Oh hello! It’s been a little quiet around here with my more personal posts. It is fairly easy to share book reviews a few times a week because I have already written most of them for partnering publishers, but these take a while because I always have way too much to share! I like having a mix of book chatter and also some daily life so these posts are important to me but they just haven’t been able to be as much of a priority during this busier season of work.
The Dream Daughter Kindle Deal!
Before I share anything, I have to post that The Dream Daughter is a Kindle Deal today!! If you haven’t grabbed this yet, you need to! It is my favorite Diane Chamberlain book ever.
During the last couple of weeks, we started finding our regular rhythm again with the start of school for the boys. I am a creature of habit so while I am sad to lose the long days of summer I very much embrace this time of the year.
The pictures above are the perfect example of why parents have a harder time during summer…you are never alone! I was impressed with how much self-care I was able to fit in while doing the weekly grocery shopping and my BIL and SIL(whom I randomly ran into at the store) were just delighted to take this photo for me, ha!
Yup, I totally wore my noise-canceling headphones to the grocery store to listen to my audiobook while I shopped, and lots of people looked at me like I had 3 heads. You have to find space when you can and I have no shame. 😉
End of Summer
On our last weekend of summer vacation, we had a campfire in the yard and make S’mores. I am also very excited about my new Ogunquit sticker from our family vacation and I had many water bottles in my cupboard to choose from for where I would display it. We try to not get a bunch of junk as souvenirs(we already have enough!) so stickers have been a fun thing to get when we travel. Buzz was just happy we were all reunited! Speaking of Maine, I am planning on sharing my post on our trip this weekend, so stay tuned.
Back to School
The boys headed back to school and everyone was excited except Buzz! They are now in 1st and 4th grade and it has been a fairly smooth transition. The hardest part has been getting everyone back on an earlier bedtime and I don’t see this struggle going away anytime soon.
The boys were excited to take my back to school photo and I was more than happy to oblige!
Kari and I celebrated quickly at Philo Ridge before headed off to our first days of work, ALONE!
Kristy and I were excited for our first day together without kids(our kids had opposite childcare schedules which worked great for work coverage but not so much for being able to work together) since June. We got a lot of work done and also got to catch up! I was able to finalize my post about The Better Together Book Club and Buzz was ecstatic to pick the kids up at school at the end of the day. He picked his newest bandana up at the Skida sidewalk sale.
It is absolutely my favorite time of year and I wish it was sweatshirt and jeans weather all year long. We have lucked out with a gorgeous September so far. It has been the perfect temperature and I am hoping it stays that way. I am done with the heat!
Back to the Barre
I am back in my regular barre before work routine and also to bringing 10 bags of random stuff to work. Kristy is clearly very accommodating. I like to take a lot of my book photos at her house, mostly because it is way cleaner than mine. She is the queen of no clutter which is my ultimate goal in life but it probably will never happen.
Speaking of photos, one of my friends asked me the other day if I post my Instagram posts in “real-time” and I thought it was a great question. I tend to take 3-4 different photos at one time for posts I want to do that week. I post the actual text in real-time but many of my photos I have previously taken if that makes sense. I tend to post in the early morning and that is not a great time to take photos because it is pitch black outside!
Mom’s Night Out
In celebration of back to school, my friend Elisa and I went out the other evening. We had a drink at Shelburne Farms and then made our way to Peg & Ters for dinner. We ended up running into a bunch of other school moms so I think everyone was feeling festive this past week…and we were home by 8pm!
While a drink by the lake is lovely, regular life looks a lot more like this. The kids are excited about book orders and the newest Dog Man bookand we have been trying to teach both kids how to put away their own laundry, which is a work in progress…I did teach Parker about the gift of listening to a podcast while you do it, and he is a fan!
And Buzz…he loves life on a farm but boy does he get dirty! We have to spray him off with the hose and then give him a full bath more than we would like to admit, ugh!
Speaking of podcasts…
These are some series/episodes I have been loving…
One of the most wonderful parts of the online reading community is the connections I have made through it. I have met book lovers from all over the world as well as in our very small state of Vermont. While I love the reach online connections can allow you, there is something so special about connecting in person.
Last spring I had the idea of starting a local book club centering around issues that are not only a big part of my life but so many of the women around me. Through the help and support of our local library, this dream has become a reality. The Better Together Book Club is a book group focusing on motherhood and will be starting this fall!
The Better Together Book Club
My friend, reader, fellow mom and elementary school Literacy Coach/Specialist Kelly and I are delighted to be co-facilitating this group together! We have been working hard behind the scenes and couldn’t be more excited to finally be making this public! Information went out in the Charlotte Library Newsletter yesterday so we thought it was the perfect time to share online as well.
