7 Things Saving My Life Right Now.

Apparently February 1st is the halfway point through winter and a typical time for the winter doldrums to hit. Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy has an annual tradition to combat this winter sadness, by sharing a list of things big and small that are “saving her life right now” – taking a moment to focus on the GOOD even when it can be hard, especially when it can be hard. And like the good little blogger that I am, I’m joining in. You know I love a good list. Here’s mine:

  1. Last month I completed a month on the KETO diet and although dieting is the pits, I have to be honest, I reaped some real benefits. I’m not even talking about pounds lost. I mean that by cutting down on my carb intake, I had less cravings, was able to eat a lot less calories each day without being starving, and I have had ZERO sugar crashes since I started. I am planning to try adding back in things like sweet potatoes, beans, and healthy grains this month – but I’m continuing to kick added sugars and basic bitch bread and pasta to the curb for the time being. VIPS for making KETO work for me include unsweetened almond milk, almond flour, and this amazing no bake cheesecake recipe.
  2. We finally cleared room for my new car to park in the garage and now that winter is here I am reaping the rewards like a reward reaping rock star. I do not miss brushing my car off or scraping frost off the windshield every morning, or the bitter bitter cold that was my car first thing in the morning. Other things contributing the winter being less of a hellish wonderland: Having a teen and tween who do most of the snow removal now; and that awesome homeschool life that means no more early morning commute anyway.
  3. Having the hubby working from home each day means that nine times out of ten, he’s making me eggs and bacon for lunch, there’s always a pot of coffee on, and sometimes he even cooks dinner. Basically, I’m a spoiled rotten pretty pretty princess. But seriously, it’s been much easier sticking to a diet when lunch is an issue I don’t have to worry about.
  4. The library has been closed to the public for most of the pandemic but their curbside pickup program has been easy and life saving. The kids and I have been checking out piles of books for homeschool or bedtime reading and roughly once a week I make an appointment online to go pick up new books and drop off old ones. Added bonus is that late fees are a thing of the past because sometimes I’m a really slow reader and sometimes the library gives me five books to read at once. I’m not proud.
  5. One of the cons of this pandemic life is grocery shopping. A lot of people are rocking that curbside pickup life but I typically prefer to go in and nit pick about exactly which head of cabbage I want, etc. But if the store is too busy, I can’t bring myself to pull into the lot and lately this scenario has been more frequent as people begin to tire of social distancing (or I’m imagining things and extrapolating where there is no data to support it). I recently had the bad assed idea to start shopping at night after dinner, hoping the stores would be less crowded in the hour or two before closing and you guys I was right! I not so secretly love having the store to myself and it’s kind of nice getting out of the house after a long day of schooling.
  6. The close quarters of staying at home so much can make for cranky family members but for the most part my kiddos have been rock stars. I’m especially thankful that they are at an age where they still like hanging out with us (I hope) and they are getting old enough to watch better tv shows with us. We’ve been introducing them to some favorite comedies like Brooklyn 99, Big Bang Theory and the IT Crowd and it’s awesome revisiting old favorite shows and them finally understanding why we keep yelling “Bazinga!” or “Noice!” or “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”
  7. Lastly, I am so thankful that I’ve found such a great friend group. Obviously I’d love to see them more in person and to be honest, I kind of loathe online social interactions but I count myself grateful that I’ve made such good friendships here that I allow group chats to exist where sometimes I log in to 181 unread messages and keeping up with these friendships virtually has definitely been valuable to my sanity. We’re each others cheerleaders and therapists and partners in crime and there’s no one else I’d endure hour long group zoom chats with just to talk about books, boobs, and Bridgerton.

What would be on your list right now? Tell me yours in the comments section!

What’s Saving My Life Right Now.

Every year, on February 1st, Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy writes a post about what’s saving her life, the positive things big or small that are making these winter months more bearable. The idea is that we’re all great at listing our complaints but don’t often spend that same amount of mental energy on the good things.

