6 Rules for Watching TV With Your Husband

February 27th, 2017

6 Rules for Watching TV With Your Husband from MomAdvice.com

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

I’ve heard that “Netflix and chill” means something other than the obvious to younger people. But at my house, chilling is exactly what happens when we settle down in front of the TV together every Sunday night. My husband burrows into the corner of the couch, while I sprawl on the chair next to him, and after we distribute pillows and blankets and snacks, one of us grabs the remote to dive into a show.

My husband works evenings, so the weekends are our only times to spend time relaxing together. Because our time is limited we’ve had to be intentional about our viewing habits, arguing and compromising our way into a set of rules that keep us, well, chill.

I don’t think you have to work opposite schedules or live in any unusual situation for this to be an issue, though. We’re all busy! Plus, I’m pretty sure most couples who enjoy watching TV shows and movies together must navigate the world of online streaming, premium cable, and unlimited DVR space with caution. That’s why I’m here to share a few rules for watching TV with your husband. Learn from my mistakes so the only drama is on the screen.

6 Rules for Watching TV With Your Husband from MomAdvice.com

Rules for Watching TV with Your Husband

1. Set some ground rules and agree on the basics. Who will run the remote? Will you have one Netflix account or two? What shows will you watch together? When will you watch it?

We live in a time many entertainment writers call, “Peak TV,” which in practice means there are simply too many TV shows to watch. So when it comes to shows that my husband and I watch together, we’re pretty selective. Otherwise we’d spend all our time together glued to the TV, trying to keep up, and that’s no good. We share one account in each streaming platform we subscribe to, and we have a set number of shows that we watch together. Everything else is up for grabs for each of us during our own down time.

2. Be aware of the vulnerability in sharing entertainment accounts. Guys? I watch a lot – A LOT – of cheesy romantic comedies when I’m home alone. And I spent an outrageous amount of time re-watching Gilmore Girls last year. Normally I could hide that information from anyone who might poke fun at my choices (ahem, husband!), but when you share a Netflix account, it’s right there in black and white and, in the case of my living room, on the big screen. So just keep that in mind as you scroll through the categories and add things to your queue. (And remember, if you make fun of his love of Last Man Standing, he might turn around and ridicule your binge-watching of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Hypothetically speaking, of course.)

3. Take turns and find a balance. Even if one spouse literally holds the remote every time you sit down to watch a show, you should probably take turns choosing what to watch. Similarly, we’ve found it works best if we balance heavier shows with lighter ones, too, so you better believe we followed the recent, creepy episodes of Sherlock with a double-header of Superstore, which always makes us laugh out loud!

4. Share what you love, and find something new to love! When I met my husband he had stacks of VHS tapes full of episodes of Married…with Children. While I’m hoping he never makes me sit through that particular show, it IS fun to share our favorites with each other! I recently introduced Mark to Better Off Ted (which he loved as much as I did), and I’m hoping to convince him to watch Arrested Development next.

We’ve also found new shows to love together – like BBC’s The Musketeers and a new Jim Gaffigan special. Sharing the things that make us laugh or think or cry (or all of the above) really does strengthen our relationship. After all, nothing says love like inside jokes and the ability to quote your favorite shows with each other, right?!

5. Be open to new things, but respect each other’s boundaries and preferences. As soon as I watched the first episode of Sherlock, I knew that my husband would enjoy it, too. We hadn’t watched any BBC shows together before that, but he was willing to give it a try. And unlike Downton Abbey or Miranda (which I adored but didn’t think for a second he would), it became one of his favorites.

However, just like I don’t do graphic violence, Mark doesn’t do musicals. So when I found myself laughing hysterically at Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I knew better than to ask him to join me.

6. Follow the Golden Rules. Never, ever watch ahead. And never delete each other’s stuff – whether that’s on the DVR or in your streaming queue. If you must make room for something new, always ask first and make those Sophie’s Choice-like decisions together!

