Welcome to my new blog series, Five Things To Tell You... In addition to my Currently Loving posts, I wanted another way to share random info and updates, so if this is your thing too, you’re welcome! 😉
One: The Little Things
While many things have changed, some have stayed the same, including the beginning of Vermont’s creemee season. Like many small businesses, local creemee stands have pivoted to make sure that they can offer their products in a safe way and we have been making the rounds. We were there for Cookie Love’s opening day, which is an annual tradition for our family.
It’s that time of the year when holiday gift guides are going around the internet like wildfire. While I have found some that are super helpful, it can also get very overwhelming and can sometimes feel a bit..insincere.
As a blog reader myself, I often struggle with wanting to support bloggers, who do put in a lot of time and energy behind the scenes to share content online, AND the idea of super overconsumption and also authenticity.
Tried & True
I wanted to put together a gift guide of tried and true things that I have purchased and loved myself. There is nowhere I would rather be than cozy at home, reading a book!
So if you are shopping for a book lover, or are one yourself, I am hoping these suggestions come in handy! They are not holiday-themed, as they are things that I have used and loved all year round and have also stood the test of time which I think is super important.
To be upfront, some of these links are Amazon affiliate links (you can read more about this on my FAQs page HERE) and some are not…but they are ALL things I have purchased myself and am sharing because I think they are awesome!
Since I began using affiliate links this past spring as a way to help support the costs of running this blog, I have included a disclaimer at the end of my book posts when I share links to purchase the book yourself. In this instance, I wanted to be very clear about it and am happy to answer any questions you have in the comments below or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Now Onto The Bookworm Gift Ideas which basically is a list of some of my very favorite things!
This Lipmask is my favorite! While I still am a big fan of the Laniege lip sleeping mask, I purchased this off of a recommendation from a skincare loving friend and I love so much too! Both of these stay on forever and are super hydrating, but I love the very mild scent and flavor of the balm and it is perfect for applying before bed or when reading in the bathtub!
Hair Ties that Hold!
2. These hair ties have been my go-to for years! I have to have my hair up when I am buried in a book and they are great for thick hair, stay put and come in so many different color combinations! Sometimes I even double them up for heavy-duty things like a workout class.
I am also not bummed that scrunchies are back! As part of their Skida Scraps Project to help create even less waste, they are now making scrunchies! They can hold up to whatever you choose to do, whether that is lazing around your house or going outside for an adventure. I love this Adele print so much!
A Powerhorse Portable Charger
3. This portablecharger is a powerhouse! Between listening to audiobooks and podcasts on my phone ALL the time, and being an overzealous iPhone photographer, I go through my phone charge pretty quickly. After reads dozens of reviews, I settled on this guy and it is everything I hoped it would be!
I have had a portable charger before but it only recharged my stuff a few times before it needed to be plugged in again and as someone is a little disorganized, it defeated the purpose because I was always forgetting to actually charge the thing.
This charger can connect to up to four USB compatible devices at a time which makes it perfect for charging your phone, someone else’s phone, your kindle and wireless headphones all at the same time! I used it all week long on our recent vacation there were not a lot of outlets nearby in our hotel room and it was amazing!
4.Beyond Booked Booksleeves! I didn’t get introduced to book sleeves until this past summer and now I am wondering why I waited so long!! Tancy is one of my Bookstagram buddies and when she shared that she had opened an Etsy shop I couldn’t want to check it out. I have to admit, I was totally sold when I saw she had lots of floral prints because that is my jam! But if florals aren’t your thing, she has lots of other fabric choices to choose from, like these geometric ones HERE.
Not only are booksleeves fabulous for keeping your books safe when you toss them in and out of your bags, but they also are awesome for protecting other things like your Kindle and phone. I brought them on our last two vacations and they were the perfect way to transport things around and also hideaway items I didn’t want laying out when we were at the pool. And as a #Bookstagrammer, they make super cute backdrops for your books as well. 😉
Tancy’s booksleeves are beautifully made and she is just so wonderful to work with. She now offers multiple sizes as well for your even larger hardcopy books.
*I just looked and today for Black Friday she is having 20% off storewide! (not an affiliate link!)
