My working title for this was “These are a few of my favorite things” but frankly that was too chipper.
When I’m not working (full-time digital marketing day job), playing with toy firetrucks, fighting the urge to snack 24/7 while WFH or scrubbing our freakin’ glass stovetop clean to no avail, I have less energy than I would like to chat about skincare (on the blog or even with friends). And we got a puppy…
I have months and months of beauty content backlog so I’m diving back into blogging by first sharing everything else that’s been on topic with conversations with my friends lately. And this makes it easier to share all the links and tips I promised I would send 🙂
(Totally realize everything in this post is mostly not important and doesn’t cover any of the huge real issues and problems in the world. I’m thankful and very blessed for everything in my life including my job, but like many women out there, I’m so tired. I’m even thankful for my glass tooktop).
I hope the below helps my real-life and new virtual friends! Any other tips for surviving and thriving each day? Drop them in the comments below or send them to me via email! This is a bit different than my other posts – maybe one day I will turn this more into a specific quarterly newsletter.
Mindless Activity Recommendations
I’ve hardly had the energy the past few months to post on social media but I have certainly found time while waiting out toddler bedtime shenanigans to scroll through the following themes on Instagram and Reddit. When even browsing through the Caroline Hirons Skincare Freaks Facebook group seems too cerebral, I turn to these tactics:
- Hilaria Baldwin Drama – I got so enthralled with her heritage drama. At best it seems she’s been not clarifying her heritage for a decade. Do we believe she never read any of the pieces about her – including feature shots she posted for – that mentioned she was born in Spain or claimed she was Spanish? Do we find it highly suspect a health nut who actually grew up in Boston would forget the English word for cucumber? Doubtful. This has since led me to follow the account writer Sophie Ross and her Instagram stories.
- Through Sophie or similar accounts, I learned about the F-Factor diet / Emily Gellis influencer drama. I think we won’t know the whole truths until the lawsuit(s) are over but at best TZ and F-Factor should not have deleted negative reviews and acted more quickly to disclose their ingredient analysis and ensure customers felt comfortable voicing concerns. But EGL seems to have gotten in over her head and personally vindictive judging by her Instagram content. I regret that occasionally I look at influencer call-out accounts for EGL and WeOverWhat
- And obvi I’m spending way to much time following celebrity news on Deuxmoi instagram . Thanks to my friend Theresa for the rec last summer!
- To start my day off on a light note I have to check for any updates on Instagram from 3 hilarious women
- Chloe Fineman of SNL – her parodies crack me up and she does an amazing Nicole Kidman and Drew Barrymore
- Caitlin Riley – I can’t get enough of her impressions of personas you have definitely encountered. I especially love her LA mom impressions and she just started carrying merch! We have a casual “no more bags” rule in this house since I have so many tote bags “just in case” but I think we may be able to make an exception for the LA grocery list tote bag.
- Sarah Ramos – Child and teen actor turned creative genius during Covid. She is so clever and I rewatch her interpretations of classic movie and TV scenes all the time.
If these aren’t helping you decompress and distract from the real world and depressing news I highly recommend watching or rewatching Southern Charm on Bravo. (so much Madison drama going on right now!)
And finally, if you suspect you have adrenal fatigue or if you are a mom at home with a newborn, remember you need even more mindless, do-nothing time than most. I’m talking like ‘watching the original Dirty Dancing movie followed by watching the bad remake with Abigal Breslin with even worst chemistry‘ level of do-nothingness.
We’re watching our budget closely and trying hard not to order takeout as much as we used to so we’re taking any and all healthy recipe recommendations.
- We’ve rediscovered one of our favorite Hello Fresh recipes, Thai Laarb Burgers but with a few twists of our own
- We like using ground turkey instead of pork
- We definitely use pre-minced lemongrass
- I normally throw spices together loosely from this Thai recipe (I never have fenugreek) instead of buying a specific Thai spice
- I use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
- I’m addicted to parmesan crisp snacks. My favorite is actually Von’s in-house Open Nature brand or Sonoma Creamery.
