Today marks the beginning of the seventh week of our COVID19 Quarantine. The longer this has gone on, the more we really have settled into a new routine. Some days it is hard to remember what it was like before all of this. Has this happened with any of you?
During the first few weeks, I had a lot of anxiety because there was just so much unknown in addition to the anticipation of what things would look like, both locally and globally.
While there is still a lot of things we don’t know, it feels easier in some sense that things have settled into a bit of predictability again, even if this all would have been almost unrecognizable a few months ago.
The days are really starting to run together but this is our fourth week of learning (and surviving) at home.
The Same But Different…
My last “currently loving” post was in mid-February which seems like it was years ago at this point. It does make me laugh how many things in it are applicable to “quarantine life” now…I talked about my favorite cozy must-haves, my love of athleisure wear and winter blues and anxiety. Some things never change!
Learning at Home
We are slowly getting into the swing of things but it’s been a bit tricky because every week things change. This is new and unknown for everyone so I am trying to be flexible and know that while it doesn’t feel like it right now, this really is temporary.
I also feel extra grateful that we live somewhere where we have access to the outdoors and that each day, the weather is getting nicer and nicer (let’s not talk bout the snow that is coming at the end of this week okay?)
One of the benefits of living in the “country” is that there is plenty of space to roam. We have been taking advantage of the quiet roads and have been exploring all around our “neighborhood”. We have been going for multiple walks and bike rides a day and it has saved us!
While we are heading into a month of being home together, we are definitely still working on finding the right balance during our weekdays. We have a 1st grader and a 4th grader at our house and while the kids are doing some school work, we have mostly been doing it to keep some sense of normalcy and routine.
A New Routine:
We are still in “maintenance mode” through this school week and then introducing new material will start next week.
I am trying to take things week by week and not get ahead of myself. I know that their teachers and administration are doing the very best they can to meet the needs of all families and that this is new for everyone.
They have been missing their friends and teachers SO much and while connecting over the computer isn’t quite the same, I am so happy they have the option!
Our first grader’s teacher recorded her reading the rest of the book they were reading together as a class at the beginning of March and he was just enthralled.
These kinds of things seem like such small things but it was such a huge source of connection and comfort amidst so much change.
I am thankful for it too. And I am happy that FaceTimeing has become popular once again. We loved it even before this whole “social distancing” became a thing…OG FaceTimers over here! 😉
Dogs During Quarantine…
We have been laughing about how much dogs just must love this whole quarantine situation. Buzz could not be more delighted with us being home every single day!
Home Ec 101
While I am not doing the most amazing job with the whole “school at home” thing, I am pleased with my instructional household house maintenance classes we have implemented, LOL.
We have even been cooking together. We tried out making homemade pasta which consisted of a lot of trial and error but it ended up being delicious! (we need to use even more flour next time during the rolls and cutting phase). We have also had many important discussions about rationing fresh produce and learning how to make your own (balanced) lunch…kids eat SO much food!
While I have lost my temper many times, we have also made some really special memories. This has not been easy and we also are so privileged to be able to stay safe at home.
I struggle a bit when I see comments like “embrace this time!!!” because some of it is just really hard, but there are parts of it that have been great… it’s both.
My friend Julia shared this article with me and while I am not involved in higher education, I found it relatable just on a personal level.
I also got SO much from this article where a trauma psychologist weighs in on the risks of ‘motivational’ pressure during quarantine. Maybe you have seen this floating around the internet…
A trauma psychologist from Beirut weighed in on this idea that we should be extra productive right now, and she didn’t mince words. Alaa Hijazi’s Facebook post has been shared 19,000 times, so people are clearly appreciating her wisdom. She wrote:
“I thought I was spared the horrid ‘motivational’ phrase going around now—’If you don’t come out of this with a new skill, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline’—until I saw it on my local yoga studio page.
As a trauma psychologist, I am utterly utterly horrified, enraged, and bewildered about how people can believe and spread this phrase in good conscience.
We are going through a collective trauma, that is bringing up profound grief, loss, panic over livelihoods, panic over loss of lives of loved ones. People’s nervous systems are barely coping with the sense of threat and vigilance for safety, or alternating with feeling numb and frozen and shutting down in response to it all.
People are trying to survive poverty, fear, retriggering of trauma, retriggering of other mental health difficulties. Yet, someone has the nerve to accuse someone of lack of discipline for not learning a new skill, and by a yoga teacher!
This cultural obsession with [capitalistic] ‘productivity’ and always spending time in a ‘productive,’ ‘fruitful’ way is absolutely maddening.
What we need is more self-compassion, more gentle acceptance of all the difficult emotions coming up for us now, more focus on gentle ways to soothe ourselves and our pain and the pain of loved ones around us, not a whipping by some random fucker making us feel worse about ourselves in the name of ‘motivation.'”
It is okay to worry, it is okay if you are just doing the very minimum to get through your day, it is okay to wish we had more answers and it is okay to grieve what we have lost, even if we are grateful for what we have.
Alright, because I can’t do this post without doing a “currently loving section” I am doing an abbreviated format…
I finally gave in and watched Tiger King. I was told I would be missing out on important Corona19 Pop Culture if I didn’t. I am glad I did! It was quite the wild ride but it was definitely entertaining…and the perfect distraction from our current events.
Currently Participating In:
I have been trying to be consistent with my Pure Barre classes even though we can’t go to classes in the studio anymore. I am a social exerciser so this has been more challenging than I expected. I haven’t been able to attend the live ones very easily because of being home alone with the kids during those times so I have been doing Pure Barre On Demand.
I have access as a member at our local studio but you can also subscribe just online, they have a free trial right now to try it out. (I am not affiliated with this, just wanted to share!) I have been alternating these classes with long walks and it has been a good balance so far.
Currently Spending My Time:
When a lot of things feel out of control, I like to clean. I remember as a little kid I would rearrange my room when I felt anxious and I always found it very soothing! So I have been vacuuming and mopping and I am just loving my spin mop! There is something so satisfying about these kinds of chores and they are perfect for getting some audiobook listening in.
SO much coffee…and water!
