Less Packaging in my Beauty Routine: DIY Lotion Bars

I love trying new beauty things but I also am working to make a sustainable future. I’ve looked at what I buy and what I can recycle and what I can’t. I’ve taken a good hard look at the packaging of my beauty materials and make better choices. I’ve been using shampoo bars which have been great and really nice soap. But I need body lotion and that has been difficult to find in easily recyclable containers.

Unfollowed in Real Life: Setting Boundaries for Your Own Well-Being

Knowing that I obsess about things, I have made a point to have boundaries with people. It’s hard and it’s something I’m still learning. But boundaries have kept me sane. As as a woman in my thirties who decided to be a working mom and start a blog, I have had to set up boundaries to keep me conserving my energy. The other thing people don’t talk about with boundaries is that it allows you to focus on the people you let in your circle

Let's See How This Goes: Packing for a Beach Trip

My family is going to the beach for a week and my spring has been so crazy, that it’s finally set in that summer is here. It’s exciting and we can’t wait to take a break. However, that means we have to get our household in order and head out. Having a kid means that our old packing ways have gone out the window. I used to be a master at packing things in an overnight bag but that doesn’t cut it for a week and with a toddler. So I created some templates to print out with checklists (I love having lists) and I hope these help you when you are going out. Sometimes you are like, yes I know to pack sunscreen but as a parent, you often get overwhelmed so it’s nice to just have a list to check off.

Love is All You Need: The Beatles and Maternal Mental Health

However, when I got pregnant when I got overwhelmed with everything I would go upstairs and listen to the Beatles. After a crazy business trip and a little bit of a breakdown, I would watercolor and listen to the Beatles. It is my “please leave me alone in my thoughts and be mindful music.” I knew they were great but their later stuff is incredible. I love their more psychedelic music. My son’s new favorite book is a picture book of “All You Need is Love.” It’s beautiful. I used to feel like they were overrated. I was wrong. They just calm me down. They force me to be mindful because you can listen to them and you know the next song is going to be good.

My Toddler Ate This: A Great Pasta Recipe Courtesy of Sara Moulton

Toddlers are notoriously hard to please but Sara Moulton has this ability to create layers of flavor. I saw this recipe for Annie’s Favorite Pasta and I thought maybe Annie was a toddler. She’s her sister but my son loved this recipe. I would make this for guests and I would make this on a Tuesday night. It’s actually something I made a week after I bought the ingredients because they keep really well. So if you have a week of curveballs it’s great. So here we go!

Your music asks answered by a lady who has a song for that

I love music. I have always loved music. My respite since the first grade is listening to music by myself and getting lost in my thoughts. I’m one of those people iPods were made for because I needed that many gigabytes of music storage. I was looking up more MySpace quizzes and some of them were way...too personal. Like when I was 20-21, the stakes were lower. Now, I’m married and quite frankly I don’t want to go back to my embarrassing and frustrating single days. So I found this thing about Music Asks and that is one of those things that you can AMA me. So I hope you discover some deep cuts that you like.

Gift Like a Mother! : A Curated Selection of Mother's Day Gifts Chosen By an Actual Mom

It’s that time of the year again, Mothers Day. As a new(ish) Mom I feel like I can finally speak for my mom people. Basically, we want affection and validation we are people. Oh and a more equitable world for mothers where our emotional and physical labor is respected. In lieu of those things, if you know a mom or have one to buy for. Here are some gifts I would suggest getting for the mom in your life. These are curated by me from my affiliates but I would like any of these things. Have fun looking through them.

Mansfield Park: the luxury of silence

First of all, before we start any critiques of the book we need to start out by saying that there are a lot of controversies surrounding the novel that are not always addressed. My husband and I watched part of the 1983 miniseries and it did not give as much depth to a really serious part of the book and one that is extremely controversial then and now. The owners of Mansfield Park were slave owners. No one knows exactly when the book was written so there are a lot of hidden meanings in the book if it was and what the setting was. Austen wrote a lot of books that were published later. In fact, a lot of her books were believed to have been set in the 1790s. Remember how I said you can’t tell that the books mentioned Napoleon and the French Revolution? This one alludes to some really important things that happened during her lifetime.

