Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tuesday Tidbits

We are what? Week 6 of "at home" orders now? I've lost track! 
I do not want to forget these days at home. We are all living in historical times and even though our days aren't super exciting, I want to continue to keep these memories for our little family....and I love to share them with you too!

What are some things we've been up to?

*Lots of Walks---we hit the pavement everyday and usually one walk a day involves Hank in his stroller and the other one he is walking...and exploring everything! I am so thrilled for this spring weather we've been having!

*Crafting--- I try and have Hank do one art type thing a day. Whether it's coloring, painting, shaving cream, play doh, chalk---something! He is in LOVE with kinetic sand (he got a set for Easter) and I just ordered him another refill pack. I even got in on the crafting---I got bored the other night and walked out to our backyard (still all dirt, no landscaping yet), picked up a big rock and painted it with the 2 paint colors I had on hand! It looks pretty cute on our front step.

*Cooking---It has been so fun having more time in the kitchen to make dinner, treats, etc. I've been reaching for some go to faves and some new finds too. By the way, I've been getting plenty of recipe inspo from my own blog. Click HERE for all my recipe posts. We are having the Beef Tamale Skillet tonight. 
One of my fave easy meals---wheat angel hair, tomatoes, chicken, spinach, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest

We grilled the other night and it was perfection. My favorite restaurant is The Bohemian so we tried to recreate their amazing burger at home. 
Did we let Hank stay up until 10:00 to bake cookies with me? Yep. He loves to be a kitchen helper. 

THE BEST COOKIES I'VE EVER MADE! I browned the butter. Game changer. Recipe is HERE

Greek Beef Bowls such an easy slow cooker meal 

*Online teaching: It's weird teaching 1st grade online. I miss the kids terribly. This time, I hope, reminds us all that teaching students trumps the content all day long. I was still able to do my butterfly unit and have discovered some fun uses of zoom time with my class, but I miss our little corner of the world. I am so impressed by parents who are holding down the fort for their multiple children while managing their own jobs too. If anything, I hope I learn more skills and techniques to bring to my classroom when we go back. But for the record, I don't miss packing lunches or wrangling Hank out the door at 7 am. 
Hank has loved having the butterflies at our house. All 5 hatched this week! 

My view while online teaching. AJ and I usually take turns being with Hank and working during the day.

I popped into school last week and cleaned out my students' desks. So surreal I won't be teaching them from our classroom ever again. 
*Seeking the joy in the little moments----like an iced Starbucks at the drive thru, my Spice Girls/Cher playlist for basement workouts, staying up way past our bedtimes, and finding laughter when we can. This situation is not ideal, but maybe, just maybe, we can grow a bit from it. I sure hope so. 

Savor Your Sparkle,

PS) I laughed at this meme for 5 minutes. #truthhoney
Spa Day for 1 please!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

April Reads

image from seattlerefined.com 
It's my monthly reads post! I've got 6 books for you this month. If I've gotta stay home, I sure am thankful to be with my dudes and some good books!! Ok, first up, an audio book....

1. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling: This was a great listen but I felt like this book would NEVER END because I started it at the end of February (it's 17 discs long), and then the world became a dumpster fire and I stopped driving to and from work (and on errands, and to the gym, and to every single place ever) and instead of 4-5 discs a week, I was lucky if I was in the car an hour a week this past month or so. SOOOO.....all that to say, I finally took the long way home enough times to finish listening to this one (I cheated a watched the movie a few weeks ago) and liked it! This one was not nearly as good to me as The Prisoner of Azkaban (book 3), but I really liked the way the characters are changing and how the story is evolving. I feel like it's reaching its peak and I cannot wait to read all about Harry's last 3 years at Hogwarts. I'm so glad I made the Harry Potter series my New Years resolution.

2. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver: This was my March Book of the Month Club pick. This is about a young woman whose fiancee dies unexpectedly. She is working on building her new normal with her fiancee's quirky best friend by her side, when she experiences something mystical: an alternate reality in her dreams where her life is completely normal. She goes back and forth in both worlds. This book had a year long time line and I really enjoyed this story. It is sad but charming if that makes sense. This one will have you reading until the very end to see which "life" Lydia will choose.