If you like watching TV and movies with your husband, the myriad options we have these days feels amazing. It’s like having free(ish) date nights delivered to your house every single day! But as we’ve all found in every area of life, technology can complicate matters. So follow these guidelines and keep screen time with your spouse totally…chill!

This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

 

Sundays With Writers: This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

February 26th, 2017

Sundays With Writers

photo credit: grant beachy photo

It’s such an honor to share an interview with Laurie Frankel today and hear more about her incredible novel, This is How it Always Is. I have heard so much buzz about this book that I couldn’t wait to share it with you today so you could read it too. If I was going to select a solid book club choice that would get everyone talking, this would be top on my list this year.

In light of all that is happening in this world, it is an eye-opening novel about parenting a child who struggles with gender identity and how one fictional family navigates the world to help their child live in a place of compassion, joy, and acceptance. Perhaps, we see this more as a news headline issue, a debate about bathrooms, or an issue for others.

This book gives the reader the chance to slip into a family’s life that mirrors your own and see what it would be like if that was your son or daughter.

It gives you the chance to read from a different perspective. Perhaps, it changes a viewpoint!

This Is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

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.

Let’s chat with Laurie this morning over that mug of coffee !

Laurie Frankel

Parenting is hard and I often reflect on how I wish I would have handled tough situations with our kids in better ways. Rosie & Penn, the parents in this beautiful story, seem to offer all the right types of love and support for their child as he struggles with gender identity. Since your child faced similar issues, were these responses how you also reacted or was this more of a reflection on how you wished you could have responded in those moments?

Ha! What a good question. It’s true that made up parents are often more patient than actual ones, but then it’s also true that made up kids are often better behaved. In fact, the struggles the parents and the children face in This Is How It Always Is are themselves mostly made up, never mind their reactions. We’ve been very lucky in that my child’s transition hasn’t necessitated much struggle or strife — for her, for her family and friends, at school, or in her community — so the challenges both the kids and the parents face and respond to in the book are all made up.

Poppy’s parents begin to explore other areas in the world to find places that can accept Poppy for who she is from Seattle to Thailand. I know your family resides in Seattle, but how did you make the discovery that Thailand was so open and welcoming in this way?

There are in fact a lot of cultures — including Native cultures in the United States — that embrace and celebrate a third gender or a non-binary concept of gender. Thailand is one of many. I originally thought the characters might drive cross country rather than going halfway around the world, but in addition to its openness to its transgender citizens, Thailand is also Buddhist, and because (as you note in the next question) I wanted to talk about gender as something other than black and white, the Buddhist notion of the Middle Way became paramount.

Your exploration of gender identity is an unusual one because you are really showcasing that gender identity does not need to be a black or white issue. For example, not every child needs to make life-altering decisions, like involving medical or surgical intervention, right away. What message do you hope your readers will walk away with from this family’s fictional journey?

For me, the message is in the title: this is how it always is. Most kids aren’t transgender, but most kids are gender nonconforming — sometimes, in some ways — and all kids are sometimes nonconforming and sometimes don’t fit in and sometimes face challenges. And all parents want to love and help their kids, and no parents always know the best way to go about doing so. We make the best decisions we can and amend as necessary. This is how it always is — and not any more so or any scarier for transgender kids and their families than for any others.

I do also believe that the more and more quickly we stop thinking about gender — and most things — as either-or, black-or-white, the better the world becomes for all of us.

Poppy did not disclose her gender to her closest friends and her family chose to keep this a secret and live her life as a girl. Do you think keeping this secret is wrong?

Nope, I don’t think it’s wrong. I think it’s hard. Transgender kids and their families face tough questions when they meet new people. Their bodies are no one else’s business, and yet their histories and identities are important and to be celebrated. For most people, those two notions aren’t in conflict. When they are, no choice is wrong, and all choices are difficult in different ways.

In this difficult political climate, how can we be true and kind advocates for transgender or gender nonconforming children and their families?

