Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…Summer Fruit, Pool Life, Shellac Nails, Library Book Sales & Turning Nine!

Book Blog

Checking-in:

Hello and happy Thursday. How is your week going? As many wonderful things that have happened during the last few weeks, it has also had its fair share of challenges and sadness. I often struggle with how to balance sharing a lot of my life on a public platform while also bearing in mind that we all have harder realities of everyday life that are more private.

It is a hectic time in general with work and family life and I am thankful to have so many great support systems in place that really make such a big difference with the harder parts of life. Alright, I think that was important to say, as I tend to share some of our “highlight reel” in photos on these Currently Loving posts.

So here is a little of what we have been up to…

Swimming Life

Our family wrapped up the swim meet season last week and our practices will be winding down soon too. It has been such a wonderful part of our summer. Having something that is daily works really well for us because it gets us out of the house by a certain time each day and gives us some structure that can be really hard to find this time of year.

Our boys made so much progress this summer. The swim team has been a great reminder and conversation starter about doing our best and being kind and supportive to both our teammates, competitors and ourselves. I will miss our swimming community so much but there is always next year!

Daily swimming means we are at the pool all the time. It isn’t a bad place to be and with great wifi, it makes it a great place to catch up on work. The boys practice at the same time now which if you have ever had kids on different team schedules you know what is a gift this is!

Berries galore

We are lucky to live near so many wonderful family farms and that means this time of year we are picking all the berries. We were excited to drive down the road to opening day at Adam’s Berry Farm and the berries were incredible! We didn’t last too long because it was during our brief summer heatwave so we will be back!

Library Book Sale

After berry picking, we headed to the annual town library book sale! I love supporting the library(and it’s upcoming renovation!) stocking up on past favorites and also grabbing some to share with friends! 💓

Between the kids and me we brought three totes bags and it wasn’t enough! Next year we need a duffle bag. 🤣 ⁣
library book sale kids books

We arrived early and waited in line for about 10 minutes and it was worth sweating through our clothes. We picked up so many picture books including a bunch of golden books. Flynn also added some super informative books to our collection…first words in Italian and a guide to venomous animals, ha!

Lake Life on a Hot Summer Day…

We headed out on the boat and it was the best way to cool down. Although with the intense heat it also means there can be fast approaching summer storms. This one snuck in and surprised us and while it was very interesting to see from the boat, we were eager to get back to dry land.

Shellac Nails Home Removal

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You know I love to discuss the random and obscure and I thought it was a great time to share about my shellac nails experience. I almost never paint my nails but I do always have shellac on my toenails. I get a shellac pedicure every 4-5 weeks and it is a great and long-lasting way to keep them looking nice when I am quite rough on regular nail polish.

For the wedding a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to get my nails done and so I ended up getting a shellac manicure two days before the wedding. It lasted a good 10 days or so before they started to look a little rough and I needed to get it off ASAP. They were also starting to get longer which I don’t like the feeling of…I do a lot of computer work and it was driving me crazy! Anyway, I knew I could go in and have it removed but it really wasn’t something I could easily fit into our schedule.

So off I went to the pharmacy… I grabbed a container of full-on acetone and some cotton balls.  At first, I tried the wrapping method with soaked cotton balls and tin foil, similar to the way they remove it at the nail salon. Then I changed tactics and did the soaking method on my other hand…as suggested by the Pioneer Woman of all people…

I found that the soaking method worked better and because I don’t have a lot of nail tools, I used the end of a measuring spoon to have push off the remaining polish which was quite effective…I am nothing if not resourceful, ha!

So I am not saying this is the most non-toxic method, but I think if you are going the shellac route you know that isn’t either…I was very pleased with how easy it was and I am super happy to have short and naked nails once again! I didn’t find that it damaged them in any way and I would definitely do shellac again for a special event, I just don’t have the patience to keep up with something like that in my everyday life.

Creemees & AC

It’s totally normal to take a photo to send to your kids when you have a creemee without them right?! Don’t worry, they were off having a special dinner and having ice cream after but we couldn’t resist. Buzz spent a lot of time indoors during the heatwave because it is just so hard to keep dogs cool. We are thankful to have AC and lots of ceiling fans.