I am working my way through a few titles on my Kindle..last weekend I started Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld which is one of my most anticipated 2020 reads! After loving American Wife SO much I have HIGH hopes for this one and so far I am really enjoying it.
All my clothes are basically quarantine clothes anyway, but I have been embracing air drying my hair! I have wavy hair that can either look quite curly or a frizzy mess. I tend to blow dry it so I don’t have head out into my workday with dripping wet hair, but currently, that is a non-issue! It has been nice to skip the blow dryer and embrace the natural look.
Our Better Together Book Club is going virtual tonight! Like many book groups, this will be our first time having our book club over Zoom. I am excited to see some friendly faces and see how everyone is doing. We decided to skip the book chat and do a “how are you managing and coping” check-in tonight. I am so looking forward to it!
I hope you are all staying safe and healthy and I will be back soon with some more book and reading updates. <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
It’s been a WHILE since I have shared a Currently Loving post. December always feels like a blur and then January is a transition into a new year and into all our regular routines again. This last week was the boy’s first full week back at school which meant it was my first full week back at work.
Your Life Your Camera Photography Workshop
This past weekend Kristy and I taught our first 2020 workshop of the year, our Your Life Your Camera Intermediate photography class.
We loved being reunited with participants from our past beginner workshops and it is amazing to see how much they have grown!
This week we are teaching Your Life Your Memories, our photo organization class and next week we are welcoming a whole new group of photographers into our Your Life Your CameraBeginner workshop!
I recapped what our workshops looked like in this blog post HERE and how we make a more seasonal job like portrait photography in Vermont work for us!
Learn With Kristy Dooley Photography!
Speaking of learning, we have also been busy working on something NEW! Kristy and I taught our very first photography workshops in 2014 and we have loved not only growing the workshops we offer but also being a part of building a local photography community.
Recently we have felt a pull toward wanting to reach a wider audience and while we have had people travel to our classes, (hello our favorite New Hampshire ladies!) we would love to also offer a way to learn from the time and place that works best for YOU!
Online Photography Workshops
We are working away on a new series of online workshops and we can’t wait to share more about them soon! We have put ourselves on a tight deadline for the first class (which has called for a lot of learning on our side as we make our way through templates, Keynote and Powerpoint, hence the Williston Coffee Shop chocolate chip cookies…) and we will be announcing the release in just a few weeks. Stay tuned!
All Things Holiday Break
While we are definitely getting back in the swing of things, I thought it would be fun to recap a little bit of what we were up to our holiday break. Over the holiday break, there were many moments of frustration and together time AND a lot of fun were mixed in too.
Parenting is a rollercoaster of emotions and just when you think you have it figured out, it changes! Our boys are at a great age for doing so many things and they are also in a stage of a lot of sibling rivalry. I know this is a totally normal thing kids go through and it is definitely keeping Lucas and me on our toes.
We have found that doing things OUTSIDE of our house helps a lot with this so we like to be out and about as much as we can. Whether it is doing errands together, playing outside or going the movies, keeping busy is key.
It also helps getting out of the house with your friend and our holiday book club was amazing! We exchanged some bookish gifts, caught up and recapped our reading highs and lows of 2019! And how amazing are these socks?! My friend Emily found them on Etsy HERE (*I am not affiliated with this shop, I just love them!)
Hoverboards, Playdates & Setting Up Mousetrap
Thank goodness for our friends who helped make the holiday break feel a little less long. My friend Kari and I did a bit of switching kids on and off so we could get some work things done or just breathe for a second.
She also is the master of setting up anything tricky or icing your child’s birthday cake…ha! I had the game Mousetrap as a kid but I don’t think I ever actually played it because setting it up was the true challenge.
And what’s better than a playdate for your kids? Catching up with your parent friends over coffee. I am doing a no coffee after breakfast challenge for the month of January (tea only after my morning coffee allotment from home!) but back in December, it was anything goes!
While we didn’t have a white Christmas as we had hoped for, we did have weather that allowed us to get outside quite a bit. Two years ago our holiday break was filled with record-setting low temperatures which made for a busy couple of weeks for Lucas at work and a lot of cabin fever setting in for the rest of us!
We did finally get some snow before the New Year and we were excited to break out the new sleds that Santa brought at Christmas and also get out for some backyard skiing. While this looks picturesque, let me tell you, it was anything but peaceful!
Parker has been skiing for a few years now but I have been trying to teach Flynn and as someone who isn’t’ very good at it herself, I am probably not the best teacher! I am going to bring the boys to a local x-country skiing place soon and I am thinking this will probably be better for everyone! 😉
Bowling & Arcade Games
Towards the end of the break, we were ready to mix it up so we were thrilled to join some friends for a couple of games of bowling. Of course, that means we also had to visit the arcade game room which is one of my least favorite parts of parenting for sure. Olivia was a much better sport about it than me!
If I could summarize our parenting life right now, I would say there’s a big emphasis on getting together with friends, sports (both participating and watching), playing ALL the games, still lots of LEGOs, bickering with each other and Buzz is the happiest to be photographed now…hence all the dog photos! We will have a middle schooler next year which is kind of hard to believe!
Evenings at Home & Kindle Pillow Stand
I am a homebody for sure and while it isn’t always calm and peaceful here these days, sometimes the stars align and our evenings are filled with reading in our lounge clothes. We tend to head upstairs about an hour before the kid’s bedtime (also ours, ha) and everyone is supposed to do more quiet(ish) activities.
This doesn’t always happen but we are working on it! It has been great for us being able to have some downtime now that they stay up almost as late as we do and it is has been great for encouraging independent reading time for the boys.
Buzz is a big cuddler and he is the best reading buddy. A lot of you asked me what I thought of my Kindle pillow stand (pictured above) when I shared about it on my Bookworm Favorite Things blog post. I use it every night and it makes it so you can read pretty much hands-free (just turning the pages…) It feels kind of like a big bean bag so you can prop up your kindle all different ways and It is also a multipurpose pillow so you can use pretty much any tablet-sized item on it.