Here are some of the little things keeping me sane this winter.

  • Cozy sweaters with pockets are great for staying warm on cold winter days (and here in Wisconsin we’ve had some pretty cold days recently). Added bonus is having a handy place to stick my phone when my outfit doesn’t have any.
  • I found out that my local library has board games you can borrow for 2 weeks at a time! I feel like I’m continually learning that I’ve been underutilizing my library. This is just another example. The selection is actually pretty good, the game I checked out was in great condition and this is such a genius way to check out new games instead of buying them right away.
  • When the winter weather says I can safely get out of the house, I’m volunteering at the kids’ school and meeting my husband at his office for lunch regularly. Both get me out and peopling which seems to be crucial for my mental health this time of year. As much as I love to Netflix and Legit Chill, I have to keep the impulse in check more in the winter.
  • Weezer’s Teal album has been my new favorite ear candy. It’s a fun trip down memory lane and it fascinates me that they are able to impeccably cover songs from so many genres. I think you either love or hate Weezer, my husband doesn’t enjoy it at all. But it’s been keeping me good company at school pickup.
  • Cheesy YA romantic comedies in both books and TV / movies. I’m all about avoiding the heavy right now and big time indulging in my favorite feel good genres. Whether it’s watching the latest season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or reading books like Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.

What are some things saving your life right now?

What’s Saving My Life Right Now.

I don’t think I need to tell you that winter is HARD some days but, guys, winter is hard some days. I’ve had pretty much exactly enough cold days, icy sidewalks, sick kids, grey skies and nothing on tv. But I’m linking up with Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy to share a list of things that make these hard winter days a little bit better – the things that are “saving my life right now” – what would be on your list? Here’s mine:

  • Silk brand coffee creamer has been the best solution I’ve found to making quick, easy lactose free cups of joe that I actually want to drink. I know this is a really small thing but really small things are the name of the game on weekday mornings.
  • Water aerobic classes make me feel kind of like a super hero for an hour. I love the fact that I can kick ridiculously high underwater and jump around for an hour without needing aspirin immediately afterwards and being underwater has the added benefit that nobody can really see how poorly I’m doing the moves. Bonus life saver: A gym buddy who keeps encouraging me when I want to cop out.
  • Game nights with the best people keep me from wanting to scream into my phone at Facebook every day. This world can be an exhausting place between sports, politics, Starbucks cups and whatever other ridiculous thing we’re told to be furious about today. Having friends over to play dumb card games and drink cheap wine definitely helps.
  • The balance ball desk chair that my husband got me for Christmas is surprisingly comfortable and way better for my back than my old office chair. You know that feeling you get from sitting too long looking at Pinterest? I don’t seem to get that with this chair and it’s fun to bounce around every so often when Pinterest isn’t being interesting enough.
  • Raising awesome little humans is hard work but it gives me hope for humanity when they say something kind or clever or just awesome. Motherhood definitely isn’t all sunshine and rainbows – trust me I could write a whole post on all the ways that my kids annoy and frustrate me. But they also delight me and make me seriously proud and they are definitely the best thing I’ve ever made.

Top 5 Tuesday: Characters I’d Rule the World With

Top 5 Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Bionic Book Worm, and it explores a different bookish topic each week! The theme this week is:

I was immediately intrigued by this prompt. Because Winter is coming, my first choice is a no brainier. I’m going to need Dany (and her dragons obvy). And also Tyrion for good measure and to keep Dany in check. Fire power, bad assery and diplomacy. Check.

Next I need an incredible warrior with something resembling a moral code. I choose Caelena Sardothian from the Throne of Glass series. She’s probably the most kick ass warrior I’ve encountered in a story.

So I’ve got a fighter, a diplomat and a mother of dragons. Now I need a sharp mind with a passion for knowledge. Someone who knows her shit and knows where to find information when we need it. Obviously that has to be Hermione Granger.