A Pillow Stand for Handsfree Ebook Reading!
5. Have you ever heard of a pillow stand? We have three kindle readers in our house and we all have different methods of propping them up. Lucas uses the rails of the headboard on our bed, our older son usees a stuffed animal and I use a pillow stand!
It allows you to have your Kindle (or other small tablet devices) propped up so you don’t have you hold it up. I like to fall asleep reading so this is my ideal way of reading!
The Most Comfortable Jogger Pajamas Bottoms EVER!
6. There is nothing better than changing into your comfy clothes and having no plans but curling up with your current read. I found these modal joggers (not an affiliate link) two years ago and they are lifechanging!
They are the softest fabric ever(but don’t make you overheated), they don’t ride up on your calves because of the jogger style cuff, and they come in so many patterns choices(that also change seasonally if that is your thing, it is mine!)
You can get deals on them year-round because Gap always has sales but if you are shopping Black Friday deals, you can get them for 50% off right now with code (BLKFRIDAY) and they are SO worth it! These are true to size and I wear a size large for reference.
A Tank to Lounge & Layer
7. I don’t buy a lot of things at Gap for myself but their breathe tank tops are my go-to to for sleeping in EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! They also are the best layer tanks under sweaters and sweatshirts. I don’t have any affiliation with Gap, I just love their loungewear so much. I have worn these for years, and I hope they never stop making them! I also buy a large in this tank.
A Tumbler That Tops My List!
8. I love a good tumbler for water and I also love straws! This Sip by S’well tumbler is THE BEST! It holds a lot of water so you don’t have to refill it all the time, keeps you drink cold (or hot!) and the straw bends and doesn’t clink around all the time like most stainless steel straws out there. I keep one of these on my nightstand every single for easy access while reading. You can find them on Amazon HERE or also at your local Target(pictured above on the right).
My Favorite Wireless Headphones EVER
9. I get very excited to share about things that I love, but I am totally serious when I say that these headphonesare one of the best things I have EVER purchased. They changed my audiobook and podcast listening life for the better, but they have also become a household staple for when I just need to tone down the noise level at my house (see the photo above!)
In addition, they make wonderful and cozy winter earmuffs to walk to the school bus while also listening to your current audiobook! And the best part of these, if that you can be listening to something and then when your phone rings, you can answer it through these and it is not super complicated to do! And they stay connected as you walk all around the house and your phone is not nearby.
I clean, unload the dishwasher and fold laundry and even walk buzz, all hands-free, while talking to my friends and if that doesn’t sound amazing, well you haven’t tried it! And they are under 30 dollars! You can read more about them HERE.
A Comfortable and Cozy Sweatshirt!
10. Alright, the next staple of my perfect cozy outfit are these sweatshirts! I love a good sweatshirt and this one meets all my specifications. It is substantial without feeling too heavy to wear inside and it’s fitted a bit up top but the hi-low cut makes it butt-covering without pulling. The fabric feels so nice (and washes and dries amazingly well) and they remind me of the Alo Yoga top in a very similar style minus the heavier price tag!
I am not a big Amazon shopper for fashion choices but I tried these on a whim and then saw my friend Jenny AKA @dreamalittledreamvt wearing it in the charcoal stripes at Pure Barre and she knows what’s up in that department! These sweatshirts are perfect whether you are lounging around your house or running errands around town.
Hand Cream from the Heavens!
11. I am beginning to think from making this list that I am a high maintenance reader…but I just like being comfortable! Having dry skin is the worst and this time the year it is hard to avoid!
Another thing I keep on my nightstand(and by my computer, and on the kitchen counter…) during the colder months is hand cream. And if you haven’t tried this little gem yet you are missing out!
I first found Gramp Lyford’s Country Salve at our local grocery store. It is amazingly moisturizing without being greasy AT ALL, and it is doesn’t have a strong scent, which I really appreciate. Just go read the raving reviews and you will see what I mean!
The Best Bubble Bath Recommendations
12. Reading in the bath feels like the ultimate luxury these days. Now that the boys are bit older, they stay up A LOT later, so gone are the days where they were in bed and we had some time alone! (This is also why my early morning coffee time is so sacred to me!)
