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

6 Happiness Strategies for a More Creative and Interesting Life

Friday, March 17th, 2017

happiness-techniques-for-creative-interesting-life
I invited my parents over for dinner one evening and my mom asked what our family had been up to that week. I shared a bit about a show that we caught at the local theater, how we attended an art gallery event for a friend, the adventure of taking our kids out (with success) to try a new cuisine they hadn’t before, and a documentary on design that we caught together.

My mom said something that really struck me.

She said, “Your family has such an interesting life. You know that?”

This is not a brag session at all because there are many, many moments in our life that are very uninteresting and basic. I have moments where I rant about having to run my children everywhere, where I find my focus is far too centered on my my health situation, I’ve often thought too much about what other people think of me, there are times where I fixate too much on keeping the perfect home, I’ve had periods where I have invested too much time on Facebook, there are moments where I am unkind and judgy to others, and MANY times where I’m just trying to put one foot in front of the other like everyone else.

Those moments don’t necessarily make for an interesting conversation, but they do make us human.

At times, I had thought the only thing that made me interesting was blogging. Blogging is certainly interesting when you are doing it as a profession and has brought interesting people and moments in my life, but I don’t think that makes me very interesting anymore. It’s just an interesting way to make money.

The thing is, as my kids get older I feel like they need me in different ways, but not in necessarily those needy toddler ways that gave me purpose. As they transitioned to middle school, I found that I needed interesting things in my life to fill my cup so that I could survive these days at home alone without boredom.  I began to seek a more interesting life than the one I had before and it has been through this that I am finding happiness and my people.

I hesitated to write these words to you today because I am far from anyone’s life coach.

I’m often a mess.

That said, I also wished for a mentor mom as I transitioned into this new role that can, at times, feel a little lonely. Building a new creative life for yourself really enables you to attract others to you because you bring something new to the table.

It makes conversations fun, it can make you feel young, and it makes you feel valued by others because you have your own things.

I don’t need to tell you it, but one day these incredible kids are hopefully going to be out there carving their own life paths. If our entire identities are just caring for them, what will we do with ourselves when they are gone? What will be our new identity?

Cue the foundation of interesting life moments you have been working on and the transition to the next chapter might feel a tad less bumpy.

Here are six happiness strategies I’m doing to live a more creative and interesting life…

food-pantry

Find an Interesting Volunteer Opportunity

Volunteering can be an incredible way to add interesting moments to your life. I started by volunteering in our school system and connected my love of reading with reading to kids who struggle with this skill. This year, I have found my place working at our church food pantry weekly, doing the behind-the-scenes work of getting the food sorted and organized for people to shop. I also am putting in my application to mentor refugee youth because I love welcoming people to our town and know they would have so much to teach me.

Volunteer Match is a great site to visit to find unique volunteering opportunities that you may not have even known existed. I never even knew about the mentor program for refugees until I went on their website. For example, some of the listings in our town include crafting with hospice patients, being a museum tour guide, working the gardens of a local museum,  becoming a crisis counselor, being a small business mentor, or caring for animals at the shelter.

Can you imagine how different your life might look if you invested in one of these things?

Not only are you helping a local cause, but you also just might be putting your foot in the door for a potential job opportunity someday.

around-the-house-2

Read Interesting Books

What a boring life I would be leading if I didn’t have such a variety of books in my book stack. Since most of you are regulars here, I know that most of you are also embracing a good stack of books in your life too. If you need a fresh one, check out the books section for ideas!

For many years, I got stuck in one or two genres of books and I wouldn’t branch outside of my comfort zone. My reading and life felt a lot more interesting though when I began to read books that were outside of my comfort zone, particularly nonfiction reading. Reading helped me understand and show compassion for people and parts of the world that I would have never known about.

Three good starter books that really helped challenge and shape me are Just Mercy, Hillbilly Elegyand Evicted

Interesting books have certainly lead to interesting conversations and created empathy in me for things I don’t always understand. If you are looking to branch out your reading this year, consider taking our MomAdvice Reading Challenge or joining our online book club!

Online Weaving Class take an  online weaving class!

Find an Interesting Class to Take

Some of the most interesting people I know take classes and embrace new hobbies in their life regularly. Your interesting class may only be interesting to you, but that does not matter one bit. This is a great time to do the things you have always talked about especially since online coursework, in particular, can be done on your own schedule.

This year I got myself a loom and found a great course on Etsy to start teaching myself to weave. I’m also taking a food photography course through Craftsy to help me to expand my food photography skills. I regularly ask for things like this for Christmas so I have a gift that can keep on giving.

I don’t always take just creative courses though, I’m trying to branch out into other terrains. Next week I’m starting a free course through our local library and college to learn about civics so that I can understand the way our government works and understand the world of politics better. I don’t want to be a person who sits and watches the news, I want to be the person that goes out and learns WHY things are happening and what my particular role could be to change them.

Now I realize that these things may be only interesting to me, but I couldn’t be more excited to learn more.

For free learning, check your library and see what they have to offer and to connect quickly with locals. This month, for example, our library is offering a papercrafting class, a brunch & book discussion, a gardening class, a genealogy course, and a musical concert. They also have a great center where people can learn technology skills to benefit their business.

If you prefer learning online, YouTube is a great free resource where you can start learning a new skill and it won’t even cost you a penny. Granted, many are teaser courses to get you to sign up for more, but even teaser courses can teach you a lot.

Rising Tide Society

Join an Interesting Organization

My early days of motherhood survival were often spent seated in a circle as we shared a cup of coffee with a side of whine. For a couple of years after, I floundered and didn’t know where I fit in. I still went to playgroups, clinging to coffee, but feeling a bit of place. I didn’t want to start over again and have to find a new group, but I’m finding that this girl thrives in clubs and organizations. I am meant to be in organized activities and it feeds that social part of me.

I discovered we have a local chapter of Rising Tide Society and I’m hopping into my first meeting next week. I love and am inspired by other creatives so I’m excited to see if this will fill that mom’s group void I’ve been missing.

Some people enjoy finding ways to assist charity through group formats like Junior League. Others can find their people in business and networking groups through their city. Churches can also offer great opportunities to become involved in helping the community and it’s members. Interesting groups, of course, bring interesting people into your life and often build new skillsets.

Embrace Something Interesting That Fosters Conversations

I love to have fun things to bring to conversations and some of my favorite parts of the day are good conversations I’ve had just with my own little family. My best conversations are when I read or listen to something interesting that I can share with others.

theSkimm

I subscribe to theSkimm and love it so much that I am a Skimmbassador which gives me access to a community of Skimm-loving folks that can talk politics and life in respectful ways. This 5-minute nonpartisan newsletter is something that I read daily so I have a clear idea of what is happening in the world each day. I read it over the morning coffee and I start the day feeling informed.

You might be surprised to know that many blog writers aren’t actually blog readers. It’s a challenge to keep up with fresh content and read blogs, but I try to keep up with what everyone is creating as best that I can and share the nuggets with you each week. These are often posts that help to fuel great conversations with others.