- Because of my addiction to parmesan crisps above, I’m dedicated now to using the Noom program again (see my in-depth review). I’ve realized (don’t know why it took me so long) that I have to track my food to maintain or lose (always extremely slowly) weight. When I’m tired or stressed I tend to snack more than my energy needs. I’ve also realized from working-from-home I’m a thinking-snacker – not necessarily a stress-snacker. Noom definitely works if you truly do the program – follow the prompts, focus on low-calorie-density foods that drive the feeling of fullness, track what I eat, get exercise and weigh myself regularly. For me, a key is also reducing processed foods as much as possible (which tend to be calorie-dense). I’m really loving white sweet potatoes and incorporate them as much as I can into my eating, especially for a snack. (FYI I tried intermittent fasting a few months ago. First week was great and then it killed my metabolism. Maybe a thyroid thing? But glad it seems to work so well for everyone else)
- I tried to eat as many non-starchy vegetables each day as I can stand. My acupuncturist has taught me that cooked vegetables are best for me. It seems easy that I should be able to roast some vegetables on a pan every few days to use later, right? Well, it never happens consistently 🙂 so I stock up on these delicious frozen veggie blends from Tommy’s Superfoods. I love the asparagus and root fusion blends!
- I try to eat a lot of soup and my favorite is this delicious Pacific Red Pepper and Tomato Soup. It’s got the right flavors to satisfy my cravings enough so I’m not constantly snacking on the parmesan crisps (see above. I dream about these…). I’ve been able to find these at all of the grocery stores near us at least in the large cartons but here they are on Amazon:
- My latest food hack is dipping a date or half a Medjool date into cacao powder. Kind of almost tastes like a piece of chocolate 🙂
- I feel so dumb for being lazy and not taking vitamins regularly. I finally have a little energy back after a few days of taking B vitamins again! I just finished my Designs for Health Metabolic Synergy vitamins but I’m not sure if they are worth buying again. Below are some of my vitamin favorites (reminder I’m not a healthcare professional please consult your healthcare provider before taking any vitamins or supplements )
- One of my favorite relaxing and anxiety reduction techniques taught to me by my therapist. Its call the lightstream meditation technique. This article walks through the questions to ask yourself and visualize but I prefer to listen to the recording from my therapist. Here is twist on it in YouTube demonstration of this with an EMDR focus. But below is a good guided meditation with a soothing voice
- If you feel comfortable seeing practioners in person who are following proper Covid protocols for your area, I highly recommending exploring Breathwork therapy or Chi Nei Tsang absominal massage therapy (honestly this helps me destress and reduce my jaw tension!)
- I’m trying to get everyone I can hook on CBD bath bombs. They spark so much joy, I love these bath bombs from Soul Spring. Their bath salts are pretty good too. Sprouts market has had them on sale for like $8! and I’ve been stocking up.
- If your stress has led you to stress-sweat this year I did an updated deodorant guide to combat stress-sweat!
- If I’m not sure what to do I head out for a walk and listen to the Office Ladies podcast. My husband makes fun of me for watching, listening, or reading things I already know but I’m pretty sure I saw an Instagram post a few months ago that those are all strategies for anxiety since they are familiar. Sounds legit
- I try to get in at least 30 minutes of movement a day. And I’m ashamed on the days I’ve worked a full day and haven’t gotten in a little break to walk even for lunch! (which too often I take at my desk). To keep me motivated I’ve tried to replenish my workout leggings as pairs become worn out. I don’t like to spend a lot on workout bottoms and my friend Jenna recommended I try the leggings from Old Navy. I had tried some cotton ones from there before but they stretched out too quickly. So the other weekend while my kiddo napped i tried on every style available. Every one. And now I know the right material and fit. There are 2 kinds I like
- High-Wasted Elevate Powersoft 7/8 Length Side-Pocket Leggings: the side pockets are crucial (and I love the black and white combo) as is the 77% polyester, 23% spandex blend. Not all of their blends are the same. I don’t like the 85% polyester, 15% spandex blend in this style. It’s too – idk shiny? And not as soft. You really have to check the blend for each pattern. And I realize I hate the
- I love love LOVE the High-Waisted Elevated Built-In Sculpt Compression Leggings. It’s confusing but these actually do have the 85/15 blend combo I don’t like but in solid colors, it looks normal and the waist band is high and a different feeling material. This is their highest high-waist legging.
I feel so blessed lately to have such a great group of friends and family to support me as a woman and a mom during this stressful and bizarre pandemic year. I wish I could have one giant text chain with all of my friends from all over (who don’t all know each other) because everyone gives such valuable advice. I’m trying to use MarcoPolo app more to stay in touch with friends so many I can try a mom advice group?
I’m finding a three-year-old as drastically different energy expenditure and attention needs than the [terrible] two-year-old phase. Here are many tips and tricks that have been helping us not lose our minds
- My better half reminds me/ shouts to me weekly that “if you’re getting into an argument with a three-year-old, you’re doing it wrong mama!“. He’s partially right. Like I get it. But we also realize in some scenarios a meltdown is going to happen. So we choose the quickest meltdown so he can recover and not freak out so much about the next sequence of things.