Love them. Celebrate them. Let them be who they are. Don’t rush them. Don’t judge them. Don’t assume. Make sure they know whoever they are and however they are is normal and awesome and a great way to be. And I’d expand that from gender nonconforming to nonconforming period. It might also be useful to remember that the world urgently faces many complex, critical problems at the moment, and where people go to the bathroom just isn’t one them.

 The cover of your book is beautiful. What does the orange peel on your cover symbolize?

Ooh, thank you. I love it, but I can’t take credit for it. That cover is entirely down to the geniuses at Flatiron Books. I think the orange peel makes you think about insides versus outsides, about layers, about what’s on top and what’s underneath and which is important and which can just be peeled away.

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads, through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

*This post contains affiliate links!

Amy’s Notebook 02.22.17

February 22nd, 2017

DIY Dishwasher Tabs

source: one good thing

I’ll have to try this diy for dishwasher detergent tabs!

7 books you should be reading during black history month. My pick? Read this STAT- the audiobook is amazing!

This post on renovation regrets really helped me as someone who is constantly renovating.

Here are a few ways to get in more reading this year- love the library lending hack!

beauty-uniform-afzaa-17

source: cup of jo

“For me, wearing a hijab has given me an identity as a Muslim American. My hijab speaks for me before I do; it tells people about my morals, beliefs and values. It gives me a sense of self-confidence and strength.”- I love learning more about the hijab and what it signifies.

DIY those pizza lunchable kits- so smart. My kids would flip for these.

This task is on my spring cleaning agenda. Lots of good tips for getting this area organized this year!

I’m reading this book for my local book club this week. I have to say, it is so very different than anything I’ve ever read. Have you read it?

Check out the winners of the Little Free Library design competition. I have a crush on that owl library- too cute!

Designer Home on a Budget

source: the glitter guide

Tips for achieving that designer home look on a budget.

12 reasons why millennials are leaving the church. Great strategies for doing better- love the focus on serving!

9 recipes based on 9 of this year’s Oscar-nominated films. What a fun date night this would be!

You guys must be stocking up your tees for spring too- this was your top purchase this week. PS- they are perfection- not too thick, not too thin, & true to size!

This is such a wonderful piece of advice on marriage.

Anyone else laughing about this new trend? Hahaha!

Comment of the Week: I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, I love your Notebook. It’s so simple yet so informative. Definitely keeps me coming back to see what new and fun things you’ve been doing. Keep up the great work!- Kristen

Whoa! Thank you! One question people ask is how I do the hunting & gathering for this post. Let me tell you, it takes awhile.  I subscribe to a ton of blogs & read through Feedly with my morning coffee each morning, bookmarking things I think you might enjoy. It’s a week of work for a single day, but I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy this feature so much! I thought it might become extinct when Pinterest took off, but you proved me wrong. Thank you, Kristen! xoxo

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

 

Small-Budget Crushes 02.20.17

February 20th, 2017

Taco Belle Wine Glass taco belle wine glass

Relaxed Peplum

relaxed peplum

meet me at the bonfire garden flag

meet me at the bonfire garden flag

Inflatable Serving Bar

inflatable serving bar

insulated party tote

insulated party tote

Bounce Upstate Sweats

bounce upstate sweatpants

 

Barcelona Vases

barcelona vases

Little Women iPhone Caes

little women iphone case

Fringed Swimsuit Coverup

fringed swimsuit coverup

Welcome Mat welcome mat

Emma Sunglasses

emma sunglasses

lush knit maxi dress

lush knit maxi dress

beachcomber portable chair beachcomber portable chair

westin ankle booties

westin ankle booties

rio beach cart holds four chairs

rio beach cart (holds four chairs!)

custom book step decals

custom book step decals

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Abstract, Warm Feet, & Good Reads

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!

Amy’s Notebook 02.15.17

February 15th, 2017

Closet Makeover

source: hi sugarplum

This closet makeover transformation is gorgeous.