We try to watch a documentary each week that gives us a chance to learn about a topic or a part of the world that we know little about. Many of these are watched together as a family and we have great discussions about them after. Many evenings though are spent after the kids are gone to bed with a glass of wine in hand and a documentary ready to go for our evening.

When my eyes are feeling too tired to read, I find  I get so much out of these instead.

Source: Grant Beachy Photography

Seek Interesting People

I’m not saying to give up on your old friends, but we all evolve as human beings and, as I have aged, I am looking for different things in my friendships. Broadening your circle can sometimes bring new and interesting experiences to your life.

For example, we started a record collection and spend many weekends shuffling through stacks at antique stores or sharing a stack of our music with friends on their record players. A bit hipster, perhaps, but music has always been such a big part of my life, and I find sharing that hobby with others is a fun one.

Board games are also a fun thing to collect and share with people. Perfectly portable and pairs well with wine, it’s a party in a box. We love discovering new games through Tabletop (and figuring out these crazy complex ones we purchased!). A few that we have found to be easy to share are Ticket to Ride, Really Bad Art, Pandemic, and our friends recently taught us Settlers of Catan and we loved it!

We try to seek out our town’s local events, gallery showings, festivals, theater performances, concerts, and town celebrations because they add variation to our week and give us the chance to connect with really interesting people. Living in a smaller town, you would think we wouldn’t have much, but I’m finding that it is RICH with stuff to do and it is rare that we can’t find a local event happening to make our days in Indiana a bit more interesting.

Amy Clark-web-23

I hope you find something new to connect with today and that it brings a bit of happiness in your life too.

This stage has been a tricky one to figure out, but what a privilege it is to grow older and find that you are still learning and growing!

What do you find feeds your happiness at this stage in your life?

*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: Incredible Sleep, Lent Love, & Mail Spot

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Amy Allen Clark

photo source: grant beachy photography

Can you believe it is already Friday again? We are counting down the days until our Spring Break. Do you have any plans this year? It’s a big year for my son because he gets to go on his 8th grade Washington D.C. trip. I’m currently scouring last minute Groupons to see if we can take our girl on a small nearby adventure while her brother is off seeing the historic sites without us.

It’s a happy weekend of celebration as my hubby celebrates his birthday. It’s hard to believe I’ve gotten to witness his special day since his sixteenth birthday bash. Who would have ever thought it? It’s always been sweetly surreal.

Here are three other things that are making me happy this week!

The Body Doesn't Lie by Vicky Vlachonis

Good Sleep

Dealing with chronic pain really can do a number on your sleep and this last year my sleep has been pretty awful. Some days I would just give up and start my day at 3AM and then repeat the process the next day. As the days of terrible sleep mounted, the pain increased. It’s a vicious cycle of sleepless nights, grumpiness with everyone around me, and increased pain.

While I was at the library, I decided to check and see if I could find any books on pain management. I found and devoured, The Body Doesn’t Lie, in a single afternoon. The book promised a 3-step program to end pain and “become positively radiant.”

I know, I know…hang in there with me.

Vicky Vlachonis is an osteopath and musculoskeletal specialist that works with a lot of celebrities and dancers. Her holistic approach to pain management is what has made her famous among these celebrity circles and she believes that chronic pain can be managed through better habits.

The big focus on pain is, of course, on sleep. Of course, most habits in this book do feel intuitive, but I needed reminding. From creating sleeping rituals that help your body to fall into better sleep to understanding the trigger points on your body to help relieve pain to food choices that can improve digestion. These tips make you think about where your pain stems from and help you find better ways to repair it.

Side Sleeper Pillow With Ear Hole

You are encouraged to journal a bit and think about where your pain can stem from so that you can focus your healing efforts on those things. For me, I have pain when I’m sleeping in kind of a strange place… my ears!

Weird, right?

As a side sleeper, my ears were throbbing and I have made a few trips to the doctor thinking I had earaches only to find out it is just pain from laying on my side. After reading this book about identifying pain, I went online and found this pillow that addressed my pain problem. A quick pillow switch means I’m not feeling rotten in the mornings with throbbing pain through my ear and jaw.

Guess who has slept uninterrupted all week and without any pain medication? ME!

Other habits that I have added are soaking in epsom salts with lavender oil daily after working out, starting my day with warm lemon water, dry brushing (I’ll let you know if that really does help anything- I am curious about it!), being careful about when I have my evening glass of wine (earlier not later), tea sipping before bed, and going to bed at a better time.

Intuitive, perhaps, but a year of broken sleep makes me so thankful for this week of restorative sleep. If you have broken sleep or suffer from chronic pain, this is  a book worth checking out.

Lent Love

I didn’t grow up in a church where we were called to sacrifice anything for Lent, but this year I felt called to participate. I am going to say that I think that my sacrifice for Lent might be a new life habit because I attribute this as another reason on why I am sleeping so well.

I gave up checking email and social media after 5PM.

I have discovered that I waste a ton of time in the evenings mindlessly checking this stuff and I believe it also increases my anxiety before I am heading to bed.

What am I being left out of?

Whose career accomplishments overshadowed my own?

Oh, I’m so angry about politics..let me check and read every article that supports my own viewpoints before I go to sleep.

Now let me text my friends the things I’m reading.

Yup. Terrible.

In the morning, I feel more objective and a little more detached from it all so the scroll isn’t amping anything up for me anymore. In the end, I am discovering that this small sacrifice improves my family time, my reading time, and my sleep.

Did I mention my reading time? Yeah, I’m working on my third book this week!

perch-container-for-fridge

No More Mail On My Counters

I can’t stand having mail on my counters and my husband loves to get the mail, open it, spread it all over the counters, and then go about his day.

STOP IT RIGHT NOW. HOW DARE YOU?

Of course, there wasn’t really a great spot for mail in our house…until now. Have you seen these magnetic containers? You can attach the containers to the side of your fridge and fill them with the odds and ends in your life that you need quick access to. I thought it would be the perfect spot to put the mail. It’s off my counter, but not completely out of sight so I don’t deal with it.

Now when the kids come in with permission slips and my husband comes in to open all the mail for me, I can kindly ask them to put the mail in the mail container. Because mail doesn’t belong on the counter.

Get one of these, you won’t regret it!

Eating: Big bowls of this roasted shrimp pasta hit our menu planner this week. ALDI makes a great gluten-free spaghetti noodle that has worked as a wonderful substitute in this recipe for our family.

Reading: YOU GUYS. I’m not hearing a lot of chatter yet about this thriller, but I can’t put it down. I am almost done and it is AMAZING! It’s a definite must-read this month especially if you are an Agatha Christie fan!

Watching: We caught this incredible documentary on Hulu and it was amazing! It inspired us to try a Middle Eastern restaurant with our kids and they loved it. It’s a fascinating look at a Pulitzer Prize winning food writer and his ability to find the restaurant hidden gems in the most unlikely places. It also shows the power of a good review for small business owners and how it changes the path of their restaurant’s success. We highly recommend it! (note- adult language!)

