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What I’m Loving Lately

It’s the spring 2018 edition! But first, just a quick recap of what I’ve been up to during my absence from the blog. From my lack of posting, you may think I haven’t been up to much writing, but I have been slogging through posts (about our house, toddler life, and motivational tips) in stolen minutes here and there. Mostly, I have just been enjoying the spring without the same sense of franticness I had in the winter. It¬†does mean that I haven’t been that motivated to get anything finished and posted. I’m going to work on that. ūüėČ

The following include Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a very small percentage of that sale at no cost to you. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For a full disclosure statement see my About page.

Spring Obsessions

The Outdoors

Just the general concept of it… Ha! We try to go to the park or spend some time in nature a¬†couple times a week. I appreciate the green spaces around¬†Modesto so much now that I have a small child. We explored the biggest park in town a few weekends ago and Rory had so much fun running down all the little hills. I don’t remember loving hikes or nature walks when I was a kid, but I find myself loving them more now.

East La Loma Park after a spring rain storm
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Currently Obsessing Over

I’ve been struggling to find time and energy to write. I have a bunch of half-assed posts that maybe I’ll revisit in the future, but for now they’ll languish in the drafts folder. Mostly, I’ve been really thinking about the quote,¬†Slow progress is still progress. I saw it on the She Is Recovering tumblr.

graphic by She Is Recovering

Instead of fussing over the fact that I am struggling with writing, I’ve jumped headlong into things that make me feel good. So here are the things I’m obsessing over in the month of August:

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Week in Review, August 5

This week I wrote about the importance of date nights with your partner, and also why couple friends and your girlfriends are important, too. Our go-to (and very irregular) date nights include a movie and dinner out, but generally our outings with friends always include our son. Last weekend my friends Maria and Laurent hosted us and cooked a Spanish lunch for us.

spanish lunch
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Week in Review, July 29

I need to think of a better name for these posts. I’m digging doing “themed” posts. I think this works better for me since I don’t have anything too exciting to report.¬†Last week I included some links about how to be a good guest/how to host, and this week I’m going to share some brunch links! I love brunch so much. It’s probably my favorite meal to host for friends.

challa french toast

Brunch Ideas:

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Week in Review, July 22

Summer is in full swing. We’ve had a first slew of really hot days, and I’ve pretty much just been a melty pile of goo. Today I decided to forgo an afternoon walk and went in the morning instead. Afterward I took a bath! A BATH. WHAT? I am not generally a bath person, but I have three or four Lush bath bombs sitting in my cabinet and I decided what the hell. So I had a tepid soak with a Blackberry bath bomb. It was so pretty!

blackberry bath bomb in a pink bathroom
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My Week in Review, July 8

I sometimes question¬†myself for starting¬†a lifestyle blog when there are so many big issues going on in the world right now. I made a career out of helping students find their path, and while I didn’t give it up lightly, being a stay at home mom makes me wonder at the end of each week if I could be doing more. I struggle to feel like I’m¬†enough. I think we all do.

I am¬†a feminist and I support social justice movements for gender, sexual,¬†racial, ethnic and class equality. While I don’t write about these subjects, I have to believe that what I am writing about is worthwhile. Self-care, living well within your means, feeding and clothing yourself and your family, managing your time and your home, creating and appreciating art and culture, and dreaming big is universal. I’m going to keep working on this blog, reaching out, and connecting. Writing and sharing is what keeps us¬†connected to the world, it’s what helps us make sense of it.

pink flowers on the sidewalk
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My Week in Review, June 30

Some of the following include Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a percentage of that sale at no cost to you. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For a full disclosure statement see my About page.

I know I’ve talked about self-care before, but I’d just like to suggest taking yourself out to lunch with a friend and giving yourself a pedicure with a classic red nail polish (I chose Come to Bed Red by Butter London). I feel like a million bucks in comparison to how I¬†started out¬†this week. Read a chapter in your current book, paint your nails, take a walk alone to clear your head.¬†Do one thing for yourself, and yourself only, as my friend Maggie says. Ignore the dishes and the laundry, chores can wait.

treat yourself. do self-care. just one thing for yourself. read a book, light a candle, do your nails.
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My Week in Review, June 24

Some of the following include Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a percentage of that sale at no cost to you. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For a full disclosure statement see my About page.

Another hectic week has flown by. Are there any other kind? Since my last week in review, there have been some big changes and a lot of firsts. I toured 20 houses for sale; bought the first swimsuit I picked up off the rack at Macy’s so I could go swimming with Rory for the first time in his little life;¬†wore a swimsuit for the first time since childbirth, and¬†swam for the first time since¬†2009; celebrated Father’s Day with my family for the first time since 2003. FYI, I can’t find the suit online at¬†Macy’s but here it is at Amazon¬†if you are curious. Sad face because it’s cheaper there than what I paid in the store.