3. On The Bright Side by Melanie Shankle: I have read every one of Melanie Shankle's books and I had pre-ordered this one on Amazon. Well, this was one of 3 of my Amazon items this month that has been "lost in transit." So....I was able to get a refund and try out Barnes and Noble curbside pick up for this one and One of Us is Lying. This book was just as delightful as Melanie's other books and could a book called "On the Bright Side" be any more relevant for these days we are living in now?? Melanie is real, and raw, and hilarious. In between her musings on motherhood (I took a picture of my favorite quote from the book, "The truth is, it's never been a parent's job to make childhood magical. It already is magical. They get summers off and someone makes dinner for them every night. That's magical. As adults, that's what we refer to as vacation") and haircolor, she drops some beautiful words of truth. She sums up her look on the bright side with writing, "God is good. God is ever present. God is sovereign and full of grace, mercy and love for us." This book really is a bright spot.

4. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus: This is a YA book that I had heard great things about. I really enjoyed this twisty, fast paced book. This is about a death at a high school and the 4 teens suspected of committing the crime. It's told in back in forth style and really did have me guessing. If you liked the show Pretty Little Liars, this book is right up your alley.

5. The First Time by Colton Underwood: Could this be the worst book I've read all year? But, Leslie, it's only April, how can you make that call so soon? If you read it, you know. Guyyyyys, I love anything involving Bachelor Nation and am a diehard fan of the show. I really liked Colton and despite being teased with a fence jump for weeks on end, I enjoyed his season. But this book is garbage. Here's the thing: I think Colton is a nice guy. He means well and I'm happy he found love with Cassie, but the dude is just not super likable. He basically groomed himself since high school for a role like this and he is in love with himself and his new found celebrity. It's just a really odd book and I wish someone close to him would have let him know "author" should maybe not appear on his resume. But did this entertain me in the days of Covid? Yep, sure did.

6. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: This was a book borrowed from my sister. It took me a while to get into it, and half way through I declared it a "meh" book, but by the end, it really grew on me. I couldn't put it down there in the last bit and overall I ended up really liking it. This is about a world in 2020 where we have a female president and her gay snarky son ends up falling in love with the Prince of England! It's a fun premise and even though the main character Alex, the first son, wasn't my fave at first, he really grew on me. This one is definitely rated R and is pretty pearl clutching (in the words of my sister). This is a great beach read (or, who are we kidding? No one is on vacation. This is a great escape from covid craziness in your house).

That's a wrap on April reads! I am so missing the library and have gotten creative with borrowing and sharing books and buying some too. My library card is burning a hole in my pocket! What wonderful reads have you tackled while in quarantine?

Savor Your Sparkle,

Here are all my reads of 2020 so far with stars by my faves.....
1. The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg
2. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
3. *Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
4. Over the Top by Jonathan VanNess
5. *Teach Like Finland by Timothy D. Walker
6. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
7. *Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
9. *Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
10. Finding Chika by Mitch Albom
11. The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James
12. *Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
13. The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
14. *Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
15. *True Crime Addict by James Renner
16. The Ingredients of Us by Jennifer Gold
17. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
18. Rushing Woman's Syndrome by Libby Weaver 
19. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
20. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
21. *On the Bright Side by Melanie Shankle
22. *One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
23. The First Time by Colton Underwood
24. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Easter Weekend and Life Lately

Hi friends,
    I've got lots of pictures for you on the blog today. Last week was spring break and since we're living that pandemic life, not much changed----lots of walks, cooking, watching movies, taking naps. It was nice to have a little breather and get more organized/prepared for online learning.  Hank has been enjoying playing outside and we've been taking his Paw Patrol car to an empty parking lot by us. He just loves cruising around!

a drive to Park City for a drive thu dirty chai. Sometimes you've just got to bust out. 

Easter weekend we dyed eggs (Hank was so excited!) and I made THESE raspberry almond scones and THIS sausage quiche for my parents. We dropped off their brunch, they gave Hank his Easter goodies (through the window.....we are taking social distancing seriously over here), and we came home and enjoyed our brunch while watching Easter church live. It was a different Easter than we've ever had but it was nice nonetheless. 

My awesome family gave me a "farmhouse" inspired Easter basket....look at these cute goodies! Speaking of the house, it's been sort of nice having some extra time to settle in. We've made arrangements for our fence installation and are beginning to make plans for our backyard. If we've got to be home so much, I am so very thankful we're here in our new home! 