Listening: I’m running the kids a lot so I made this mix for you..and me!

Have a lovely week, friends!! xoxo

Amy Clark

*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: Abstract, Warm Feet, & Good Reads

Friday, February 17th, 2017

rob-bell

Last year I had a rather frank talk with my physician about ways that I could improve my health. So much of my own self-esteem and self-worth, honestly, have stemmed from my ability to fill my calendar so it was disappointing to hear that one of the greatest ways I could improve my health would be to slow down. I preach on simple living, but not necessarily slowed down living. How could I ever adjust to that?

Although I believe many of the books and our culture are now trying to teach us to slow down, it has been a really hard year for me.

This past week I have been down sick with a horrible bug and it has given me some quiet time to reflect on what it is about slowing down that has been so challenging for me. I  don’t know if this is a challenge for you or not, but this is where I am at with it.

My ultimate challenge:

I must slow down.

Yet, no one else must.

It is like suddenly being gifted unlimited time for your friends and family, but their lives continue to be full of activity.  It’s learning that this isn’t personal AT ALL , but they might not have availability for many weeks. It means I’m almost always available, but they aren’t. It is really recognizing that busy has been my drug choice for a long time and feeling a lot of withdrawal this year from it. 

I read a lot of thoughtful pieces on slowing down and letting go of busy, but less on the challenges of finding the balance in relationships when you have slowed down, but everyone around you hasn’t. I read less on the withdrawal experience and more on the joy in doing less. Do people honestly just swing into this and don’t have any growing pains with a slowed down life? I guess I’m not weathering it well.

I wonder how I will feel about this slowed down life a year from now. Will I have a new sense of contentment? Will I find a slowed down circle? Will the relationships with my immediate family blossom because there will be less to focus on?

I guess only time will tell! Have there been any growing pains with embracing a slowed down life in your own life? I’d love to hear from someone a little further down the road than me.

Here are a few things that have brought me joy this week…

abstract-logo

Binging on the Abstract Series

As soon as I saw the trailer for Abstract, I knew that I was going to love it. In four short days, we blew the eight episode series and I feel like I have a completely new appreciation for artists and their work.

In each hour a different type of designer is profiled and it’s quite the mix. They profile a photographer, car designer, shoe designer, graphic designer, architect, set designer and so many other cool design jobs that I knew very little about.

For example, Beyonce’s Grammy performance took on a whole new level after watching a set designer at work to create these visual elements for concerts. I also have a new appreciation for Time Magazine covers after one of their top photographer’s was profiled.  An innovative architect has given me a new appreciation for well-designed buildings.

If you are thinking about watching this one with your kids, there are a few bad words, but for the most part this series is squeaky clean! If you have a kid interested in art, design, or engineering, they won’t want to miss it with you! These stories are inspiring for all ages.

Add this to your Netflix agenda STAT and find a new appreciation for good design.

keysocks

Keysocks Are My New Jam

Once in awhile I will accept a product to review in this segment for you and Keysocks reached out to me to see if I would be interested in reviewing their socks. I have Raynaud’s disease so my feet are constantly freezing and even turn blue a lot. Poor circulation means my feet really need to be warm all the time, but I struggle in the warmer months when slip-on flats and heels need a no-show sock.

keysocks

I really hate those little ones because they constantly slip off instead of staying in place. Great in theory, annoying in practice. Keysocks are designed to be no-show, but they stay in place and keep your legs warm too. They sent me two pairs and I am going to be ordering more. They come in both winter and spring weighted fabric and even cute designs.

If you like to wear socks with your flats, these socks are an awesome option especially in our chillier Midwest weather. You can order them on Amazon or directly through their site. If you do it through their site, be sure to sign up for their email list to score a 20% off coupon on your order!

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Consuming a Book in a Day

Are you looking to escape with a good book this weekend? I have one for you. Although I normally reserve book reviewing until our monthly must-reads list, I would love for you to snag This is How it Always Is for your stack right away! I have already reached out to Laurie to secure her for our Sundays With Writers series so read this in preparation for her story behind the story.

This fictional story is about a little boy named Claude who knows that, more than anything, he wants to grow up to be a girl.

Lucky for Claude, he has two parents who deeply desire for him to be happy and it is with his happiness in mind that they work together to help Claude be who he is. When they feel Claude’s happiness is at stake, they decide to move to a town who will be more open to who he is and Claude becomes Poppy.

Their new friends and neighbors do not know about Claude and it is a secret that they keep to protect her. The question becomes, what happens when people find out and what’s next for Poppy?

Frankel shares that she is the mother of a little boy who is now a girl, but reassures readers this is not their story, but a fictional story to discuss more of a broader social issue that roads are not always clearly defined for each child when it comes to gender.

If you are looking for a book club book that will lead to a good discussion, you will find a lot to talk about in this beautiful story.

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

source: skinnytaste

Eating: I made this salsa chicken in my beloved Instant Pot this week and we loved it. I tried it with chicken breasts the first time and didn’t love it. Boneless skinless chicken thighs though made a huge difference in flavor and we devoured these in record time.

Reading: I just started this thriller for a quick escape and I’m really enjoying it. I understand the ending may make or break this one for me though. I’ll keep you posted!

Belly Laughing: I became a big fan of Wendy’s after I heard what their social media team has been up to in 2017. How fun would that job me?

LOVING:  My swimsuit arrived and it is perfection. If you are looking for a modest one piece with all the fun, this is it!

Have a lovely week, friends!! xoxo

*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: The Boxed Wine Win, Tiny Tables, and All the Hygge

Friday, February 10th, 2017

high-school

Thirteen years ago, I started this site as I tried to navigate my own rough waters of parenthood online. The site was a journal experience, for me,  as I figured out how to make baby food for my son, how to keep him entertained (without losing my mind), and how to run a household…

E. has been a big part of this weird career journey from its virtual beginning.

That’s why it is so strange that yesterday I signed that sweet baby boy up for his high school classes.

I held it together until I got in the car and then I had a good cry.

Mostly, I was just crying because I am so proud.

It feels very braggy to share,  but THIS IS MY SITE so I’m going to tell you why I’m beaming today.

He’s one incredibly gifted kid. Flagged for all honors courses and even an AP class, I couldn’t be prouder of his academic success. I wasn’t that kind of student and I don’t necessarily expect it from my kids so I’m awfully proud that this is where he is.

What makes me prouder than that though is that he is GOOD PEOPLE.

He is incredibly kind. It’s been an honor to observe his interactions with others and how he genuinely loves people.

Not just some people.

ALL the people.

No matter what.

Although this is bittersweet, I’m awfully happy and proud to say that this is the kind of person we are sharing with the world.

Don’t blink, mama. I’m learning how quickly time flies.