I tested making no-knead bread so you have no need to!

My mom suggested I listen to his podcast “Milk Street Radio” and it has inspired me to be more creative in my kitchen. Also, I appreciate him showcasing the expertise of historically marginalized people and how respectful he is to women on the show. He is actually a good listener and you can tell he’s kind. I listened to him talk to the author of the Palestinian Table and he was so attentive and insightful. He also talked about how much he enjoyed learning about the culinary traditions of Myanmar and how the more we learn about a place the more we empathize with people. I know it sounds cheesy and I am paraphrasing but it’s been a nice respite from my usual gory true crime podcasts. Every time I listen I get inspired to be braver in the kitchen and he and  Kenji Lopez - Alt kept on talking about a recipe for “No Knead Bread” and how it is a game changer. After checking out the recipe at the NYT Cooking section I decided to give it a whirl.

Branching out with Barre: The Fit Part 3

The yoga studio that was suggested to me by Lindsay from Find Where You Fit had a blacklight glow barre class. I thought, this sounds fun, and I signed up for it. To the surprise of no one but myself, I had a lot of fun. I’ve been really enjoying myself since joining the Fit. Feel free to read more of my journey through this process in parts 1 & 2. I just am back into trying more social workouts as opposed to my awesome personal training. Again, if you have money please consider getting a trainer. If I can do it, anyone can. It’s a treat to myself. But this is a nice way to try new workouts and see what you like and what you don’t. I have to do low impact workouts due to my back and you can make barre work that way. The most fun was being with other people and going through it together and being creative.

A Few of My Favorite Things! : Namely shopping...

If you have known me for any amount of time, you know I love to shop. I love it. I every aspect of shopping except the lighting in dressing rooms. My husband hates shopping and we really are opposites attract in this regard. That being said, I am an affiliate blogger meaning certain companies use me to promote their products. I get tips for affiliate marketing in my inbox and as a Midwesterner, I am really struggling with seamlessly integrating these things into my posts

I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like: Reading Jane Austen's Emma

Why is this incredibly slow book a classic then? Why is the plot so meandering that even describing it can be boring? So it features a bunch of unlikeable people living in a small town and no one gets their comeuppance? True. This is very true. However, the nature of the book is on several levels. So the edition I read the notes were by a woman named Fiona Stafford. She argues that there a million layers to the book, not the least in the names.

Lenten Intentions: Setting Daily Intentions

For the record, I’m not great about Lent but I do try to give something up or fast as it were. When I was 10 I tried to give up math homework but the priest said that wasn’t really fasting. I was foiled. One year in high school I gave up eyeshadow because I looked forward to it every day and no one really noticed but I did. One year I gave up self-doubt and promptly failed. This year I’m doing daily intentions as you do with yoga and secular saint Dolly Parton does something similar every day. It’s been really nice.

I Ardently Admired This Book: Pride and Prejudice

I know I said I wanted to read happier books and not cry. But this book was so sweet and it was as Jane Austen said “light, bright, and sparkling.” So it was a happy cry and I was moved. Wow, this book started one way and zagged on me. I didn’t realize it was about seeing your parents as human, grief, and the ties between sisters and dear girlfriends. It also is learning that you can still love yourself and make mistakes. That’s what dating is, you figure out what you want but you learn a lot about yourself. Much like Lizzy Bennet, I run my mouth and can be way nastier than I mean to be. I am known for going for the jugular too. However, I loved watching Lizzy fall in love. I loved watching Darcy change. It was really timeless.

Austentacious: Jane Austen Reading Challenge

I decided to take a “happy break” and I’m reading Pride and Prejudice. I’m getting the Penguin editions because they have the best reading notes. I was getting these cheap books and the notes weren’t as good. When you read classics I feel you owe it to yourself to have a different interpretation. For example, this book talks about trends and debates in feminism in the time it was written. Also, I can read the notes as opposed to them being really really tiny. Sorry, Norton critical editions. It also describes the wealth and what it meant, what neighborhoods meant, and how society was perceived.