Because of this, Lucas and I are both are needing to find some new ways to have some downtime amidst the hustle and bustle of family life, which sometimes feels like it never ends these days…
One of my very favorite things is handing over the parenting reigns, closing the bathroom door and sinking into a nice, hot bubble bath. The boys also like taking baths and so I like finding bath products that work for our entire family. All three of these recommendations create the perfect amount of bubbles and smell amazing without being too strong…they also are moisturizing without feeling greasy!
Puracy bubble bath is the mildest in the fragrance department and creates a ton of bubbles from just a very small amount! The Honest Bubble bath has a great price point (there is often a “save $X amount at checkout deal)and The Alaffia coconut strawberry bubble bath makes you feel like you away at a tropical destination. We love and purchase all three of these regularly and you really can’t go wrong!
Cozy Candlelight Suggestions
13. Candles are one of my favorite ways to feel cozy this time of year. With the lack of daylight, the evenings can feel pretty long right now. I love using candles and table lamps to create warm light that also feels a lot less harsh than our overhead ceiling lights.
I have many favorites but there are some that really top my list! The Bee’s Nectar is a local business(that also has an Etsy shop) and she makes the best soy candles scented with essential oils and she is just so lovely in general. Gillian is often at local craft fairs(that’s where I first found her!) but you can almost always find her candles at the Blue Cottage if you live locally. The grapefruit scent is my very favorite!
This past week Julia talked about these Volcano Candles over on her Nightstand Series guest post HERE. While we don’t have an Anthropologie around here, I learned about these at our local Pure Barre studio!
I often find the scents of a lot of candles too overwhelming but there is something different about this one! The scent is clean and fresh and I love being able to repurpose the smaller container for knick-knacks around our house.
My friend gifted me this candle last year for my birthday and not only it is perfect for bookworm but is also has the most beautiful scent. I have been burning it for only special reading occasions because I just love it so much! They have so many more book-related candles on their Frostbeard Studio Store on Etsy.
Darn Tough Socks!
14. I talked about Darn Tough socks the other day in my Currently Loving post, but they really are the best! Not only do they have a lifetime guarantee are made in Vermont and make for super warm, cozy, and happy feet!
The Best Kindle Paperwhite Price EVER!
15. I couldn’t have a Bookworm Favorite Things post without talking about my beloved Kindle Paperwhite. This year I upgraded to the newest Paperwhite and it continues to be everything I loved about my previous one. It has a long battery life, a glare-free reading screen, and even better, it is now waterproof!
The lowest I have ever seen the newest Kindle Paperwhite was $89 and right now, you can grab one for under $85 HERE!!
With just our library cards and the Libby App, everyone in our family has access to thousands of ebooks, for FREE! And with the addition of great kindle deals that are available every week, we always have something to read, day or night! You can read my blog post related to how to get started with your Kindle HERE.
Kindle Covers That Protect!
16. Finally, if you have a Kindle, you probably will want a case for it! Not only does it help protect your ebook, but it also makes it automatically turn on when you open it. I have had great luck with the Fintie Slimshell case (I love the Z-Jungle Night pattern).
There are many great options available and when you are browsing around, just make sure to get the case that fits your generation of Kindle. The newest Kindle Paperwhite (2018 & 2019 editions) are considered the 10thg generation. Just like iPhones for example, each release is a little bit different in its dimensions so a cover that is for the previous models will not fit the newest Kindle Paperwhite.
Whew!! If you lasted until this point, I am impressed, this was a long one! I hope you found at least some part of this post helpful and if you have any other suggestions, I would love to hear them in the comments below. <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Welcome to another edition of The Nightstand Series!Kristina got us kicked off again last week and today I have another book-loving friend sharing her reading list and book recommendations!
Today I am excited to introduce you to my friend Julia!
Julia and I met on #bookstagram and right away we connected over our love of the same books! When she started her own book feed, I was super excited to follow along! She has great taste in books and always has such thoughtful comments with her reading recaps.
I love that we have very similar reactions to books and also that she reads “ahead”. She is a book reviewer too so she is often reading ARCs too and is able to discuss them with me before the actual publication dates! I love that reading is an escape for her too and I am super impressed that she prioritizes it while also being IN school.
