When life is busy or overwhelming – or both! – noticing the little things that bring me ease or joy helps me find gratitude. I think it's also a form of self-care to make sure I have things in my life that make me feel cared for, whether its a habit, a product, or a snack. Kendra, the Lazy Genius, shares 10 things saving her life right now every season on her podcast. I always enjoy hearing what she's loving and how those things bring her joy. After listening to a recent "saving my life" episode, I was inspired to think of my own 10 things but gave it my own twist with the shine since that's kind of my power word. So here are 10 things adding shine to my life right now in this season of newish school routines and a very stale summer...
10. Title Nine tech joggers. Originally purchased for winter hiking, these lightweight pants are also the perfect Arizona summer pant! They are breathable, flattering, and very comfortable while also making me feel pulled together when I tuck my shirt into them. I repeat-wear them several days a week and don't care who notices.
9. My chill and helpful tween. Friends, our sweet Dashiell has not always been an easy kid. But more recently I have consistently noticed how understanding and helpful he has been. When Maeve is overwhelming me with her toddlerness he swoops in with a fun distraction. When we remind him to get something done he says okay instead of putting up a fight. When he hits a bump in the road, which used to derail him, I see him accept the situation and make the best of it. Recently when Dash was feeling overwhelmed with homework he was able to work with Chris and then got into such a productive groove that he finished more than he expected. It's really cool to watch your kids mature and to see them with the very skills you have been trying to nurture in them.
9. My Apple watch. Chris gifted me an Apple Watch for mother's day and I love it. I'm so happy to have a smart watch back on my wrist to track my activity and sleep. Plus I love controlling my podcasts and audiobooks from my wrist, having vibrating silent alarms, and not having to look at my phone for the time.
7. Sleep mask. Friends! This is changing my sleep for the better. I've always been an early riser (think 5 a.m. hour) but sometimes I want to be able to sleep in, like the rare morning that Maeve sleeps in and I'm not exercising, or when I'm traveling by myself. But I never could. Until I started using this sleep mask. Blocking out the light and the comfort of wearing something soft over my eyes has let me sleep past 6 a.m. several times when I had the opportunity. And that extra hour plus of sleep makes all the difference. Plus, this sleep mask is $7 from Target!
6. All the fall things at Trader Joe's. Grocery shopping is just better this time of year when the shelves are draped with leaf garlands and I never know what new seasonal items will be waiting. A few of my annual fall favorites include the cinnamon Toscano cheese, the pumpkin cranberry crisps, and the frozen butternut squash mac and cheese. Being at Trader Joe's is kind of the closest thing to real fall that we get here right now and it brings me so much joy.
5. Morning chore checklists. I wrote about using morning checklists for the kids last school year and I have re-established the habit for this year to great success. For our current version I printed checklists for each of the boys and put their half-sheets in page protectors. Then each morning they use a dry erase marker to check things off. Maeve really likes checking things off on my phone so I am using the app Chore Pad for her.
4. Chris's amazing pretend play skills. Maeve has a tendency to get very attached to one parent for a stretch of time and right now she is all about Chris. On weekday afternoons and on weekends Chris has been a hero of pretend play and toddler activities, from hunting invisible dragons to making a homemade puppet show.
3. Bon Iver and Feist playlists on Spotify. I enjoy these artists all year but to me they go especially well with fall. I like to play music once the kids are home from school as a way to set a chill mood for all of us, even if the kids aren't bringing chill energy. But do you know what isn't chill? Your aforementioned helpful tween asking why you are always playing this soft and sad sounding music. Haha busted!
2. Painting my nails a shiny black. Black nails sound so goth but on a nearly 40 year old lady they can also look sophisticated and seasonal. You should totally try it! I'm using Expressie quick-dry polish in Now or Never and this color in particular goes on so! well! I use the Orly Bonder base coat and the Sally Hansen Insta Dry top coat (although also love Seche Vite). (P.S. more about my home manicures.)
1. Queso catch up with a dear friend. Austin favorite Torchy's Tacos has landed in Gilbert which is quite exciting for this taco-loving Texan. Recently, Erica and I got together on a Sunday afternoon to catch up sans microphones over tacos and chips + queso (and it is the best queso, y'all!). Lately weekends can feel more stressful than weekdays depending on the mood of our toddler. We had had a long Saturday that weekend and a Sunday afternoon respite with a friend and delicious food was just what I needed.
I'd love to hear what's adding shine to your life lately!