Currently Loving Winter Accessories & Mabels Labels
Winter is hard in Vermont because it is long and you want(and really need) cold-weather accessories that are durable (which often means they are a bit pricier), but that also means it is extra scary to send them off to school because things get misplaced all the time. I don’t think I have ever walked by the school’s lost and found table without seeing at least three things from our family on it.
We do our best to label EVERYTHING because of this and I was super excited when I saw that their loves from Burton have a super-easy way to personalize them! We have had the best luck with gloves from Burton and Head (the ones they sell in the fall at Costco!) and the worst luck with LlBean gloves(I love everything from LLbean but the gloves fall apart so quickly).
We have been using Mabel’s Labels (*not affiliated just love them) since our older son started preschool way back in 2012. I have tried a few other brands over the years but have always gone right back to these because they are the best!
Using Your Last Name…
Also, if you have a less common last name, try simplifying and instead of getting a bunch of individual stickers for all your family members and just one with the last name that you can use for everyone.
First Better Together Book Club of 2020!
Last week we had our first Better Together book club of 2020 and we discussed The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. Not only did we have an animated discussion but author Jessica Lahey joined us! It was amazing to hear the backyard of her own work and also how her book came to be. If you haven’t read The Gift of Failureyet, it is a must! Whether you are a parent yourself or work with kids, you will get so much out of it.
Coming Up on Gen The Bookworm
I have a lot of fun things in store for Gen The Bookworm in 2020. I am especially excited about welcoming some new guest posters who will be sharing on topics related to reading.
In a couple of weeks, my friend Kelly who is a reading specialist will be sharing about How to Raise A Lifelong Reader. My reading friend Michelle will be sharing the first What’s On Your Nightstand post of 2020 this week and I have own Reading Highs & Lows of 2019 recap coming along with the 2020 books I am most excited about!
Thank you for stopping by being a part of this reading community, I appreciate each and everyone one of you! <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Good morning!! I am trying to become more efficient (and not overthink these posts) because you guys were so great when I asked for more feedback over on Instagram. I too love reading random daily life updates and so I am going to try and commit to sharing these once a week! I am very externally motivated so when I know someone is expecting something of me I am all in, ha.
The last couple of weeks have had some ups and downs. My life has so many wonderful things, and it also has some painful and sad parts. I do try to be real on here, but also keeping in mind that this is a very public space. I love the image above so much because it is so very true and it is something that I try very hard to keep in mind when interacting with the world around me.
I am a glass half full person. I think because I have such great supports and self-care practices in place, it helps me focus on the good parts BECAUSE I am able to process the tougher stuff when it comes up. This is a work in progress of course, but I think it is important to mention as these posts are definitely more of the “highlight reel” kind of recaps. Okay, moving on!
I am a little off schedule today because Lucas was away for the night at his family’s deer camp. He isn’t a hunter but going to camp is one of his very favorite things to do this time of year. He ends up bringing the kids with him a lot because we try and coordinate it with when Kristy and I are teaching on the weekends so this was a nice adult only visit for him!
Normally Sunday mornings are my barre and grocery shopping time, sometimes mixed in with a visit to Target to peruse the bookshelves. Last weekend I got together with one of my reading buddies and we had a great Pure Empower workout with Lauren and then walked around Target and caught up. My friendships are so very important to me, and there are certain times when you just need them a lot more and this is definitely one of those times.
By mid-month, the boys already had TWO snow days. I think they are much easier to take this time of year than in say, late March but I was still a bit surprised. The boys were super excited of course and it was a reminder for us that it was time to pull out (and FIND) all the winter gear.
Currently Wearing…ALL the Winter Gear
We have built up quite the collection of Skida accessories over the year and especially love hitting up their Summer Sidewalk Sale in August to replenish anything that gets lost at school.
It doesn’t matter how much you label the crap out of your kid’s stuff, some of it WILL go missing and it hurts a bit less when at least you know you got a good deal on them! We have also had great luck with LL Bean gloves for the kids!
We are big Bogs fans around here. Bogs Boots are our go-to footwear for our whole family from late October until the end of April. I updated mine this year after having my pair for 5+ years and I went with the Women’s Whiteout Bogs that are super easy to slip on and off (A MUST for me with winter boots) are so warm and cozy and waterproof. I loved my Plimsoll Bogs but these have even better traction for better grip on ice and snow. I am ladies size 8.5 in most shoes and I size up to a 9 in Bogs. I find that having a bit of extra room is super helpful, especially when wearing heavier socks this time of year.
While I could never be a fashion blogger (LOL) I can talk for days about winter outwear and basically anything from LL Bean or Talbotts…
You can find the Kids Rain and Winter Boot Bogs HERE.
When you have the right winter clothing, getting outside this time of year is the best! One of my favorite ways to get together with friends is to go for a walk. Kristy and do this on our lunch break at work because she has some great trails right behind her house.
I have been trying to prioritize this lately as I have a bit more flexibility during the work week now that photography season is slowing down a bit and it is so good for our mental health…there really is nothing like some fresh air and sunshine.
This week Buzz and I met my friend Elisa for a walk at Shelburne Bay and went on a lunch hour walk with Kari up Mt. Philo. All of these walks take less than from start to finish so they are perfect to add in during our day when we don’t have a long block of time available.
Currently Embracing…Weekend Walks
We are also embracing the slower-paced time of this year on the weekends. Being cooped up with kids is not for the faint of heart so getting everyone outside at least once a day is necessary no matter what the weather conditions are. While we love to walk in the woods around our house, it is hunting season now so we stick to parks and places that off-limits for that until it is over in December.
A Night Out With Friends
It is rare that I do something at night (besides our Better Together Book Club!) because I am not a night owl, and especially this time of year when it gets dark out at 4pm. But when Sonja at Owl Feet Studio announced she was having her first Ladie’s Night Out, I was going to be there!
When I told Lucas I was going to attend a Shibori night, he definitely chuckled. Shibori is a cloth dyeing method originating in Japan in the 18th century and utilizes the incredible properties of the indigo plant (This is Sonja’s great description, not mine!) It is a similar process to tie-dying but because you use indigo, it results in beautiful shades of deep blue.
