More Than Words | Jill Santopolo | Book Review

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“From the New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost comes a tender and moving new novel about a woman at a crossroads after the death of her father, and caught between the love of two men.

Nina has always known who she’s supposed to be. But is that who she truly is?

Nina Gregory has always been a good daughter. Raised by her father, owner of New York City’s glamorous Gregory Hotels, Nina was taught that family, reputation, and legacy are what matter most. And Tim–her devoted boyfriend and best friend since childhood–feels the same. But when Nina’s father dies, he leaves behind a secret that shocks Nina to her core. 

As her world falls apart, Nina begins to see the men in her life–her father, her boyfriend, and unexpectedly, her boss, Rafael–in a new light. Soon Nina finds herself caught between the world she loves, and a passion that could upend everything.

More Than Words is a heartbreaking and romantic novel about grief, loss, love, and self-discovery, and how we choose which life we are meant to live.”


Do you ever feel hesitant to read a book when the first one you read by the author just blew you away? I loved The Light We Lost so much and when I heard that Santopolo was coming out with another novel I was excited but wondered how it would live up to her first one.

More Than Words was different than The Light We Lost but it sucked me in and I was deeply connected to the storyline and could feel the emotions of the characters. Santopolo is a beautiful writer that is able to build incredible depth and imperfection in her characters which I think makes her novels so much stronger and more relatable. On the surface, this book shared about Nina, who was an incredibly privileged young woman that grew up in New York City as the heiress to a family own hotel empire.

Once the layers started to be pulled back there were secrets and challenges that causes Nina to question not only her family history but her path forward. This was one of those books I had a hard time putting down and it was a such an enjoyable read. I read it over the weekend and it was the perfect book to curl up with on the couch.

Definitely add this one to your list, and if you haven’t read The Light We Lost you need to check that one out too! ❤

What’s On Your Nightstand Series | Book Recommendations & More | Kari

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Happy Friday! Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? We don’t have a lot planned but we are going to a pond hockey tournament which is always a good time. The kids love collecting all the flying pucks and it is a fun way to enjoy the winter weather with friends.

Today I am excited to introduce you to my friend Kari! Kari and I met when our kids were in kindergarten together and this is the 4th year they are in the same class together. She was my first real “school mom” friend and I will never forget the first time I emailed her asking her for a recipe (she is a fabulous baker and cook) and I was so nervous! I really wanted to be her friend but I wasn’t sure if the feeling was mutual…she wrote back though and the rest is history. 😉


Introduction: 

Hi, I’m Kari! I live in Vermont with my husband, our 8-going-on -18 year-old daughter and our ferocious cat named Oscar. By day, I’m a programmer working for a company located in Charleston, SC. I also have recently started a home-based bakery, specializing in vegan sweets and treats! When I do get some free time, I love to travel with my family, see as many Avett Brothers concerts as I can, hike Mt. Philo, draw & paint, and try to play the banjo. Oh, I also like to read and sleep!

Reading is something I never really appreciated until well into the adulting phase of my life. Throughout high school and college, I quite literally never read a single book. I have no idea how I managed to write papers or pass any of my English classes. Once my husband and I started traveling, I needed to find something to do on overnight flights, while everyone else was sleeping. This was before iPads and iPhones and endless seatback entertainment, so books became my new friend. I used to carry around ridiculously large novels in my backpack and then complain about how heavy my bag was. But, oh how times have changed! I am strictly a Kindle reader now – the mere thought of having to hold up a big old book makes me cringe.

What’s on my Kindle:

I try not to spend any money on books; so most of my reading list comes from the Libby app (library books), amazon prime reading, amazon kindle lending library, and Amazon first reads (yay for Amazon!). I’m sort of a panic reader, meaning I don’t have a list of books I want to read or plan to read. Instead, I finish the book I’m reading, then panic that I don’t have another book to read and search any one of the above-mentioned places for something that looks interesting.

While I do love my Kindle, it does make it difficult for me to remember what I’m reading or have read. I truthfully could not tell you the names of the last few books I read or who wrote them, simply because I don’t look at the book cover each time I pick it up. Thank goodness for Goodreads, though, because there I am able to see what I’ve read!