Book selections will change monthly and will be a mix of fiction and nonfiction, including topics pertaining to parenting, marriage, mental health, self-care and the work/life “balance”. We will meet and discuss the book and topics relating to it as well as enjoying some tea and light snacks. We are also so honored that we already have some of the authors scheduled to come when we discuss their book!
Our First Book Club Selection
Our first book club selection will be To Have and To Hold.While I am lucky to have had many conversations with the people in my personal life, never have I read something that explains the complexities of motherhood and marriage in such a profound manner until I read this book. The highs and lows of parenthood, the immense love and also the intense quest to reclaim ourselves as women and partners when our lives will never be the same are so real and valid.
Author Molly Millwood will join the discussion on Thursday, October 10 @ 7:00pm. Books are available for loan at the circulation desk. Registration is required by contacting Susanna or Margaret at the Charlotte Library at email@example.com Once the spots are full a waitlist will be started. While this event is open to anyone in the area, priority will be given to Charlotte residents if a waitlist occurs.
Hardcopy & Ebook Copies
Charlotte librarians Susanna and Margaret have been so amazing at helping get this group up and running with us. Our October book, To Have and To Hold, is now available as a “Charlotte Only” book on Libby (which decreases the wait time significantly!). They also ordered 10 copies of To Have and To Hold which will be available at the library for pick up after Labor Day!
Book Club Ongoing Schedule & Communication
After our first event, The Better Together Book Club will continue to meet monthly at The Charlotte Library the second Wednesday of every month from 7:00-8:30pm. Subsequent books will be available a month before each book club so everyone has time to read them. All announcements will be shared and in our private facebook group which you can be added to once you are registered.
If you live in the area, we would love to have you join us! If you don’t, we would love it if you would like to follow along. We plan on sharing updates about each book club on my blog which will include our discussion questions and highlights of our discussion. I will also announce the next book we will be discussing at that time.
I just talked with Susanna and we only have a few spots left so if you are interested, shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to register! And please feel free to email or comment below with any questions. **Update, as of 8/30/19 there is a waitlist for this group**
Hi everyone and happy Friday night. While I may not be drinking coffee right now, I did just have some espresso gelato, so that counts right?
After a fun week of camp for the kids and work for us, it feels great to have no plans tonight. We may live in a small town but we live close to a lot of amazing food options and tonight we visited Pizza On Earth for some to-go pizza. We picked up two pies and also each had a little cup of gelato, before dinner! I know, just living on the edge over here….It was delicious and was such a good reminder of the ease of summer nights.
August is a big time of reflection for me on what has worked so far this past year and what might need some adjusting. Now that both our kid’s schedules really follow the school calendar it really does feel like the end one of one year and the start of a new one in so many ways.
This past week the kids were in a day camp which allowed me to have a lot more work hour available since school ended back in mid-June. This time was also a great indicator of how I can work smarter once we are back to this “regular” schedule in a few weeks.
While I got a lot done, it was also a reminder of how much I have to catch up on and the “pile” seems so high right now it feels a bit overwhelming. I talked about this on Instagram the other day but I have felt like I am just treading water over here during the last couple of months.
I have a supportive partner and many helpful resources that I don’t ever want to take for granted but it still often feels like I am just trying to stay afloat instead of making progress forward. I love to share my highlights on here but there is also the reality of life with two working parents and the endless cycle of family life at this stage and it is just something in the background that we are constantly navigating.
Academic Calendar Planner:
So with that in mind, I always follow the academic school year with my planners and it feels nice to have a “fresh start” as we transition back into more structure and routines. I love sitting down at the beginning of the school year and penciling in all the important dates and not having to wait until I have a new planner for the “new year” in January.
I am a paper planner person all the way and I just love having a physical calendar in front of me. I have tried many brands of planners over the years(Erin Condren, Emily Ley, etc), and have been the happiest with Bloom plannersand they also have a great price point.
In our kitchen, we also have a shared calendar which includes appointments, events, practices, etc that all of our family can refer to. The Day Designer wall calendars are wonderful for this and I love that they have so many color and print options depending on your style and preferences
It Takes a Village…
Swim team ended for us last week and it was the end of an intense but wonderful month and a half of daily swimming and the wonderful community that comes along with it. I think a lot about “our parenting village” and I am so grateful to have made friends in many different areas of our family life.
I could not have done so many things this summer without the help of these people and it was such an important reminder about how small things really do add up. I remember hearing about this elusive “village” when our kids were very young and feeling not quite sure how you created one.
I will say that saying just hello and finding something in common with another person can the gateway to lifelong friends. It is also important to remember that most other people feel the same way as you and would be happy to have a new friend or just someone to chat with for a bit.
