Life Lately…{September 1st, 2020}

Gen The Bookworm blogGood morning and a big shout out to all the parents who have made it to September! We may be smiling but are also crying on the inside, LOL.2020-09-01_0007We like to hide inside our L.L.Bean sweatshirts when we get nervous, which has been quite frequent lately. These striped sweatshirts were basically our quarantine uniforms March-June and these fall temps has us pulling them back out once again! While I have no affiliation with L.L.Bean, I would be happy to be their spokesperson if they are looking…

This summer has been a rollercoaster of emotions and while we have had many highs we also have had just as many lows. There have been plans that have had to be changed and many pivots in our daily family and work lives. We normally would have started school by now but this year we are starting after Labor Day which means we got a couple of extra weeks of summer. Continue reading “Life Lately…{September 1st, 2020}”

Coffee Talk | Currently…Mental Health, Homemade Face Masks, Outdoor Adventures & At Home Haircuts

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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.

Continue reading “Coffee Talk | Currently…Mental Health, Homemade Face Masks, Outdoor Adventures & At Home Haircuts”

Coffee Talk | Currently…Life During The COVID-19 Quarantine with Kids

Currently Loving

The days are really starting to run together but this is our fourth week of learning (and surviving) at home.

The Same But Different…

book blogMy 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

school 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.

Outdoor Time

spring in Vermont

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?)

Outside Adventures…

Vermont

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!learning at home

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:

2020-04-06_0013We 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!

kids reading

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.

FaceTime Buddies

facetime buddies

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…

dogs during quarentine 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

learning at home

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.

kids cooking

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!

It’s Both…

quarentine lifeWhile 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.

Helpful Articles…

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…

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{https://www.upworthy.com/coronavirus-productivity-motivation-myths-dangers}

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.

Currently Loving…

Alright, because I can’t do this post without doing a “currently loving section” I am doing an abbreviated format…

currently loving

Currently Watching:

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.

Currently Drinking:

SO much coffee…and water!

Currently Reading:

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.

Currently Embracing:

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.

Currently Loving:

Gramp Lyford’s Country Salve…Are your hands getting dry from all that hand washing too? I included in it my holiday bookworm gift guide back in November but it seems like the perfect time to share about it again. It’s the perfect amount of moisture without being greasy!

Currently Looking Forward To:

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!

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…| Book Mail, Listening at Work, Book Besties & Thoughts on Natural Deodorant |

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Checking-in:

Hello! How is your week going? I can’t believe it is Thursday already! Holiday weeks always throw me off and they also tend to be more hectic with 5 days of work fitting into 4 days. This is my busy work season now that it is nice out (Vermont photography season is in full swing) and I am trying to fit in as much as possible before school gets out in mid-June when our childcare will be pretty limited.

Currently listening to…

With the increase in photo editing, it means I have officially entered “audiobook” season! I am lucky to have a job that is in the creative field, which enables to listen to things while I edit photos. For weddings, I tend to choose audio books since they often are about the same amount of time it takes to edit a whole wedding…and regular sessions I tend to listen to a podcast episode or two.

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

I haven’t made it that far yet but I am just loving The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. It is so powerful and she is a wonderful orator. The news had been hard lately and as important as I think it is to know what is going on around us, I also love something that motivates to be more proactive and supportive of others in our own daily lives.

IMG_2978I know I mentioned the docu-drama Chernobyl last week, but this week I learned that there is also a podcast that goes along with of the episodes. I talk about this more on my IG stories earlier today but it is amazing to hear the thoughts behind the making of the series and the choices that went into doing a show about this real event that affected thousands and thousands of people. If you haven’t checked it out I highly recommend it!

Currently loving…

Berkley Publishing

Book Mail!

There is NOTHING better than book mail! This week I was excited to receive packages from Berkley Publishing and St. Martin’s Press. Kristan Higgins is one of my favorite summer authors and Life and Other Inconveniences was just amazing! I have included it on my summer reading lists and think it would be a great one to toss in your beach bag. Higgin’s writing is funny and relatable but her characters are also relatable and multidimensional. Have you read any of her books before?

Friends who read together stay together:

best friends

Speaking of Kristan Higgins, I happened to show up to work on Tuesday with the same book as Kristy and we were wearing the same color sweatshirt. We obviously had to take a selfie to document this.

In addition to being my co-worker, Kristy is also my wonderful friend and reading buddy. We love discussing our current books at lunchtime but we normally aren’t reading the same one at the same time because we share most of our hard copy books…so this was really exciting! Do you have friends that you share books with? It’s the best!