Here’s what else is making me happy this week!

winking-owl

wine glasses

Winking Owl Boxed Wine

The local grocery store had lured me away from my weekly ALDI run with the whole online ordering and personal shopper bit, but I’m back. Nothing like New Year’s resolutions to do better with your money to get your spending back on track. Seriously, you just can’t beat the prices. My kids eat me out of house and home so every dollar counts these days!

As you know, I’m a big fan of boxed wine and ALDI unleashed their inexpensive (like, less than $3 a bottle, yo!) wine in a box. I purchased the Red Blend at my store for a little over $10 for FOUR BOTTLES in the box.

At that price, I had low expectations of how good it could be.

You guys. It is GOOD. It’s not too dry, not too sweet with a smooth finish.

It is better than Trader Joe’s two buck chuck by a mile and it comes in this convenient box for all your weeknight needs.

Seriously, this boxed wine did not disappoint!

If you have ever been curious about ALDI, check out my behind-the-scenes piece on visiting their headquarters! It is still my #1 fave forever. Amen.

plant-stands

follow me on IG

Tiny Tables for My Coffee

Our home has come with challenging small spaces and one of those challenges is our bathrooms. I have learned that thinking outside the box is key with our small space. When I discovered this incredible vanity, for example, I knew that we could fit it in our wee bathroom and create the perfect spot for getting ready.  The other challenge was finding a spot for cup propping (a necessity for this coffee addict) in our bathroom.

While walking around Marshalls, I saw a plant stand and knew I had my answer for our wee space. They had this tiny table for just $10 and it has become my new favorite spot for soaking in the tub (note to self: reorder giant bag of Epsom salts since I’m soaking all the time!)  with coffee and a good book on my bath tray.

It also happens to be perfectly portable to move it to other areas in our home when a coffee stand is needed.

Plants might die here, but coffee never will! Might as well shop for a table for it.

hygge

yoga pants (that hold your belly in)- cha cha cha!

A Whole Lotta Hygge Going On

Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, hygge is the Danish concept of living cozily and I’m all about it right now. Indiana winters are hard especially on these old lady joints and I’m pretty sure my attitude isn’t great about it. Hygge embraces those winter days and adds cozy comfort while embracing all those simple pleasures that life has to offer.

Hmm…embrace winter instead of complaining about it? What a novel concept!

I am making one day a week (minimum) an official hygge day that’s focused on all the cozy comforts life has to offer. One day this week  I hit an incredible yoga class, heated up my cozy throw, filled my coffeepot to the brim, and curled up with a good book for the entire day.

As we went around the dinner table to discuss the Roses and Thorns of the week, when it was my turn I REALLY had some Roses.

“Well, it was a treat yo’self day. I read a book, I drank coffee all day, I finally finished a season of a show, I went to yoga, I took a nap. It was heaven..”

Everyone was so happy for me since they all had Thorny days so they were like, GOOD FOR YOU!!!

Perhaps, we all might need a hygge day!

Homemade Lunchables

Eating: I’m addicted to snacking these days so I made myself some grown-up Lunchables for the week.  Black Forest Ham, cheddar cubes, tomatoes, carrots, roasted almonds- it’s all protein-filled yumminess and gluten-free. I don’t like my stuff touching or getting soggy so I used cupcake liners to keep everything fresh.

Reading: I’m listening to this book this week and loving how there are three narrators with this one. This one definitely feels YA, but it has some important lessons in it. I’m enjoying it!

Thankful: Can’t tell you how much I am enjoying my daily newsletter from theSkimm. Even when the news isn’t so great, I love the snarky non-partisan 5-minute informative read over my morning coffee!

LOVING:  My rain boots came and they are better than I ever dreamed. The footbed is so cozy you don’t need boot socks and the width is perfection for this lady with bricks for feet. If you have a wide foot, your feet will be REALLY happy!

I hope you all have an incredible week filled with all the HYGGE! Don’t know how to cultivate it? Check out this Facebook group for some tips.

*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: No More Yelling, Peaceful Invasions, & Cooperation

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Snow in Indiana

We got a bit of snow in Indiana. Although I’m not a big fan of the chilly temperatures, it was beautiful to wake up to a little snow globe one morning. This happens to be my favorite street in our little ‘hood so I drove down to take a picture for you! Isn’t it gorgeous?

I got to sneak out to see Dirty Dancing on the big screen with my bestie. Do they air old movies again at your theaters? It’s such a treat when they bring back one of my favorites. One year, my husband got us tickets fors Breakfast at Tiffany’s and it was pure magic.  When we checked in for La La Land, I saw the sign to catch Dirty Dancing coming soon and it was SO COOL to see it that way. Sign up for those emails from your movie spot so you know when these special events happen.  It’s amazing all the little details you miss if you don’t see it on the larger projection.

Let’s get happy!

Dinner Bell

No More Yelling

YOU GUYS!! The best thing that happened this week was discovering that I had the power all along, my dearies!

Do you have trouble getting everyone around the dinner table? Since we live in a quad home, I can have people two flights down or a flight up and it is annoying to have to repeatedly yell, run around, knock on doors, go down two flights, go up three, etc… just so we can all eat together.

When we went to an antique shop, over our fall vacation, I found a call bell for an accent on my bookshelves. It has been sitting on the shelves for months and one day, I was too dang tired to do the, “gather round, people” shuffle. I started banging the top of this bell and EVERYONE OPENED THEIR DOORS AND CAME DOWNSTAIRS.

No yelling. OMG! I’m a genius.

I have been doing it every night and they all come to the table without me yelling.

Here is a cheap version for $5.99 or you can get a gorgeous antique one over here.

SERIOUSLY, DO IT!

Where to Invade Next

Peaceful Invasions

I’m not a huge Michael Moore fan, but I ran across this documentary, Where to Invade Next, and noticed it had all the stars on the reviews. We started watching it and couldn’t stop. The premise of the documentary is that Michael Moore goes to other countries, learns a new approach for an issue America seems to be struggling with, and plants his flag there to signify invasion and taking that principle home.

From the health care crisis, to prison systems, to maternity leave, to school lunch, to college debt,  to standardized testing…he explores all of this with real people and diplomats.

Even if you are a conservative and don’t necessarily agree with Moore on a lot, I doubt you could walk away from this and not feel inspired to want some of these incredible changes for our country and some of our broken systems.

It is rated R (a couple of F-bombs, references to sex/contraceptives, and a nude scene (hey, most countries are a little freer than us- ha!), so we watched this one just with our older kiddo and let our daughter watch parts of it that had to do with schooling and lunches.

It’s a lot to chew on- you can catch it on Prime!

Pandemic Board Game

Cooperative Gaming

I am learning how much fun it is to do cooperative games in our family, especially to help our younger child to feel included. We got Pandemic for Christmas and it has quickly become one of our new favorite games. In the game, four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players must work together playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks.  But the diseases break out really fast and time runs out quickly.

We have played this multiple times and the first time we won it and we were like, “How pleasant and easy.”

Then we read the instructions and realized half of the stuff we were supposed to be doing we weren’t actually doing and that is why it is the only time we have beaten it.