Turning Nine!

Someone in our family turned NINE! For some reason, this number is hitting me hard. Maybe it is because it is halfway to 18 or maybe it is just because I can remember when I was nine so vividly…I know he is still so young but he really is growing up so quickly.

The past nine years have been filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Parenting is such a gift and it is also the hardest thing I have ever done. I am so grateful to have a child that is kind, understanding and helps us learn and grow every day. 

And when you turn nine you have cinnamon rolls for breakfast and sushi and hibachi for dinner…seems pretty perfect to me!

Alright, that is all for now. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week. <3

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things…Summer Edition! | Product Recommendations

summer favs.pngSummer in Vermont

Hello and happy Thursday! Today looks like another beautiful Vermont June day. Yesterday the sun was shining and the kids were happy to be at the pool and I was working on this post(yes it took me multiple days…ha!) from a table nearby in the shade.

The day before the kids had swim practice and it was pouring and freezing. Weather in New England is never very predictable but we do try to soak it all in, even if it means swimming in the rain!

Favorites by Category & Theme

I have been doing some reflecting on my most loved things lately and I thought it would fun to start regularly share some of my current favorites…each time with a different category and theme. I talk about some of these types of things on my Currently Loving posts and thought it would be a fun addition to my regular posts.

Along with Day In The Life posts, I love seeing regular everyday items that people use and love. There is something so interesting to me about practical items that people use and enjoy all the time. Do you like this kind of thing too?!

These Are Some of my Favorite Things…Summer Edition!

When thinking about the things I use the most this time of year, it was super easy to come up with a list. I am very routine oriented and there is nothing that makes me happier than structure and knowing what to expect!

I am the person who parks in the same parking spots, uses the same mug for my morning coffee(with a stainless steel straw) and don’t you dare try and make me stand in a different place of the barre studio!!! So needless to say, this list is somewhat practical but all of these things have stood the test of time which I think is very important when making a suggestion. I hope you enjoy seeing some of my very favorite things…summer edition style!

Plastic Birkenstocks in Gizeh

If you don’t have plastic Birkenstocks yet, how are you even surviving summer? Summer in Vermont is very unpredictable, it will be beautiful and sunny and an hour later it will be pouring rain. Sometimes it is hot and sometimes it is freezing! I have a few go-to summer shoes but my rubber Birkenstocks are my number one pick.

They are so comfortable (I love the molded footbed for arch support) and are awesome because they can get super wet (unlike the regular Birkenstocks) so they make the perfect pool, beach or just regular life shoe. I am a size 8.5 in women’s shoes and I get the 39 and it fits perfectly.

bluetooth headphones

TaoTronics Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

I love that I have more time with my kids this summer, but they are also LOUD!! Whether they are happy, unhappy, excited or mad, it all is a rather high noise level and most of the time that is totally fine, but everyone has a limit. 😉

I have flexibility with my job and do most of my work on the day I have a babysitter or early in the morning before they wake up, but sometimes it doesn’t all get done and life overlaps. I was hesitant to buy wireless headphones for a long time, and a lot of it had to do with the price point. I wasn’t sure if I would love them and it seemed like a big commitment. I read review after review and finally bit the bullet last fall and ordered these.

Under $40, impressive sound quality and easy to use and charge!

They were under $40 which seemed reasonable and seemed easy enough to use…which was also something I was worried about as someone who struggles with new technology…

6+ months later I am so pleased with them! I use them to listen to podcasts and audiobooks when I am working or even cleaning the house. They charge easily by plugging them into my computer (or a USB charger), are super comfortable and the sound quality is amazing. And back to the kid’s noise levels, sometimes I just wear them as noise canceling headphones and they do a great job with that too!

sun protection

Reel Legends Women’s Keep It Cool Top

I talked about my love for UV sun-shirts back in April and my fondness for them is still going strong. I have worn them swimming in the ocean, at the pool, on the baseball field and while picking strawberries last weekend. I am ALL about sun protection and this top is super comfortable, fitted without being too snug and very lightweight. I am a size 8-10 in US women’s sizing and I ordered a large for reference.

