Weekend Favorites (v2)

This week was… a week. It felt like 18 weeks, really. The girls are on their absolute worst 4 & 2 year old behavior, we were super busy (in a great but exhausting way), and I was so worn out today that I could barely move off the couch. But! Isabelle started preschool which means I get one glorious morning to myself every week – Amen, Hallelujah, all of the praise hands.

Things I’m Into:

  • “I know how my 80-year-old father feels about dying, religion and God not because I scheduled a discrete encounter to discuss all of that with him. I know because I happened to be in the passenger seat of his car when such thoughts were on his mind and when, for whatever unforeseeable reason, he felt comfortable articulating them.” (The Myth of Quality Time, here)
  • This song and podcast about being a type 7 on the Enneagram. The host has songs for types 1-7… I’m still waiting for the other two types, since Tim is an 8!
  • Blanqi tank top and leggings. They’re tight and keep all of the lumpier parts of me looking smooth. (thumbs up!)

What are you loving right now?! Share in the comments!

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Postpartum Survival Kit – what you really need those first few days

One of my college roommates is due with her first baby very, very soon (yay!) and the other day she texted me and another friend to ask about what we would put in a “postpartum survival kit”. I thought that was a great question, so I’m writing down our responses here in case it helps someone else! This is a list of things I’d either make sure I have in my own home for when I get back from the hospital with a new little one, or maybe things to put in a gift basket for a friend who is expecting a baby!

Postpartum Survival Kit: 16 things you'll want to have around when you get home from the hospital!

16 Things You’ll Want To Have Around When You Get Home From The Hospital (with your new baby!):

  • Snacks – a lot of protein bars, nuts, fruit, and things you can munch on throughout the day. I mean, super healthy food is always good, too, but you’ll really want to have things that you can conveniently eat while nursing or lounging that you don’t need to make in the kitchen.
  • Large water bottle – the hospital will give you one and it’s wonderful. Maybe ask for another one to bring home, too! (I love the Yeti water bottles because it keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. So I’d recommend investing in one of these.)
  • Nipple cream – even if breastfeeding is ‘easy’ and not particularly painful for you, it’s still hard work on your nipples to nurse a newborn! Have some cream on hand. *Sidenote, I buy the organic/natural/etc kind because I figure my baby’s mouth is going to be on it so I want to make sure it isn’t full of chemicals.*
  • Nursing bras – essential if you plan on leaving your house, ever! Or even if you don’t and you want some support under your lounging clothes.
  • Nursing tank tops – some people prefer tanks to nursing bras. I used a combination of both!
  • Sweatpants – make sure you have a pair that will fit! Any loose maternity sweats or larger ‘regular sized’ sweats will work. Basically, don’t plan on being back in your pre-baby comfy pajama pants immediately, and make sure you have a pair that either sit low, or can be rolled down to be below any potential c-section incision/stitches.
  • Nursing pads – either reusable or disposable! I wish I had used these more because I was lazy about putting them in my bra and basically had milk stains on everything for months and months.
  • Dry shampoo – if you aren’t already using this stuff, now’s the time to start!
  • Bathrobe – you can bring this (and most of this other stuff, actually) to the hospital so that if you have guests, you can nurse easily, and feel a little less grungy. I never thought this was necessary, but the third time around, I’m doing it! Plus, then you can use it at home for guests, as well, those first few days when family is coming over and you don’t feel like getting dressed in ‘real’ clothes..
  • Pads (of the feminine hygiene variety) – you will bleed a lot and you want to be prepared right away so you aren’t making last minute trips to the pharmacy!
  • Eye drops (or glasses) – when you’re breastfeeding, prepared to be a bit dehydrated! You’ll want your glasses on hand or eye drops for your eyes if you wear contacts.
  • Lotion – I loved using my belly lotion even after I gave birth (mainly because it smells so awesome and feels great!). Same reason as above, everything dries out after the entire labor/delivery ordeal and with breastfeeding.
  • Chapstick – I mean, this is always an essential, right?! If you don’t put any other makeup on for a while post-baby, you’ll at least want some chapstick to help with dry lips!
  • Face wipes – Let’s just be honest, I didn’t always have the energy or motivation to wash my face in the postpartum phase. (Or in life in general, if we’re being honest!) Keep some wipes on hand even if you aren’t removing makeup, and you can freshen up with minimal effort.
  • Prenatal vitamins – keep taking these for as long as you’re breastfeeding! They aren’t just for prenatal purposes.
  • Pain medications – for when you wean off any prescription meds they give you at the hospital.