As a photographer, I am definitely a creative person, but I also like things just so(hence why I spend my work life in Lightroom and Photoshop, ha)
So going with the flow isn’t the most comfortable thing for me. I like having a concrete plan and detailed instructions! It ended up being such a fun night and it was also great to get a little out of my comfort zone. I can’t wait for her next Art Night Out!
Currently Loving…Barre Book Club!
I know I talk about barre all the time, but it is just such a positive part of my life (and one of my biggest forms of regular self-care). The Pure Barre community is definitely the number one reason why. I am a group exerciser for many reasons (motivation because of signing up ahead of time is one of them) but I also love how it brings me together regularly with such a wonderful group of (mostly) women.
I love arriving a bit early to have time to catch up and love that we now have an (unofficial) Barre Book Club! In addition to chatting about all sorts of random things, our local studio has become an awesome place to share recommendations and also to exchange books!
And whenever I post a photo with my barre socks, I get asked what kind they are! A barre studio opened near my friend Sarah’s house recently and she asked me if I had recommendations for my favorite sticky socks and these are it! If you haven’t been to a barre class before, most barre studios have you wear socks (no shoe) that help you grip the floor, which especially comes in handy during planks and pushups.
The Tavi Noir Chloe ones are my current favorite. We started having them in our studio last spring and the pair I bought them have held us amazingly well and are still super sticky and grippy! They are super comfortable and the criss-cross straps stay put and don’t dig in at all like I worried about when I first saw them.
An Amazing Homegoods Find
The other weekend, Flynn and I hit up Homegoods to browse the aisles, and we walked away with this Quilted Eddie Bauer Dog Pullover for Buzz! Pullovers are necessary when you have winter weather for 6 months of the year (they are pretty much all I wear…) and I couldn’t resist this one for him when it was under $15…and now we can match!!
I mean, is there anything better than twinning with your dog? I don’t think so!
Currently Becoming…A Harry Potter Fan
I have to admit, I have never read the Harry Potter series…and I don’t know that I really want to…
He is loving this version so much that has taken to reading right after school which isn’t the norm around, that’s for sure. Both of our boys have really grown to love reading but it is normally something they do in the evening before bed.
After much apprehension, I started The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes this week! I often get a little wary of books that are SUPER HYPED UP but this one really is amazing. I have been alternating listening to it on Audible and reading Kristy’s hard copy Book of the Month copy and am just loving it.
Fireside Reading (and Napping!)
While this time of the year can be tough with the lack of daylight, it is also such a wonderfully cozy time of year. There is nothing like cuddling up next to the fire and reading an engrossing novel or taking a nap on the couch. After Thanksgiving next week the full rush of the holiday season will be upon on us so I am trying to soak in the quiet moments like this.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend! I have some great book reviews in the blog line up and another What’s On Your Nightstand? post coming your way soon!
Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Hello! These posts always are one of my last priorities here, not because I don’t like sharing them, but because they are so random. I do still love that old journal type blog sharing of 10 years ago..but I wonder, does anyone like reading these but me?
Now that I share a lot of book content, I wonder how much I should step outside of that…I love getting to know the person and interest of the Bookstagrammers I follow myself, and because this is my space, I suppose I can post whatever I like…but I do think about that…and if you know me you know I love to overthink things like this! Alright…moving on!
I am my best self first thing in the morning. Over the years I naturally have fallen into waking up early. Now that the kids are older they stay up later and so the early mornings are my sacred quiet time. It’s when I do most of my book blogging, emailing, etc. I work over a big mug (or two) of coffee and my current audiobook, it’s lovely!
Lucas leaves for work early so we have a daily rhythm that works well for this (getting in bed at 8pm for instance, ha). I can hang for a bit if we aren’t home at night but if we are here, I can barely keep my eyes open past 9pm.
A Night Out With Friends!
Speaking of being out past 9pm (I think we got home around 10!) we had a much needed night out the other weekend with some of our favorite friends. This gettogether was a long time coming. With the coordination of everyone’s schedules (and babysitters) finding a date that works for everyone isn’t easy. We finally made it happen and headed down to Middlebury. We had a drink at Two Brothers and then had an amazing dinner at The Arcadian. I hope it isn’t another 4 years until we make it happen again…ha!
I actually really love November, but it can be a hard time with the lack of daylight. I can easily get a little down this time of year with the time change and just the amount of darkness. I know this about myself so I try to be proactive and implement the things I know that help. Getting outside every day, even if it is just to walk to meet the kids at the bus with Buzz is something I really try to prioritize.
Speaking of Buzz, there is nothing he likes more than when he hears the school bus coming up the hill. He likes me a lot, but he LOVES the kids.
There is also some relief with the slowness of November. October is always a hectic month with the kid’s schedules, my work schedule, and all the festivities that month includes. It’s all great stuff but it can get a little exhausting. I am a creature of habit and enjoy the slower pace of “everyday” life. By the end of the month, I am ready for a little break before the pace of the holidays picks up again at Thanksgiving.
A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 35th birthday. I have mixed feelings about my own birthday as it has always brought out a bit of sadness for me. I don’t like to have a big celebration about it, but it is fun to use it as an excuse to get your kids to take a selfie with you at school drop off, drink a maple latte, take extra fun photos at Pure Barre and have lunch with your BFF. Lucas picked up a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake which really ended it all perfectly…
We also have another birthday in our family this time of year…our younger son turned 7! He celebrated the day before by having a low key birthday party with three of his friends. It was really more of a playdate with cake but he was thrilled! On his actual birthday, he had his favorite afterschool art class at Owl Feet (Sonja is THE BEST!) and then we went to dinner as a family at his location of choice, Asiana Noodle House…followed by ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s.
It has been nice to realize that doing lowkey things can be just as special. The longer we parent, the more we have realized how simplifying things can make life feel a lot more manageable and enjoyable.
Funfetti For All
Speaking of keeping it simple, is there anything better than Funfetti cake with rainbow chip frosting?? NO! And even better, my wonderful friend Kari (of the Lucky Clover Bakery!) helped me frost this boxed and not vegan cake…she tried watching me do it but just couldn’t’ handle it…I am no perfectionist, but she is, ha! She’s a good friend…
Sharing Good Books With Friends…
One of my favorite things about reading is sharing books with friends. Sometimes this means doing a book giveaway with a partnering publisher, and other times it means leaving a book on someone’s doorstep on my way to work. Although I love my Kindle so much, I will never stop getting hard copy books for this very reason.