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Sport-Brella

We bought our Sport-Brella two summers ago and it was life changing! We store it on our boat so we have it with us when we go to the beach. This umbrella is amazing because it can be used standing upright like a regular beach umbrella or down on one side as pictured, more like a half tent. We would have loved having this with young babies but we still get so much use out of it now. It is so nice to have a shady spot that is also super easy to set up and disassemble.

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To make it even easier to set up and even more secure, we have this screw-in sand anchor and it is the best little accessory!

skort

Athleta Excursion Hybrid Skort

Give me ALL the skorts. As someone with a more, umm, curvy figure, I know the struggles of trying to wear dresses or shirts when it is hot and sweaty out…ugh the thigh rubbing! If you don’t know this struggle, consider yourself lucky! And if you do, welcome to the club! There are many amazing options now and skorts are one of them. I have two skorts from Athleta and they are wonderful!! I have this one in grey and they also have it black. It is currently on sale and in stock in all sizes! I ordered a large for reference.

foot peelFoot Peel

A few years ago I learned about the wonders of foot peels. If you haven’t heard about these before there are tons of articles sharing informative reviews (and very detailed photos like this one HERE). While you may think it is gross, they really work!! I have used a few different kinds and they all work the same, these are just the most cost-effective ones I have found and the foot booties are super easy to use. To make this even easier I put a pair of socks on over them while I do the peel so I can continue on with life as usual in the evening time.

quick dry hat

Mission Performance Cooling Hat

I could go on and on about sun protection all day long. You will never find me out in the sun without a hat on, but it is hard to find ones that don’t make you even sweat even more. We have a few of these hats and they fit our whole family with just a quick tightening (or loosening) of the velcro in the back. They really do what they claim and they are breathable and dry super quickly, which makes them great for when we are at the pool or on the boat.

Elta MD Sunscreen & Babo Botanicals Sport Stick

Face sunscreen always seems like a tricky thing to find, both for myself and for the kids. For me, I want to be able to put it on first thing under my makeup and not have it feel sticky or greasy. For the kids, I want it to stay on when they are in and all of the water all day and also not cause a huge fuss when we have to reapply it several times a day.

Both of these do the trick and are a go-to in my shopping cart. The Elta Md sunscreen has been a favorite of mine for years. As someone with sensitive and acne prone skin(you can read more about that HERE) I needed something that worked but that was also not irritating or super greasy. This goes on super easily just like a face lotion and I love the pump style bottle.

The Babo Botanicals face stick has been awesome for the kids and I love that it is easy to apply (no tears!) whether we are putting it on them or they are doing it themselves. It has great coverage but also rubs in really well. Highly recommend!

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Supergoop Everday Sunscreen 

I talked more about my favorite body sunscreen in my Currently Loving post last week but we are obsessed with The Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen Pump. It may seem ginormous but it’s awesome and lasts a long time, even when you are using it daily. It is super easy to rub in too which we are always a fan of.

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Lavish Lash Eyelash and Brow Serum

This is more of a year-round obsession but I have been so impressed with this Lavish Lash eyelash and brow serum. I have been using it since last fall to grow back in the outer parts of my eyebrows which were the result of years of serious overplucking. I started using it on my lashes too and after a couple of weeks, there was a noticeable difference!

A bottle lasts a couple months of daily use and hasn’t been irritating at all. I tend to wear less makeup in the summer, and don’t wear mascara every day, and I love how this has not only lengthened my lashes but also made them fuller.

reading light

LuminoLite Reading Light 

One of the best parts about summer is that we don’t have to leave the house until almost an hour later than during the school year. This means there are a few bookworms in our house that have been staying up later and reading and these clip-on book lights are amazing! You can adjust the brightness of the light and you charge them by plugging them into your computer or USB port. They are also great for travel!

kids summer shoes

Native Kids Miles Water Shoes

When it comes to footwear for our kids, we are in the less is more category. They have Bogs boots for fall, winter & spring, sneakers year round and Natives for summer. The kids have had these since they were toddlers and they are THE BEST!