This game is challenging and a ton of fun! It’s also nice because you can play it with just two people so this is one we can continue trying to beat after our kids go to bed.

We still haven’t really beat it, but we are having a blast in the process.

Sausage & Vegetable Frittata

Eating: I’m back to making frittatas for easy lunches! Today I’m mixing up and photographing a new flavor combo for you. I love that these are protein-packed and gluten-free! Give this recipe a try and buy yourself a cast iron skillet for the occasion. It will be your most-used kitchen item, I promise!

Reading: I am trucking through this month’s book club selection and laughing out loud. It’s charming and a good one for Ove fans.  If you haven’t joined my book club, get on it!

Thinking about: This documentary A LOT. It is up for a ton of awards and worthy of them all. The prison system is broken and this explores the how and why. After you are done watching it, search 13th on Netflix and it should pull up an Oprah interview with the author to understand this complex issue more.

Lucky For You: My favorite cardigan ever got marked down to $9.99. If you are looking for a cardigan that covers your bum, is warm, but not too warm, can be belted, or can be left open, this one is PERFECTION. See how I styled it over here.

Laughing: Hope you enjoy these laughs for a Friday pick-me-up!

  hair

This semi-annual haircut picture is for my mom. The whole abandoning FB thing might be a little detaching for our family. You can always find me over here, mama!!

PS- Trying to grow out these bangs is some work, yo!

Happy Friday, my friends! xoxo

*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: Never Let ‘Em See You Sweat, Sabbaticals, and Tension Taming

Friday, January 27th, 2017

find-the-good

If your week was anything like mine, you are probably quite thankful it is Friday!

This week our family adopted a new focus on our little lightbox sign…Find the Good.

It is easy to find the bad right now and several things have felt frustrating in our life whether it be job-related, a challenging task, or the discourse that is happening right now in our country. Instead of focusing on the bad, we are working to focus on the good.

For me, it had to change with my own behaviors so I went back to killing my news feed on Facebook and only use it for my business and a few well-selected groups. Just this little switch has changed my week dramatically. I did not realize how much of my time was boredom scrolling and how much that seemed to spiral me emotionally.

Many can read with great detachment, but as an HSP, I FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS and not always the good kinds of feelings.

When my husband was grumbling about something this week he said, “I know, I know…find the good…So…”

When we sit down at our dinner table to discuss roses and thorns, we gently remind the kids, yes, that stinks! Thorns in our life are terrible. How can we find the good though?

Such a simple and needed switch for this crew.

I hope you can find the good this week too!

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

Thompson Tees Review

No More Embarrassing Sweaty Lady Stories

I don’t know if it is hormonal or what, but I am one sweaty lady these days. I have avoided wearing things I love or have avoided certain colors and fabrics for fear of that sweat seeping through under my arms. I’ve tried every deodorant that I can, but there just is no stopping this embarrassing situation…

UNTIL NOW.

I started searching the interwebz and ran across these Thompson Tees. Basically, they feel like a soft bamboo undershirt, but under the pits are extra protective layers to stop your sweat from seeping out onto your beautiful clothing. I ordered two for me and two for my husband (he also struggles in tough business meetings and such!) and told him that I just knew this was going to be a game-changer.

If you don’t believe me in how effective these are, definitely watch this news team give these a spin in 150 degree weather.

Isn’t that CRAZY?

If you are struggling, I can’t recommend these enough. They would also be great for nervous moments like first dates, uncomfortable social situations, business meetings, interviews, speaking engagements… or just being a dang mom and running your kids every flipping place.

Let me know if you give these a try and if they change your life too!

Facebook Sabbatical

A Peaceful Facebook Sabbatical

I told my husband that I was considering a Facebook Sabbatical to give myself a break from some of the ugliness I had been reading (from both sides!) regarding the political climate right now. When I went to look up Facebook Sabbatical (a retreat I thought I might have invented), I found this great site that actually supplies signs for different durations of time to let people know you are taking a break.

Leaving and not saying anything would be weird, at least for me, so this was the perfect way to let people know to still stay in touch, but that wouldn’t be the format I was using to keep updated anymore.

Although I’m only in my first week, I feel so much better! I slept better this week, got in more reading time, had more real-life moments with friends, and actually had a lot to talk about since I had no clue what was going on. That constant interrupter that I had allowed in my life isn’t there so I feel a lot more focused. I will be curious if I feel this way at the end of the month or if I will start to feel out of the loop.

Only time will tell!

Tension Tamer Tea

Two New Tension Taming Routines

My evening unwind is looking a little different, without the scroll, and I’m trying to start some better stress-relieving habits than a big glass of wine and Facebook. Tension Tamer Tea is, by far, one of my favorite tea blends and I really do find it is a quite calming beverage. Whether that is psychological or not, I’m not sure, but I have found it be a wonderful evening drink with a good book. It smells so good that you can’t help but feel calmed.

Theanine is something that I have relied upon successfully, in the past, for anxiety and I am back at it again and loving it! Depending on how much you need, I find one in the morning and one in the afternoon, of this supplement, helps tone down my sharp edges of anxiety a lot. Do your own research, of course, but I have always had great success with this supplement over the years. Here is an article that explains how it works!

Chicken & Veggie Sheet Pan  Stir Fry

Eating: I made this chicken and vegetable sheet pan stir-fry for my lunches this week and it is phenomenal. I packaged it in containers of quinoa and it has been a great way to get my veggies and protein in for the afternoon!

Reading: Oh, my heart is all wrapped up in this book this week. You must, must, must read it!

Geeking Out: Over my new laundry basket system! It is saving our laundry area so much space and I love the handles for the kiddos. Unfortunately, not online so you have to head to your store to snag these budget-friendly organizers!

Spending: My birthday money! Thank you, LOFT, for the incredible sale. Several super cute items will be in my capsule for less than $15 each. You can browse their sale over here! This is one of my favorite purchases and how I styled it for winter.

birthday

Happy Friday, my friends! xoxo

*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: Sock Storage, Fighting Hard Stuff, & Welcome Escapes

Friday, January 13th, 2017

la-la-land

It’s become a bit of a joke around here that whenever my husband takes a day off for my birthday the kids figure out a way to ruin it. God bless them. Two years in a row we got the dreaded call from the nurse’s office. One year we felt like we finally pulled it off and a child burst through the door puking off the bus. This year we patted ourselves on the back because everyone was healthy and we were FINALLY going to get our day date that we had been dreaming of.

That is, until my son looked at my husband bewildered last night and said, “It’s teacher record day tomorrow. Didn’t you know that?”

GOD BLESS THEM.

We are proceeding as planned without the enjoying the whole lounging in our quiet house thing together. I’m off to see La La Land, stuff myself silly with sushi, and antique with my handsome fella today!

Happy birthday to me a couple of days early because the kids are off for the holiday on my actual day too.

I mean, GOD BLESS THEM.

To show you how old I am, you will appreciate my old lady happy list today! I mean, only old ladies get all the feels about sock storage, amiright?