Quiet was available right away on the Libby App (you can learn more about borrowing ebooks from the library through Libby HERE) and so far it is just fascinating! I love the detailed look at introversion as I often think it can be quite understood. I am quite social in many ways but have always fallen into the introvert category and this book really makes me feel understood!
I am especially loving her discussion on how if we can better understand personality types we can work better together in both work and personal relationships. The topic of how introverts can be much more prone to overstimulation makes so much sense and I am finding myself nodding along with so much of it. I am excited to share my full review soon!
I know some people get into decorating for the holidays right now but we always wait until after Thanksgiving. I have been very into organizing and decluttering though! Now that my work season is slowing down a bit at Kristy’s I am working more from home and I have a hard time concentrating if things are a mess. So I have been trying to be proactive and cleaning things out, donating what we don’t need and going shopping in my own house. Do you do that?
I love finding things I have stashed away or was using in another space and finding a new way to use them. I also decided 10 years was a good time to start using the silverware we registered for at our wedding…I had initially thought I would just save them for special occasions, but WHY? We host something like once a year and use our silverware every day…So I decided to take these out of the top cupboard in our kitchen and put them to everyday use, and it feels so good!
I am also way too excited about my new spin mop. I had seen way too many Facebook videos sharing this type of mop and am easily influenced by those things…When I saw it in person I knew it was a sign. So far it’s amazingly satisfying and works so well! I like that the shapes can really get into all the nooks and crannies and it is super easy to use.
I have been using this cleaner for months after seeing it at Kristy’s house way too many times and it is awesome! It cleans so well, doesn’t streak and smells amazing!! It is a concentrate and a little goes a long way so it lasts forever.
We recently put together an organization station on the back of our pantry door in our kitchen. I picked up the whiteboard at Home Goods but found everything else in my home office and repurposed them. The boys are at an age where they are becoming more independent in a lot of ways but we often have the last-minute drama of “where is that folder you need today for school?!?” right as we are leaving. Having this right in the kitchen, but also where it is hidden when you shut the door, is working so well for us so far!
I also have been doing a little decluttering which feels great, but it also means that when I go to drop things off to donate, I come back with some more books. One of my favorite weekend hobbies is roaming around used book sections and finding old books I loved to add to my collection. It is the ultimate treasure hunt and brings back so many reading memories for me.
Photography Workshop Season!
Now that photography season is winded down a bit here in Vermont, our photography workshop season has begun again! We taught our last workshop of 2019 this past weekend and are excited to get back into things full swing come January! We taught our first Your Life, Your Camera workshop back in January of 2014 and we have come a long way since then! You can read more about what that class looks like HERE, or see what else we offer HERE on Kristy’s website.
After our class, we had a much-needed dinner out together and it was fun to reflect this past work season and also talk about what is coming up! And we were home by 6:30pm which is pretty much my ideal night out…ha!
Deer Camp Life
While we were teaching the boys went to “deer camp” with Buzz, Lucas, his dad, and his brother. Their camp is up near Jay Peak so it is always a lot chillier and they get a lot more snow! The boys had a sneak peek of all the snow we will be getting (tonight!) and had fun playing outside, shooting the BB gun(at a target!) and eating lots of deer camp food. They always have the best time and I love that they get to make these memories like Lucas did when he was their age.
Cozy Sweaters & Woodstove Season
While the daylight is short this time of year, it is such a cozy time of year in so many ways. I love that the pace of life slows down a bit in the winter and we have more time to just “be’. We have our woodstove going all the time now and I am embracing all my favorite sweaters and pullovers.
I also like that I will have a bit more time to share on my blog and I have been working hard on getting my editorial calendar in place! I am planning on bringing back the Nightstand Series and I also have some interviews lined up with some really amazing people in my life so stay tuned!
Thanks for stopping by. <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Good morning and happy Tuesday! I am working from home today so I thought I would prioritize checking in here. September has been jam-packed and it has taken a bit to get back into a routine. The boys are happy at school and Kristy and I are adjusting to our regular work hours again which has been nice!
Fall Photographer Life…
This time of year, work is filled with editing lots of school photos, high school senior portraits and lots and lots of family sessions! It feels nice to have our longer workdays back again as this is definitely our most hectic work season. Our family has also made a big transition that has added 30 minutes to my own workday…the boys are now taking the bus home from school!
Our kids started at a new school last year so it was a lot of new things all at once so we took our time making all of the changes at once. This year they were ready and it has been wonderful and also a time saver.
Buzz and our neighbor dog Mason love meeting them at the end of the driveway. I am trying to prioritize walking to the bus stop instead of just grabbing them in my car on the way home if I have the extra time. It is nice to have that quiet transition period between my workday and full-on family mode again and the weather has just been amazing. I even grabbed an iced latte one day for my walk and it was pretty much perfection.
Currently Enjoying…Fall in Vermont
We have had an amazing month of weather and I am hoping fall hangs on a little longer than last year! Fall in Vermont is amazing when the stars align, but often it ends up being super warm or freezing! We have had that perfect September sweatshirt weather for the most part which is my very favorite.
Sweatshirt & Highschool Shopping Memories
I grabbed this fleece pullover from Abercrombie the other week for $25 (I used the Honey plugin and the sale codes stacked!) and it is so cozy! It also makes me giggle to think about shopping there because I remember when we got an Abercrombie store when I was in high school and I haven’t shopped there since. We don’t have one of these stores anymore but I will never forget how you could smell it from a mile away…yikes!
While I don’t plan on doing my regular clothing shopping there (don’t worry Talbots, I still love you the most!) this fleece pullover is awesome! I ordered a size large and it is a roomy and comfortable fit.