Other thoughts – especially if you’re creating a gift for someone: slippers, a good book (or a Kindle, which makes it easier to read while breastfeeding), a subscription to Netflix so you can binge watch all the shows while nursing, a favorite herbal tea in case you get bored of regular water but don’t want caffeine…

[Also, I’m sure Tucks pads and a squirt bottle (from the hospital) would be helpful, too, but since I had two c-sections, I cannot speak from personal experience as to whether they’re necessary for a recovery from a vaginal delivery.]

Another note on things you actually need to have at home those first few days… you really don’t need much. I feel like some ladies prepare like it’s going to be the apocalypse, and maybe that’s fine for them, but for me, it seems stressful. You don’t need tons of frozen meals, you don’t need a month’s worth of groceries, you don’t need tons of extra toiletries… what you need is Amazon Prime or a relative / significant other / friend who doesn’t mind grabbing something if you decide you need it! I mean, it might be good to have some lasagnas in your freezer, but people will probably bring food to you those first few weeks, hopefully. And we just ordered a lot of takeout when my girls were born. Basically, if you’re feeling exhausted  preparing, just know that you will be able to manage with minimal prep. However, if it makes you feel better to plan ahead, by all means, go for it!

What am I forgetting? It’s been a few years since I’ve brought a newborn home!

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Weekend Favorites

Every once in a while I think “I’m going to come up with a consistent post idea and do it every week!” and then I last a few weeks and just cannot stick to it. But I always appreciate when other people share their current favorite things, so I’m going to try my hardest to write some of my favorite things every Friday. Easy enough, right? Time will tell.

Five Interesting Things:

  • Wait But Why has me really thinking about my darn instant gratification monkey (who is – evidently – the reason why I’m ALWAYS running a few minutes behind schedule, even though I hate the feeling of being late!)
  • The Rise Together podcast. I am binge listening to this one, which is weird because it isn’t a true crime podcast! I just love listening to Rachel and Dave Hollis and I think they make some great points about relationships.
  • I’m always and forever obsessed with the enneagram, and just came across this enneagram test. Normally I tell people not to even bother with online tests (just read the descriptions!) but this test had super accurate results for me. I’m a 7W8, in case you’re wondering!
  • This book that had me really curious about sororities in the south, and also had me generally entertained while reading it!
  • And this book kept me up way too late to finish it (Emily Giffin’s books are a guilty pleasure of mine).


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I read 76 books in 2018!

I read 76 books last year – which is 30 more than the 46 I read in 2017!

Here’s how I read so many more books:

+ My kids slept better.

+ I slept worse. (Pregnancy insomnia)

+ I felt like crap garbage for 20+ weeks of this pregnancy and couldn’t get off the couch. (And I chose to read instead of watching TV during this time.)

+ I limited my screen time, especially at night. (Wait, is a Kindle a screen? Let’s say no.)

+ Speaking of which, I switched to reading books on my Kindle (after years and years of letting it sit in the drawer while Tim asked why I wasn’t using it), which allowed me to check out books automatically from the library without ever having to put pants on. This also drastically reduced my overdue fees!

In case you’re looking for some recommendations….

13 Must Read Books (and 63 other recommendations)
Books I Read in 2018:

* Ranking system: 5 stars – I loved it and would recommend it to anyone who asked. 4 stars – It was worth reading but it wasn’t as life-changing as other books I read. 3 stars – I was entertained but I wouldn’t tell someone to go out of their way to read it. (In most cases, these are page-turner fiction books that didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.) 2 stars – I wouldn’t recommend it at all. 1 star – A complete waste of my time, so I didn’t finish reading these books, much less record them.

** Summaries of books taken from Amazon, because they do it better than I can.

*** Listed in no particular order within the ratings.

5 Stars

Just Mercy

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

The Last Cowboys

An NPR Book of the Year

A gripping portrait of one family’s gamble that rodeo and ranching are the future of the West―and not just its past.