Lastly, we need an optimist and a voice of the people. Someone who won’t get caught up in their agenda and will remind us who we are fighting for. Someone with a cool head who knows how to handle people in a tizzy. We need Jane Bennet.

What do you think? How are my odds looking? Will we be victorious or go down in flames? Who would you pick?

LIVE | LOVE | LEARN | march 2017

livelovelearn

I’m trying out a new idea so bear with me. Towards the end of the month I tend to fall into a rabbit hole of monthly wrap ups: things I loved and the things I learned and what I’ve been up to. I thought I’d tidy up my thoughts and combine all of these wrap ups under one post. I’m calling it LIVE | LOVE | LEARN – and it pretty much is exactly what it sounds like.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this month.

LIVE

  • My dog finally switched to his new vet officially and it feels good to make the change. We’ve been really happy with this new pet clinic and the staff there and everything just feels easy and obvious. More importantly, my pet’s well being feels important and worth consideration. Yay!
  • 17190656_10101162899347596_4082153154445714967_nMy son officially started Boy Scouts this month after graduating from Cub Scouts last month. It’s been tough for me to get used to the transition (namely because I’m a control freak but I’m attempting to not be one) but he’s doing fantastic and diving right in.
  • Last week was my kids’ spring break and we took them to the Great Wolf Lodge for a few days of fun in their giant indoor waterpark. In between being fishes, they also enjoyed paintball target practice, another trip to WizardQuest, a very kooky lost temple attraction and lots of delicious food.
  • I pampered myself with a haircut and color at a new to me salon. It’s such a subtle change that I’m guessing most people wouldn’t notice if I didn’t say something but my head feels a million pounds lighter and I’m loving it.
  • 17425021_10101178107550236_2082075320835481217_nMy daughter started gymnastics again this month. She did sort of toddler gymnastics a million years ago and this is a different world. I’m proud of her because I can tell the skills she is learning don’t necessarily come to her easily but she’s rising to the occasion and comes out of each class with a grin on her face. What more can you ask for?
  • We went on a terrifically awesome date night / afternoon to a local winery for wine tasting and cheese. I’m kind of the worst wine drinker ever – I like my wine to taste roughly like Juicy Juice if we’re going to be honest. But I had so much fun trying different varieties and judging their flavors and aromas and just experiencing something new with my husband. It was a nice change of pace from our usual dinner and a movie.

LOVE

  • Lemon Zinger Tea by Celestial Seasonings is one of my new favorite warm beverages. I’m trying to cut back on my latte life and tea has been a nice diversion. I have found that herbal / fruity teas work the best because they never need milk and I can get by with a small amount of sugar.
  • MV5BNjUxNjQ5NjgwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzQzMDA1ODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_When Calls the Heart is my latest binge watch on Netflix. I’ve been ignoring it for ages but I hit a dry spell and decided to give it a shot because Lori Laughlin is in it. Oh my word, it is so good guys. My husband has deemed it completely cheesy but I am hooked. It’s a little bit costume drama / a little bit love story / a little bit it takes a villiage. It drew me in so quickly and now I’m in danger of running out of episodes before the next season comes to Netflix. Hallmark should totally get in bed with Hulu, I’m just saying. Bonus points: It’s totally PG so the kids can watch it with me when I need to binge but they happen to be home.
  • People are photoshopping Mr. Bean into hilarious images and it’s one of the best thing I saw online this week.
  • 17309420_10101172554723146_7428601629282740298_nThe new Beauty and the Beast was, oh my lord, all the things. My husband had issues with the Beast and some of the changed storylines, but I loved it. I felt like it fleshed out my favorite story and breathed new life into it. It was like seeing your favorite work of fiction come to life. Emma Watson was perfection and I loved getting more of her back story and any backstory at all on the Beast.
  • Speaking of Beauty and the Beast, I greatly enjoyed this power point presentation on why Belle should have chosen Gaston. Agree to disagree, but the argument was surprisingly compelling!
  • 81aN-jZM6yL._SX466_Dan and I watched Passengers this weekend and it was everything you would expect a space adventure movie starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence to be. Funny, thrilling and kind of heartbreaking. I love when we find movies that are a perfect marriage of our interests.
  • I finished three books this month. My book club discussed Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner – the first in a new series about a British detective who is trying to track down a missing girl. It features revolving narrators and a complex narrative. Before diving into that book, I finished reading The Crown by Kiera Cass, the last book in the selection series. Last night I finally finished reading The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg, a short nonfiction book about Hygge which the Internet has been obsessed with lately. I love the idea of Hygge and definitely highlighted some ideas, but as a book I felt it was longer than it needed to be. It was still a quick read all told and a great resource for anyone who wants to know more about Hygge.
  • This video:

LEARN

What have you been up to this month? If you want to play along, feel free to write about the things you learned, loved and lived this month on your own blog and let me know in the comments!

Ten (non-bookish) Websites I Love

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten list prompt. This week’s prompt is… Ten Websites I Love That Aren’t About Books. This proved more challenging than I expected but I dug deep, so…

Here are ten of the usual suspects from my browser history and what makes them awesome:

picmonkey-logo-taglinePickmonkey.com : I use this website constantly for editing pictures for my blog or personal photos and I also use it to create things like birthday invitations and the featured image on this post. I also love their blog which features great tutorials on photography and photo editing.

CupofJo.com : Jo’s blog is a great source for fashion ideas, recipes and all the little things in between. I read her blog on the regular and even subscribe to her newsletter which is a rare honor in my life of “get out of my inbox” sensibilities. Also her blog is kind of beautiful – like her formatting makes my heart happy. Is that weird?

logoHelloGiggles.com : This is my primary source for celebrity news and other odds and ends. One of the few places where I can find a roundup of natural sunscreens and Game of Thrones fan theories in the same place. Also they were founded by Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer, and Sophia Rossi “as a place on the Internet to inspire a smile.”

DudeMom.com : Several of the recipes I cook my family regularly (this might be my husband’s favorite meal) were found at Dude Mom but she isn’t really a food blogger. She’s a keeping it real mom of three boys who was once on What Not To Wear and shares fashion tips for real woman bodies and delivers the funny always.

downloadThe Lazy Genius : Kendra is basically my hero. She is all about not trying so hard and figuring out how to rock at life with minimal effort because our time is precious and we’re worth it. She writes about things like bullet journaling and meal planning and celebrity face mashing.

Modern Mrs. Darcy : Admittedly Anne blogs about books a lot, but I swear I read her blog for more than just books so it counts, right? And I can’t round up a list of my favorite websites without mentioning her because she’s literally one of my favorite bloggers, period. In addition to book recommendations, I love her posts about personality types, bullet journals and even just life in general. She’s my bloggy role model and perhaps my biggest book pusher. (Her daily kindle deals email is one of the first things I read each morning.)

laws_of_physicsXKCD.com : Continues to be one of my favorite comic strips. I wanted to mention unshelved but that comic is definitely about books so it would be breaking the rules. XKCD is my other regular comic that I read and it’s all nerdy references and surprisingly intricate stick figure drawings.

GeekandSundry.com : This is where I get the majority of my geek news and board game recommendations. It’s also home of Will Wheaton’s table top video series. I link to posts from Geek and Sundry often here because, relevant.

giphyGiphy : Because if a picture is worth a thousand words, a gif is worth a thousand feels. This is my favorite source for finding fun gif images to liven up a blog post.

Bloglovin.com : Lastly, the website that is home to all the websites – this is my feed reader of choice that keeps my lengthy list of favorite websites organized and easy to keep up with. They have a good mobile app and a friendly interface and they encourage bloggy friendships in a way that makes bloggers look like people and not just urls. I like that.

What are some of your favorite websites?