If You Only Knew came highly recommended from my Bookstagram friends and Kristy already finished it and I am almost done and am loving it. It’s the perfect book for this more hectic time of year. <3

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Back to book mail & a Diane Chamberlain update!!

St. Martin’s Press was kind enough to send me the paperback release of Dream Daughter which is being published next week on 6/4! If you haven’t read this yet, this will be the perfect summer book to add to your reading list. Dream Daughter was in my top 10 books of 2018 and it might be my favorites Diane book ever and I have read A LOT of them.

I will have to do a whole post about my favorite Diane Chamberlain books but she rarely lets me down and her books are always unique and super engrossing, while also being total page-turners. I have read a lot of them while on vacation and they are the perfect books to just get lost in.

AND the most amazing exciting news of all, they announced that Diane will have another novel published in early 2020 (January 24th to be exact!) Big Lies In A Small Town!

Currently using…

natural deoderant

Lavanila deodorant in Vanilla Coconut

While I would like to say that I have parted ways with antiperspirant deodorant, I have tried and I just can’t do it. I think it has come from a lifetime of having that feeling of “dry” armpits but I just can’t get used to that “sweaty feeling”, especially while I work out.

I am all about compromise, so I have decided to use my “regular” Tom of Maine antiperspirant in the mornings and then putting on a more “natural” one, specifically Lavanila, when I get dressed for the day after class.

I don’t like to recommend things until I have really given them a fair shot but this stuff is pretty amazing! I have very sensitive skin and in addition to not cutting the sweat(deodorant just masks the smell of sweat but it doesn’t stop it like antiperspirant), it would make my underarms break out in a painful rash.

A lot of “natural” deodorants have baking soda in them which I think was the culprit. Lavanila is super gentle, smells amazing and really keeps you smelling quite fresh! And it lasts a long time. I first ordered it last May and each stick lasts 3+ months for me of daily use.

Have you made the deodorant switch?! Or are you meeting in the middle like me? 😉


Alright, that is all for this morning! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Thursday. <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. Thank you! 

 

We Rise by Lifting Others | Inspiring Friends

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(image from brit.co)

This quote speaks to me so much. Without a doubt, the most important things in my life are in the people that are in it. This last year has been one of the hardest in my adult life and it has also reminded me so much of the absolutely amazing and inspiring friendships I am so lucky to have. True friendships support you and challenge you and push you to be your very best self.

Today I wanted to talk about some of my entrepreneur friends. I am not only grateful for these women but I am so inspired by them in their professional ventures…

Kristy at Kristy Dooley Photography:

My friend and co-worker Kristy not only rocks family and newborn sessions but in the last year she started regularly shooting high school senior portrait sessions and is amazing at it! Like I asked her if she could re-take mine just because she is so amazing at capturing the senior’s genuine smiles, style, and personalities. I think mine would not look quite the same though, LOL. But really, she is one of those people who comes up with an idea and totally goes for it and I have learned so much from her.

She runs a successful business partly because of her amazing business brain that helps her work smarter not harder. I am someone who tends to be very disorganized with paperwork and accounting and her systems have taught me so much.

There is nothing Kristy can’t figure out and we spend a lot of time learning how to do something tricky on our computers by watching YouTube videos. Kristy is always expanding her knowledge and skills by taking workshops and classes that allow her to learn about something new while also building upon her talent as an amazing photographer. She is also a wonderful example of someone who juggles a lot but always has “time” to take a walk in the sun or catch up over a cup of tea…a true “Juliet“. <3

Kari of Happy Go Lucky Travel:

My friend Kari who is a programmer by day and vegan baker extraordinaire by night has recently decided to start a new venture sharing about her love and expertise with travel planning. When Kari decides she is doing something she does it 100% and as someone who likes to do a lot of things but not always very well, I am so in awe of this!

Not only does she have a family and a full-time job doing things on a computer that look like a completely foreign language, but she also loves painting, drawing and teaching herself how to play the banjo while watching Avett Brothers videos.  She is one of the most self-motivated people I have ever met. Last year she made a commitment to walk up Mt. Philo every day on her lunch break and you better believe she has done it. In addition to doing all these things, she is an amazingly supportive friend who helps me talk through lots of things even if she totally hates talking on the phone a million times a day.