I have to say, despite the stress of house hunting and having to wear a bathing suit in front of people, it was an awesome time. I actually really like the swimsuit and refused to feel bad about myself in any way when I was in the dressing room, and I kept any negative self-talk at bay while I was poolside. The important thing is that I got to spend time with my family and experience swimming with Rory. It was nothing short of special.¬†I have finally learned to be gentle with myself…it only took 35 years.

succulents from moorten botanical garden in palm springs
Succulents from Moorten Botanical Garden. Follow me on Instagram @inventedcharm

This weekend we’re headed out of town again for a family birthday party, but on Sunday I’m hopeful to get down to the nursery to pick up some more plants. We have a bunny population that apparently loves succulents!? Two of my succulents in my planter look eaten, and my lavender plant is all wilted and dry even though I’ve been watering it. Last fall we went to Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs and it gave me grand dreams of having a beautiful patio full of planties. I really need to up my game if we’re going to put our condo on the market.

For your reading pleasure:

  • Summer treats you can enjoy on a budget¬†from Invented Charm:¬†A quick plug for myself. Can I just ask if blogging ever feels like it gets easier? Don’t get me wrong, I’m really enjoying it. I just wonder because I plan posts and think they will take a certain amount of time to execute, and I’m nearly always wrong by a lot. Case in point, I finally managed to publish this¬†piece¬†late last night¬†only¬†after channeling Tiffany Han’s advice on letting go of perfection…
  • How to Give Back When You’re Trying to Save from The Everygirl: I haven’t put much thought into creating a budget for charitable giving, but I do let my heart speak to me. A friend was seeking contributions for her Relay for Life campaign and shared her personal connection to the cause and it touched me. It was easy to hit the donate button and select an amount that I could make work with my means. If you’re waiting to get rich before giving, don’t. Give, give, give–what you can, when you can. You will never regret sharing.
  • Salted Butter vs Unsalted Butter in Baking¬†from Sally’s Baking Addiction: If you want to improve your baking skills, I definitely recommend the whole¬†baking basics series of posts from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I am a self-taught baker, and by that I mean I just started baking one day without knowing or trying to learn any of the science. I’ve had mostly success, but then I’ve never been particularly adventurous. I learned a lot from reading the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook by Christina Tosi, and her recipes were the only ones where I really struggled to get things right.

Entertainment

I hope you have a great weekend!

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My Week in Review, June 17

This has been an exhausting week! I can’t believe it’s finally Friday. We decided to take a semi-spur of the moment trip up to my hometown to visit family and friends, and also because we are considering a move! So we’ve been checking out houses and seeing if this will be a good fit for us.¬†I gave up on trying to post three times this week. There was just no way I could manage it with packing for a trip, a very long drive on Wednesday night with a toddler, and touring houses all day today. Here is what I did do this week…

What I Ate:

  • Turkey Bolognese with pasta adapted from Life is But a Dish and Penney Lane: I made this last Friday and we feasted on the leftovers for several days. I even hosted an impromptu dinner with a friend on Tuesday night! It’s quick and easy and doesn’t call for anything too complicated. It paired nicely with a Pinot Noir and a Ros√©, FYI. Added bonus: my kid loves homemade bolognese and ate it all up.
turkey bolognese quick and simple with pantry staples
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Entertainment:

For your reading pleasure:

  • 5 Reasons You Should Take a Break from Watching TV¬†from A Beautiful Mess:¬†I read this and said YES aloud and then told my friend Maggie. She had already read this post and we made a pact to cut TV (and then I think we both kind of failed, oops). But we are definitely down for cutting TV this summer. I’m thinking of limiting my TV to just the shows I actually look forward to each week and cutting the ones that I just let play in the background while I mess around on my iPad. I could use that time more effectively elsewhere.
  • Want to Change the World? Be a Writer. from Helene In Between: I was struck by these lines, “As bloggers, we have a platform, even if it sometimes seems like a small one. Our articles do have an impact. We actually can make a difference.” That’s how I felt in my previous job in higher education. I think that’s all I’ve ever wanted out of my life–to make a difference–and it’s exciting to think that I don’t have to give that up even though I’m a full-time mom and part-time blogger.
  • Cherry Blackout Brownies from Mouth Half Full: Cassie asked for help on a name via Twitter and I obliged. I am super curious about brownies with black beans! I’ve made chocolate chip cookies with chickpeas before, so I’m totally game for this dessert/legume combo!

On the tube:

  • Angie Tribeca on TBS: “Why does a baby need a music class? What, is he going to start a band?” #tooreal #mykidtakesbabymusicclasses

Miscellany:

  • Tegan & Sara and the Scott Brothers team up for a video: I love Tegan & Sara, and I watch all things Property Brothers. Therefore, I think this is a match made in heaven.

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