We’ve been loving every second of our time at the beach — especially all of the quality time with my two nieces!
I know everyone out there has opinions related to travel and the pandemic right now and realize that doing basically anything outside of staying home elicits judgment these days… and even that elicits judgment. With most of the adults within our family vaccinated, we felt like driving to Florida and only stopping once (we packed a potty for the kids!) would help make this trip as cautious as possible while still fulfilling our strong desire to spend time with family. This decision was not made flippantly and we’re just doing our best to figure out a way to live one year into the pandemic without it completely isolating us from loved ones.
Clearly being with family is the thing I’m loving most this week x 1,000 but there are a few additional things that made up this week’s roundup of favorites which you may see below!
Things I’m Loving
To say our boys have loved spending time with their two cousins over the course of the past week is a serious understatement. They love Callie and Colette so much and seeing our boys with my sister’s daughters feels surreal and amazing and so special. The cousins spent a lot of time lizard hunting, splashing around in the sprinkler splash pad we gave Callie for Easter and creating the best kind of cousin chaos. We love this crew of kiddos so much and hope they grow up with the same kind of a strong bond I feel fortunate to have with my sister. Though we absolutely love North Carolina, it’s admittedly hard not living close to family and these moments we have together always feel like the biggest blessing.
Okay, okay, I know this sounds gross at first but hear me out! This resuable tissue pack is actually kind of amazing! It comes stocked with six handkerchiefs made of 100 percent organic cotton (they get softer with every wash) and the genius little barrier allows you to stuff used tissues back into the pack without them touching the remaining clean tissues. I keep my pack in my bag so I have them on hand for everything from burp messes from Rhett to a seasonal allergy sneeze! Once they’re all used up, simply wash them, give the silicone case a quick clean and stuff them back into the pack!
The Firm by John Grisham
Okay, okay so I know I’m waaay late to the game with this novel (30 years!) but since I’ve never seen the movie and the book was also new to me, I’m going to go ahead and pretend this is a brand new find, okay? The Firm caught my eye when I found myself in the mood for a legal thriller and it certainly delivers!
One major caveat to this book recommendation: I rolled my eyes as I read it no less than 100 times. Some of the descriptions of women and the way the characters speak and the things they idolize made me cringe big time. Though I found the plotline of the story really interesting, just know that if you read it and find yourself annoyed and frustrated with the writer and questioning how some aspects of the book made it past editing, I feel ya on that one 100 percent.
The book follows recent Harvard law grad Mitch McDeere as he interviews with top law firms in the country. He selects the Memphis-based firm, Bendini, Lambert & Locke, after partners in the firm promise of extreme wealth complete with a new BMW and boast of the firm’s non-existent turnover rate. When Mitch and his wife Abby move to Memphis, they quickly realize life as a lawyer with Bendini, Lambert & Locke is not what it seems. When Mitch becomes suspicious of the deaths of former lawyers within the firm and an FBI agent seeks him out, he quickly realizes the decisions he makes as a new lawyer within the firm may be the difference between life and death.
Blogger Friends Doing Awesome Things!
A bunch of my blogger friends are doing awesome things lately and I wanted to share a few of them here with you!
Mama Knows Nutrition’s Simply Satisfying Meals
I’ve loved following Kacie on Instagram (@mamaknows_nutrition) for years because of her low-stress approach to feeding little ones. If you’re interested in feeding your kids healthy food 80 percent of the time but don’t stress letting them have cupcakes or chicken nuggets, too, she’s your girl! (And so am I!) Kacie is a pediatric registered dietician nutritionist and, together with experienced recipe developer Heather @heather.happykidskitchen, created Simply Satisfying Meals! You guys this is a GIFT for anyone out there looking for EASY family-friendly dinner recipes. My favorite part of the 30-recipe e-book is the way the recipes are given “Lazy Level” designations with level one being NO chopping or serious prep work (aka dump it all in a pot and go!), level two noting the need for minimal prep and level three designating the most involved recipes. But, you guys, even the level three recipes are super simple. This e-book needs to be a real book because it’s so helpful!!
The Fitnessista’s Barre Bootcamp 2.0
The Fitnessista’s Barre Bootcamp 2.0 kicks off Monday, April 19! It’s a group accountability and coaching program, complete with new workouts, weekly Zoom calls with fitness and nutrition experts, and daily motivation via a private Facebook community.
Gina’s barre videos always light my muscles on FIRE (this barre booty video from years ago is still a fav!) and her Barre Bootcamp 2.0 program offers a boutique studio workouts designed to increase muscular endurance at home with minimal equipment. Gina also offers access to the workouts without the coaching component for a discounted price if that is of interest as well!
Kath Eats Real Food’s Digital Clutter Course
Kath’s Digital Clutter Course is majorly on my radar because my email inbox is truly horrifying. (I know I’m going to make a bunch of you cringe out there but I honestly have more than 10,000 emails chillin’ in my inbox at the moment. Gah!) Kath is the queen of organization and I can remember YEARS ago talking with Kath about her passions on a blogger trip and she talked all about organizing. I’m so excited that she’s putting her passion in action with this course! Her course addresses organizing the “digital clutter” in our lives and touches on everything from storing photos (all 5 million of them you have on your phone) to keeping a clean inbox and aims to tackle digital burnout with a plan you can implement immediately. YES!