I hope you enjoy getting to know a little about Julia today!
Nightstand Series Introduction:
Hi, I’m Julia! I’m from Michigan but am currently living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my boyfriend of 3 years. I’m a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and I conduct aging/Alzheimer’s research. Back home in Michigan, I have 2 dogs and 1 cat who I miss very much!
Hopefully next year or the year after, my boyfriend and I will move into a house that allows pets and get a cat. When I’m not reading or doing research, I really love to bake! I show some of my baked goods (and of course, lots of books) on my #bookstagram at @booksbitesbeaches.
What Kind of Reader Are You?
I grew up in a family of readers. My brother loves fantasy and science fiction, my mom loves general adult fiction and self-help books, and my dad was always reading the newspaper so it only felt natural to me to start reading at a young age.
The first books I can remember loving were in middle school when I read the A-List series and Gossip Girl. From there, I moved onto Sarah Dessen and my love for reading only grew throughout grade-school.
I fell off the reading train a bit with undergrad because other things seemed to take priority. That all changed about a year ago, actually! I was in the process of applying to graduate school and had been dealt with my first school rejection and I turned to a book to escape.
I read The Next Person You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom in one sitting and for 2019, it was my New Years Resolution to read more! I started with a small goal – 25 books. I quickly met that and upped my goal to 50. Right now, I’m starting my 64th book and plan to set my goal for 75 next year.
What Time of Day do You do Most of Your Reading?
I do most of my reading in the early morning before I have to get out of bed with a coffee mug on my nightstand and then again at night when I’m winding down. I really love my quiet mornings and it’s a nice way to wind down in the evening.
I was recently disappointed by Not the Girl You Marry by Andie Christopher. It was essentially How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days but role reversal and in a book. It was lacking creativity and I need creativity in books! I don’t like to guess the ending 15 pages in, but sometimes a predictable romance is just what you need… it just wasn’t what I needed at the time.
What Are You Listening to?
I have never listened to an audiobook! It wasn’t until a few months ago that I finally started listening to podcasts because there’s just something about listening to other people’s voices through my headphones that can bother me.
The only podcast I consistently listen to is My Favorite Murder! I should probably read some true-crime stories given how much I love that podcast.
What Else is on Your Nightstand?
On my nightstand, I have all my essentials! I always have my Yeti water bottle with me. It keeps my water so nice and cold and I love it so much that I even have a Yeti coffee mug. I don’t usually care much about being brand loyal but they’re great products and I’ve dropped the water bottle multiple times and it’s still in great condition.
My favorite skincare brand is Mario Badescu and this lotion is one of my favorites. I have one on my nightstand AND at my desk at work – that’s how good it is. It smells lovely and isn’t too expensive, which is important to me. I really like his products because most of them are vegan and cruelty-free and as far as skin-care goes, they’re pretty cheap!
I also have this journal, An Inspired Life, which includes prompts to reflect. It helps me reframe when I get stressed out and writing is one of my favorite forms of self-care, therefore, having this notebook close by helps me unwind in bed at night!
Lastly, an Anthropologie candle!! I try to get one of these for Christmas each year, and then treat myself once or twice throughout the year with one of these because they are the best candles out there. The volcano scents are my favorite and Nordstrom usually has them on sale.
Thank you so much for sharing today, Julia!!
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!
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…
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!
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. 🤣
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
To make it even easier to set up and even more secure, we have thisscrew-in sand anchor and it is the best little accessory!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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! 😉
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.”
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…
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.
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.
Currently loving…all the Pinterest Inspirational quotes!
Whenever I am feeling stressed, I find great comfort in self-help books and inspirational quotes.
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!
Hello! How is your week going? The last few weeks have been doozies…
Trading in backpacks & cleats for swimsuits & long summer days:
I am excited for a change of pace and tomorrow is the last day of the school year for our boys! While summer is always hectic in its own way, there are less scheduling demands and a lot more “carefree” days.
It does mean that I will be making way more lunches (I will miss you school hot lunch!) and less work time alone, but as the kids have gotten older it has become easier in some ways. After many years the pool is finally fun and there are so many things we can all do together now. I am looking forward to lots of ice cream from Cookie Love and making lots of summer memories.