For generations, the Wrights of southern Utah have raised cattle and world-champion saddle-bronc riders―some call them the most successful rodeo family in history. Now Bill and Evelyn Wright, parents to 13 children and grandparents to many more, find themselves struggling to hang on to the majestic landscape where they’ve been running cattle for 150 years as the West is transformed by urbanization, battered by drought, and rearranged by public-land disputes. Could rodeo, of all things, be the answer?

In a powerful follow-up to his prize-winning, best-selling first book, New York Times reporter John Branch delivers an epic and intimate family story deep in the American grain. Written with great lyricism and filled with vivid scenes of ranch life and the high drama of saddle-bronc competition, The Last Cowboys chronicles three years in the life of the Wrights, each culminating in rodeo’s National Finals in Las Vegas. Will Bill and Evelyn be able to hold the family together as rodeo injuries pile up and one of their sons goes off on a religious mission? Will their son Cody, a two-time world champion, make it to the finals one last time―and compete with his own son? And will the younger generation―Rusty, Ryder, Stetson, and the rest―be able to continue the family’s ways in the future?

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

When first-year graduate student Sudhir Venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago’s most notorious housing projects, he hoped to find a few people willing to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty–and impress his professors with his boldness. He never imagined that as a result of this assignment he would befriend a gang leader named JT and spend the better part of a decade embedded inside the projects under JT’s protection. From a privileged position of unprecedented access, Venkatesh observed JT and the rest of his gang as they operated their crack-selling business, made peace with their neighbors, evaded the law, and rose up or fell within the ranks of the gang’s complex hierarchical structure. Examining the morally ambiguous, highly intricate, and often corrupt struggle to survive in an urban war zone, Gang Leader for a Day also tells the story of the complicated friendship that develops between Venkatesh and JT–two young and ambitious men a universe apart.



Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

A deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisine—now with all-new, never-before-published material.

The Alice Network

NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY BESTSELLER • #1 GLOBE AND MAIL HISTORICAL FICTION BESTSELLER • One of NPR’s Best Books of the Year! • One of Bookbub’s Biggest Historical Fiction Books of the Year! • Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick! • The 2017 Girly Book Club Book of the Year! • A Summer Book Pick from Good Housekeeping, Parade, Library Journal, Goodreads, Liz and Lisa, and BookBub

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.
1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

How Not To Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

In How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, the internationally-renowned nutrition expert, physician, and founder of NutritionFacts.org, examines the fifteen top causes of premature death in America–heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, and more–and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches to help prevent and reverse these diseases, freeing us to live healthier lives.

The Bear and the Nightingale

Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

The Pillars of the Earth

Set in 12th-century England, the narrative concerns the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. The ambitions of three men merge, conflict and collide through 40 years of social and political upheaval as internal church politics affect the progress of the cathedral and the fortunes of the protagonists. “Follett has written a novel that entertains, instructs and satisfies on a grand scale.”

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

What you don’t know about yourself can hurt you and your relationships―and maybe even how you make your way in the world. It can also keep you in the shallows with God. Do you want help figuring out who you are and why you’re stuck in the same ruts?

The Enneagram is an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively. In The Road Back to You Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile forge a unique approach―a practical, comprehensive way of accessing Enneagram wisdom and exploring its connections with Christian spirituality for a deeper knowledge of God and of ourselves.

Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life


An essential exploration of why and how women’s sexuality works—based on groundbreaking research and brain science—that will radically transform your sex life into one filled with confidence and joy.

Researchers have spent the last decade trying to develop a “pink pill” for women to function like Viagra does for men. So where is it? Well, for reasons this book makes crystal clear, that pill will never be the answer—but as a result of the research that’s gone into it, scientists in the last few years have learned more about how women’s sexuality works than we ever thought possible, and Come as You Are explains it all.

The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth

As featured in the Fall 2018 edition of The Magnolia Journal and on the Rise Together podcast with Dave and Rachel Hollis, For the Love podcast with Jen Hatmaker, Typology podcast with Ian Morgan Cron, and Sleeping At Last podcast with Ryan O’Neal.

How to understand the ‘why’ behind your enneagram type.