This summer I also learned about hard cider seltzer, I am always late to these things but I love how delicious and dry these are, and these tiny cans are a perfect size!
I don’t think I can talk about some of the successes of summer without giving a shout out to the ultimate friend maker & connector, BEYBLADES. The boys were introduced to these this past spring by some friends at school and it has been a “bey bonanza” since then…You don’t need a lot (and they were using a pizza pan for their “arena” in the photo above, my friend Jess is super smart!) and they are hours of fun.
I had never heard of these things before but I guess they were a thing that has come back as of recently… Anyway, the kids are playing with them now as I write this and they only argue about them I’d say 50% of the time…so I would call that a win!
Speaking of the Kids Arguing…
If you talk to any other parent this time of year, they will probably say the same thing…school can start anytime now and THE KIDS NEED TO BE SEPARATED!!! Our kids truly do spend the entire summer together, so I totally get it, but oh man, the drama! So last weekend we decided to each go our own way with one of the boys, and it was BLISS!
Being a Tourist In Your Own Town/State…
There is something so fun about soaking in all the activities right where you live. Vermont is a place a lot of people visit for vacation and we are lucky to live here all the time.
Owls Head Farm PYO Blueberries…
We have an annual tradition of hitting up Owls Head Farm at our old stomping grounds in Richmond, and we were excited to go for the pick 6 quarts get a 7th free deal.
Our younger son is an amazing berry picker and he is at the perfect age to still think this is totally fun and cool(not so with the 9-year-old!) so we completed this task in under an hour. It was the most beautiful summer morning and the berries were big and delicious.
Swimming at Warren Falls:
How gorgeous and clear is this water? I drove over the Lincoln Gap with our older son and hit up the swimming holes at Warren Falls. He “snorkeled” (with his goggles) and I sat reading my book with my feet in the water. It was amazing.
If you don’t haveChaco Sandals, are you really a Vermonter? 😉 We also explored the area where people jump in and he went quite a few times while I watched and took some photos. My river jumping days are over(long story for another day!)but it was so fun to see him so excited about it!
Canteen Creemee Company
We didn’t drive all that way to not try out the Canteen Creemees and they were amazing!! I had the chocolate mint which was great but the maple creemee was out of this world!!! It was topped with maple cotton candle and while normally don’t do a lot of extra toppings (besides rainbow sprinkles) it was the perfect addition.
Currently NOT Loving…Packing Lunch!
After packing lunches for the boys for many years, we have fully embraced hot lunch at school..so my packing skills were a little rusty when we had to break out the old Yum Boxes for camp this week. I did okay on the first day…but it went downhill from there. It doesn’t matter whether you are feeding your kids at home or packing it for them, the food disappears faster than you can buy it and their opinions change on the daily…
One of my top parenting hacks is to get cafeteria lunch if your school has that option. Ours is amazing, well balanced and they have so many more options than the dismal options that were available when we were kids. It is such a time saver and also money saver as buying everything to pack in a lunch box (the two above were lunch and two snacks) is quite expensive, especially if you have big eaters.
It has been a little slow in the social media department as this week was very work-focused for me but I have been quite doing a bit of reading in the evenings. I finished The Forever Summer which was a perfect summer read (predictable yet enjoyable) and Life and Other Inconveniences was published this past week if you are looking for another one to add to your end of summer reading list! The Wedding Party is coming up next for me, and I have heard great things.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Friday! <3
This past weekend we celebrated the wedding of my brother in law Derek and new sister in law Antonia! There is nothing like a family wedding and we had so much fun celebrating and spending time all together. We lucked out with amazing weather! After an iffy forecast, it ended up being the perfect wedding day. The mountains made the most stunning backdrop at Jay Peak Resort.
On Friday afternoon we had the rehearsal followed by an amazing evening at The Belfry which is just down the road in Montgomery. My husband’s family has had a camp in this area for 20 years so this restaurant is a place filled with so many memories for everyone. The food was amazing and the company was even better.
The Wedding Morning
It doesn’t matter how late I go to bed, I still can’t sleep in! Fortunately, we were staying in the perfect place for a cup of coffee with a view. We are finally at the stage where if the kids stay up later they will sleep in for a bit and this made for a quiet morning of coffee by the fire. It was a brisk 57 degrees and it felt amazing…there is just nothing like a cool summer morning.
Wedding Day Prep
It was the first time all four of our family members were part of a wedding party at the same time. Lucas was the Best Man, I was the Matron of Honor and the kids were the ring bearers. It made for some interesting logistics but we were lucky that because it was a family wedding, there were a lot of family members around that were happy to help.