There are a few genres I stick to, but occasionally, on the recommendation of others, I’ll branch out. I love historical fiction and tend to gravitate towards WWII novels. I recently started reading Who Will Write Our History by Samuel Kassow, which is incredibly powerful and such important work.

I’ll read anything about ancient Rome and hope to find Splendor Before the Dark (A Novel of Emperor Nero) for free at some point in the near future. I also enjoy a good mystery and started getting into the Mary Russell series by Laurie King. I’ve read the Harry Potter series 9 times, and also enjoy books like The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and the Game of Thrones Series. But, if you asked me if I like reading fantasy books, I’d probably tell you I don’t. Some of my other favorite past reads include All The Light We Cannot See, The Goldfinch, Fates & Furies and The Nightingale.

What’s on my Nightstand:

If I’m being honest, my Kindle actually isn’t on my nightstand, as I like to read on the couch. But, I do have some other fun stuff on my nightstand! When going to bed, I always have to have a completely full container of water that is ice cold. I will probably only take one sip throughout the night, but I need to know that it is completely full, for some neurotic reason! I also have a baby monitor on my nightstand (yep, I still use a baby monitor for my 8 year old). It makes it easier to hear her if she yells to us, and I get a kick out of hearing her talk in her sleep every once and a while.

I also can’t live without my Korres Guava body butter. I’ve been using this stuff for like 13 years now, and it is hands down the best lotion ever made. No joke – I’ve tried tons of other lotions and nothing comes close to this stuff. I can’t live without it. I’ve also got my lip balm that I put on every night before bed, because chapped lips are no joke during the long VT winters! Lastly, I have my journal that I use to write down all my goals. I try to do this on a regular basis just to keep myself motivated and as a reminder of all the ways I want to better myself!

Ok, well, that’s enough from me. Thanks for reading, and thanks Gen, for inviting me to share!


Thanks so much for sharing, Kari! ❤

Memoirs | Recommended Reading

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In the past couple of years, memoirs have become one of my favorite reading genres. Memoirs have the ability to take you to places and perspectives that are so different from your own life and I learn so much from them. I am listening to Heavy on Audible and all of these other books I would highly recommend adding to your reading list.


Becoming by Michelle Obama

“An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former first lady of the United States. In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As first lady of the United States of America – the first African American to serve in that role – she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the United States and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites listeners into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it – in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations – and whose story inspires us to do the same.”

My review of Becoming can be found HERE.


Heavy by Kiese Laymon

“In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse. 

Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In his essays, personal stories combine with piercing intellect to reflect both on the state of American society and on his experiences with abuse, which conjure conflicted feelings of shame, joy, confusion, and humiliation. Laymon invites us to consider the consequences of growing up in a nation wholly obsessed with progress yet wholly disinterested in the messy work of reckoning with where we’ve been. 

In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence to his suspension from college to his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free. 

A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood – and continues through 25 years of haunting implosions and long reverberations.”


And Now We have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready by Meaghan O’Connell

“When Meaghan O’Connell got accidentally pregnant in her twenties and decided to keep the baby, she realized that the book she needed — a brutally honest, agenda-free reckoning with the emotional and existential impact of motherhood — didn’t exist. So she decided to write it herself.

And Now We Have Everything is O’Connell’s exploration of the cataclysmic, impossible-to-prepare-for experience of becoming a mother. With her dark humor and hair-trigger B.S. detector, O’Connell addresses the pervasive imposter syndrome that comes with unplanned pregnancy, the fantasies of a “natural” birth experience that erode maternal self-esteem, post-partum body and sex issues, and the fascinating strangeness of stepping into a new, not-yet-comfortable identity. 

Channeling fears and anxieties that are still taboo and often unspoken, And Now We Have Everything is an unflinchingly frank, funny, and visceral motherhood story for our times, about having a baby and staying, for better or worse, exactly yourself.”


