun experience for him to work with a stylist and have a shipment sent to him for his birthday. I don’t see a lot of reviews for men’s clothing and I am curious what his experience will be with that. I’ll let you know how that works out next week- he’s pretty excited to try out his new clothes!

Here are a few other things that are making me REALLY happy this week!

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

A Book I Could Not Put Down

I rarely talk about books before the end of the month so if I share a book in the happy list, you can bet it will be in my top ten of the year list. In less than 24 hours, I consumed The Forgetting Time and I can’t recommend this one enough.  This is the author’s debut novel and it is unlike anything I have ever read before. I don’t want to delve too much into it because half of the fun, for me, ended up piecing everything together myself.  It’s a bit like a mystery as you try to solve the puzzle of a child’s unusual first years of life. The story intertwines with a doctor nearing the end of his career due to a deadly diagnosis who could be the only one who could make Noah and his mother’s life better. What Noah is suffering from is beyond what any parent could comprehend.

Please get it this weekend, you must! You will not be disappointed in this book or the writing from this author.

hulu-11-23-63-stephen-king

One of My Favorite Books Came to Television

11/22/63 remains one of my all-time favorite books in the history of books ever amen. It has been such an incredible treat to see 11/22/63 come to life in an eight part series on Hulu.  Since we don’t have cable, we rely a lot on Hulu for our television fixes and they are really stepping up their game with some original programming.

Is it okay to say that I was incredibly nervous about this? What if they ruined my favorite book?  I have to say, it is so much better than I hoped for. The costuming is fantastic, the details in each scene are just gorgeous, the acting is phenomenal, and it has been holding so true to Stephen King’s incredible work.  It’s everything I wanted it to be and more.

Since they only issue one episode a week, it has been something to look forward to into in the evenings with my hubby and I’m looking forward to watching that fourth episode this weekend!

Have you watched it yet? I’d love to hear what you think too!

If that isn’t enough of a reason to get a Hulu membership, check out this new original series trailer from the producer of Friday Night Lights Parenthood below! I’m so excited about this series too!!

Doesn’t that look SO GOOD too? I love good television!

 

Subscribe and Save

Subscribe & Save Deliveries

My time feels super valuable these days and there are a lot of things that I seem to have trouble keeping stocked or that require me to go to separate stores all the time. Two things that I am always running out of are vitamins (thanks to our new regime) and hair color (these kids give me gray hair- ha!) so I thought I would give Subscribe & Save a spin. I sat down with all of our vitamins and figured out the quantity we would need each month and then adjusted shipment for each one to how often we might need it.  I also decided I would put my favorite hair color on the subscribe & save agenda so that it would help remind me when it was time to color my hair and would save me an additional trip to the drugstore.

I love that it saves you money on each order, that you have free doorstep delivery, and that I can cancel or adjust things as I need them.

I’m a slow embracer of things like this, but this week we ran out of vitamins and waiting on my doorstep happened to be just what we needed thanks to this subscription service.

Happy weekend, friends!

This week I’m…

Reading: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Eating: Sheet Pan Pork Chops & Veggies (I swear we eat this once a week now!)

Watching: Master of NoneWe are on the final episode and I am so sad! It was an incredible series- a bit raunchy, but surprisingly profound!

 

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

It’s the 3 Little Things: Heated Blankets, Literary Matchmaking, & Panini Pressing

Friday, March 4th, 2016

sunbeam-heated-throw

Well, hello there! I hope you guys are having a good week. It’s been so cold here this week, but rumor has it that I can look forward to warmer temperatures next month. I spent this week curled up on the couch watching Fuller House on Netflix.  Did you guys watch it? I was pretty disappointed that it didn’t hold true to the family values from before. We settled in with our kids and then I had to kick them out. I am not sure who the target audience was on this one since parts of it seem geared towards kids and then in other parts the ladies are doing tequila shots and grinding on men.

What the what?

So much for sharing TGI Fridays with them.

How rude!

Would love to hear what you think about that one. Maybe I am just being a prude?

Let’s dig into this week’s happy list! 