Peanut Butter Runner’s Fit Revolution: On Demand Fitness Platform
Jen is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to fitness programming and she recently created Fit Revolution, an online fitness platform offering strength, HIIT and barre classes, yoga flows, recipe tutorials, mindfulness practices and more!
Jen, along with a team of creators, fitness instructors and influencers, leads the various classes and they can be streamed on-demand at any time via your laptop or phone with the Fit Revolution iOS and Android apps. Bonus: Jen was kind enough to offer you guys 50% off three months after the 14 day free trial with the code PBFINGERS! I am excited to try one of Jen’s flows because she has made quite a name for herself in the yoga community in the Charlotte area!
Grilled Scallops with Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad (A favorite spring/summertime recipe that is simple to make but feels a little special, too!)
Total Body Workout (Arms, Legs, Abs, Cardio): When you want a little bit of everything in ONE workout!
Question of the Day
Do you have anything special on the agenda for this weekend?
What is one thing you’re loving this week?
Having horrible seasonal allergies, I have used handkerchiefs for years. They are so much easier on the nose and I love the reduced waste. I must check out those tissues!
Happy Friday! I know you have to consider your diverse readership, but I just want to say that I am so sorry that you have to preemptively deal with expected judgment on your decision to visit your family! I don’t think you should have to worry about defending yourself or explaining how you were safe. You’re an intelligent adult and people should assume that you were being safe, or alternatively, just not worry about your choices! That’s my two cents! We are living in such a judgmental world and it can be exhausting – I can’t imagine how it feels for you as a blogger/influencer.
I agree with Crystal. Everyone had to make their own decisions about how to adapt to the pandemic. We made the decision from the beginning to see our family because we all needed the support. I love seeing the pics of your family all together! Thanks for always being a positive ray of light.
Agreed – it’s a bummer that people are so judgmental because it prevents others from sharing and being honest about their lives and the issues they face in motherhood. I noticed you were pretty guarded when discussing how you feed your boys, which was disappointing because I’m always looking for new ideas on meals and snacks for my kids. Anyway, I love your blog and appreciate your insights!
How fun that you are a “boy mom” and your sister is a “girl mom”! It’s the same here with me and my brother. I’m a girl mom, and my sister in law is a boy mom (her 1 boy is like having 2, right?). It makes cousin time so, so fun.
Your Mom looks like she is in grandbaby heaven!
So glad you brought back the scallop recipe, I still love them! I’m so happy that I have zero on my agenda for this weekend.
Hi!! Where are your denim shorts with the frayed bottom from (in your Easter bunny ears pic)?
Torrie @ To Love and To Learn says
My email inbox is horrific too, ha ha! And I actually had no idea until about a month ago that clearing out your inbox is actually good for the environment because it actually takes a lot of carbon and energy to maintain all the storage in the cloud (no, really! I didn’t believe it at first but then I did some more research after hearing about it on a YouTube channel, and my mind was blown!). My inbox still needs a serious pruning, but I’m at least quicker to unsubscribe and delete emails now than I was before because I figure it’s the least I can do for the environment!
I am so glad you’re able to spend time with your family. This past year has been horrific so being able to take this time to be with the people who matter most is so special. Also just wanted to say the photo with your sister and mom is so beautiful!
Jennifer King says
WhAt is this contraption your sweet new niece is in??? Hope you guys enjoyed your break!
Getting vaccinated only stops you from getting sick and having symptoms, not spreading the virus around and potentially passing it onto a vulnerbale person like your neices or your kids where they could spread it onto antoher kid and them take it home to their sick mom with auto-immune disease, children have been confirmed as super spreaders also the us vaccination levels are severely low I’m sure you could have waited a couple of months, it was your choice to move states away from family, also Florida has gotten rid of the mask mandates so… happy covid, I just find it very selfish.
Shannon…I just find your comment very judgmental. Especially your comment about Julie “choosing” to move states away from family. None of us know why Julie and Ryan “chose’ to move to another state. That is their business. Many people have to move due to a job. It isn’t always a “choice.” They clearly love and miss their family very much.
They moved for a job, so yes a choice. Let’s all bury our heads in the sand, so everyone can have a vacation, death rates in the US would say otherwise or the long term effects of having covid such as strokes. I am entitled to my opinion I mean she does share her life on a blog and with stupid decisions like this, people are isolating alone with no family at all or worse cancer patients are having to isolate and heading towards end of life.
Shannon, your comment is extremely unnecessary and completely rude and judgemental. It is because of these rude comments that Julie even chose to preface her blog post in the first place. We are free to make our own decisions. I feel like Julie’s trip was absolutely reasonable and responsible. People are free to make decisions as to what is best for their family. Some may view that this pandemic has shown life is too short and to not waste any time seeing family in a responsible way. We never know what tomorrow may bring. Next time, just keep scrolling, as there is no need to leave such a rude comment. I wish you well.
Shannon Perry says
No I won’t keep scrolling like I said. I am entitled to my opinion so if it bothers you so much you keep scrolling, if she is being selfish I am going to let her know it