“One morning, Kim Brooks made a split-second decision to leave her four-year old son in the car while she ran into a store. What happened would consume the next several years of her life and spur her to investigate the broader role America’s culture of fear plays in parenthood. In Small Animals, Brooks asks, Of all the emotions inherent in parenting, is there any more universal or profound than fear? Why have our notions of what it means to be a good parent changed so radically? In what ways do these changes impact the lives of parents, children, and the structure of society at large? And what, in the end, does the rise of fearful parenting tell us about ourselves?

Fueled by urgency and the emotional intensity of Brooks’s own story, Small Animals is a riveting examination of the ways our culture of competitive, anxious, and judgmental parenting has profoundly altered the experiences of parents and children. In her signature style―by turns funny, penetrating, and always illuminating―which has dazzled millions of fans and been called “striking” by New York Times Book Review and “beautiful” by the National Book Critics Circle, Brooks offers a provocative, compelling portrait of parenthood in America and calls us to examine what we most value in our relationships with our children and one another.”

My review of Small Animals can be found HERE


Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

“Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.”


All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chuung

“What does it mean to lose your roots―within your culture, within your family―and what happens when you find them? 

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up―facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from―she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth. 

With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Nicole Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets―vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.”


Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden 

 “In November 2014, thirteen members of the Biden family gathered on Nantucket for Thanksgiving, a tradition they had been celebrating for the past forty years; it was the one constant in what had become a hectic, scrutinized, and overscheduled life. The Thanksgiving holiday was a much-needed respite, a time to connect, a time to reflect on what the year had brought, and what the future might hold. But this year felt different from all those that had come before. Joe and Jill Biden’s eldest son, Beau, had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor fifteen months earlier, and his survival was uncertain. “Promise me, Dad,” Beau had told his father. “Give me your word that no matter what happens, you’re going to be all right.” Joe Biden gave him his word.

Promise Me, Dad chronicles the year that followed, which would be the most momentous and challenging in Joe Biden’s extraordinary life and career. Vice President Biden traveled more than a hundred thousand miles that year, across the world, dealing with crises in Ukraine, Central America, and Iraq. When a call came from New York, or Capitol Hill, or Kyiv, or Baghdad―“Joe, I need your help”―he responded. For twelve months, while Beau fought for and then lost his life, the vice president balanced the twin imperatives of living up to his responsibilities to his country and his responsibilities to his family. And never far away was the insistent and urgent question of whether he should seek the presidency in 2016.

The year brought real triumph and accomplishment, and wrenching pain. But even in the worst times, Biden was able to lean on the strength of his long, deep bonds with his family, on his faith, and on his deepening friendship with the man in the Oval Office, Barack Obama.

Writing with poignancy and immediacy, Joe Biden allows readers to feel the urgency of each moment, to experience the days when he felt unable to move forward as well as the days when he felt like he could not afford to stop.

This is a book written not just by the vice president, but by a father, grandfather, friend, and husband. Promise Me, Dad is a story of how family and friendships sustain us and how hope, purpose, and action can guide us through the pain of personal loss into the light of a new future.”


Educated by Tara Westover 

“Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.”


Call me American: A Memoir by Abdi Nor Iftin

“Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop artists like Michael Jackson and watching films starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these real Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.

Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it suddenly became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches to NPR and the Internet, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. But as life in Somalia grew more dangerous, Abdi was left with no choice but to flee to Kenya as a refugee.

In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America–filled with twists and turns and a harrowing sequence of events that nearly stranded him in Nairobi–did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin’s dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why western democracies still beckon to those looking to make a better life.”

 My review of Call Me American can be found HERE


A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

“On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.

Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother’s Reckoning is a powerful and haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.

(All author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues.)”


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

“At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. ‘I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”‘ When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.”


The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir by Ruth Wariner 

“Ruth Wariner was the thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turned a blind eye to the practices of her community, Ruth lives in a ramshackle house without indoor plumbing or electricity. At church, preachers teach that God will punish the wicked by destroying the world and that women can only ascend to Heaven by entering into polygamous marriages and giving birth to as many children as possible. After Ruth’s father—the man who had been the founding prophet of the colony—is brutally murdered by his brother in a bid for church power, her mother remarries, becoming the second wife of another faithful congregant.