Sunbeam Sherpa Electric Throw

God’s Greatest Gifts to Blankets. Amen.

With all these weird joint issues I have going on, I am absolutely miserable in the mornings and I am also cold all the time. I treated myself to a Sunbeam Sherpa Electric Throw and it has been such a game-changer for me throughout the day. It has three settings and the Low setting is warm without getting hot and the sherpa interior and velvety exterior make it a treat to snuggle with. The sizing is perfect for two or one really cold woman who wraps herself like a burrito in it. I can’t recommend this enough as a winter weather must-have. I can already tell you that this will be going on my holiday gift guide for next year.

I am so thankful for this winter treat although it has hindered some of my productivity a bit. I mean, it’s that blissful to wrap yourself in and take a good nap.

This is God’s greatest gifts to blankets. Amen.

what-should-i-read-next

A Literary Matchmaker

My new favorite podcast is What Should I Read Next. Anne Bogel (AKA Modern Mrs. Darcy) has one guest on who shares why books are important to them, three books they love, a book they hated, and what they are currently reading. Anne then plays matchmaker and selects three books that she thinks they should dive into next based on their reading preferences. Each time I listen in,  I get another list of book ideas of books that I have overlooked and many that I haven’t even heard of. It’s been a real treat to listen to in the mornings while I get ready for the day!

I recommend Overcast for all your podcast listening needs! It’s lovely!

 

cuisinart-griddler-review

 

A Well-Loved Winter Kitchen Gadget

I have had my Cuisinart Griddler for many years and last week I dusted it back off and put it to work again in our kitchen. My kids absolutely love paninis so I have been roasting my big batch chicken and purchasing fun toppings like cheeses, pesto, tomatoes, and spinach so we can make panini sandwiches in the evening. After paying an arm and a leg at Panera for soups and paninis, I figured we could save quite a bit just making our favorite combinations at home.

The best part about this gadget is that you can close it if you like (for paninis or that George Foreman feel) or you can open it up and lay it completely flat for grilling or to be used as a griddle. When I had chicken pesto burgers on our menu and Mother Nature (bless her heart!) dumped a million pounds of snow down in a single day, it made heading out to the grill impossible. Thankfully, this gadget saved the day and we grilled indoors that evening!

I know you will love it as much as we do- it saves us a ton of money!

EDS Funny

I know people are curious about what is going on over here since I posted about my health. I am a fighter, by nature, so I didn’t want to lean into anything and just resume my normal days.  I was so excited to get strong and to show this stuff who was boss that I think I strained every muscle in my body and have spent the last week hobbling around my house after going a little nutso with my gym routines. I found out I am not, in fact, The Hulk.

I overdid it.

Lesson learned.

It lead to painful knees that had to be x-rayed, prescription strength painkillers, another round of steroids, and rocking three braces to keep everything stable again.

I am hoping to move forward, but with moderation next week. I tend to attack things a little too aggressively…

The funny thing is that people keep telling me how great I look so when I happened upon this picture, it really made me laugh. I’m trying to pull myself together for all these incredible people that are counting on me. The world doesn’t stop, but I’m learning to say no more since I feel like my plate is awfully full.

Thank you for thinking of us and know that I have a much better plan for next week and it won’t involve a Hulk gym routine!

This week I’m…

Reading: Columbine by David Cullen

Eating: Tomato Soup with Big Batch Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

Watching: Parks & Recreation on Netflix- how did I not ever get into this series when it was on television! It’s been a highlight of my month. I also finally got to see Room with my bestie. SO GOOD! I was on the edge of my seat (and I read the book!) Ha!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

It’s the 3 Little Things: 10-Day Manicure, Keeping Current, and Fashionable Sneakers

Friday, February 12th, 2016

It's the 3 Little Things

I’m so excited to introduce you to one of my blogging besties, Kelly from Redefined Mom. You will be hearing more about her and a new business adventure she is doing next week from me, but for now just know that she is one of my favorite people to drink wine with, to talk shop with, and to laugh with. Her blog is a fantastic resource for fashion and beauty! After you are done with this, head on over there and check it out. She’s amazing and I hope you enjoy her favorite things list this week!  