Now this is a new way to look at packing your lunch- bahaha!

Being lonely is okay.  Doing something about it is better.  I feel so much of this in the stage we are in right now. Have you struggled to find your tribe?

I have devoured this book in about 24 hours flat! You must add it to your book stacks.

I love a good one pan dish and this One Pan Tuscan Garlic Chicken Tortellini looks like something you would enjoy at a high-end Italian restaurant. YUM!

Please feel free to soak my gummy bears in rosé. Wouldn’t that be a fun summer party treat?

Hulu does it again! Don’t forget to order a shirt to wear while you binge on this.

Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil from Damn Delicious

source: damn delicious

I love the idea of doing your shrimp boil on a sheet pan! This is going on our planner this week.

Sunday night habits of successful people.

For my crocheting friends, these crocheted arm warmers are too cute!

15 dirty spots you’re probably missing when you are cleaning. Noted!

I’m piecing together my spring capsule and got this top in ivory. It is PERFECTION and will be a perfect layering piece for my spring layers!

I also stocked up on my basic t-shirts. At this price- I could afford a couple! Love the high reviews on these.

I’m going to have to try this plant fake-out technique since our house doesn’t get a lot of light. Just don’t look too closely so you can be impressed.

Comment of the Week (from Two Twenty-One)- I COULD KISS YOU!!! I ordered a pair of Sienna Ugg rainboots because I thought my calves may be too big for the Shayes. The Siennas are almost too big! This never happens!!! Thank you!!! Also, if you haven’t yet, check out Bella Vita– LOVE their stuff!!

Noted! I’ve never heard of Bella Vita, but I’m all over it now! So fun- love your comments, friends!! xo

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

 

 

 

Small-Budget Crushes 02.13.17

February 13th, 2017

Flamingo Skirt

flamingo skirt (use code VAL20 for 20% off)

Blush Driving Loafers

blush driving loafers

Striped Tee

perfect stripes

gardenia bandana

gardenia scarf

Entry Storage

entry storage bench

Alexander Hamilton Socks

alexander hamilton socks

library pillows

library pillows

Joggers

joggers

Striped Swimsuit

swimsuit (ordered this one for myself!!)

Squad Goals

squad goals

 

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

 

 

 

Sundays With Writers: I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

February 12th, 2017

Sundays With Writers

When I picked up I Liked My LifeI thought it would be a light escape between my heavy historical fiction picks last month. What I never expected though was how much this book would move me and make me consider my own interactions in my life. I saw so much of myself and my life reflected in these well-woven characters. Then I learned more of Abby Fabiaschi and her activism as a human rights advocate and commitment to use proceeds from her incredible book to support the causes she cares about and it became important to me to share her journey with you.

I knew Abby had so much she could teach me (and maybe you!) about writing her first book and more about her passion for human rights. In this difficult political climate, I’m so moved by stories of good people. Living our family motto this year of finding the good, I am thrilled to share more about the good that Abby is doing in the world and how we have the power to be the good too.

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

Honestly, if I was going to pick a book that surprised me the most last month (check out last month’s stack of must-reads!!),  I Liked My Life would be it! The idea for this story sounded horribly depressing. A mother commits suicide and her family is left to pick up the pieces… but it is so much more than that!

Fabiaschi writes this story in a way where the mother, Maddy, is still there and able to manipulate her family members into doing what she needs them to do by speaking to them through their thought streams. From helping them find better solutions to deal with her death, to guiding friendships, and even finding her replacement. Her presence and voice is one of the alternating chapters in this novel, along with the voices of her husband and teenage daughter.

Each character reflects back on the good and the bad that has happened in their lives in real moments that mimic your own. The petty fights, the difficulty as a mom to make every day special for your family (while no one makes the effort for you), and the struggles of mother and daughter relationships. I could see so many of of my own struggles in this character, making Maddy real and relatable.