In need of government assistance and supplemental income, Ruth and her siblings are carted back and forth between Mexico and the United States, where her mother collects welfare and her stepfather works a variety of odd jobs. Ruth comes to love the time she spends in the States, realizing that perhaps the community into which she was born is not the right one for her. As Ruth begins to doubt her family’s beliefs and question her mother’s choices, she struggles to balance her fierce love for her siblings with her determination to forge a better life for herself.

Recounted from the innocent and hopeful perspective of a child, The Sound of Gravel is the remarkable true story of a girl fighting for peace and love. This is an intimate, gripping tale of triumph, courage, and resilience.”


 

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren | Gallery Books | Book Review

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“Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a romance for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.”


I was so excited to start this newest book, The Unhoneymooners, by the talented duo Christina Lauren. I wouldn’t call myself a huge lover of the romance genre but their books are so much more than that. They have the Rom-Com feeling but they have imperfect characters and not everything always goes as planned which I think makes these books so much more powerful and enjoyable.

The Unhoneymooners was another wonderful addition to their growing collection. I enjoyed the laugh out loud wedding drama and the tumultuous rollercoaster rider of a relationship between Ethan and Olive. It has plenty of emotions and misunderstandings as well as some steamy moments which you can always count on with these authors.

I also loved learning more about Olive’s tight-knit Mexican family. You could see how her close relationship with her twin sister Ami, caused her to second guess herself and ultimately have to decide what was more important, keeping her happy or the truth.

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Self-Care & The Work-Life Balance | Parenting

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This past week has been a very exciting one for me in the “work world”.  A lot of the things I have been working towards are actually materializing. I had some great meetings and left with some so many thoughts and inspiring plans running through my head.

I also have felt like a total mom fail this past week. The kids have been full of so much extra energy that despite playing outside, still results in them wrestling all over our house and me yelling way too much. There are piles and piles of laundry to be put away and I feel like the kids are eating us out of house and home despite visiting the grocery store multiple times a week. I am so behind in my (very minimal) attempts to be “involved” at school and I always have big plans to respond to emails once the kids are finally in bed and then fall asleep at 8:30pm. I could go on and on, but I will stop now. 😉

That’s the thing I didn’t realize, often times it feels like you doing a great job managing your workload or an awesome job prioritizing your family’s needs but it can sometimes feel completely elusive to having that feeling about both things at the same time.

I never really knew what it would feel like to be pulled in two directions, both important but in really different ways. I was a “stay at home parent” for the first four years of having children. I feel grateful it was an option for our family and it was also one of the hardest things I have ever done. I am not writing to minimize the challenges of that, they were just very different challenges.

I slowly went back to work a little at a time as our kids started preschool and things really amped up now that both of our kids are in elementary school. I think it is important to say that I can’t speak to all the challenges of being a working mother. I don’t have experience with having to pump at work with a small baby or managing the completely unrealistic expectations many mothers face of needing to go back to work right away because of the small amount of time they were “given” for paid maternity leave and I know that is a privilege in so many ways.

Staying home when my kids were younger was wonderful for many reasons but it was also very scary. I remember sitting in therapy a couple of years ago and talking about how I felt I would never be able to get those years of “not working” back and I felt completely overwhelmed about how I would get back into the workforce when it was time. While I was “at home” many of my friends were continuing the career paths they studied and worked hard for, which is one of the big reasons many parents go back to work right away, and sometimes I wondered if I had made “the right” decision.

What I have realized over time is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it, but it all has its different pros and cons. Work doesn’t fit into a tidy little 9-5 box for me anymore and it doesn’t for many other parents…I, like so many, am often at the “mercy” of the school calendar. This means there are many weekends that Lucas “takes over” so I can fit in my work and we do a lot of “switching on and off” during the summer months so we both can meet our work demands.

