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

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!

It’s the 3 Little Things: Cozy Pants, Cushy Slippers, & Christmas Tunes

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Advent Calendar Wreath

I caught some wretched bug that’s been going around so most of this week has been spent in my pajamas trying to kick this sickness to the curb. It is also the kind of week where the car breaks down,  the iPhone display screen shatters, and the house is a wreck.

Wait a minute. You came here for a happy list…..

Here is that silver lining for you! Somehow I’ve powered through all of it as I close on the last couple of hundred pages of one of my new favorite reads (the writing is just epic!), listening to this beautiful (and heart wrenching!) book on audio while I catch up on laundry from our trip,  and finishing the American Horror Story Hotel season (guilty pleasure, indeed!) on my iPad.

I also slept for a six hour stretch while my kids were at school.

LIVING THE DREAM!

The kids are loving working through our advent calendar. Since we have such a wee home with few walls, I am always trying to get inventive with holiday decorations and displays. We clipped these on our holiday wreath and the kids open it over our evening meal. We ALL are learning a lot!

I have big plans this weekend to tackle the holiday wrapping, sneak in a board game or two, ringing bells for Salvation Army, and then treating our kiddos to the holiday lights with Steak ‘N Shake Peppermint Shakes (a favorite tradition!). Let’s hope this is the last of day of feeling like garbage!!

Here are three other things that are really making me happy this week.

Fleece Pajama Pants

The Perfect Pajama Pants

As a petite woman, I hate the length and width of pajama pant bottoms because they usually end up dirty and torn at the bottom. For me, leggings and jog pants are a petite girl’s dream because I have less chance of this style of pants dragging on the ground.

I ordered these fleece pants in black and this fun fair isle print (it looks like black sold out- boo!!) and I haven’t taken them off since they arrived on my doorstep. As someone who is constantly cold, these fleece pants are the perfect answer for warmth when lounging around my house. They also make going out to take the kids to their bus stop a little more bearable.

I would recommend sizing up one on these and pairing it with your favorite sweatshirt to live in for the entire winter.  I would also recommend buying these as a gift for a friend or family member who has to suffer through cold temperatures too- at that price, you can afford to buy two! These are a winter must-have!

Ugg Replacement Insoles

 

Cushy Slippers Again

My slippers were looking pretty rough this year and the inserts were disturbingly dirty. Did you know you can replace the insoles on your slippers and boots for less than $15?  I got some new inserts for my slippers and now these feel like the day that I got them.

The nice thing though is even if you didn’t splurge for an UGG product, you can still buy the inserts and make your more affordable shoe options have these cushy bottoms. Heck, if your shoes are a little too big, I can’t think of a better solution for perfect sizing in the winter.

Confession time- I have never bought a brand new pair of UGG boots or slippers. I got my slippers on eBay and my boots were found at Goodwill. I would just buy fresh inserts for these and had no qualms at all about sinking my bare feet into them. There is no need to spend a ton if you don’t want to.

I can’t recommend a fresh insole enough for a treat for yourself!

FRESH Christmas Music

One of my favorite things is to share music with you so I created a FRESH Christmas list for your eggnog sipping and hall decking. There were a lot of great holiday albums that came out this year and I wanted to showcase my favorite tracks from these.

Fun fact, I used to be a DJ in my dorm at college. I also was well-known for my mix tapes that I used to create, in fact, my husband still owns some of them from me. Being a Spotify DJ makes me really happy so I hope you will enjoy this year’s music mix. You can also follow all my other playlists over here! I hope I can introduce you to some new songs!

Pumpkin Chili

Eating: I’m working on some Instant Pot tutorials for all of you that bought this gadget for Christmas this year (or requested it as your gift)!  I am starting with some basic preparations and working my way out for you! Stay tuned for that! For now, it’s been a Pumpkin Chili week over here as temperatures plummeted in Indiana. If you haven’t tried it yet, put it on your planner!





Loving: Today’s highlights include a Very Tired Mary (bahahaha!),  Rudolph kind of Hamilton, Madonna guesting on the Carpool Karaoke (I will love her until the day I die. Amen.), Pentatonix killing it (PS- We were ORIGINAL fans when they were on the Sing Off!),  and the movie that I can’t wait to catch! Doesn’t this film look gorgeous?

Reading: Adored this piece on Flowers in the Attic being the gateway drug to a lifetime of reading. It was for me- was it for you?

Oh, Christmas Tree

pillow source: here

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: Boutique Workouts At Home, Netflix Binges, and Foldable Kitchen Islands

Friday, November 18th, 2016

holiday-home-tour-23

I had always dreamed of living in a big house and when we purchased our home, I knew that this would be the stepping stone we would need to get us to where we REALLY belonged. Thirteen years ago, my plans and life were laid out so very differently than they are now.

What changed?

Honestly, my own thinking about what we could make work in our space.

Only one shower?

Let’s put a corner to work in our half bath.

Always wanted a fireplace?

I’ll just make a little addition to a corner in our office.

More recently it was the desire to have a kitchen island that would require a complete renovation of our kitchen to make work. Guess who found a foldable island this week that can be brought out when needed (see below)? This girl! Sometimes small spaces require us to think outside of the box.

The real blessing of this smaller home came into fruition when my own health took a turn. My body doesn’t have the capacity it used to and this year, I realized I owed God a big thank you.

This home is just right for our needs and just right for my life.

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

Exerpuetic Magnetic Stationary Bike

Boutique Workouts at Home

I have a membership to a local yoga studio, but I have been missing cardio a lot in my life. One type of exercise my doctor had suggested would be good for me would be biking because it would be low-impact and still give me that cardio high I had been after.