Chris Heuertz’ life was forever changed after he learned about the enneagram 15 years ago, and since then he has trained under some of the great living Enneagram masters including Father Richard Rohr, Russ Hudson, Marion Gilbert, and Helen Palmer. Today he leads enneagram workshops all over the world. Join Chris as he shows you how this ancient tool can help you awaken to the gifts God has given you, find freedom from your personal patterns of sin and fear, and grow in acceptance of your identity as you grow with God.

4 Stars

White Awake

Lilli de Jong

Before We Were Yours

Expecting Better: Why The Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong- and What You Really Need To Know


Letters to the Lost

Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy

How To Walk Away

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Winter Sea

Jefferson’s Sons

The Stolen Marriage

Salt to the Sea

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

An American Marriage

A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living

World Without End

The Great Alone


The Girl in the Tower

The Wedding Date

The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing

Eleven Hours

Jane Steele

The Color of Our Sky

Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama 

Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession

3 Stars

Sharp Objects

My Ex-Life

When Life Gives You Lululemons

Paper Towns

The Favorite Sister

Into the Water

A Gentleman’s Game

The Name Therapist

Jar of Hearts

Final Girls

The Rules of Magic

Salvage the Bones

The Mothers

The Address

The Couple Next Door

My Not So Perfect Life

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

The Identicals

Small Great Things

Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic

A Column of Fire

The Duchess Deal

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon

The Mountain

My Absolute Darling

Anything is Possible

The Woman Next Door

Lucky You

Modern Lovers

2 Stars

Conversations with Friends

Scandalous Ever After

Phew. I hope you’re able to add some of these to your ‘must read’ book list in 2019!

Do you have any book recommendations for me?! What is the best book you read in 2018?

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This is not a New Years post.

I feel like I shouldn’t post anything on the internet that isn’t directly related to my New Years resolutions, but since those aren’t quite solidified, I’m going back to a good ol’ fashioned update post (in bullet point form, of course).

Currently - January 2019

+ Isabelle has officially given up her nap at the advanced age of 2.5 years old. I’m 1 part ugh  and 3 parts excited. This is the first time since Clara was born that we can do all day adventures without needing to be in the car or at home for a naptime! I’m going to enjoy this sweet freedom while it lasts before the new baby comes and ruins changes everything.

+ House renovations are winding down – what?! I know, I know… after 6+ months, it’s finally happening! I mean, there’s still a lot left to do, but at least our home appears more put together than ever before.

+ I love January. And new beginnings. (Same reason I love Mondays! January is like the Monday of the year!) I know I’ve mentioned it no less than a bijillion times, but if you haven’t purchased Powersheets from Lara Casey, you should consider it. This has completely changed the way I approach resolutions and my year as a whole. Although I’m still struggling to come up with my word for the year…

+ If you need a good podcast recommendation, I just finished The Caliphate and I’m now listening to Mile Marker 181.

+ If you need a good book recommendation, I have PLENTY and will be doing another post on this for everything I read in 2018, but right now I’m reading A Man In Full and am quite pleased with it. It’s definitely a welcome break from the nonfiction and chick lit I’ve been reading lately.

+ Winter break has been tough, but good. Tough because Tim went skiing and came back with a herniated disc in his back and has also gotten several migraines over the past few weeks, so I’ve been solo-parenting more than I’d like – and I have the grumpiness to prove it! I don’t mind parenting solo on days in which we have a routine and school and activities… but weekends and holidays – NOPE. Not for me. No thanks. He’s on the road to recovery, though! (Knock on all of the wood for me, please.)

+ I finished my 1SE video for this past year, and of course I love it. Although I’m highly biased because I could watch pictures and videos of my girls forever! I wrote a post about how to do your 1 second video, here. If you like creative projects and memory-keeping through technology, this might be a fun and challenging project for you!

+ I’m 26 weeks pregnant and am still feeling okay! I mean, I feel larger, but I’m not nauseous and I don’t have any headaches – so I will take it! Plus, I have motivation! And energy! All good things – finally.

+ Speaking of feeling well, I’m crossing all of my fingers and knocking on wood, but I just want to throw it out there that no one in my family has been sick since November! Last winter/spring was so rough with illnesses that maybe God is giving us a small break  this year? Granted I’ve been ‘sick’ since August and was super sick with a sinus infection all of November… and now Tim is suffering from a variety of ailments… but my kids have been feeling good so it’s still a win – right?!

Happy New Year!

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