Hi, y’all.

(‘Cause that is what we say when we are minutes from the Missouri border. Real words become phrases with hyphens in them. Don’t be scared. It’s just how we act.)

When Amy asked me to guest post, I was thrilled. I’ve been an avid MomAdvice.com reader for years and I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. her “3 Things” posts. So much so, that I started a weekly “I LOVE THESE THINGS” post on my own blog, Redefined Mom.

It took me awhile to pick my MOST FAVORITE THREE THINGS EVER to share with you.

(Oh, I probably also forgot to mention that I love to write with ALL CAPS and periods ….. a lot. We like to embellish our words in Kansas City with a grammatical bling. It’s like rhinestones, only different.)

After much soul searching (because I needed to make sure it was an AMAZING group of things…gotta keep up with Amy, ya know?), here are my MOST FAVORITE THREE THINGS to share with you.

CND Power Polish

1. My Secret To A 10-Day Manicure

I was a gel manicure devotee. I loved having chip-free, super shiny nails. But my addiction was wrecking HAVOC on my nails. When I’d take the polish off, it looked my nails got attacked by a lawn mower.

A friend told me about CND Vinylux Top Coat, and while it kept nails chip-free for 10 days, I found that CND does a poor job of keeping nails SHINY for 10-days. And who likes dull polish? Um…NO ONE!!!

It was when I added the Sally Hansen Clearly Quick on top of the CND Top Coat that MAGIC happened.

First, Sally Hansen polish helps cut the drying time in half. Second, it creates a chip-free, super shiny existence for 10 days. And finally, for $4, the price can’t be beat.

Added bonus, I can use it with any regular fingernail polish.

Rock on, shiny nails. Rock on!!

the skimm

2. theSkimm

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I don’t watch the news or read online news sites. Partly because I get sick of the sensationalized media and partly because I’m lazy.

Since this year is an election year, I vowed that I would not be “one of those people”.

… ‘ya know, people who have opinions on EVERYTHING and usually post it all over Facebook, but no facts to back it up.

Enter theSkimm.

theSkimm makes it easier to be smarter. It’s a FREE daily email newsletter that arrives in your inbox around 6am (M-F) that’s your secret weapon for the day. It breaks down all you need to stay in the know and jump into conversation—it’s smart, witty, and quick.

Each morning I read the top headlines of the day’s “news” from my phone in the time it takes me to drink my first cup of coffee. Plus, if I want to do a deep dive into something, it provides me multiple links to “get educated”.

Rock on, smart mamas. Rock on!!!

VANS Tennis Shoes

3. VANS Tennis Shoes

On Redefined Mom, I do a few fashion posts. And as I was doing research for upcoming trends, I saw a number of women wearing adorable slip-on tennis shoes with their skinny and cropped jeans.

Fashion tennis shoes are a funny thing, too. It’s easy to “just get a cheap pair from Target” and throw them away after a season or two. The problem with going the cheap route is you usually end up with uncomfortable shoes. And uncomfortable shoes are no bueno.

So upgrade I did and I’m SO GLAD THAT I DID.

I’m in LOVE with my VANS Slip-On Tennis Shoes. They are so COMFORTABLE…so much so, I’m wondering why women ever went through the Sperry Boat Shoe rage.

Vans have such fun patterns and material (love the faux leather), too. Plus, you look a little “skater-punk-bad-ass” in the process.