Summer Reading Challenge:
Do you remember being a part of a summer reading program as a kid? I have vivid memories of it myself and visiting the library during the summer was one of my very favorite activities. We would walk or ride our bikes there and there was always something so special of having a stack of new books to dive into.
Now that we have a family of readers, I am super excited about the kids participating in the summer reading challenge at our own local library. I stopped by yesterday to talk with one of the librarians and was excited to check out the summer book log and sticker chart. Doesn’t it look fabulous? You can learn more about the Vermont summer reading program HERE. And if you are not a Vermonter, most libraries have a similar option so definitely check it out! <3
Currently remembering our night out…
After many weeknights and weekends of spring baseball for the boys, we belatedly celebrated Lucas’ birthday last Saturday and had an evening out, just the two of us. We headed down to Middlebury and had an amazing dinner at the Arcadian. I am a huge fan of Aperol Spritz and it was so nice to catch up over a couple of cocktails and some amazing pasta. I mean how good do these sound…
I had the crab pasta and Lucas had the squid ink pasta and I don’t know which one was better because they both were amazing and really complemented each other nicely.
I don’t talk about our farm life a lot on here but I had to share a photo of some of our neighbors, whom we also affectionately refer to as our other lawn mowers. They roam the farm and always look over to say hi when we drive by. Sometimes they are even in our driveway!
June is shaping up to be the best book release month! I read Mrs. Everything a few months ago via NetGalley and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a hard copy!! I was at Target before they were even putting the new books out on the shelves, and it was so exciting to see them getting unboxed. This is one of my favorite books of 2019 and I highly recommend checking it out! You can read my full review HERE.
I am going to have to do another skincare update on here because I have a few newer additions that I have just been loving…including Pixi Glow Tonic Glycolic Toner. I have always exfoliated with a physical exfoliator a couple of times a week, but I never had used a “chemical” unless I was at a facial.
During the last couple of months, I have incorporated this into my daily routine and it is amazing how much my skin has smoothed out. While I have the hormonal acne (mostly) under control, I have always had little bumps that popped up, especially on my forehead. I think they were tiny clogged pores and this stuff is magic!! I learned about it on the 10 Things To Tell You Podcast episode about skincare and it is life changing!
If you want to join Book of the Month and get your first book FREE you can use my referral link. You can skip any month or add any additional hardcover books for only $9.99 which is a great deal! I have seen some sneak peeks of the July book selections and I don’t know how I am going to choose!
Alright, that is all for now. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week! <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps supports this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Good morning! How is your week going? We are in our second to last week of school for the boys and life feels very full right now. This time of the year has many highs and it also is quite hectic. The days are long with late evening baseball games and the kids full of energy and excitement about all the fun end of the school year activities.
It is a great time of year but also hard to find that feeling of balance. Work demands and everything else that comes along with “adulthood” does not just pause when family life becomes more demanding, and it is something we are constantly trying to juggle.
There is also this frantic pace to finish “all the things” on my end before the kids are home for summer. While we do have some summer childcare, it is quite minimal, so anything that isn’t super urgent (work obligations) gets pushed to the side until school starts again.
While the kids have been in school for a while now, this is only my 2nd summer of juggling work and the kids during summer vacation and it is definitely a work in progress. From my conversations with other parents, no matter how you swing it, it is a stressful season in many ways. It is helpful to know we are not alone and like most things, it will all work out. I tend to get the most apprehension about things BEFORE they happen because I start thinking about it too much. It is good to plan, but not to overthink every possible scenario…which is easier said than done! I do know that once we make the transition we will find our groove and like all Vermont summers, it will fly by. <3
While there is a lot of talk of summer, we have yet to see much summer weather around here. Usually by the time June come around it is warmer, but this year has been interesting. I shouldn’t complain because it was snowing in Quebec this week, but it has been unusually cold here. Vermonters don’t have their heat on in June, mostly out of principle, so my blanket has come in handy this week at work and at the kid’s baseball games.