- Small Biz Shoutout!! My dear college friend Lilah has the most incredible toy store called Made You Look and now she offers play area consultations as well (hoping to book some time with her virtually in 2021!). We’ve been having a lot of fun with her age-specific subscription Knock Knock Boxes! We have it send every few months and we get the coolest collection of toys and Lilah’s latest and greatest thoughtful finds for kiddos and special books. Check out their Instagram for great ideas for kids!
- Small Biz Shoutout!! One of my sisters-in-law (blessed to have 4 spectacular ones!) introduced us to these awesome sensory dough kits (think better than “play dough” in cool themes) from Young, Wild and Friedman. Our son loved his Channukah themed kit so much and still plays with his farm kit from last holidays. Kids really do love loose parts and this mom-owned company finds the perfect little additions to her kits.
- Whole Brain Child. Great book with quick resource tables in the back. It helps me understand why our son freaks out sometimes but I wish there was even more advice of “everything you can do to calm them down in this situation”. Lately, we’ve really been seeing the storytelling come to life when he gets scared. We’re going on day 10 of talking about being scared by a smoke detector alarm.
- Monster Mediations. We have to watch one of these Sesame Street x Headspace every night! Our favorite is the Elmo body scan.
- Little Golden Books. Our kiddo loves books and especially these classic stories (for other boy moms out there they also have “newer” stories that include Mater and Lightening McQueen). Inevitably he turns them over to see more book suggestions and begs us to get him more. The Little Golden Book about God really has some beautiful spiritual passages and illustrations that you and your family may find peaceful to read regardless of your religious practices or beliefs.
- If you have a toddler boy these Melissa & Doug painting kids will be the best $10 you have ever spent. Honestly, I wish they had these as a subscribe and save option. We have so much fun with these!
- We’re a big fan of frozen wild blueberries in our house and our latest lifehack is adding them on top of almond butter or sunbutter in sandwiches instead of jelly or preserves!
- When we’re sensing our toddler is having a rough day and maybe a picky eater we pull out the easy banana pancakes trick! Kudos to my friend Stacy for teaching me about these years ago and our friend Jenna for reminding us of how easy and yummy they are. We give these to our little guy straight up or with a tiny amount of honey. No syrup needed. And I tend to use cassava flour. (Eye roll, I know. That’s the only flour I’ve had on hand lately. I also mostly drink out of mason jars or glass jars from the juice place. Get over it)
- I’m surprised (but shouldn’t be) at just how much fun our tiny dictator has had playing with “simple” things like pom poms (pictured below on Amazon). These act as confetti, sprinkles, cookies, cake, seeds, soup – whatever his imagination comes up with on any given day. Make sure your kiddo is old enough for some of these sizes! Also just learning these require a lot of mindful pickup to make sure our puppy won’t get them!
- I call our printer the “magic machine” and print out “magic” coloring sheets as needed. Pinterest is a great wait to search for coloring pages. Little big guy, unfortunately, picked up mamas occasional “Treat YoSelf” (see below if you don’t know the reference) mentality after getting spoiled with his birthday and the holiday season. But these magic sheets feel like we can give him a pick-me-up without spoiling him too much.
- Sound Proofing – we have an old drafty house with wood floors and we learned shortly after we moved in that sound travels very well between rooms and our hallway. We tried under the door barriers to help block sound and light into our toddler’s room but it was hardly helping with sound. We assumed our walls may have been thin too. But on a particularly rough 5-hour bedtime routine night we finally ordered an Acoustidoor and could hardly wait the 2 weeks for it to arrive. Overall we’ve been really happy with it. It’s not a perfect product and we’ve had to make some enhancements to it but it has definitely helped unnecessary sound transfer in and out of our kiddo’s room.
- I randomly bought these snap-bracelet-style safety lights for my walks but these have been a huge hit around the house with our little big guy! He can attach them to himself or lots of things (allowing us to at least eat 1/4 of our adult dinner before bedtime)
- I can’t leave out my new furry baby! This Flirt Pole has been a lifesaver for wearing out our new puppy
Coming to the blog or IGTV or YT soonish…
- So many overdue skincare and makeup reviews including Biologique Recherche skincare review updates
- Daily Harvest Review
- My favorite recipes from EatingBirdFood.com (just recommended today from a friend and I can’t wait to try the recipes!)
- Whether the Higher Dose Infrared Sauna Blanket is worth it
- Vessel health testing system review
- Remembering to send out content to my email list! Thankful for yall!