Elisa at Corduroy & Pine Interiors:

My friend Elisa juggles a young family of three and a local interior design business. Anytime I call Elisa she is like “hold on a sec, I just need to set down my paintbrush”. She has amazing style and I love that she is able to factor in aesthetically pleasing designs that are also family friendly.

Elisa is one of the kindest people I know and she is always up for an adventure even if it is just to the grocery store. She was my nightstand of the week guest poster last week if you would like to learn more about her and see her book recommendations and her freshly painted bedroom wall. 😉


Who is inspiring you this week? I would love to hear! <3

What’s On Your Nightstand? |Book Recommendations & More | Elisa

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Hello & Checking In:

Good morning and happy Friday! The kids don’t have school today because of parent-teacher conferences and we are expecting a larger March snow storm today and tomorrow. I have lived in Vermont almost my entire life and I still get surprised when we have snow in late March and early April…I am not sure why! Once we have that sneak peek of spring weather it is easy to forget that it doesn’t come that easily around these parts. 😉

This week’s book friend on The Nightstand Series:

Today I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, Elisa! Her oldest and my youngest are in the same kindergarten classroom this year. It is always fun to have mom friends that have kids in the same situation as you so you can discuss boring details that only they truly understand. We often text each other because we forget something or feel like we dropped the ball and it is always nice to know you are not alone!

Elisa is so sweet and is always up for an outdoor adventure with or without the kids. She loves coffee as much as I do and is always up for a 4:45pm cocktail and then popping by the grocery store on our way home at 7pm..we know how to have fun and get things done!

Elisa has amazing taste and is the co-owner of a local interior design company, Corduroy + Pine Interiors. She always has a new project underway at her own house and it made me laugh out loud to find out that she painted her bedroom wall just for the photos for this series…I think she was going to do it anyway but there is nothing like a little time sensitive motivation! I hope you enjoy learning more about Elisa today!

Introduction:

Hey, it’s Elisa! I also live in Vermont with my husband and three kiddos – two boys (6 and 4) and a girl (almost 3). I was mostly a SAHM for the past 6 years but recently started an interior design company with a good friend. I still stay home with my two youngest a couple days a week. As a family, we love to get outside whether for a walk/hike, playing at a playground or exploring a new place. I love coffee and red wine. I prefer to drink them out of the home, but also enjoy curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. These days, I probably read food blogs more than I do books. I’m always on a search for a good new recipe for myself (vegetarian) or something the kids will actually eat.

I go through phases with reading. I’m currently in a rut (a year-long rut), but hoping the books on my nightstand pull me out of it. Before moving to Vermont in 2011, I lived in DC and started a book club with my grad school friends, after graduating of course. This was the turning point for me in regards to reading as an adult. I started with one book a month and soon found myself reading 3-4 books a month. Then we moved to Vermont, bought a house, had a baby and reading just wasn’t a priority, sleep was. Ha! About three years after moving here, I organized another book club with some friends and we went strong for 2+ years, but then life happens. So here I am looking at my nightstand and feeling excited and hopeful.

Currently reading:

Truth be told, the books in the picture only represent half of the books on my nightstand, but they’re representative of all the books. I’m currently between two books, Becoming by Michelle Obama and Oh Crap! Potty Training. We’re getting ready to finally get my youngest out of diapers and probably a little late to the game. I bought this book when we were in the midst of training our middle child because it was not going as easily as it did with our first, particularly at night. It’s been our parenting philosophy that if we’re getting rid of diapers, then we’re getting rid of diapers which means no pull-ups. This was fine for our first, but our second was more difficult and I needed more advice on how to train for night time and this book helped so much. I’m currently re-reading sections as we get ready to train our youngest.

I love a good memoir and have so much love and respect for our former First Lady so when her book came out, I added it to my Christmas list. I ended up getting it for my birthday in early January. My husband says he ordered the large print by accident, but I’m wondering if he’s trying to tell me something. I did just turn 39, hmm… I’m loving it so far, I just wish I made more time to read it. Like a few other guest bloggers wrote, I don’t make nighttime reading a priority. By the time the kids get to bed and I finish all my other chores or work I wasn’t able to get to, I’m exhausted and/or just want to watch a show with my husband.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain and The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin, I’m borrowing from Genevieve. She recommended these books to help me get back into reading. They both sound really fascinating. I love historical fiction novels, so I think I’m really going to enjoy The Aviator’s Wife.