Heartbreaking at times, laugh out loud funny at others, I doubt you would pick this one up and not get something out of it. I am committed to no spoilers, but want you to know the ending is quite satisfying as a reader!

Grab your coffee and let’s learn more about Abby and her fantastic debut!

Abby Fabiaschi

Congratulations on publishing your first book! What an incredible accomplishment for you and your family. Why did you decide to leave the corporate world and pursue writing and how long was the process of getting published?

When I started writing I Liked My Life I was working 60/70 hour weeks in high tech and pounding away at my keyboard nights and weekends. At the time, I could balance my hobby, my work, and my marriage. Then I got a third and fourth job named Page and Parker, 11 months apart, and something had to give. Writing time was replaced with diapers and cuddles and ear infections.

When my kids turned three and four in what felt like one season, I resigned from the corporate scene. It was time. Most of the alpha males I worked with found it insane to ditch a lucrative post for something with a .2% success rate, but it wasn’t about getting published for me. I needed a lifestyle change, and I was fortunate: with spending changes, my husband’s career could support our family.

The book sold about two years after becoming a fulltime writer.

Her Future Coalition

Before we dive into the plot, I’d love to share about your mission to donate a portion of the proceeds to survivors of human trafficking and your volunteerism as a human rights advocate. Can you tell us more about this important cause and why this is of importance to you?

After resigning from the corporate world, my family right-sized our lifestyle to accommodate the loss of income. When we were off and running on our new salary, I realized that nothing of substance had changed. As “they” say: The most important things in life aren’t things. My husband and I agreed that if anything were to come of my writing we would donate a fifth of it systematically. Now, twenty percent of my after-tax proceeds, including foreign and film rights, are donated to charities benefiting women and children.

I’m passionate about economic solutions to severe social and cultural problems such as human trafficking, domestic abuse, and child marriage. As board chair for Her Future Coalition, I get to see the success of this approach firsthand. Fiscal independence is a powerful tool—providing training, education, and employment is an effective way to help victims remain forever free. If you’re interested in donating or learning more, visit www.herfuturecoalition.org.

In the same vein, I think you are also such a great example of someone who has found a way to prioritize charity by adjusting your lifestyle to put money towards those in need. Do you have any tips for putting money or time towards the causes we truly care about while doing the mom juggle?

I recommend adopting a cause. After reading Half the Sky, I felt a tremendous call to action to fight human trafficking. There were practically trumpets playing in the background as I started researching the different ways to get involved.

When you find an organization that supports your passion, think of how your skill set and connections can be leveraged to their benefit. If you offer up what you’re already proficient at, it’s easier to efficiently add value.

From a donation perspective, there’s a tradition I love: every year for holidays and birthdays give your children a check to donate to the charity of their choice. This turns giving time into family time, and plants the seed of altruism.

I understand it was your own experience with death, at the age of 15, which gave you the idea to explore the mourning process through this coming-of-age story. Do you then see yourself in both Eve, from your teenage years, and in her mother, Maddy, now as an adult? Has it been therapeutic to reflect on this?

I Liked My Life was written as a way to unburden my loss onto unsuspecting characters, so yes, therapeutic is the right word.

The first draft was completed when I was twenty-four. I had no children; I’d been married all of five months at its inception. I wrote from three intertwining perspectives—mother, daughter, and father—but given the extent of my life experience, only the daughter’s section was relatable.

Years after that first draft, my father died of a heart attack at fifty-three. When I revisited the manuscript, I was a mother two times over who’d grieved as an adult, side by side my husband of eight years. It was then that the mother and father’s section came to life.

Age, gender roles, personality types, financial obligations, these all change the way tragedy is digested.  I Liked My Life isn’t about mourning generally, it’s about the reality that we must grieve around others who are also grieving, and the loss can at times feel competitive.