We have always called them “racing shoes” because when our older son was little he thought they made him go SUPER FAST. 🙂 They are the best summer shoes, not just for going in the water. They are super easy to clean, we just toss them in the laundry and are so great for quick on and off. Unless we are doing a lot of walking, these are the only shoes they wear all summer.

Scout Daytripper & Weekender Tote Bags

I use my Scout bags/organizers all the time. They are structured so they stand upright and don’t lose their shape, which can happen with a lot of tote bags. They are also great because you can wipe them down(so I don’t stress about them getting a little dirty/setting them down outside)  they zip closed, they have a reasonable price point and they also have the cutest patterns.

After years of having a diaper bag, it feels nice to be able to still have a lot of storage but also just have it look like a regular bag. Now to be fair, I think diaper bags have come along way in 9 years, so that is what I am comparing it to, ha!

I have the Daytripper Tote that I use as a summer purse/”catch-all” and we have the Weekender Tote that is perfect for a beach/pool trip or a night away. Although our kids are older now, we still carry around a ton of stuff. These bags are so versatile and I love that there are so many size options. I use my daytripper bag every single day, and I have a second one that I use for a work/gym bag as well.

scout bag

We have the Junque Trunk in the bag of my car and it is amazing! I use the bottom if it to store things we use frequently but not all the time (waterproof blanket, Crazy Creek chair for sports games, and reusable shopping bags) and then when I get groceries, it is a great place to store them on the way home os they don’t tip over or spill.

Scout bag

Finally, the Packing Heat Makeup Bag is amazing! It is a perfect size and I love that it has the interior side pocket that I use for makeup brushes. It is super easy to wash out if anything spills and after a couple of years of daily use, it still looks brand new.

skimmies slip short

Jockey Skimmies

I told you there would be some practical items on here and these definitely fit into that category. When you can’t wear a skort, these are a great alternative! 😉 I don’t like to wear dresses that much, but when I do, these Skimmies slip shorts are awesome to wear underneath and provide the perfect defense again the dreaded “thigh rub”…

They are long enough that they don’t show when you wear a shorter dress but long enough so that they don’t ride up. I am in a wedding in a couple of weeks and you better believe I will be wearing these! They have the benefits of Spanx without the super amount of compression which often isn’t necessary or comfortable.

 

Sip by S’well Tumblers

I have to finish this list off with my favorite thing probably ever. I love drinking water, I love having a lot of it and I love drinking with a straw. I don’t go anywhere without a water bottle and I am not joking.

A few months ago I found one of these tumblers on the clearance rack at Target because the packing was damaged, and I knew it was a sign. I probably didn’t need any more tumblers or water bottles, but it was just too good of a deal to pass up. I have not gone a day without using it! They are amazing for water but you can also use them for ice coffee/tea, or even a cocktail.

You can use it with the lid and straw or without. I love the style of the straw because unlike most stainless steel ones, it has a silicone piece in the middle so it bends! I knew I had to share this in my favorites list and even better, these colors (along with grey if you are boring) are 20% off right now!  Enjoy!!!


Alright, I hope you enjoyed this collection of my tried and true summer favorites. Do you have anything you would add to yours? I would love to hear!!

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase I receive a small percentage of the sale. This helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you so much.

 

 

Coffee Talk | Currently… | school’s out for summer, a weekend escape, ALL the sunscreen & more

Book Blog

Checking-in:

It surprises me every year how quickly the transition from the end of the school year to summer mode happens. Last Friday was the last day of the school year and here we are just a week later and it feels like forever ago!

end of school photo

Adjustment period:

It has definitely been an adjustment week as we figure out how to juggle this short but intense season of the year. Some things didn’t go that smoothly and I also think that every year we learn from the previous ones so there have been a few wins too.

We are finding out groove and I am so thankful to have something that requires us to be somewhere every morning (swim team) that both boys participate in. Just having that sense of structure even if it is only for a couple of hours is super helpful!

kid in the pool

I have a babysitter for part of my work week and Lucas has them come to his office one afternoon a week. It isn’t perfect but it feels good to have a semi-structured plan so that work and family life don’t get too intertwined. Other than that, there is a lot of waking up early to get a few hours of work in and knowing that school will eventually start again in just a couple of months.