And the best part about it is it stuffs into this little bag, just like a sleeping bag, and it is super light and easy to keep in the back of your car. I think it is a camping blanket, but as someone who doesn’t do a lot of camping, I can see many other great uses for it! I wore it wrapped around my legs like a burrito the other night and it kept me toasty warm.
I know I know, I need to stop talking about Chernobyl on HBO, but it really is that good. Lucas and finished the fifth and final episode in the docu-drama miniseries last night. It came out on Monday night, but there is no way I could stay up late enough to watch something that comes on at 9pm, ha! So anyway, we finished it last night and it was just amazingly well done. If you haven’t watched yet, you need to add it to your list.
I love a good tinted lip balm and a few months ago I tried the sample version of Lipstick Queen in the color Frog Prince. It is green in the tube, but it changes to a lovely shade of pinkish red (maybe a bit of coral?), depending on your pH and skin tone.
It is the perfect pop of color and moisture and I have found myself reaching for it over my previously preferred Burts Bees tinted lip balm so I thought I should share! I did try the Hello Sailor shade as well which is more of a plum color and it was a bit too purple on me for my pale skin tone but I have heard great reviews about that one as well.
I am off to grab the kids at school and then we are headed to a baseball playoff game this evening. I hope you have a great rest of your Wednesday!
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.
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.
I 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!
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:
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
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!
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!
Hello! How is your week going? I haven’t had as much time to check in on here lately with anything besides book content so I thought while I had a few minutes I would do a photo-heavy “currently loving” post.
The hecticness of Spring:
We are in the middle of the busiest part of the school year with the end of the year activities, spring baseball and everything else that happens when it is finally nice(ish) out in New England.
Yesterday I talked more about this on Instagram but while it is certainly a fun time of year, we haven’t had a real meal at home since April and the kids have been going to bed after 9pm which is about 45 minutes after my ideal bedtime. There are piles of “clean laundry” stacked on the window seat in our bedroom and I look longingly at all my books on my nightstand before I basically crash into bed each night once everyone is finally asleep and we have everything put away and laid out for the next day.
The good thing about being here “before” is knowing that this really is just a short season and life will get back to normal eventually. There has been a lot of coffee drinking and not a lot of downtime and I have been embracing audiobook season and reading in the short spurts when I can.
Iced lattes! I am not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing that we finally have wonderful coffee in our small town. There is nothing like an afternoon pick me up and Philo Ridge Farm makes the best lattes. Yesterday the sun was shining and I picked one up on my way home from work before getting the kids at school, the best!
Celine! If you haven’t watched this yet, you have to!! I love me some Celine and this Carpool Karaoke is one of the best yet!
We also are up to date on Chernobyl, which isn’t the easiest to watch but it is so well done. Emily Watson and Jared Harris are just amazing!
We have also been very entertained with all our backyard bird watching…although Buzz enjoys the squirrels the most. 😉 We have had some exciting visitors lately, including an Indigo Bunting and a Baltimore Oriole!
Kristin Ess shampoo and conditioner! Do you know that Vermont did not have its own Target until last fall?! A couple of months ago I tried this shampoo and conditioner when they were having a cartwheel app deal and it is my new fav! It smells incredible and it leaves my hair feeling moisturized without feeling weighed down and super shiny! I also love the dry shampoo and the blow dry mist.
Besides the unfortunate name, these Tinkle razors are the best! If you haven’t heard about face shaving as part of your skincare routine, you NEED to listen to the 10 Things To Tell You Skincare & Makeup Favorites podcast episode. I have been using these for years and they are great for peach fuzz, random chin hairs(thanks hormone changes after kids!) and also help with exfoliating your skin. Don’t knock it until you try it!
Last weekend we celebrated my SIL to be! SHe and my BIL will be getting married in July and we are so happy to be a part of their wedding celebration. We had such a fun weekend and it made me so excited for all the wedding festivities in under two months. You can read more about our weekend HERE.
Last week it was also National Mimosa Day and we celebrated at the Pure Barre studio. This was also my inspiration for our own mimosa bar at Antonia’s brunch bridal shower last weekend. We had orange juice, grapefruit juice and pomegranate juice at ours and they were delicious!
Alright, that is all for now! I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week. <3