Today I am sharing a round up of a few my most favorite things from the last three months. The idea of having a favorite anything for most of the spring felt completely foreign because everything stunk and quite honestly, I was in such a mental fog I barely remember any details from March through May. The emotional funk was palpable. Survival mode was in full effect. Nothing was normal.
And then little by little we began to collectively emerge, adjusting, pivoting, and I could find the energy and the margin to notice things that bring me delight. I wouldn’t say things feel normal currently, but they at least feel less traumatic, and I have adjusted and am working through the process of accepting this season for the series of losses and unmet expectations that it is.
On that happy note, and with a deep cleansing breath, let’s look at a few of my favorite things!
Two Teenage Drivers.
When the pandemic hit, we had zero teenage drivers in our home. Today, six months later, our family has two teenage drivers, each with a hand-me-down car, and it is at the top of my list of favorite things!
Yes, it is stressful to watch our children get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and enter traffic where I cannot control the outcome and any facade of control disappears like the vapor that it is. BUT, after seventeen years of driving my children all over God’s green earth, to find myself with not one, but TWO able-bodied humans who can now share the driving load feels life-changing.
They can drive themselves wherever they need to go including Boy Scouts, football practice, babysitting gigs, work, youth group, or (way too often) McDonald’s. They can drive my younger children (“Mommy, can we go to Target?” “Sure! Ask Annie to take you!”). They can go to the store to grab that one item I forgot, delighted for any opportunity to get behind the wheel. They can take the pile of clothes in the garage to Goodwill. And once we are back in school, they can help with all the morning and afternoon transportation. It is the best!
The SILKE Hair Wrap.
In late June, I started sleeping in a silk hair turban. Laugh if you must. I don’t blame you.
I have fine hair with natural curl, but not very much of it. I read that sleeping in a silk hair turban helps prevent breakage and conditions the hair while you sleep. My expectations were low, but I gave it a try. I have been very pleased.
At first, I liked it because it completely eliminates bed head. I wake up, take off the turban, and shake my hair out a little bit. It’s good to go. No serious styling needed. Maybe a little fluffing, but most mornings, I just brush and go.
To make matters even better, in August when I went for my haircut, my stylist (who has been cutting my hair for two years) commented that my hair felt noticeably thicker. I told him about the turban, and he said it is definitely reducing the amount of breakage and therefore my hair appears thicker. For him to notice without me mentioning anything felt like a huge marker of success.
My one complaint about the turban is that it is kind of tight on my rather large head (most hats do not fit me). To remedy this, I pull the turban really far down on my head (like, basically covering my eyes) so that there isn’t as much tension. It’s laughable, but it works. Other than this one detail, I could not be more pleased.
I mentioned recently that I have been on a Breville kick lately, and the Breville Bambino Espresso Maker is the crown jewel of my latest obsession. I found this on major sale about a month ago and bought it for the staff to use at Hurley House. I am completely enamored. Lattes are my love language, and this investment has made it possible for me to make delicious espresso drinks on the regular.
There is a definite learning curve with this machine, and it took about ten lattes before I felt super confident with the whole situation. The first latte I attempted ended up with espresso everywhere because I hadn’t locked the portafilter in place. Once I had the kinks worked out, I have found this appliance to be amazing. I love how small and compact it is, but without sacrificing performance.
Little Fires Everywhere.
Admittedly, I have been watching a lot of mindless television lately. During the mental fog of the pandemic, zoning out on Netflix became one of my coping mechanisms. However, there are a few shoes I have watched that have blown me away.
Little Fires Everywhere topped that list. I loved everything about it. The music alone was incredible, not to mention the acting. I love Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, and when I heard both of them interviewed on Unlocking Us, I knew I had to watch.
Part of me wishes I had read the book first, because it sounds amazing, but even without knowing anything about the storyline, I was completely hooked. I love the way there wasn’t a clear right or wrong in most of the situations. It accurately displayed the nuance of complicated circumstances and shone a light on dark places that I could relate to. The mother-daughter relationships are tragically beautiful, in the best way possible.
Nice White Parents.
This podcast comes with a warning. If you are a white parent sending your children to public school, this podcast series may render you guilt-stricken and undone. From the producers of Serial, Nice White Parents looks at one public middle school in New York over the course of sixty years. It is eye-opening, convicting, humbling, and honestly the kind of tough-love reporting I needed to hear. It was not an easy listen, but I learned a lot.
Pizza and Champagne Friday Nights.
Friday nights at home are my favorite. The work week is done. The school week is done. My mind and body are usually completely mush and in need of restorative rest and renewal. I cozy up to the weekend with a slice of pizza and a baby bottle of champagne. It feels celebratory and casual all at the same time.
I am such a fan of physical markers of intentional decisions. A morning routine. An evening routine. And a Friday night routine of remind me the weekend has begun. Having a glass of champagne and a slice of pizza on Friday nights ushers in a sense of rest in the best way possible.
Athleta Sports Bras.
I am perhaps verging on TMI, but my life has been changed by the Athleta Sports Bras. For twenty years I have bought sports bras from Target, which are basically just bra-shaped compression tubes. They are fine, and for $10 each, who cares, right? Wrong.
When we went to Colorado this summer, I decided to up my athleasure game a little bit and purchase some nicer sporty undergarments. I honestly thought my purchase might have been a waste of money. I am pleased to report, I could not have been more wrong.
I can’t tell you how incredible these pieces are. Again, I apologize if this is too intimate, but I simultaneously feel like I am wearing nothing while being perfectly supported. Granted, I am not doing hard-core high-impact workouts, but for power walking, yoga, and light jogging, they are perfect. The older I get the more I learn (over and over and over again), you really do get what you pay for. And for something like a sports bra, my money is well spent on these investment pieces.