Here are 3 things that are making me happy today!

Under the Bed Shoe Organizer for Sock Storgage

Organized Sock Storage

We don’t have a lot of drawer space so I have been using an under-the-bed organizer for my sock storage. Our bed sits low so these inexpensive risers allow me to make the most of the storage underneath the bed.  I feel like risers on beds are a small bedroom requirement- it’s amazing how much you can organize under there.

I’m not sure why I had not thought to use an under-the-bed shoe organizer for sock storage, but when I saw these organizers at the store, I grabbed one for my socks. The compartments allow me to separate the types of socks I need into groupings. One has my short gym socks, one for long, one for my boot socks, one for furry pajama socks, one for tights, and two hold my belts and smaller scarves. The top is clear and it has handles on each side for picking up and grabbing.

This inexpensive little tweak is making getting ready for the gym in the mornings so much easier!

Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets

A Clean Dishwasher

Hard water issues plague us and my dishwasher has been looking rather disgusting. The vinegar cleaning jobs that I had been doing became no match for whatever was gunking up this dishwasher and so I researched cleaners that could clear the gunk better so I wouldn’t have to replace our appliance. These Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets cleaned it out in a single normal cycle and it is even safe to run it through with your dishes. For the first round, I used two tablets, but typically a single tablet should get your dishwasher looking like new again.

My gunky dishwasher looks like new and I plan to run a cycle with these once a month to keep things humming along in our home! I highly recommend them if your dishwasher is looking a little sad too!

It’s Gonna Be OK Playlist

I am really glad I subscribed to theSkimm for my morning news especially this week. It does not mean, however, I am living in complete oblivion of what everyone is talking about on Facebook. Shortly after the election, my husband made a playlist as a lyrical form of encouragement. My husband has a real talent for picking meaningful music and he says that this playlist was meant to be listened to in order (turn off that shuffle, yo!) to encourage the listener.

I wanted to share it with you this week if you are not feeling okay about all of this. Even if you are like, “I FEEL JUST FINE, LADY” you still might enjoy it.

I hope this is a bright spot in your Friday as it has been for me.

Namaste.

Reading: I am loving working through our first MomAdvice Reading Challenge! This week I started this book and I am so thankful for what it is teaching me. Much like, Just Mercy, I am finding myself frustrated with this broken system as the story follows eight families that are struggling to keep the roof over their heads. This was my selection that I will be proud to have said I read this year and I am finding I already feel that way in just these first 100 pages.

Eating: This green bean & turkey saute on repeat for a healthy version of takeout at home. I feel like this dish is going to be our new easy weeknight jam!  

joy-movie

Watching: This is the last week of my free 30-day HBO trial and it has been so much fun to catch up on movies and shows I’ve wanted to see. This week I finally watched the movie, Joyand I loved it so much, I watched it two times in a row (once by myself and once with my husband). I think this would be a GREAT movie to watch with your tween or teen daughter because it’s about a woman entrepreneur and how she never gives up on our dream of designing and manufacturing a product.

It also is a great discussion builder on how much of your success is built around your team and those who support you. It’s a feel good flick of a truly successful business woman.

La La Land

I’m off for a little La La Land magic! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, friends! xo

Happy Fri-yay!

*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: 5-Minute News, Getting a Weave, & the Fanny Pack Life

Friday, January 6th, 2017

christmas-decorations

Well, hey, there! Have you missed your Friday happy? So good to be getting back in the swing of things this week. We are concluding a rather lazy and lovely holiday break. It was filled with documentary marathons, board game nights almost every night, trying new recipes for our family meals, and pajamas.

A lot of pajamas.

Before I forget, I was VERY honored to be featured in Design Mom’s Living With Kids series to share a holiday home tour last week. It is always a little scary to open your home and life up for critique, but it has been really incredible to receive emails from parents who are struggling with similar health issues and feel like they just might have their answer.

If you were one of the people that emailed me, I have thought of you a million times and prayed that you are down a better path too.

We have so many unfinished projects here and I have put off for years sharing this house because of that. Guess what? There will ALWAYS be unfinished business in our home though so I put aside my doubts and opened it up anyway.

I am so glad I did.

Enough about me, let’s talk more about ME! I love a good narcissistic post so enjoy! (wink, wink!)

theSkimm

5-Minute News Without the Angry Stomping (Sort Of)

Turns on news, gets super angry, and stomps around the house shouting headlines at husband with hands in the air, “CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THIS?”

What a great way to start the day!

batman

Obviously, this news listening is not helping me start my days in a healthy way so I switched my routine and became a subscriber to theSkimm. Have you heard of it? So many of my friends are subscribers so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon after my NPR listening was causing undue stress during my mornings.

Each morning, I have a 5-minute email to read that breaks down the important news I need to know including references to the back stories on each of those headlines. theSkimm was founded by 2 friends who are former NBC News producers and has a polished wit about the headlines that is sure to make you feel smarter just to read it. It’s intention is to deliver an unbiased look at the news with a healthy dose of snark. It’s kind of like having your best friend share the headlines with you!

They also share quick and lovely book reviews, an important note for my fellow bookworms.

It gives you everything you need to know to remain informed and hold conversations, but delivers it in a funny way so you don’t have to be stomping around your house maybe as much.

theSkimm

Like the idea of someone else skimming your news and you getting the important stuff? You can sign up to receive the free daily newsletter over here.

 

Namaste.

Basic Loom

Learning to Weave

My mom and dad got a loom for me for my Christmas gift and it has been SO MUCH fun to start learning to weave. Per my usual crafting routines, I get SUPER obsessive when I learn something new and it consumes me. This has been my new relaxing evening routine as I try to figure out the world of weaving.

One of our top selling items on the site last month was this loom set that I had linked to when sharing that I had asked for this for the holidays. If you happened to have bought a loom for the holidays too, here are a few things I am finding helpful as I teach myself how to use it.

Weaving for Beginners Series from Creative Bug- This free 5-part YouTube course was great for learning some of the basics on my loom.  If you don’t want to purchase a loom, she also shows you a way to make one yourself. The big takeaway I got from this series has been that many of the tools needed can be made from inexpensive things we already have around our house. This is such a solid intro to weaving and it is beautifully shot.

DIY Woven Art Book- This book on weaving offers great step-by-step instructions for beginning weavers. Although I find videos are a better medium for me for learning, I have found that I am enjoying seeing the materials and ideas for construction that this book offers.

Modern Weaving Book- This book is another beautiful one that offers step-by-step tutorials. I love how this one breaks down each of the stitches.

So far I have figured out how to set my loom up, how to do basic weaving, how to add tassels, and how to remove it from the loom. I have just been practicing with some scrap yarn in the evenings and I am finding it so calming. The best part is that I can pair this with a great audiobook to stay on track with my reading goals.

I look forward to figuring out how to do more with my loom!