Peaches & Beeswax Wraps
A couple of weeks ago we went peach picking. It was fun and we just picked enough to eat. We didn’t make anything creative with them but they were amazing sliced and also on top of overnight oats. I have been trying to be better about having a filling breakfast and these are great. I soak the oats with some milk and chia seeds overnight in our fridge and I have been using these reusable beeswax food storage wrapsto cover the bowl instead of saran wrap. I thought this 6 pack was a great deal and we use them for covering everything!
So we didn’t bake anything with our peaches but we did have great luck with this Carrot Apple Bread! Me actually baking is a lot like capturing a butterfly with your iPhone, it doesn’t happen a lot! I find it incredibly frustrating because you have to measure everything so accurately and I always make the biggest mess. But after some inspiration from The Kitchen Table restaurant, I knew I needed to try and recreate their dessert bread from their Fall Harvest Dinner. This was a great duplicate and was super moist and include the perfect flavors of fall.
Currently Loving…Ursa Major!
Speaking of more eco-friendly options, I was so excited to see that they having Ursa Major products at The Lodge at Spruce Peak. I loved that they have reusable containers and are featuring a great Vermont product!
I normally use my own shampoo and conditioner when we travel because I am picky, but I couldn’t wait to use this! The Daily Shampoo & Conditioner are amazing. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Body Wash but the body lotion was awesome! It makes me happy that so many hotels are continuing to get rid of single-use containers too!
Currently Loving All Things Stripes…
Speaking of favorites…I will never stop loving anything with stripes. The other week I shared about my love for the Striped Funnelneck Pullover from LLBean on IG stories because it was on sale. So many people DMed me back and said they loved it so much too! Then a few days later I ran into my buddy Katherine who was wearing it at the grocery store! It’s the best, seriously.
Currently Loving…Beyond Booked Book Sleeves!
I love being able to support my friend’s small businesses when I can and my Bookstagram friend Tancy recently opened a book sleeve shop on Etsy! It has been a great way to safely transport both my paperback and hardcopy books around and I especially love the Rifle Paper Co. fabric choices!
Pure Barre in the Wild…
I love bringing my books just about everywhere and a few weeks ago they visited the Pure Barre Pop Up class at Perkins Pier. I have never taken an exercise class outside before and it was the perfect cooler weather and cloud coverage for doing Pure Barre in the wild.
Currently Loving…Fall Soccer!
Fall soccer is in full swing and our younger son still isn’t sure about actually playing soccer but he loves running around with his buddies…If you have ever seen a 1st-grade soccer game, it is something else!
I am not super competitive and I wasn’t ever great at sports myself, but I always loved being part of the team and community of the sports teams I was a part of. It makes me happy they love this part of it too.
Pure Barre Socks & Milestones
Speaking of communities, a few weeks ago I celebrated 750 Pure Barre classes since I joined the Pure Barre community in August of 2015. While I love the workouts, I love my friends there even more. It has been such an incredible source of support and a great way to make adult friends.
I still find the classes incredibly difficult but I love seeing how much progress I have made, personally. When I first began my core strength was zilch and now I can (usually) do a plank for 90 seconds, which is huge for me. Like many people, I have certainly had body image and eating issues in my life and I love that there is a wonderful focus there about being your best self and working out to be healthy and strong.
I also have found my new FAVORITE barre socks. They just started having them in our local studio as well but I found one of my pairs on Amazon HERE. I wasn’t sure if I would like the criss-cross straps but they are super comfortable and they stay sticky month after month! I am size 8.5 in women’s shoes and I have the size small socks.
Last week I finished The Dearly Beloved on Audible and I highly recommend it!! I am little behind on my book reviews on here but if you are looking for an audiobook suggestion, this one was fabulous! And hopefully, my full review will be up soon.
On my Kindle, I have been catching up with some of my NetGalley & Edelweiss advanced reader books because there are so many books that will be published in October!
Alright, I think I have chatted on long enough here but I hope you enjoyed this random assortment of things I am currently loving!
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small percentage that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.
Oh hello! It’s been a little quiet around here with my more personal posts. It is fairly easy to share book reviews a few times a week because I have already written most of them for partnering publishers, but these take a while because I always have way too much to share! I like having a mix of book chatter and also some daily life so these posts are important to me but they just haven’t been able to be as much of a priority during this busier season of work.
The Dream Daughter Kindle Deal!
Before I share anything, I have to post that The Dream Daughter is a Kindle Deal today!! If you haven’t grabbed this yet, you need to! It is my favorite Diane Chamberlain book ever.
During the last couple of weeks, we started finding our regular rhythm again with the start of school for the boys. I am a creature of habit so while I am sad to lose the long days of summer I very much embrace this time of the year.
The pictures above are the perfect example of why parents have a harder time during summer…you are never alone! I was impressed with how much self-care I was able to fit in while doing the weekly grocery shopping and my BIL and SIL(whom I randomly ran into at the store) were just delighted to take this photo for me, ha!
Yup, I totally wore my noise-canceling headphones to the grocery store to listen to my audiobook while I shopped, and lots of people looked at me like I had 3 heads. You have to find space when you can and I have no shame. 😉
End of Summer
On our last weekend of summer vacation, we had a campfire in the yard and make S’mores. I am also very excited about my new Ogunquit sticker from our family vacation and I had many water bottles in my cupboard to choose from for where I would display it. We try to not get a bunch of junk as souvenirs(we already have enough!) so stickers have been a fun thing to get when we travel. Buzz was just happy we were all reunited! Speaking of Maine, I am planning on sharing my post on our trip this weekend, so stay tuned.
Back to School
The boys headed back to school and everyone was excited except Buzz! They are now in 1st and 4th grade and it has been a fairly smooth transition. The hardest part has been getting everyone back on an earlier bedtime and I don’t see this struggle going away anytime soon.
The boys were excited to take my back to school photo and I was more than happy to oblige!
Kari and I celebrated quickly at Philo Ridge before headed off to our first days of work, ALONE!
Kristy and I were excited for our first day together without kids(our kids had opposite childcare schedules which worked great for work coverage but not so much for being able to work together) since June. We got a lot of work done and also got to catch up! I was able to finalize my post about The Better Together Book Club and Buzz was ecstatic to pick the kids up at school at the end of the day. He picked his newest bandana up at the Skida sidewalk sale.
