This summer is flying by, isn’t it? And since no one has much of going on this year, imagine how fast it would go if we were as busy as we normally are. Crazy.
This past month was a big one for our family. Dan turned 40, Finn had his first hair cut (I’m still recovering), and Kieran has made big strides in his reading skills (this has been a major stressor for me because he was homeschooled by me for the last third of kindergarten and I was so worried that he would be behind). Lots of good stuff. Other than that, we’ve been staying home as much as we can. We have ventured out for a few outdoor gatherings at friends’ houses, but we’re still keeping isolated for the most part.
Next week, we’re taking a trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I’m all sorts of conflicted about it, but it will be a very isolated trip. Our plan is to drive down in the early morning and avoid stopping as much as possible, get into our house, unpack, and stay there for the rest of the week. We will have to run out to the grocery store here and there, but other than that, our plan is to stay at our house and on the beach the entire time. Fingers crossed.
It feels very luxurious to be traveling anywhere right now. I didn’t think it was in the cards, but my mom booked a house for a week and my family is all going. Like I said, I’m a bit conflicted because I don’t want to do anything “irresponsible,” but we’re all following the pre- and post-travel protocols associated with traveling to North Carolina (a hot spot for the virus). I think it will be fine because we’ll be keeping to ourselves the entire time.
It will likely be a huge mental reset for all of us as well. With the fall feeling so uncertain, getting away from the usual will give us all time to turn off our worries and just enjoy some time together. I am so looking forward to it. Taking the kids to the beach is one of my favorite things. It will be really fun for Finn this year!
Anyway. I had some fun discoveries this past month. Nothing crazy, but such is Covid life!
- The first one is this amazing CBD oil. OK, so here’s a little backstory for you (get ready for a ramble). I have always been an anxious person, and I mean ALWAYS. Ever since I was a young child. Anxiety has ruled much of my adult life, and while I am able to keep it in check most of the time without medication, these past couple months have been incredibly stressful. Not just because of Covid and all that comes with that, but also because life has gotten weirdly hectic. I have been photographing for other bloggers for almost a year now as part of my business, and in the past two months, things sort of exploded. In a good way! I went from 1-2 regular clients to 5! Which means that I am super busy all the time with scheduling, cooking, styling, photographing, editing, invoicing, and so on. On top of having both my small kids home with me all the time (which will continue into the fall AND have homeschooling my first grader on top of it). On top of my own blog. On top of running the household. On top of all the stresses associated with Covid and what it means for our kid and his health conditions. On top of life. So, my anxiety sort of hit a new high about two months ago. I have a prescription for anxiety medication, but I can’t take it when I have the kids because it makes me too tired. I don’t feel comfortable taking it while I am taking care of them. So, I tried out the CBD oil above after doing a lot of research, and YOU GUYS, it has been a total game changer for me. I take it at night, as needed, to chill me out before bed and I swear, I have never slept better. It doesn’t knock you out like other sleep aids; it just mellows out the physiologic symptoms of anxiety (fluttery chest, mind reeling/running). I also don’t wake up with any sort of “hang over” from it, which I was getting with other sleep aids. And, if I need to take it during the day, I do a half dose and it works like a dream. Chills me out, calms me down, but doesn’t make me sleepy or loopy. It has really made such a huge difference in my anxiety levels. The company that makes this particular one is also a small business, owned and run by women, and keeps things small batch/organic/super high quality. I can’t recommend it enough!
- I also tried out this teeth whitening kit for the first time this past month, and I have to say, I love it. I was skeptical about it, but it definitely made a difference! I drink coffee every day and will have a few glasses of red wine throughout a week, so my teeth are definitely in need of brightening. I have used Crest white strips for years, but with two little kids, I was having a hard time devoting the time/remembering to use them. This kit is only 10 minutes a day! And while the results don’t quite match that of the white strips (30 minutes per day for two weeks), I think you get a significant amount of whitening in a much shorter period of time. I would say this kit is more parent friendly in terms of time/effort!
- Another discovery this past month was this watermelon kombucha. I have gotten out of the habit of drinking kombucha, and I’m trying to start again. This watermelon flavor was new to me, and it’s easily become my new favorite. So refreshing and light! I love it.
- If we’re discussing watermelon, I must tell you to try the La Croix watermelon flavor. It is my favorite by far. I am a watermelon freak, though, so take it with a grain of salt. Haha. It’s tied for first with the peach-pear as my favorite La Croix.
- I also have been using this monk fruit sweetener for the past few weeks, and I am really liking it so far. In an effort to cut back on sugar, particularly in my morning coffee (I will never be a black coffee drinker – I’ve been trying for years and just can’t do it), I wanted to try monk fruit as a more natural sugar alternative. It has ZERO aftertaste and is more natural than any other sugar alternative I’ve tried. Stevia has too much of a bitter taste for me. This has been awesome in my coffee. I can’t wait to try it in some cocktails! Stay tuned.
- I discovered this adorable dress on Amazon this past month. It’s light and flattering and can be worn as a dress or a bathing suit cover up. I have it in the wine red color, but I’m thinking I might get it one or two other colors before our trip. Love it.
- As I mentioned before, we’ve been working on Kieran’s reading a lot this summer. It’s my biggest concern when it comes to his education – just because I am not a trained teacher and feel completely inept when it comes to teaching him so many of these foundational things. We are loving these little box sets for him. I started with the “A” level months ago, and now we’re working through the “B” and “C” levels. They are perfect for his age because they work on reading foundations but not in an overwhelming way. Simple, 1-2 sentences at a time. He really likes them and doesn’t get discouraged if he doesn’t get something right. So many other “first reading” books that I’ve used frustrate him because I think they ask too much too soon of a young reader. These are truly simple but still good – if that makes sense!
- This next one really only pertains to bloggers or photographers, but back in May, I ordered some backdrops from Woodville Workshop. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years but it is sort of an investment, and I wanted to wait until it was worth doing. Now that my photography business has sort of taken off, I felt that it was time to make the investment, and I am so glad that I did. I ordered four and I love every single one. The quality is amazing. They’re all so beautiful! And they’re lighter/easier to move around than the other backdrops I have. Absolutely LOVE them. If I could go back in time, I would have started with Woodville and just added onto my collection.
- Last and certainly not least, I bought Dan this percussive muscle theragun for his 40th birthday, and we’re both loving it. We both work out A LOT, and well, we’re both getting older. Exercise takes a toll on the body like it never did before, and this thing has been so great. It’s like a deep tissue massage. I actually made myself sore with it once, so we definitely use it carefully, but it is amazing when done right. Ever since having babies, my hips are SO TIGHT. I think things shifted around or something, haha, so I’ve been using this a couple times a week on my tight hip/buttocks area, and it loosens me right up and feels so incredible. We are surprised at how much we love this thing!
And that’s it! Lots of fun new discoveries this month that we are truly loving. I hope you all enjoy the month of August and soak up these last few weeks of summer!