The last book in the stack is The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber. I bought this about a year ago and sadly haven’t really started it, but feel strongly about this topic. As our kids get older, we want them to truly understand the value of a dollar, the importance of saving, and family value of ours, giving back. When I bought this book, I also bought each kid a give, save and spend coin bank. Maybe this will be the year I read the book. As anyone else read this? I haven’t heard any personal recommendations about this, instead, I’m trusting the reviewers on Amazon.

What’s on my Kindle?

What’s a Kindle? Kidding. But seriously, I haven’t read a book on a Kindle or other electronic device, and not sure when I will. I really enjoy holding a book, and also try to limit my screen time.

What are you currently listening to?

Like books, I go through phases with podcasts and the only audiobooks I’ve listened to are from the Magic Treehouse collection – do these count? I’m not sure I was a good pick for this blog series, ha. I’m an NPR junkie. I love to listen to it in the car when not with the kids. I’ve recently started listening to the podcast, Brave Little State, by VPR and really enjoy learning more about our state.

What else is on your nightstand?

What you see or what is really there? In the picture, you’ll see a decorative box that hides my peppermint lip balm from Beautycounter, a dollar because you never know when the tooth fairy might need to show up and some random pieces of jewelry. Also pictured is our not-so-stylish landline phone for when the school calls to cancel or when a family member needs to get ahold of me. The real reason the phone is there is that I’m a paranoid person. When my husband travels, I like the security of having a landline phone close by. Not pictured – my Fitbit charger, cell phone charger, dust bunnies, and a random sock or other articles of clothing.

My nightstand is actually a cedar chest that my grandfather had built for my grandmother as a wedding gift. It’s not the most functional nightstand since there’s no drawer and I have to remove everything off the top when I want to access the storage compartment, but it’s perfect for the spot and an heirloom.

Thanks for inviting me to write for the series, Genevieve and for the motivation to finally paint my bedroom.


Thank you so much for sharing, Elisa! <3

Wednesday Randomness | Reflections & Mantras of 2018

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I am not a big New Year goal setter or resolution maker but I am big into reflecting on things. I think we can learn so much from what we go through and often the hardest situations can teach us the biggest and best lessons.

This year was a hard one and one that pushed me in ways I never expected. Mantras are a newer thing for me but something that have helped me so much in times where there was a lot of sadness and unknown. I struggle in times of transition and times when things are out of my control. Having mantra has helped ground me and have been great reminders when my worries and thoughts feel really heavy.  I love Pinterest for inspiration for this stuff and that is where I found all of these…


Some things I have learned in 2018…

I would rather make mistakes than not put myself out there at all. I am not a perfectionist but I certainly struggle with worrying about what other people think of me and what I am doing. Letting go of this is a work in progress but staying true to myself and knowing that that is enough has been very powerful. When you make mistakes it means you are out there doing something. Some of my biggest “failures” and challenges have lead me to some of the most wonderful things in my life.

I have tried to let go of negativity. Putting my energy towards the people and things that are positive has helped create more of that. It sounds simple but you really can choose where your energy goes. It doesn’t mean that hard things won’t happen, but you do have control over how you react and move forward. I have SO many positive people and things in my life and focusing on these has really been a game changer.

As a people pleaser, not overthinking things does not come easily for me. I wish I didn’t care so much but I do. Sometimes when I overthink things I get so stuck in the “what ifs” that I don’t do anything at all…which was one of the reasons it took me so long to start this blog. I was thinking so much about it when I just needed to start! It is really freeing to just make a decision and move forward. If things don’t work out, you make another decision and you move forward again. I am a planner by nature and its hard for me to take things step by step but it makes such a huge difference.

You make time for what you want to fit in and everyone has different priorities for this. I can do a lot of things, but I can’t do everything. I have worked on feeling in control about what I choose to prioritize and not getting stuck in what I don’t. This has also helped me when I see someone else doing something and wonder how they fit it in. We all make choices about how we spend our time. Again, this has been such a empowering mindset and lets me feel like I have authority over my days and weeks instead of them controlling me.

Looking back really helps me realize how much we learn and grow every single day. I don’t know what 2019 will bring but I do know that when you know better you do better. I want to appreciate the wonderful people around me. I want to recognize the good because there really is so much. I want people to feel heard, when they are happy or excited and also when they are scared or worried. I want to say yes to the things that really matter to me and say NO to things that don’t feel good. I want to keep sharing about the things I love, and I also want to be honest about the things that are challenging. Life is so much better when we are all in this together. <3