I work for many reasons, and one of them is to have an identity outside of motherhood. I also work to contribute financially to the growing needs (and grocery bill) of our family. I am still struggling to figure it all out and I think I probably always will be. I am grateful to have a supportive partner who understands how important and helpful this is to not only me but also our family.

This was more long-winded than I had planned but my point of this whole post was to write about balance and self-care. So in summary, I don’t really think there is a true feeling of having a perfect work-life balance. I think it is totally normal to feel like one sometimes overshadows the other and in the long run it all balances out but it might not feel like it on a daily or weekly basis.

And of course, there is that trendy idea of “self-care” that you are probably hearing all over the place right now. The other day we were ice skating on our backyard pond after school. It was all fine and dandy until it was time to take everyone’s ice skates off. I was floundering around on the ice while still wearing my skates, and at the same time trying to take three kids ice skates off while also trying to avoid being sliced in the face with six sharp metal blades…it wasn’t going very well.

I then said, “hold on, let me take my skates off first and then it will be easier to help you guys”. And it was! It took 30 seconds to take my own skates off and then not only was I much less stressed but it was much easier to help them unhitch and untie their skates that were covered in ice and snow. This is kind of like what self-care does to you as a parent. Taking a little time to care for yourself helps you be able to be a better parent, partner, and person. It doesn’t sound that hard in theory but self-care isn’t always something that is easy to prioritize when the daily tasks of work and having a family are never-ending.

Self-care materializes in many different forms for people but therapy and exercise are mine and I am unapologetic about these two things. I schedule them into my calendar and they are set in stone. My family, friends, and co-workers know this and I know it. Besides a sick child or snow day, if I scheduled it, I am going.

This often means I am waking up a couple of hours before the kids do to get work done so I have the space to fit in my barre class during the workday or dropping off the kids at my husband’s office so I can go to a therapy session in the summer. I cannot tell you what a better person and parent I am because I do these things for myself. It doesn’t mean that I am a perfect parent or partner but when I am filling my bucket too it is much easier to meet the needs of everyone around me.

How do you practice self-care? ❤

Coffee Talk Tuesday | Currently…

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Happy Tuesday! I hope your week is off to a great start. We are currently experiencing a February thaw, which means that we are having some spring-like weather and also a lot of mud! The kids are loving the spring-like weather and it was nice to soak in some warm sunshine today because we know winter weather will be back soon.


What are you listening to? 

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I finished the Believed podcast this past weekend and it was incredible. It was heartbreaking but so inspiring at the same time. It was such a good reminder about why it is so important to share our stories, even when they are hard. It is an excellent example of the #metoo movement and the impact of just one person coming forward and the powerful effect that can have on other survivors and sharing their stories.

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I also started Dr. Death this past week after so many recommendations. I wasn’t sure if it would be too “medical” for my taste but after the first episode, it really isn’t.  It is so devastating that this actually happened because so many people have faith that the medical system would do the “right” thing and if you are into true crime series, I would definitely recommend it.

What are you watching?

We finished The Ted Bundy Tapes series last week on Netflix but we haven’t started anything yet else. Do you have any recommendations?  I love documentaries the most!

What are you loving? 

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I am all about making life simple and I last year I learned about Peacable Kingdom Valentines on Amazon.  We used to DIY the kids valentines and it was fun but now that they have to write 20ish names on each of the card and envelopes, it became more of a fight than an actually enjoyable experience. So we compromise and we order premade valentines and they still write out the names for everyone, and everyone is much happier.

What are you wearing?

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I wear tons of different workout tops (my Old Navy ones are my fav) but I am very picky about bottoms. I have three pairs of the Salutation tights from Athleta and there is seriously nothing better. They are high rise (pulling them up all throughout class is the worst and these stay put) and they are the perfect “supportive” feeling while still be totally comfortable. I get them in the 7/8 length which is like a full-leg length on me (I am 5’4″ and tend to wear petite length pants in general). I have had to hem my workout pants from other places in the past so this is a total win for me!


I hope you have a great rest of your Tuesday evening. I am reading an ARC of the Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren and I am loving it!