My Tagalongs Fanny Pack

The Yardwork/Housework Fanny Pack

I didn’t want to pay anyone to help up with our leaves this fall, but ended up paying for it when my phone fell out of my pocket, shattering my screen. These giant phones are annoying to carrying around, but I found this fanny pack is PERFECT for wearing my phone around the house to listen to my audiobooks or music. Since my headphones are wireless, I almost forget that it is there and it protects my phone from another inevitable drop.

Did I ever think I would sing the praises of fanny packs?

Nope.

Do I now realize how dang practical they are?

You bet.

As a side note, the phone I have is the iPhone 6, just in case you are wondering what I’m able to fit in this! I also love that this is washable so if I wear it for a workout, I can run it through the washer and air dry it to remove my perfume-smelling gorgeously sweet sweat smell.

family

Reading: I am loving working through our first MomAdvice Reading Challenge! I just finished a really heavy book so I needed to break up my reading a bit. Late last night, I started this thriller and I’m already intrigued. His last book was so solid for me so I am hopeful this one is just as good!

Eating: 7-Minute Risotto is always a winner over here in our Instant Pot! I served it up with baked salmon topped with pesto and lemons. Whenever I make it, I feel like we are back in Italy again.   floyd-norman-an-animated-life

Watching: We caught Floyd Norman: An Animated Life this week on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it, it shares the story of the first black animator for Disney and his incredible career as an artist. Portions of it are animated (with true hilarity) by Floyd and it is really an eye-opening look at what it was like to work for Walt as well as his blossoming career for lots of other animation companies.

We watched this one with our kids and there were a couple of things that could have been bleeped for little ears, but other than that my kids both felt really inspired to take up a drawing class at our local museum after watching this one.

I HIGHLY recommend this documentary for your weekend plans!

Writing Down: My intentions for fitness this week, with our free printable fitness tracker,  and I can’t believe what a difference it has made in my motivation levels. I have one more workout to do and I will have reached my goal this week. Go me!

Well, I’m off to make birthday magic happen for my daughter this evening with an epic sleepover party.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Happy Fri-yay!

*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: Virtual Reality, Minimizing, & Great Skin

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

salvation-army

I feel like I am finally in the home stretch- hallelujah, praise Jesus, amen.

I wrapped up my last client of the year (blogging around this time of year is NO JOKE!), the last of the gifts have been purchased, the food preparations are ready to go, and everything is wrapped underneath the tree.

I don’t know about you, but it was a hobbling to the finish kind of year.

I also managed to not order enough holiday cards, didn’t make a single homemade gift this year, and we didn’t even do a magical tree experience with our kids because we were too tired. I, seriously, sent my husband alone to Lowe’s to grab whatever was affordable and didn’t require me to get in the car.

emily-11

As it does every year, Emily’s birthday snuck up on me too. I had plans of making a beautiful birthday dinner and cake. The weather took a turn though and I could barely move around my house.

Joint pain and negative 15 degree temps just don’t mix- who knew?

Oh, wait. I did.

Instead, we went out to eat and ordered a slice of flourless chocolate cake to share with promises of a sleepover over the holiday break. Mom was definitely low on the birthday magic, but Emily seemed to take it in stride, something a December child has to do every year.

All of that is to say, if you don’t have the magic this year….IT IS OKAY!

This has been a big year of learning that.

I am a big giver.

A perfectionist.

A magic maker.

An organized and responsive person to those who need me.

As I am digging into this book this week though, I realize that just being present is gift enough and, perhaps, a better gift than the other stuff I’ve been doing. One of my favorite lines in this book reads, “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and look back and realize that the best thing about me was I was organized.”

OUCH! That hits home.

And another beautiful nugget, “What I eventually realized is that the return on investment was not what I’d imagined, and that the expectations were only greater and greater. When you devote yourself to being known as the most responsible person anyone knows, more and more people call on you to be that highly responsible person. That’s how it works. So the armload of things I was carrying became higher and higher, heavier and heavier, more and more precarious.”

YES!

This is so me.

I’m that person with an armload of crap.

how-to-decorate-gift-wrap-with-acrylic-paints-4864

This year, the bar was set low, a lot lower than the year where I knitted a gift for each teacher, made handmade goodies for the entire staff, and handed out knitted coffee cozies right down to our mailman.

Part of me still wishes I was that girl.

The other part of me realizes that gestures need not be grand to let someone know they are appreciated. 

If the magic is lacking this year, I’m with you!  Bloggers are required to share the pretty stuff and these expectations can feel grand and my delivery sometimes feels false.

Did you know that I lose followers if things don’t feel magazine worthy?

TRUE STORY!

Sometimes it is difficult to keep delivering that optical illusion though.

Less magic and optical illusion, more presence and truth in the upcoming year.

The site will be here, but I won’t! I’m popping back in next week to share what I read this month and the top book list that you look forward to each year. Other than that, I’ll be offline enjoying my kids while they are on their holiday break.

Here are three things that are making me REALLY happy this week!

westworld

Westworld

We ditched our cable years ago, but even when we had it, we never carried a package with the premium channels. While browsing the list of Golden Globe nominations this year, there was a television show that I hadn’t heard of before, called Westworld, that was up for a bunch of awards. It happened to be an HBO series and now that Amazon is offering HBO, I realized that we could take advantage of it as an add-on to our Prime package with a 30-day FREE trial.

Since we are on holiday, we could do this FOR FREE and then cancel it before the $14.99 charge per month starts rolling in.

The best part?

The entire first season of Westworld was on there and we are finishing the last episode in the season tonight.

The people who can’t finish a single series or watch more than a single show at a time, watched an entire season in less than a week.

I am not kidding.

It is THAT GOOD!

If you haven’t seen it yet, the premise is pretty freaking genius! It is a virtual reality amusement park for wealthy individuals (the rate is $40,000 a day to be there!) that inhabits the wild west and all the people who make up this world are robots programmed to deliver an adventure experience for their guests. These robots live a scripted life where they can die multiple times and then are rebooted and reprogrammed to come back into the world and perform again. The problem occurs when the robots begin to remember those tragic past lives, creating an unstable world for their guests and their programmers. When the robots began to go off script, that is when the real adventure of the viewers really begins.

Anthony Hopkins brilliantly plays one of the founders of this world and Ed Harris makes for a great villain as he tries to solve the hidden maze.

There is lots of nudity and violence in this one, but it strangely feels compartmentalized when you think of everyone as robots.

Isn’t it funny how our brains can process things?

We also enjoyed this incredible documentary about Anderson Cooper & his mother, we were fascinated by this documentary on Scientology,  and I’m really excited to give this series a spin too.

Basically, we are milking this free cow for all it’s worth.

Do you have any other recommendations for us?

Get that freebie trial and blow through a season of this over the holidays- you won’t regret it. It’s a great series to pick up with your hubby too, thanks to its sci-fi spin!

minimalism

Minimizing Inspiration

I’m not sure if you heard, but the Minimalism documentary just hit Netflix last week. I ended up watching it one afternoon and it was extremely inspiring to see two of my favorite bloggers in action (as well as so many of my real-life friends featured!). I feel like this didn’t necessarily break any new ground on minimalism, for me, but reinforced my own feelings about wanting to own less in my life. It would be a great reminder to start this new year as it offers great encouragement in discovering the freedoms that come with minimizing in your life.