Rock on, skater mama. Rock on!!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

It’s the 3 Little Things: Honey, Keeping Up With IG, Parental Sacrifice

Friday, February 5th, 2016

It's the 3 Little Things Happy Fri-yay! I am one happy girl because all my library holds were waiting for me this week. I’m in hibernation mode this winter so these came just in time for coffee sipping and cozy fires.  I also have a ton of advanced readers from authors that are launching books this month so I am trying to get a jump on reading those so I can secure them while the irons are hot for our Sundays With Writers series! It’s going to be another great month of reading.

library-stack

Here’s what’s in my stack this month (follow me on IG to see my monthly library stacks!):

Between the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Tiny Little Thing (that’s our book club book this month!) by Beatriz Williams

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Columbine by Dave Cullen

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

The Longest Night by Andria Williams

I have been asked by a reader if I would share how I can consume so many dang books.  I’m looking forward to sharing more about that with you next week since I know we ALL have so many strategies for rapid book consumption! I hope I can bring some new ideas to the table for you and you can teach me a thing or two.

perfect

After a decade of excuses, I joined a Bible Study and we are working our way through For the Love,” by Jen Hatmaker on Friday mornings. I am not exaggerating when I say that it has been this long since I have been a part of a Bible study. My walk with God was a rocky one for awhile and I’m wandering my way back, stumbling over my own feet along the way. I don’t talk a lot about religion on here, but I am sure you have guessed that I’m a Christian by my posts and my passion projects. It’s more to make all people feel welcome here- I’m a neutral ground kind of girl and love people of all walks.

I grew up in a very disciplined church and home where diving into the Bible was a regular occurrence and God was always at the center of it all for my family. Perhaps that is why it feels like coming home to get my Bible back out again and be with women who can teach me so much.  I’m admittedly struggling to open myself fully to that experience, as I tend to guard my heart and privacy, but I’m working on it.

Here is the truth. I have often waited for the perfect time with God. As things would arise I would think, “Maybe next year. Maybe when my kids are older. Maybe after this project. Maybe once we are done renovating our house. Maybe another day…” As I get older I realize that there will never be the perfect time for anything in my life.  So I just took that first step back into the folds this month. I cleared some time in my schedule and just stopped waiting for that perfect timing. No more excuses.  I just want you to know that it’s okay to start right where you are too. And if you want to join me at Bible Study, I will save you a seat!

Here are three other things that are making me unbelievably happy! 

Honey Browser Extension

Honey Browser Extension

I love browser extensions that save our family money and I discovered Honey this month and it is rocking my world! All I did was add the extension to my browser and it saves me money (or at least tries to) on every purchase I make by coupon clipping its little heart out on all my purchases.  The best part is that you don’t have to remember to do anything. As soon as you hit the checkout page on the stores you shop, it starts a pop-up going through all the discount codes for the shops and applies them to your purchases without you doing a single thing! It’s the easiest way I have found to save money on online purchases and I look forward to all the savings I am going to reap around the holidays. You must get it and tell me what you think!

Master-of-None

Master Of None (The Parents Episode)

I’m sure most of you know about Master of None, but we finally started it a couple of weeks ago and have really been enjoying the truly smart writing in this Netflix original series. The show is written like a play in a way that I feel you can watch it out of order if you wanted because each episode is like its own story. It’s funny, sometimes racy, and brilliantly written.

There is one episode that I am still thinking about so if you don’t want to dive into the series, I would just recommend watching the Parents Episode (Episode #2). In it, Dev & Brian thank their immigrant parents by inviting them to a joint dinner and the parents reflect back on their sacrifices.  You know how you don’t appreciate all that your parents have done for you? Well, this episode perfectly illustrates this struggle in such a way that I had tears rolling down my face with laughter. It makes you just want to call your parents and say thank you. I plan to watch it a couple more times, it’s that good!

post-notifications

Keeping Up With the Important Stuff on IG

As a blogger, I follow a lot of people on IG and it’s been a real struggle keeping up with my real-life friends and their happenings. Each day I would have to search (and remember!) all my friend’s IG names and individually find them to see if they had posted updates. I linked to this article and this one little IG hack has saved me so much time. Visit the user profile that you wish to stay up to date on (like, I don’t know, YOUR SISTER??!!), and open up one of their posts. Then, click the three dots in the bottom right-hand corner of the post, and choose “Turn on post notifications” from the menu that appears.

Basically, it sends a ding to my phone when people update and now I can stay on top of the feeds of those I love so very much without scrolling and searching for days. Since my friends/family don’t update a lot, it’s not very intrusive, and I finally looped back in with my people.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, friends!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things