Sometimes I think we need to do things that don't really matter that much. That are just a little frivolous. A treat. An indulgence. It can be really hard to let ourselves, right? We are busy and life is fast, and everyone else comes first. Their needs. And their wants, too. And personally? If I have any minutes of downtime, I squeeze every ounce of productivity out of them. Like I will run out of the bathroom after I put my two year old on the potty so I can put a plate in the dishwasher before I'm needed again. It's insanity. And if it's not chores, it's learning. I want to learn and grow and be better. I'm a self workaholic. I will listen to podcasts, read books, and watch TedTalks like it's my job. I act like I really have to do it. It's very hard for me to turn it all off. To rest. To stop being so serious. To get something I just want. If you need a brain break. A deep breath. A treat. A mini escape. Maybe this week's Friday Five will help you. From my favorite recent fiction read to my best fashion find, to my newest "mama treat" I don't share with my kids, this week is about how to not be productive. Because oh my gosh. We have got to just relax sometimes.
I am a self work, inspirational, memoir junkie. I love to read non fiction and get inspired, be advised, learn facts, and get smarter. But sometimes I really just need a break from all the thinking. So when I feel myself pulling back on my reading habits - not reading as much or having a hard time choosing my next read - I know it’s time for a brain break. I need fiction. A story. Something that has nothing to do with me. To just enjoy. No personal growth necessary. And this is one of my most recent fiction reads that I loved. Need to Know by Karen Cleveland is a CIA spy novel that all moms can probably relate to. It’s about a working mom, with all the regular working mom worries and struggles. She just happens to be in the CIA. She’s an analyst who finds herself in the center of a Russian spy ring. She’s floundering with what to do. How to protect her career, her family, and her country. The author, Cleveland, an actual CIA analyst, wrote the book while on maternity leave. As one does. So I felt like I was getting inside info from a real spy person. And it’s set up perfectly for a sequel, which I am highly anticipating.
I have no idea how I found out about Daily Harvest. I probably followed a wild web of links down the rabbit hole during a 3am feeding. But I’m glad. This food delivery service? It’s a splurge. Can I make my own smoothies? Yes. Are they as interesting and delicious and millennial hip as these? No. They are my “mama treat”. So mama doesn’t share. They come frozen. The cup suggests a liquid base to go well with the combination of ingredients (coconut water, almond milk, etc.) You just fill the cup of ingredients with the liquid base and dump it all in the blender. Pour it back in the cup, pop on the lid, borrow a straw from your kid, and go. My favorites so far are Chai + Coconut and Pineapple + Matcha.
I have waited for this day. Patiently. 3 babies in exactly 3 and a half years means that I have not bought jeans in 5 years. There was really no point. I was pregnant, postpartum, pregnant, postpartum, pregnant, postpartum. Weight up and down and all over the place. Any shopping I've done in these baby years? Target tees via fly by with babies in that crazy giant cart. A disappointing Stitch Fix equaling one pair of ok shorts. And a smattering of other gifts over the years. But really good jeans? Oh how I've missed you. So I put out a plea for advice on my Instagram stories, and my friend Shelby over at A Style Memoir sent me a link to these. They were on sale, 50% off (and still are, but sizes are limited). And I scooped them up as fast as I could. As a former stylist, I'm really picky about jeans. So here's why these are amazing. I don't have a budget for every trend. I'm just a regular mom who needs a solid pair of (super soft) skinnies that can take me from the playground to date night for a few seasons. So, in jeans speak, that means investing in a good medium wash stretch skinny in a mid to high rise. If you want jeans that are casual enough for running around with your kids but easy to dress up, that is what you need. There are a lot of trends out there in denim right now. Frayed hems and high rise light washes are the jam right now, and it can be hard to find a good classic cut and wash that you can really wear with everything from season to season. But these are a great choice. I'll be wearing mine pretty much always.
Ok so I borrowed this from my two year old. Poor baby has the worst eczema, and we have been on a mission to treat it. We have every cream and ointment and steroid cream and soak and balm you can think of. We just had her allergy tested, which came back with a mild allergy to eggs. We are one week in to a two week no eggs trial, and she is actually doing amazing. Her skin is really clearing up, but we keep a pretty strict skin care regimen for her as well. This was the first thing that ever made a difference for her, and we do it once a week or whenever she flares up. I do not have eczema, but when I smelled it and felt her skin after her first soak, I tossed some into the tub for me one night. I hardly ever take baths because I usually just choose sleep. But I loved this soak. And this brand makes several versions if you want to try one specifically for relaxation or muscle tension, which I will also be trying.
5. Emily Ley’s Spotify Playlists
Emily Ley is the creator of the Simplified Planner (which I use). Every month she puts out a Spotify Playlist. I love the new music I'm introduced to that I would never otherwise find because I only listen to Wee Sing and Praise Baby these days. And I of course dance it out to fun throwbacks for 30 somethings (hello Spice Girls) and good classics. The genres range from acoustic to country to pop to worship. It's been fun for me to check out every month. I like finding new songs and even introducing the girls to some of the hits from my tween years. They don't care. But I like it.