An escape to camp…

Last weekend was also Father’s Day and all Lucas wanted was for us to go to his family’s camp up in the North East Kingdom. He takes the boys a few times a year on my work weekends but I hadn’t been there in a while!

North East Kingdom

It is a little rustic but it sure is beautiful! The mountain off in the distance is Jay Peak. I shared a post about this on Instagram last Sunday but I thought it would be fun to share some of these photos here too…

Creemees of course!

On our way home, we obviously had to stop at a creemee stand and what better place to do it than the dairyland of Northern Vermont! We stopped at TJs Creemees in Sheldon and they were AMAZING. Buzz even had his first dog sundae ever! Vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter sauce and a dog biscuit. He was in heaven!!

Currently listening to…

During the school year, our car ride to school is short and sweet. After I drop the boys off I have a luxurious 20 minutes in the car to listen to whatever I like, which usually means I use the time to listen to a true crime podcast or my current audiobook.  This time of the year we have a 25ish minute drive to the pool each day and then back home again. This doesn’t seem that long but it is long enough for drama to ensue and noise levels to rise.

podcasts for kids

Podcasts for kids!

Last summer I realized the gift of podcasts that are geared towards kids! Every morning we start a podcast on our way into town and finish it on the way home. It is a game changer! The boys love it and I find them quite entertaining myself, especially this recent Smash Boom Best debate episode…Libraries versus Museums!

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Currently using…ALL the sunscreen & sun protection

I currently have no shame in my sun protection game but I wasn’t always that way…I was a teenager in the 90s so I obviously did all the things like going to a tanning bed and laying in the sun as much as possible…I was a lifeguard after all! 😉

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I even tried “sun in” which if you also have dark brown hair, you know that is a BAD idea…ha!

“If you are a natural brunette, the very sight of this bottle could cause you a nervous breakdown. Reason: Our dreams of becoming California girls were quickly crushed when, after sunbathing on our terraces for 30 minutes, we discovered our heads looked like cantaloupes.”

-32 Beauty Products You Probably Used in the 90s

Those were the days though….We didn’t have millions of internet articles or youtube videos telling us what to do, so we just guessed (and read Seventeen magazine)…and we did learn from a lot of our mistakes…eventually…

Sun Protection

Skin cancer runs in my family and I am thankful I learned when I was relatively young the dangers of the sun. I think it was a little after college that I realized embracing my pale skin might not only be helpful but also much safer in the long run.

So I have embraced, UV protection shirts, hats & lots and lots of sunscreens.

I apply sunscreen every morning after I put on my lotion…I have tried other kinds but I always go back to the tried and true Elta MD face sunscreen. It is not greasy and it great for acne prone and sensitive skin.

Later in the day, I reapply sunblock by using the sun protection mineral power by Derma E. My friend Kari loves the Supergoop defense refresh setting mist and that has a similar effect.

sunblock for kids

For our family, we are big fans of a lotion sunscreen for good body coverage and a face stick for a no tears application for our 6-year-old…;) We have had great success with the Babo Botanicals sport stick.

The Supergoop pump is so convenient and lasts FOREVER and the Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen smells amazing and is so easy to rub in…

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Currently loving…all the Pinterest Inspirational quotes!

Whenever I am feeling stressed, I find great comfort in self-help books and inspirational quotes.

self-help from the 90s

Do you remember Chicken Soup for the Soul books? I was way into those as a teenager and I think they are way got me into this whole self-help genre.

Sometimes all you need is a little reminder to just do the best you can and know you are not alone when you are having a harder day. I love searching for motivational quotes on Pinterest and sometimes post them on my @genthebookworm Instagram feed.  I do try to have some restraint because I would probably post them every day otherwise, ha!

Here are some of my recent favorites…

(images from Pinterest)


Alright, that is all I have for now. I  hope you have a wonderful rest of your Friday! <3