It is absolutely my favorite time of year and I wish it was sweatshirt and jeans weather all year long. We have lucked out with a gorgeous September so far. It has been the perfect temperature and I am hoping it stays that way. I am done with the heat!
Back to the Barre
I am back in my regular barre before work routine and also to bringing 10 bags of random stuff to work. Kristy is clearly very accommodating. I like to take a lot of my book photos at her house, mostly because it is way cleaner than mine. She is the queen of no clutter which is my ultimate goal in life but it probably will never happen.
Speaking of photos, one of my friends asked me the other day if I post my Instagram posts in “real-time” and I thought it was a great question. I tend to take 3-4 different photos at one time for posts I want to do that week. I post the actual text in real-time but many of my photos I have previously taken if that makes sense. I tend to post in the early morning and that is not a great time to take photos because it is pitch black outside!
Mom’s Night Out
In celebration of back to school, my friend Elisa and I went out the other evening. We had a drink at Shelburne Farms and then made our way to Peg & Ters for dinner. We ended up running into a bunch of other school moms so I think everyone was feeling festive this past week…and we were home by 8pm!
While a drink by the lake is lovely, regular life looks a lot more like this. The kids are excited about book orders and the newest Dog Man bookand we have been trying to teach both kids how to put away their own laundry, which is a work in progress…I did teach Parker about the gift of listening to a podcast while you do it, and he is a fan!
And Buzz…he loves life on a farm but boy does he get dirty! We have to spray him off with the hose and then give him a full bath more than we would like to admit, ugh!
Speaking of podcasts…
These are some series/episodes I have been loving…
Hello! How is your weekend going? I am sitting down with a big mug of coffee to write this and then I need to finish editing a wedding because we are leaving for MAINE tomorrow!!
Currently Loving…Audiobooks at Work!
During my heavy editing season audiobooks get me through the long hours of sitting at the computer. My work is heavily creative so I am able to listen while I work which is amazing! Speaking of audiobooks, I finished The Most Fun We Ever Had this past week which I alternated reading and listening too. I shared more over on Instagram but I think it might be my favorite book ever!
I also decided to go the Audible route to help finish Red, White & Royal Blue and it is amazing on audio. I am hoping to finish it today. Have you read this yet? It has had some raving reviews and I can see why.
Wireless Headphones for the Win!
I had a lot of DMs about which headphones I have after I posted about them HERE.
I have the Tao Tronic wireless headphones. I got them last year after reading a lot of reviews and not being sure if I wanted to make a huge financial commitment. These are currently on sale for $39 and are awesome! I strongly dislike earbuds(and I can’t get them to stay in my ears) and I don’t care about whether I look cool or not, so they are great!
They have many uses which include listening to audiobooks and tuning out your noisy family. I also wear them at work when I am listening to a true-crime podcast because Kristy is afraid of them, ha! I also love wearing them around the house when I am vacuuming or putting away laundry…it makes the time fly by! I also love that I can listen to something without having my phone right next to me because I get less distracted by it that way.
This last week has been a lot of tying up loose ends and finished all our work projects before we took a few days off. Summer in Vermont is short but intense and that means photography work here is similar. During the summer we are in a constant cycle of editing, lots of backend communication and sending out galleries and prints, etc. This does not even include all the work Kristy does to take the photos!
I am lucky to work with someone who is so organized because it is a lot to manage. Kristy recently set up whiteboards that look similar to the patient boards they have at hospital nursing stations, and it is fabulous!
Childcare in August…
The last couple of weeks before school usually mean that summer activities have ended and beloved babysitters have headed back to college! This means we did a lot of working with kids this week which is always a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
They were at home with me, at work with Lucas, spent some time with grandparents and also came to work with us at Kristy’s. Flynn’s mismatched shoes are a good representation of this past week inside my head, ha!
While I haven’t been going as regularly, barre is essential to my mental well being so I have been prioritizing that as much as possible. During the school year I go on my way to work but these days I go whenever I can get there, early morning, midday, or afternoon classes.
This is probably good for me as I am a very routined person and it has pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit. I have met some new barre buddies which is always the best! I still freak out if I can’t go in my specific spot in the room though…baby steps!
Fitting in Reading:
I bring my kindle along with me during the day and read when I can but most of my reading during the summer happens in the evening. During the school year, I have a lot more chunks of alone time in between meetings, appointments, and dropping off and picking up the kids. This time of the year, I AM NEVER ALONE, ha.
Speaking of kids and reading, I get a lot of questions about how we get our kids to love reading. I am not an expert by any means but my love of reading came from being read to as a child and always having access to books.
I vividly remember riding my bike to the library and picking out whatever books I wanted to read…and then trying to figure out how to ride home while carrying them out without the foresight to bring a bag, ha!
So we have always read with our kids and had a lot of books around. We also try to be open-minded about what they want to read, even when they are into super annoying books like Pokemon, Lego, and graphic novels like Dog Man and Hi-Lo. I know people have strong feelings about this but I a big believer in the idea that reading is reading even if some of it might not be “ideal”.
We try to enforce at least 20 minutes of reading time a day whether it is on their own or with us. This has been a bit lax during the last couple of months but during the school year, it is a before bedtime requirement.
I had big plans to do a whole post about book suggestions that our kids love last spring and I never got around to it. I have big plans for September and I plan on sharing a more detailed post then!
Vermont Summer Living…
We have been embracing all the wonderful parts of this time of year while also looking forward to school starting again so we can get some of our regular structure back. Summer is great and school is too!
Addison County Fair & Field Days!
Speaking of embracing the wonderful parts of this year, I never posted about our trip to the fair! We visited the Addison County Fair last week which has been one of my summer traditions since I was a toddler myself. I love reminiscing about all my memories there while also seeing how much our kids love it. Lucas grew up in the big city of Burlington so he is still unsure about it all but I think it is growing on him. 😉
We planned accordingly so we could attend the Demotion Derby. We also had lots of fair food including fried Oreos. It was a pretty rainy week but this night ended up being just beautiful.