You write about marriage in such a relatable way. Those silly petty fights and frustrations make for a real and true portrait of marriage. Do you think illustrating this helped shape Brady’s story more and his own emotional hurdles of forgiving himself?

I’m now thirteen years into my marriage and I see the layers of it with more clarity. There’s the daily grind—the back and forth where I know I’m loved but sometimes don’t feel appreciated. There’s tests—darker times where I question if I’m understood at all. And there’s nuggets—moments where the value of my role in the family is revealed and validated.

The more interesting thing to realize is that the same ebb and flow holds true for my husband. I don’t think either of us fully fathoms what the other accomplishes and carries in a day, and I no longer think we have to in order to be happy.

In I Liked My Life Brady arrives at this same conclusion in stages. Each revelation is accompanied by a different emotion: anger, guilt, sadness, and, ultimately, acceptance.

Why was it important to have Maddy’s voice be such a big part of your story and how much fun was it, as the writer, to have her manipulating plot points in the book?

With Maddy, I looked to put words to the connection I still feel with loved ones I’ve lost after their physical time with me is over. As I wrote, at times I felt the people I miss so much cheering me on, so the joy in creating Maddy’s voice was personally meaningful to me.

As a reader, I found myself walking away with a heightened sense of consciousness about my interactions with my loved ones and how important they are, even when you sometimes feel unnoticed as a mom. What feelings do you hope your readers come away with from reading this story?

I’ve been in book clubs for over a decade and have learned that a reader’s takeaway is unique to their experience, past and present. For me, I take comfort in the knowledge that if you can rise above the fog and haze of grief, there are slivers of beauty in life’s most agonizing moments. The challenge is that anything gleaned is at the expense of your loss—and it will never be worth it—so you have to accept the injustice of that.

Did you or do you have anything special planned in celebration of your first book being out on bookshelves? Will you be taking some time off or are you on to the next book?

I have more of a what’s next? personality. Right now I am all in on promoting I LIKED MY LIFE. I worked hard to get this opportunity and I want to do everything I can to help get it in the hands of readers.

My second novel, tentatively titled WHATEVER HAPPENED TO LUCY BISCARO?, should be out with St. Martin’s Press in the winter of 2018. It explores the polarizing hold that memories can have on us, and how every decision we make is layered with our past experiences.

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads, through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

*This post contains affiliate links!

It’s the 3 Little Things: The Boxed Wine Win, Tiny Tables, and All the Hygge

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!

Amy’s Notebook 02.08.17

February 8th, 2017

Smashed Potatoes With Garlic Pesto

source: minimalist baker

These smashed potatoes with garlic pesto look like a perfect winter side dish.

Easy and affordable ways to add more hygge in your life. I’m trying to add more of this in my life!

I’ll have to remember to use my blow dryer on stickers next time!

6 helpful travel apps to take with you on your next trip!

I always love a good boat-neck tee and these look like winners for my next capsule.

A quick tip to get your stainless steel pots and pans looking like new again- must try this!

video game controller organizer 4_zps0voajr9a

source: she’s crafty

I love this organizing strategy for game controllers.

OMG! How cute is this?!? I loved this movie!

Speaking of movies, I am reading this book and it is CRAZY good. I can’t wait until the film comes out!

Check out this 100 postcards journey- impressive and moving!

Busy is a refusal to sit with yourself. I needed to read this today.

 

Burger Bites

source: skinny taste

I’m going to make these burger bites for our next board game night. Such a fun spin on finger food.

The sweaty girl embarrassment cure company sent me a coupon to share with you- here’s 20% off your purchase. It’s the best gift I gave myself this year!

14 fabulous shops for affordable art- bookmarking for our home!

Add these 17 things to your car and you will be set for any emergency!

Projector Screen

source: a beautiful mess

I love this idea to trade in the television for a projector. What a great use of space!

Ohhhh….this is sounding promising!

Here’s who will match your ACLU donations right now.

Do you work from home? I’m dying laughing over this emergency call for help.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo