3rd Qtr Favorites 2019

Good morning and Happy end of September/Beginning of October! We have reached the end of another quarter in 2019 and today I’m going to be talking about some of the things that I loved over the past few months. I’m switching things up a little bit and I’ll be doing a separate post talking about books and such that I loved. So, this post will focus on food/drink, makeup/skincare, travel, multimedia (tv/podcast/music/movies), and some kid things.

Food/Drink

Oh hi, I’m going to talk about alcohol. Yep, alcohol. I don’t really drink much, but…ya know…being in Europe/Germany. There is an early “baby” wine that is produced here called Federweißer (Federweisser) that is made up of freshly fermented grapes. It tastes like a carbonated grape juice and is absolutely delicious. It is available from September through to October, although it continues to Ferment as it stands in the bottle, so later batches may taste different and be stronger than earlier batches. I’ve only had the white version, but there is also a Rose and Red. It’s a nice light option if you would like to have a drink, but nothing too strong.

Makeup/Skincare

There isn’t really a lot new on the makeup and skincare front to chat about as I’ve been mostly sticking to our standards. I do want to say; I’ve been using the Gold Bond intense repair hand cream on my poor dry hands (the weather change that comes with cooler weather is NOT kind to my hands) and it’s been working relatively well. We also made copious use of sunscreen over the past few months with the height of summer hitting. I have found that the best sunscreen for both myself and the kids has been the Aveeno sun products. I would like to go a little bit higher end if I can, but honestly with Andrew’s skin being as sensitive as it is, this is what works, and I don’t want to chance changing it.

Travel

I don’t really know what to do with the travel section of my favorites. Do I talk about a favorite spot? A Favorite tour? Or, do I just talk about the trips we’ve taken as a recap? Or, do I talk about an item that I really loved while traveling? Let me know what you think. For today I’ll do a bit of a combo post. We had a couple of trips over the past quarter, our big Summer Holiday, and then a couple smaller day trips. I think my favorite spot of all was our little cottage in The Highlands of Scotland. Scotland has just captured a very special space in my heart. To go along with that, one of the best purchases we’ve made is purchasing Rain Jackets. Not only did they come in handy on our Holiday, but they’ve been very handy at home as well (when we remember them).

TV/Movies

So, we have very limited time with two very active toddlers for TV. This isn’t me trying to be all up in my own attitude, it’s just a statement of fact. Even when we get a chance to turn the TV on to adult related tv, chances are we can watch about 5-10 minutes before needing to handle something for the boys. So, for the most part I am reading or doing re watches of shows that I love and have already seen. For myself I am rewatching Suits, Gilmore Girls, and Friends, depending on what I’m in the mood for/how much time I have. I am actually desperate to watch Mind Hunters as well, but I have to wait for the right time to appear. Together we are re watching Big Bang Theory and first time watching the most recent season of Designated Survivor. Once we finish that, we are going to watch the most recent season of The Ranch.

Podcasts/Music

Ah, I’ve been bouncing between a Classical Music playlist and just a standard Top Alternative playlist lately for music. So, nothing really new there. I guess I could comment on Taylor Swifts new album- not the biggest fan. I only like a couple of the songs off of it. As for podcasts, I’ve been sticking to book related podcasts picking and choosing and then also listening to older episodes of She Percolates.

Kids’ Stuff

A Couple of random things for the kids’ section…they’ve been loving the soccer net that my husband purchased for them for our backyard. They’ve also both found a love for this specific style of swing. It’s like a spider net swing and when they see one, they have to be in it, swinging to new heights.

And that pretty sums up my favorites for the past quarter! I’m sorry it wasn’t the most exciting round up I’ve had, but to be completely honest, aside from July it’s been a pretty bare bones quarter over here. We’ve just been trying to keep our heads above the water as it’s been especially busy. What is something that you’ve been loving over the past quarter?

2nd Quarter Favorites

We’ve reached the end of another quarter and I want to take a minute to talk about some of the things that I’ve been loving lately. I really enjoy sharing my favorites with you and I hope that you may find some favorites too! I cover anything from home to style/fashion to food.

I will say- I did do a mid-quarter post about some of my favorite books/media options which you can read HERE. I’ll try not to repeat anything that I included there in this post.

Clothing/Accessories

I’ve got two clothing items to share with you today that have become staples in my “hotel” wardrobe. I feel like I am constantly reaching for them and I know I will continue to do so even when we get our household goods after moving in to our house.

6313769200629878336_IMG_4809The first item is this skirt. The brand is called Review and I found it in one of our local shopping stores. It fits like a dream and is just comfortable enough to wear all the time. I haven’t worn a jean skirt since I was in high school and was wary to pick one up, but I just really love the way this one looks. I usually pair it with a tucked in tea, but know I will be pairing it with my tank tops as well.

IMG_5375Another item is this dress. I talked about this in my last What I Wore post, but this dress is just…everything I love in a dress. It’s flowy and airy, can be paired with just about anything, and compliments a wide variety of body types. It is by the same company as the skirt, Review, and I found it in the same shop. Such a classic!

IMG_7195An accessory item that I have recently purchase and am loving is a new watch! I’m a big watch person, wear one every day, and am not the biggest fan of the smart watches. I just wanted something classic, that would match everything and do the time telling job. I switch between this one and my Skagen. This particular watch is the MVMT (Orion). I have found it easy to adjust to seeing multiple clock faces, and love that I can see what time it is in the states, along with the time here.

Multi Media (Podcasts/Music/TV)

Alright, music wise not much as changed. Still obsessing over Charlie Cunningham, The 1975, Muse, and Billie Eilish. I have, however, found some new podcasts that I’ve been binge listening to…ShePercolates is the first, My Favorite Murder, and All the Books. I’ve really found a stride with podcasts over the past couple weeks and it’s kind of what I want right now, more so than YouTube videos or anything. As for TV, we are still watching The Ranch and re runs of a show called Lost Girl (? Not sure about this one- it’s been the one that they are playing right now on the English channels on our German Hotel TV). We’ve recently watched a Holocaust documentary, which we enjoyed, and are hopeful that once we move in we will get a couple other shows to watch.

Books

Books that I’ve read recently, obsessed over and haven’t talked much about…hhmmm. Well I’ve just recently (like a couple weeks) read Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and loved it. Such a beautifully written story and I highly recommend that. I did also enjoy the thriller of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, although I found one twist to be a bit unnecessary. Both of these books do come with Content Warnings. I’ve also read Normal People by Sally Rooney recently and while I did personally enjoy it, I don’t know that it would be for everyone.  Most of the other books that I’ve read have been fairly average or I talked about them in my last blog post (you can read that HERE).

Food/Drink

Ah, we’ve recently once again become obsessed with Pesto Sauce. There is something about having a side dish of rotini with pesto in the summer months that is just so light and refreshing. It’s almost like a perfect complement to whatever you are making. I found a delicious, easy recipe for Chicken/Pasta with a Creamy Pesto sauce and we’ve been loving that.

I’ve also found a gluten free Chocolate Macaroon that is absolutely delicious. They are called Mrs. Crimble’s and they are just so good. They are made with coconut, bottom dipped in chocolate, and drizzled chocolate over top. So good and such a nice little treat!

Beauty

My beauty pick for this post is going to be my Garnier Micellar Water. I use this every evening to remove my makeup and it is just so incredibly refreshing. It removes all my makeup in one go without breaking or drying my skin out. My skin always just feels refreshed afterwards before I’ve even washed my face.

Other Random Bits (Kids/Travel)

We recently celebrated a birthday in our home, Andrew’s second, and once again, there were two presents that were big hits. The first being a Winnie the Pooh Stuffed animal. For Colton’s birthday we got him Tigger and he absolutely loved it, and I had wanted to give Andrew a Winnie one as well. He loves it, calls it his “baby” and carries it all around the house. The other gift that was a big hit (and was with Colton as well when he got them) are the Lego Duplo toys. These are such great gift options, they have so many different options (for example, Colton got the part/outdoor one and Andrew got a train one) and they are the perfect size for kids ages 2-4/5.

And that is all I’ve got for this quarter! I hope that you enjoyed this post and let me know what some of the items are that you have loved over the past couple months.

Lately Loving – Media May 2019

Good morning! I wanted to take a little bit of time this morning and talk about some of the things that I am loving lately. I am going to keep this to strictly multimedia (books/tv/movies/music) as I will still be doing my full quarterly favorites. I don’t want to overload you with all of my favorite things, but rather I’ve stumbled on a couple of things over the past month or so that I’ve really loved in those categories that I want to share.

So, we’ll start with Books (as always) :

I’ve recently read two books that I’ve really truly enjoyed, Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance and Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Two VERY different styles and genre’s, but both really really enjoyable.

Hillbilly Elegy shines a light on the Appalachian way of life, what it was like growing up with that and how he found himself becoming the man he is today. He approaches this novel in a very frank manner (he wholeheartedly acknowledges that he is what would be considered an above average individual) and shines a light on some problems that aren’t typically talked about or are rather glazed over. He doesn’t offer solutions, but rather talks about different options and what we could try to do to help. I appreciate his insight and the fact that he acknowledged and balanced both sides of the equation in this novel.

I’ve been in quite the memoir mood of late and have two more on my list to read, Becoming by Michelle Obama and To Shake the Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins.

Crazy Rich Asians went the completely opposite direction, depicting a story of an Asian family that has riches the rest of the world can’t even dare to dream of. It tells the story of a young woman trying (and fumbling) to navigate her way being introduced to her boyfriend’s family. His family happens to just be one of the oldest, wealthiest families in Singapore (think- members of the government and royalty owing fealty to them-wealthy) and also the strictest in terms of marriage and relationships. We follow several characters in their heads and their lives as they all come to terms to what wealth really means. It is a lighthearted novel that is just really easy to read (I read the 500+ pages in a little over 3 days!) and would be the perfect read for a summer vacation. It is part of a trilogy that I fully plan on continuing.

Next up on the list, TV:

I don’t really watch a lot of TV, but I have been starting to for a series that I’ve been putting together for my other blog (thecosybookshoppe.com). I’ve been working through a couple of shows and plan on starting a couple here in the next couple weeks.

The first show I’ve been watching is Strike. This is a British produced mystery/crime tv show based off of the Cormoran Strike series written by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). I really enjoyed the book series and the TV show was not a letdown. In fact, I almost prefer the TV show to the books. It’s the perfect balance.

We’ve also been working our way through The Ranch on Netflix, which I have to say has very much surprised me. I enjoy a good show that somewhat comments on current issues in a comedic, light hearted way. The Ranch balances out current issues, with family drama, friend drama, work drama and everything else that comes with a Sitcom. We are on the second “season” (or part as Netflix says) and have been having a good chuckle here and there.

Finally, I’ve been watching A Discovery of Witches…again. I think I actually talked about this in my 1stQuarter favorites, but it is finally coming out on American TV, which means I can purchase it through iTunes, which means that I’ve been watching every episode as it comes out. I’ve been loving watching it again and seeing the characters that I’ve loved from the book come to life in front of me. This is one of those series that I don’t think will ever get old for me (similar to Harry Potter).

I do plan on watching a couple of shows coming up: You, Game of Thrones (season 7- we are behind), and a couple of documentaries on Netflix. I’ll probably share more of those as my end of quarter wrap up.

Third up, Movies:

Next would be Movies, but we haven’t really watched any lately. Most of the movies we watch are animated for the kids, but even those have been sparse. Send me your movie recommendations because we need some!!

And finally, Music:

Oh boy. Another category that I am kind of lacking in. I’ve still been all over the alternative scene, replaying Billie Eilish’s album over and over and over again. I’ve also been loving listening to Muse’s most recent album, Dean Lewis, and Charlie Cunningham. I get really off and on with new music and I think right now I’m just savoring the music that I’m loving, rather than hearing all of the new stuff. I will say though; I wasn’t the biggest fan of Taylor Swift’s new song <gasp>. It was ok, but nothing that I would go absolutely crazy over.

Some Mommy Picks:

I am going to include some mommy picks in here, because my kids have FINALLY found a show that they love more than Paw Patrol. It’s a miracle! They have recently fallen in love with a show on Netflix called DinoTrux. It’s exactly what it sounds like, Dinosaurs in the forms of different types of trucks (a T-Rex as a crane or digger, Triceratops as a bull dozer, etc. ) and they have just been having a blast watching that. They also love the Boss Baby show and surprisingly they enjoy Teletubbies too (which Netflix has brought back from whatever vault that was in).

And that about wraps up what I’ve been loving lately! What have you been loving lately in the multimedia category? Let me know below!

1st Quarter 2019- Favorite Things

Good morning! It is April!! I can’t believe that we are already a quarter of the way through 2019, boggles my mind. I like to think of the year in quarters, in both evaluating my own goals, looking at business/blogging posts and such, as well as in just a general sense. I feel like tracking every month is a bit much for me, but I can’t not check in with myself and others at all, so quarterly is my happy place. I do an overview for what my intentions are for the year, how I’m achcieving (or not achieving) what I want, how my writing and posting are going, as well as how my reading is doing. I look atour family finances, what we’ve done as a family, our activities, etc.

This morning I am going to talk about some of my favorite things from the First Quarter of the year. This ranges far and wide from food and drinks to clothing and accessories, to movies, music, and TV Shows. I will try and include a variety of items and things that I talk about from quarter to quarter.

Clothing/Accessories:

IMG_0265.jpgIf you follow me on Social Media you know that I’ve been pretty much living in sweaters over the past couple of weeks. We are starting to get to that middle ground where it isn’t quite spring yet and winter still has it’s moments. I really like sweaters in general, but especially on those days where it may be a bit chilly when you leave in the morning, but warms up as the day goes on. I’ve been loving this particular sweater as it includes one of my intentions for this year and is the perfect warmth/lightness ratio.

Of course, we cannot forget the new slipper socks that I’ve fallen in love with. The coziest slippers I’ve worn (aside from my Uggs), these have been pretty much on my feet during the day when we are in the apartment. I can’t find the exact pair that I have, but THESE cabin socks are also a really good option!

IMG_9585I also picked up a new handbag of sorts. I’ll be talking about this more in my travel favorites, but I’ve been eyeing a new backpack/handbag for our little short travels. I wanted something that felt more…not diaper bag and all of my nicer bags are packed away in a shipping container with the rest of our household goods. Enter this Michael Kors backpack. It’s been a back/shoulder saver and I really love it!

Multi Media (Music/TV/Podcasts/Movies):

IMG_6705.PNGMusic is such an important part of our days and lives. I use it to calm down, to get pepped up, to have dance parties with our boys. We listen to just about anything, although lately I’ve been gravitating to Alternative and Classical. I’ve been really loving listening to Charlie Cunningham of late. Something about his music is just really calming and comforting right now. I’ve also been loving Billie Ellish, The 1975, and Imaginary Future. If you know of any good Alternative artists, please comment them down below because I would love for some new music to listen to!
IMG_6706As for TV, I quite honestly don’t even know what my favorite is anymore. In January A Discovery of Witches came out on Sundance Now and Shudder and I binged those 8 episodes about 3 times before we left the states. I am OBSESSED with the trilogy and am equally OBSESSED with the TV Show. It was really well done in terms of Book to TV adaptations. They are going to be doing a series 2 and 3, so I’m looking forward to those as well as to getting the first one on DVD whenever that can happen.

The only movies we’ve watched lately are animated ones on Netflix for the boys and with those I can’t think of one truly memorable one…

Books:

-4653231097784652077_IMG_0812.jpg

I’ve decided to make books it’s own category because reading is such a big part of me and who I am. I didn’t just want to lump it in with something else. So, it gets its own time JLet’s see, I’ve done a lot of reading over the past couple of months, but a few standout favorites are Us Against You by Frederik Backman, Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield, and Educated by Tara Westover. I also really enjoyed An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekannen. I’m looking forward to the reading plans I have for the next few months, more non fiction and memoirs alongside my standard adult fiction and mystery/thriller selections.

Food/Drink:

Let me start by saying the food here is absolutely delicious. I don’t think I’ve had something that was bad yet! I’m not going to touch on all of the food that I’ve been eating (stay tuned for the potential of a later post), but rather talk about some of the snacks that I’ve really liked over the past few months. This is going to probably be the most unhealthiest couple paragraphs you will ever read from me, but I figured why not share the yummy stuff.

First off, for travel I LOVE Kind Bars. These are healthy, filling options and even my picky toddler will eat a bar or two. IMG_6707.jpgOnce we got here, we feasted on the local candy options- which have been plentiful. I’ve been loving the Milka Oreo Bars, and the Cadbury chocolate eggs. We also found a chocolate mint filled stick, Choceur Mint Deluxe Chocolate Sticks, that we’ve absolutely loved.

As for drinks, we are just going to keep up the unhealthy options and I am going to talk about a soda. Now, I try to only drink soda a couple times a month, but I’ve had this particular soda a couple of times already and have loved it! I still love my regular Coca-Cola, but this one is just as good. It’s a mix soda that goes by many names, Mezzo Mix, Spezzi, Cola mix just to name a few. It’s basically Coca Cola mixed with Orange Fanta (or rather just Orange Soda) and it is delicious.

Now that all that crap food talk is over…

Beauty:

I don’t know if I will always have a beauty category because, let’s be real for a minute, beauty is only partially my thing. I know enough to put myself together and to keep my skin clear and not much more than that. I’m also forever behind the curve so there’s that too. My favorite this month is the perfect example of that…I’ve been loving the Too Faced Chocolate Bar eye shadow palette. It has the perfect amount of colors and the shadows are the creamiest. There have only been maybe one or two shadows that I’ve had an issue with in the palette, so I’m pretty pleased with it.

Other Random Bits:

I am going to share a couple of other travel and kid related favorites here in the Other category. The first being car seat carriers for travel. These carriers saved both our car seats and our sanity of trying to transport car seats from the car to the check in gate to baggage claim back to the check in gate. The next item I am going to talk about are the Vtech laptop computers. These have been great for our boys to a)sit calmly for a little while at the same time and b) be learning in a developmentally appropriate way. They don’t get a lot of time on them, but they’ve been so great for our older son to work on mastering his words and letters.

IMG_9313.jpgAnd finally, since I can’t seem to get through a post without mentioning mugs, I picked up a couple mugs over the first quarter of the year, and I’ve been loving this floral find that I got in a little tea shop. It is the perfect size and has the perfect hand hold. The floral design is minimal enough for my tastes and perfect for the spring weather ahead (and the cold winter days we just dealt with).

That’s all I’ve got for my 1st Quarter Favorites! What are some of the things that you are loving and have been loving lately?

 

 

 

 

Planning and Writing in 2019

I’ve said it time and time before, I’m a paper and pen kinda girl. I really enjoy having a paper planner as well as a journal to write in. I feel much more “together” when I can physically write out exactly what I need to do, how I’m feeling, and future plans.

IMG_8838

This year I am, once again, using a Day Designer planner. These can get a bit pricey for a planner, but so far they are the only planner that I’ve found that has everything that I like. I’ve got a monthly overview, as well as daily sheets that are half page time, half page to do list. It was absolutely perfect last year and I have a feeling it will be this year as well. I like to see where my time is being spent and to kind of “plot” my days out in bits of time, so having both is a major help.

The only difference from last year to this year in terms of planning is the size. I am going down from the bigger flagship to the slightly smaller version of the flagship. I do not think I am going to need as much room this year, as I’m only blogging, homemaking and “wife-ing”/parenting (and traveling!) this year. I am not balancing a job along with everything else.

As far as journaling goes, I am doing something fun! I’ve decided to switch things up from last year. My big thing last year was to cut down on notebooks. I didn’t want to have everything spread across a million different notebooks and journals, but rather one central location for everything. It didn’t work out well for me. It’s hard to track everything in one notebook when you are doing such a variety of things and I found myself doing it less and less as the year went on. I found that if I had made notes about a blog post I wanted to write it was really annoying to have to wade past random things to find the one note I made who knows when.

So, this year I am going to go back to how it was. I am going to have my planner, and then a couple different notebooks. I’ve got one for reading and my book notes (which then comes into play for my book blog), I’ve got one for blogging (different topics, rough outlines, overall thoughts and goals), and then an actual journal. I want to try and lump everything that doesn’t fall into the book or blogging sphere into my actual journal, whether that be ideas for stories or personal entries. I don’t want to go back a few years ago when I literally had about 10 different notebooks I was using- that was a little too much. It sounds complicated, and it may be a little over complicated, I’ll find out as the year goes on. I’ve got a couple journals lined up for the first few months of the year and then I’ll purchase as needed. I plan on doing a lot more writing this year than I have in the past.

So that is my set up for 2019! Are you a pen and paper person or do you plan/write digitally?

Summer Favorites!

Ah Summer…a time of heat, humidity, and endless sunshine. I love the sunshine bit, am ok with the heat portion, but hate the humidity! We are halfway through “Summer” and with August always having been what seemed to be the most unbearable month (I mean, seriously so close to Fall and yet so so far away), I thought I would share some of my favorites for this season. 

Swell bottle, apricots, Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie, shorts, tank, sandals, simple skin care, ray bans, books (Something in the Water, 

So, shall we start with the food bits and work our way around?

  1. S’well Bottle: This has been seriously a fantastic water bottle. I know it seems strange to talk about a water bottle, but honestly during the summer you need to hydrate and at least this way we are not using a plastic bottle, and it looks cute!
  2. Apricots: Seriously, everyone talks about watermelon all summer long and while I love a good watermelon, I seriously obsess over apricots. So so so delicious and my go to pick me up in summer months!
  3. Strawberry lemonade smoothie: I’ll link the recipe to this HERE, but it is so good! It has a really good combination of the sweet berry, but tart lemonade and the yogurt gives it just the right consistency. I’ll be drinking this for a long long time. 

Let’s talk clothes now:

  1. A high waisted pair of short shorts: Now I was never a big “high waisted” anything fan, I always thought it looked odd on me, but these shorts are so comfortable and with a cute half tucked (or cropped) top it comes out as a cute summer outfit. 
  2. A dress up or down tank: I’ve had this particular tank top for years and years, but I absolutely love it. You can dress it up with a blazer and some heals, or down with a pair of flats and ripped jeans. You can’t go wrong with a top like this during summer. It is loose, short, and cute. 
  3. A good pair of Sandals: Now I’m giving two different options, flip flops or actual sandals, either works. For flip flops I either like my Rainbow’s or my Nike’s and for sandals, this American Eagle pair is the only pair that I really reach for. All of the options are super comfortable, casual, and just give into that relaxed Summer vibe.
  4. Sunglasses: Can’t go wrong with sunglasses and I’ve got two pairs that I reach for. Both are by Ray Ban, one pair being their standard Aviators and the other being the Erika set. Love em both!

A big part of summer is taking care of your skin. With the summer sun, the shorter bottoms, tank tops, and lounging poolside or partying the night away (whichever you prefer), there is a lot of damage that could be done. I’ve always believed in taking care of your skin, but have never actually done it up until the past few years. I’ve been loving the Simple Skin Care Range, Cleanser, Miceller Water, Eye Make Up Remover, and the CeraVe Lotion. About once or twice a week I will exfoliate and then use my Clarisonic Mia to pamper myself a smidge. 

The last bit on my Summer Faves is books. I’m not going to give a comprehensive list as I have a totally separate business all about books, but I figured I would give some of my recommendations for Summer Reading. Now I should say, I’m not a contemporary/romance reader, so a good amount of these are Summer Thrillers. 

  1. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
  2. When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  3. Finding Fraser by KC Dyer
  4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  5. My Lady Jane & My Plain Jane by The Lady Janies