I encourage you to pair it with this documentary- a film that pushed me to reexamine everything in my own life.
Give Back Box

Speaking of minimizing, have you heard of Give Back Box? If you are feeling inspired to whittle away at the excess, as you try to make space for all those new holiday gifts, this new free service looks like the ticket! The premise is simple, just reuse a box that you had an item shipped in and fill it with donations for those in need.

Type in an address and the company creates a free shipping label (you can also schedule your pickup!) that sends your shipment to a nearby charity for you.

How awesome is that?

I can’t wait to put the boxes that I planned to put in the recycle bin to work!

Burt's Bees Cleansing Oil

The BEST Skin Cleanser

I’m not sure if it is hot yoga or hormonal, but my skin has been giving me a lot of issues lately. I even had to do six weeks of antibiotics to try to clear up a weird burning rash that was on my face. Man, getting old is the worst!

I kept reading about cleansing oils for washing your face and it has been on my beauty bucket list to try. After learning that Argan Oil is heaven sent, I thought it might be worth looking into for facial cleansing too. Lots of these cleansing oils are really pricey though and I wasn’t willing to drop $60 on a facial cleanser, even if my skin is struggling.

Did you know that Burt’s Bees makes a cleansing oil? I got a sample of it and I can’t tell you how different my face looks and feels after a week of using this stuff. The dry patches on my face feel restored and my skin finally feels balanced for the first time in a long time. You can’t beat that price (I even found it cheaper on Amazon!) either! With just a teaspoon of this stuff, it took off all my makeup easily, even my waterproof eye makeup that usually requires a separate remover. Just be careful to not get it in your eyes while doing this!

I highly recommend this if you are struggling with your skin. These people were right- cleansing oils are a skin game-changer.

blind-book-club-exchange

Thankful: For another epically fun blind date book exchange with my book club. We also decided to make these books into a traveling library of sorts and are bringing them to our book club meetings so we can enjoy these purchases all year long! I shared this book (if you haven’t read it- read it now!) and I won this book. Have you read it?? It looks so good!

Gluten_Free_Chicken_Noodle_Soup_Header

Eating: Gluten-free chicken noodle soup season is on. I’m actually working on adapting this one into a frugal and fast pressure cooker dish. Fingers crossed you got one of these gadgets or it is wrapped under the tree for you. I can’t believe how much time and money we are saving with it. No joke!

 

Oh Hellos Holiday Tiny Desk Concert

Loving: A fascinating look at the secret chord that makes Christmas music sound Christmas-y, when cheap people go Christmas shopping (Bahahaha!), and the Oh Hellos perform a gorgeous Christmas Tiny Desk Concert (if you haven’t watched Tiny Desk Concert, make it a weekend priority- you will thank me!!)

How to Make a Pom Pom Wreath

pom-pom wreath

Reading: I am finally digging into this book this week and so far it is a very moving read on mental illness. I will let you know next week in our reviews my final thoughts on it!

I also ran across this piece on how to explain Santa to your kiddos. If the question should arise, I love this tactic for keeping the magic alive!

And for those that are hurting and missing the magic altogether, this is a reminder on how those small gifts really do make a difference in the world.

Faux Painted Fireplace

faux painted fireplace/pom pom garland

Happy Fri-yay!

*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: Ramen, Proper Form, & the Scientology Scoop

Friday, December 16th, 2016

love-actually

We have a weekend filled with holiday celebrations with our family and friends over the next few days!  We are praying for the roads to be less treacherous than our last trip, but the weather reports are looking a little rough this week.

Not to mention, I am not sure if I will ever be warm again.

Prepare for a winter of whines about cold temperatures.

Hey, is Love Actually one of your favorite holiday films too? I invited my neighbor over (PAJAMAS REQUIRED) to indulge in this holiday classic with me and we had the best time.

Okay, this is an embarrassingly funny story.

We have been neighbors for eight years and haven’t hung out until this year.

WHY?

I have no clue, but this goes to show that it is NEVER too late to love your neighbors.

It turns out, she’s into books, NPR, Indian food, and independent films just like me!

Seriously, why did we wait so long?

Maybe think about the people who are living near you and see if you can form an unexpected friendship too! It’s the best, even if we did wait eight years to figure it out!

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

Lotus Foods Gluten-Free Ramen Noodles

Gluten-Free Ramen is THE BOMB!

OMG! Ramen is such a guilty pleasure food for me and I haven’t had it in years, thanks to this gluten-free lifestyle! A few of my friends started posting about this gluten-free ramen deliciousness and I begged my bestie to snag a bag of it for me from Costco. If you love ramen, but hate the preservatives/high sodium or are rocking the gluten-free life too, these gluten-free ramen noodles from Lotus Foods are so good, you won’t even know you are missing anything.

Unfortunately, it was a seasonal item at Costco, but I do know that they had them at Target too. Amazon has several different flavorings offers and they all look absolutely delicious.

There is nothing more comforting than a big bowl of noodles in the winter so this has made me awfully happy this winter!

Fellowes Standard Foot Rest

A Place to Prop My Feet

I spend a good deal of time at my computer and even though I have a great chair, being petite means my feet aren’t always in great proper placement. I got this no-frills foot rest (you can certainly splurge for one that is higher end!) and I have it under my desk to help give my feet a place to rest and to get my body in a better alignment while working. I can’t believe what a difference it has made on how my back and knees feel at the end of the day.

It is one of those little things that makes a huge difference in my comfort levels while working!

leah-remini-scientology-tv-show

Fascinating Documentary Series

Have you heard about the new A&E Leah Remini: Scientology & the Aftermath series that is airing? It kept popping up in my newsfeed so while I was waiting around for a plumbing estimate (the glamourous life I lead!), I decided to watch the first episode…then the second episode…then the third episode. This is one of the most fascinating documentaries I have watched on this religion, a religion that I knew very little about.  This is an eight-part documentary series which explores allegations of abuse, lies and sexual misconduct within the church that Leah and many of the other leaders experienced during their time there.

In a statement issued by A&E, Remini explained the purpose of her series. She said that she hoped to “shed light on information that makes the world aware of what is really going on and encourages others to speak up so the abuses can be ended forever.”

I am looking forward to watching the rest of the episodes in this series and wondered if you had caught it too?

3-ingredient Instant Pot Ribs

Eating: Instant Pot Ribs on repeat! OMG! If you bought one of these gadgets, you must give this recipe a try!



Loving: Mad love for Bruno, meowing revenge (LOL!), this Chris Pratt prank is hilarious, & I need to make a Wreath Witherspoon for our door (so cute!)!!

Reading: This incredible book that I read about on NPR. It is so beautifully written and I happen to think that cover is exquisite too! Have you read it?

shake-shack-2

Happy Fri-yay!

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