I spent the day with the bridal party getting ready and Lucas took the boys to the water park. The Pump House is the most perfect place for the age of our kids. They loved the water slides and river so much.
The Wedding Ceremony
The Ceremony took place by the pond and it was just gorgeous. The shuttles brought everyone around the resort for all the wedding festivities which made it super easy. The views and the breeze were amazing and our friend Mike officiated the wedding which made it is so special.
After the ceremony, we took some family photos and then headed down to the cocktail area. Derek and Antonia did a first look so we had already completed the bridal party photos too which was nice.
I really don’t have a lot of photos from the reception but it was so fun. I was a little nervous because both Lucas and I were both sharing a speech but once that was over it was a blast! 😉 I know people have strong opinions about this but I love having a DJ over a live band and if you know my tastes in music this probably surprises NO ONE. The music was great and everyone danced all evening.
While there weren’t many other kids at the wedding there were plenty of people that were young at heart! 😉 Between the dance floor, making human-sized straws, the maple syrup favors and a rowdy game of some sort of golf putting, they were thoroughly entertained all evening.
The Morning After & The Water Park
I had another leisurely morning of coffee and reading and then we joined the bride and groom for breakfast. If you haven’t had the Foundry Mimosa you are missing out, it is amazing!!
Once the boys were awake we headed to the water park as a family. We all had so much fun and Lucas and I even did the La Chute waterslide…I may have screamed the entire way down, ha.
All in all, it was a wonderful and meaningful weekend and we were so happy to be a part of it. I hope you enjoyed this peek at our family wedding weekend and I will be back later with a book review and the list of my favorite books of 2019 (so far!)
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
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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
Your Life, Your Camera a South Burlington, Vermont Photography Workshop…
This past weekend we taught another run of our introductory DSLR photography workshop, Your Life, Your Camera. Kristy and I wrote and began teaching this course in 2014 and it is exciting to see how much it has grown and the amazing local photography community that has been built as a part of this. We have met many so many amazing people along the way and love connecting with others who share the same passion for photography as we do.
We always ask for detailed feedback after each workshop and so much appreciate with our participants take the time to respond because it helps us make this workshop the best and most helpful it can be.
I get a lot of questions about our class and so I thought I would give a brief summary of what a day in the life of our workshop looks like…
What Does A Day In This Workshop Look Like?
Kristy and I spent a lot of time discussing how we could best use our four-hour workshop to educate and also allow for lots of hands-on assistance and practice. Our goal is for everyone to leave feeling more knowledgeable not only about photography but also about their own unique camera.
Kristy and I both shoot with Canon cameras but we are familiar with many brands including Nikon, Olympus, and Fujii We have some participants that come having some experience using their camera and some that have never even opened the box and we are able to work with both of these situations.
We start the class with introductions and a conversation about what makes a “good photo” and the emotional connection behind them. We then move into the more creative side of photography composition and engagement with your subjects.
A Presentation, Group Work & Hands-On Learning!
We have a powerpoint presentation that helps us explain this information as well as small group discussions to really make sure everyone is understanding the concepts. This part of the class is fun because these topics relate to any type of camera you are shooting with, even if it is your phone. Learning DSLR photography is a process and we love that this information can be taken away and used immediately to improve your overall creativity with photography as a whole.
The next part of our workshop discusses the more technical aspects of DSLR photography. We break down the exposure triangle and then discuss metering and how to choose your manual settings. Choosing your settings allows you to have full control over your camera versus letting your camera decide for you in automatic mode.
After discussing these topics we move into a visual demonstration and then allow all of our students to follow along as we set up different shots and then decide together what settings would work in different lighting situations. It is very important to us that this section of the class has enough hands-on practice to allow everyone to get comfortable with their own cameras and the concepts of metering. Due to our small class size, we are able to help each student individually as needed.
We gather together again to finish our presentation which includes a discussion on different types of natural light situations, choosing your ideal location, white balance, lenses, focal lengths, storage and editing program tips. This class does not cover a lot of discussion about editing.
Our Goal For Your, Life Your Camera
Our goal for Your Life, Your Camera is to teach you how to get the results you want so that when you do eventually move on to editing you are able to enhance your photos instead of trying to fix them. Choosing your manual settings allows you to take control over what your camera does instead of letting it guess on automatic mode. We want you to leave with the knowledge and confidence to keep shooting in manual after our class is over. Our class ends by talking about what’s next and then having more hands-on camera practice in small groups.
We do offer an intermediate and advanced DSLR class that many of our YLYC participants have taken. We are teaching another run of our intermediate class in March and I will make sure to share those details then. I hope you enjoyed hearing more about our class and please let me know or email us at email@example.com if you are interested in a future workshop. <3