We're back to our "new normal" groove of online learning-- managing Zoom meetings, recording teaching videos, answering emails, finding cool resources. It's certainly getting easier as time goes on. The most difficult part for me is that I felt I was in a really good groove of being 100% at school when I was there and 100% at home when I was here, but now it's all mixed up. It's a delicate balance. I am enjoying this extra time to play with Hank that's for sure. 

I am loving all these "quarantine house" images. Great conversation starters! 

And all discussion of enjoying "downtime" and home aside, once the world opens back up again, you can bet your bottom dollar,  I will be the first one in line for a professional mani/pedi! 

Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Sane, and always Savor Your Sparkle,

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Let's Talk....Skin Care!

I know we're in the midst of the covid pandemic and I don't want to minimize that at all. But sometimes it's nice to have a distraction so today's post is all about skin care! I've tried lots of different products and potions over the years, but the system I'm using now is probably my favorite. I love makeup (although you'd hardly know these days with me sporting the bare faced look), but the truth is, makeup only accentuates the natural skin you've got. Skin care is really more important. After all, it's with you for life and is the palette on which all your other makeup looks go.

So.....here's my weekly skin care routine.

Monday-Cleanse/Moisturize/evening eye cream
Tuesday-Cleanse/Moisturize/evening eye cream----evening cleanse with exfoliant
Wednesday-Cleanse/Moisturize/evening at home facial
Thursday-Cleanse/Moisturize/evening eye cream
Friday-Cleanse/Moisturize/evening eye cream----evening cleanse with exfoliant
Saturday-Cleanse/Moisturize/evening eye cream
Sunday-Morning cleanse with exfoliant/pore extractor mask and evening cleanse/moisturize/eye cream

It might seem complicated, but it's essentially just washing my face/moisturizing and then 3 times a week I use an exfoliating cleanser. Once a week I mask and once a week I do an at home facial. On Wednesdays the whole thing takes about 10 minutes, but normally my routine takes about 3 minutes a day. Honestly.

Let's talk products---I love the Philosophy skin care.
1. Daily Cleanser-Purity Made Simple
2, Moisturizer-Purity Made Simple
3. Eye Cream-Neutrogena Rapid Repair Eye Cream
4. Exfoliant-Microdelivery Exfoliating Face Wash
5. Mask-Purity Pore Extractor
6. Facials-Microdelivery resurfacing peel/detoxifying oxygen peel

The facials/peels were a Christmas gift so I just only started adding them to my routine in January and I love them! I feel like I'm at a spa just in my house! I use the Neutrogena eye cream because it is significantly cheaper than the Philosophy eye creams. I just can't bring myself to shell out the money for their eye cream. Philosophy is also great at freebies and gift sets a few times a year. I received their Ultimate Miracle Worker rejuventating SPF 30 cream in a tiny trial size and it's perfect for these days where I'm not wearing any makeup but going for walks and things and want some light SPF. I've been using it in the morning in place of my regular moisturizer. I might need to buy the full size, I love it that much.  Now that I'm into my 30's I realize the importance of sun protection.

I also use the Costco Brand Makeup removing wipes for my eyes in the evening before I wash my face. 

As far as lips go, I love love love Burts Bees tinted lip balm, with a swipe of Bath and Body Works mentha lip shine. Portland Bee Balm is my favorite lip balm. I am on the hunt for a good lip scrub too. 

And I am aware that it's "extra" but I found a terry cloth "headband" like this one for $3 at the Target Dollar spot and I love it. Warning, your husband might make fun of you if you wear this, ask me how I know. Haha. 

My very favorite tinted moisturizer (instead of a foundation) was from Philosophy as well and was discontinued. Boooo! I used to use the Bare Minerals tinted moisturizer and might need to give it a try again. I love love love multi-tasking products with some coverage, moisture, and SPF too! Any products you just love??? Let me know!

And finally, the most important and best skin care product.......




WATER!! Hydration is the key to so many elements of health and I guzzle water all day. And now that I'm not teaching, I can use the bathroom whenever I want. Score! Haha. 

So---what's your skincare routine? 

Savor Your Sparkle (and your skin!),