I gave a spinning class a try at a local gym and knew that I really loved it, but the reality of carrying two gym memberships and making time to use them both was making me a little anxious. There was just no way to do this with working full-time and the kid juggle.

Exerpuetic Foldable Stationary Bike

I actually found that purchasing a stationary bike was about the equivalent of a three month membership and being able to do this at home allows me to workout AND work on my own schedule rather than wasting my time at the gym. After reading a ton of reviews, I got the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike and we were amazed at how awesome this turned out to be for its price. Our home is small so we appreciated that this bike wouldn’t intrude too much on our living room space and it would be a little quieter way to workout rather than pounding on that treadmill in the mornings. It is well-built, quiet, and does a really great job for what I was looking for in an at-home workout.

The real problem for me though was getting in a proper workout without a proper trainer. Honestly, I need guidance or I’m lazy.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cyclecast-indoor-cycling-workout/id999390082?mt=8

YOU GUYS! I found the BEST trainer app for my phone and now I am KILLING it in this little corner of our house.

Once you purchase a stationary bike, you can get the CycleCast app and have a fresh workout each week for $9.99 a month. Basically, it costs less than a single class at our gym and I have a whole month of classes with a variety of instructors every single week.

CycleCast App

With this app, you can pick the duration of your workouts and you can select an instructor whose music taste fits with your own.  Once the workout starts, you have guided training throughout to help push you to burn calories and increase your distance. The first workout I did, I burned over 500 calories and clocked in over ten miles on my stationary bike.

Actual conversations I had with my imaginary trainer…

ME: I can’t do it anymore. My legs are burning and I’m tired.

JONATHAN: I’m going to put on a little Turn Down for What to see if you can push yourself more.

ME: You got me. I’ll keep riding. I do love some Turn Down for What….you’re the best, Jonathan! 

Each week the instructors add a new workout so you don’t get bored or have to do the same thing twice. The music is awesome and the price is just right for a cheapskate!

The first month membership is free so you have 30-days to try it out. I can’t recommend it enough and I’m very excited about how I’ve been able to squeeze this into my week in a realistic way. I also love that my husband can use this in the winter and get some cardio in as well. We both need it in these long winter months.

kitchen-island-review

Foldable Kitchen Island

A kitchen island has been a dream of mine, but my small kitchen would need a complete overhaul to make it happen. I started researching to see if there were any portable kitchen islands that would work and ran across these Origami Kitchen Carts and told my husband that I thought this would make the perfect solution for our kitchen.

As you can see it’s a metal cart that comes in a variety of colors and the entire top is solid wood. It comes almost fully assembled (you only need to attach the casters) and it is easy to pop up or put down as needed. Not only does it make a great kitchen island, but it could be a makeshift bar cart, can be used for your outdoor entertaining, or a as a grilling station set-up next to the grill. Since I do a ton of food photography for our site, it’s actually the perfect solution for prepping and pulling into a well-lit corner for photos.

This folds into a very reasonable size too so it can be put away when it is not needed.

I know I’ve talked about the Honey extension for your computer on this list, but download that before purchasing. Honey will find a coupon code for you and, if you are lucky like me, it brings the cost of this baby down to just $80!  They also offer these on Amazon, but purchasing through HSN makes more sense if you have a coupon code going for you or you want some fun colors! It was my first purchase with them and I was pleasantly surprised at the quick shipping and the way it was packed.

This definitely will come in handy for holiday food prep and our many gatherings in our home.

the-crown

The Crown

I needed an escape this week and I found a breathtaking one in The Crown on Netflix. I had been waiting with bated breath for the show and asked my hubby if he might want to give this show a shot this week. Although he isn’t into period pieces the way that I am, we are both absolutely stunned by the incredible acting, costuming, sets, and stories of the Royal family in this series.

First of all, if you aren’t familiar with what it’s about, this  story  focuses on Queen Elizabeth II as a 25-year-old newlywed faced with the daunting prospect of leading the world’s most famous monarchy while forging a relationship with legendary Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. Her father’s untimely death leaves her in a position of authority and it is a mixed blessing for Elizabeth and her family.

As a fun fact, this is Netflix’s most expensive series and they are anticipating at least six seasons of this show so it is one you can get fully committed to for awhile. They are, in fact, already shooting the second season.

If you haven’t tuned into The Crown yet, make this part of your weekend agenda. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Loving: Today’s highlights include how Christmas feels when you have a cat, a PSA for Hufflepuffs, Thanksgiving amidst a heated political climate, me when I’m listening to A Tribe Called Quest, some amazing dancing, and Enter Sandman with classroom instruments.

If you want to laugh at something a little less PC, this subway prank with book covers made me LOL repeatedly. It’s juvenile and sometimes you just need that!

Reading: My book club meets up today so I have been working through this book. It has been a good mystery exploring a missing person’s case. I would say if you enjoyed What She Knew or All the Missing Girls, this would be a good book for you!

Laughing: If Ross Geller had an IG account- so funny and loving the comments from his family below the pics. If you are a Friends fan, you will appreciate this one!!

Date night

Thankful: For a semi-annual date night with my husband this week. We shared a beer and talked our way through our feelings on politics. Blessed to be in a partnership with someone who shares many of my same views on politics and the world. It’s good to talk it through, if you can, with someone you love, respect, and trust. I got to do that this weekend and it was some good stuff for both of us!

Happy Fri-yay!

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