End of Summer Reading:
We have been soaking in all in and I have big reading planning to finish off our summer vacation. I am a last-minute packer but I have been thinking about what books I want to bring to Maine for weeks!! I think I have narrowed it down and I will keep you updated over at @genthebookworm.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend! <3
Hi everyone and happy Friday night. While I may not be drinking coffee right now, I did just have some espresso gelato, so that counts right?
After a fun week of camp for the kids and work for us, it feels great to have no plans tonight. We may live in a small town but we live close to a lot of amazing food options and tonight we visited Pizza On Earth for some to-go pizza. We picked up two pies and also each had a little cup of gelato, before dinner! I know, just living on the edge over here….It was delicious and was such a good reminder of the ease of summer nights.
August is a big time of reflection for me on what has worked so far this past year and what might need some adjusting. Now that both our kid’s schedules really follow the school calendar it really does feel like the end one of one year and the start of a new one in so many ways.
This past week the kids were in a day camp which allowed me to have a lot more work hour available since school ended back in mid-June. This time was also a great indicator of how I can work smarter once we are back to this “regular” schedule in a few weeks.
While I got a lot done, it was also a reminder of how much I have to catch up on and the “pile” seems so high right now it feels a bit overwhelming. I talked about this on Instagram the other day but I have felt like I am just treading water over here during the last couple of months.
I have a supportive partner and many helpful resources that I don’t ever want to take for granted but it still often feels like I am just trying to stay afloat instead of making progress forward. I love to share my highlights on here but there is also the reality of life with two working parents and the endless cycle of family life at this stage and it is just something in the background that we are constantly navigating.
Academic Calendar Planner:
So with that in mind, I always follow the academic school year with my planners and it feels nice to have a “fresh start” as we transition back into more structure and routines. I love sitting down at the beginning of the school year and penciling in all the important dates and not having to wait until I have a new planner for the “new year” in January.
I am a paper planner person all the way and I just love having a physical calendar in front of me. I have tried many brands of planners over the years(Erin Condren, Emily Ley, etc), and have been the happiest with Bloom plannersand they also have a great price point.
In our kitchen, we also have a shared calendar which includes appointments, events, practices, etc that all of our family can refer to. The Day Designer wall calendars are wonderful for this and I love that they have so many color and print options depending on your style and preferences
It Takes a Village…
Swim team ended for us last week and it was the end of an intense but wonderful month and a half of daily swimming and the wonderful community that comes along with it. I think a lot about “our parenting village” and I am so grateful to have made friends in many different areas of our family life.
I could not have done so many things this summer without the help of these people and it was such an important reminder about how small things really do add up. I remember hearing about this elusive “village” when our kids were very young and feeling not quite sure how you created one.
I will say that saying just hello and finding something in common with another person can the gateway to lifelong friends. It is also important to remember that most other people feel the same way as you and would be happy to have a new friend or just someone to chat with for a bit.
This summer I also learned about hard cider seltzer, I am always late to these things but I love how delicious and dry these are, and these tiny cans are a perfect size!
I don’t think I can talk about some of the successes of summer without giving a shout out to the ultimate friend maker & connector, BEYBLADES. The boys were introduced to these this past spring by some friends at school and it has been a “bey bonanza” since then…You don’t need a lot (and they were using a pizza pan for their “arena” in the photo above, my friend Jess is super smart!) and they are hours of fun.
I had never heard of these things before but I guess they were a thing that has come back as of recently… Anyway, the kids are playing with them now as I write this and they only argue about them I’d say 50% of the time…so I would call that a win!
Speaking of the Kids Arguing…
If you talk to any other parent this time of year, they will probably say the same thing…school can start anytime now and THE KIDS NEED TO BE SEPARATED!!! Our kids truly do spend the entire summer together, so I totally get it, but oh man, the drama! So last weekend we decided to each go our own way with one of the boys, and it was BLISS!
Being a Tourist In Your Own Town/State…
There is something so fun about soaking in all the activities right where you live. Vermont is a place a lot of people visit for vacation and we are lucky to live here all the time.
Owls Head Farm PYO Blueberries…
We have an annual tradition of hitting up Owls Head Farm at our old stomping grounds in Richmond, and we were excited to go for the pick 6 quarts get a 7th free deal.
Our younger son is an amazing berry picker and he is at the perfect age to still think this is totally fun and cool(not so with the 9-year-old!) so we completed this task in under an hour. It was the most beautiful summer morning and the berries were big and delicious.
Swimming at Warren Falls:
How gorgeous and clear is this water? I drove over the Lincoln Gap with our older son and hit up the swimming holes at Warren Falls. He “snorkeled” (with his goggles) and I sat reading my book with my feet in the water. It was amazing.
If you don’t haveChaco Sandals, are you really a Vermonter? 😉 We also explored the area where people jump in and he went quite a few times while I watched and took some photos. My river jumping days are over(long story for another day!)but it was so fun to see him so excited about it!
Canteen Creemee Company
We didn’t drive all that way to not try out the Canteen Creemees and they were amazing!! I had the chocolate mint which was great but the maple creemee was out of this world!!! It was topped with maple cotton candle and while normally don’t do a lot of extra toppings (besides rainbow sprinkles) it was the perfect addition.
Currently NOT Loving…Packing Lunch!
After packing lunches for the boys for many years, we have fully embraced hot lunch at school..so my packing skills were a little rusty when we had to break out the old Yum Boxes for camp this week. I did okay on the first day…but it went downhill from there. It doesn’t matter whether you are feeding your kids at home or packing it for them, the food disappears faster than you can buy it and their opinions change on the daily…
One of my top parenting hacks is to get cafeteria lunch if your school has that option. Ours is amazing, well balanced and they have so many more options than the dismal options that were available when we were kids. It is such a time saver and also money saver as buying everything to pack in a lunch box (the two above were lunch and two snacks) is quite expensive, especially if you have big eaters.
It has been a little slow in the social media department as this week was very work-focused for me but I have been quite doing a bit of reading in the evenings. I finished The Forever Summer which was a perfect summer read (predictable yet enjoyable) and Life and Other Inconveniences was published this past week if you are looking for another one to add to your end of summer reading list! The Wedding Party is coming up next for me, and I have heard great things.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Friday! <3