Life Lately: January

January has been a great month so far. I’m really feeling 2019! Being on medication has changed my life in so many ways and writing about it this week was incredible because I got to connect with literally hundreds of you going through something similar. To know that we’re all in it together makes the whole thing way less isolating.

Work-wise, it’s been so fun to launch a few new series over the last two weeks, and I feel like I’ve finally gotten my creative mojo back after a stagnant couple of months. Amalia has been so wonderful lately too. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m less anxious, or maybe it’s the fact that she’s growing up, but we have been having such a blast together lately. She learns new words every single day and I can (almost) have a conversation with her which is quite fun.

I can hardly believe it but I’ll be posting her 18 month update next week. I feel like I just wrote her 12 month update yesterday. Slash she’s a totally different kid now in the best way possible! As you can see above, she likes to make “soup” and feed it to me and Boots, from a fork no less, for hours. We know how to have a good time around here, let me tell you.

Assuming tomorrow will be safe for driving, I’ll be hosting an event with J.Crew Factory at their store in the Clinton Crossing Outlets from 10:30am-12:30pm. You can donate old jeans and they’ll be made into insulation for housing (so dang cool) and you’ll get $20 to put towards a new pair! Plus you’ll get to hang with me which is obvs the best part of the whole thing.

After that, we’re planning to head up to New Hampshire to celebrate both of my little brothers’ birthdays. Jackson just turned eight and Nick is turning one on Sunday! Really keeping my fingers crossed that the snow storms don’t keep us from driving up.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Around the Web

Tuckernuck sale. My favorite online preppy retailer is having a “treat yourself sale” this weekend. Take an extra 20% off their sale selection with code TREAT20 through Monday. My picks are a hot pink dress, which I’ve been in love with for months, and the best bell-sleeved blouse that comes in five colors!

Currently watching. Anel and I just finished bingeing The Bodyguard and season one of The Sinner. I highly recommend both! I don’t know what we’ll do next but my pick is YOU. He’s not into it for some reason, but I’ll keep you posted once we land on our next binge-fest.

The genius of insomnia. My dad sent me this article in the New York Times and it was definitely a new take on one of my biggest struggles. What do you think?

Bright sweaters. I’ve been on a major kick lately and I can’t stop wearing two new brightly colored sweaters that I got for Christmas. The first one is pictured above. It’s a great length and the short turtleneck is warm but not too warm. The second one, also from Lou & Grey, is a hot pink bouclé tunic that makes me so happy whenever I wear it.

75 healthyish Super Bowl snacks. By now you probably understand my love of Bon Appetit (the only magazine I subscribe to), but their Healthyish brand is pure genius and I read their newsletters religiously. The non-word “healthyish” describes me perfectly. I like to eat as healthy as possible but I’m not crazy about it. Their recipes are so on point for me! Recently they featured 75 healthy(ish) Super Bowl snacks that look both decadent and filling, with a healthy twist. The green goddess tuna salad sandwich is fo sho going on my to-cook list, as is the dairy free trout dip.

Unrelated to that post, I bookmarked their Brussels sprouts and peanut sauce taco recipe because it looks both insanely odd but crazy good.

Currently reading. I finished this month’s book club book early (it was a quick read!) so I started Becoming by Michelle Obama. As if I couldn’t love the woman any more! I heard on the radio the other day that it has been an Amazon number one best-seller for longer than 50 Shades of Gray which previously had the longest stretch. Go Michelle!

New work from Gray Malin. My favorite photographer, Gray Malin, recently released some new images including one taken from the hotel where Anel and I stayed on our honeymoon! It is just gorgeous and reminds me of the most special trip of my life.

How we can support other women. Jess’s contributor Caitlin wrote a really great post with palatable action steps for us to support each other as women.

Travel scam. Carly’s story is terrifying and could have ended much worse than it did. I was literally riveted reading it.

Buying your first Chanel bag. I loved Grace’s post on investment bags and includes every single thing you need to know about the process. Her bag collection is amazing and I’m v jealous of it!

In Hannah Bronfman’s fridge. I’ve been a fan of Hannah’s for years and seeing her recent success with a new book has been so inspiring to watch! She share what is in her fridge with Chalkboard Mag and now I want it all.

The prettiest presets. One of my favorite bloggers, Monika Hibbs, launched a preset shop on her site and they’re gorgeous! I just downloaded them and am figuring out how to use them for Instagram photos. If you’re looking to up your photo editing game without doing too much work.

January Q&A

1. Do you get Botox? This has been my most frequently asked question in the last few months. The answer is no, I’ve never gotten Botox BUT I have gotten Dysport which is like Botox light (Please don’t hate me or tell me it’s poison, but I can’t lie!). I absolutely loved it and will be writing about my experience with it in a blog post next month where I interview my dermatologist, Dr. Whitney Bowe, asking her all of the most commonly asked questions I get about Botox. Stay tuned.

2. Where and when do you want to move? I’ve been talking lately about moving and I seriously have the itch. But I’m a crazy person and love moving to new homes. While our house has been great for us so far, it has some major issues (boring ones like HVAC problems) and will be really cramped whenever we have another baby. I will have to move my home office to the furnished basement which is, obviously, totally fine but not something I want in the long run because it’s dark and a weird set up down there. We will stay in our area of Connecticut, but we haven’t decided 100% what town we will move to. We’re spending 2019 saving up money for a new house and will touch base in early 2020 to see where we are.  Our goal is to buy a new house by 2022.

3. What is your biggest marriage struggle (Biggest cause for fights/resolution tactics)? Oh man… I have to be careful about how I answer this one, LOL! Anel and I work really hard on our marriage and have worked with therapists and together over the years to have good communication. But even though we’re really good at talking about our feelings, we, like every other couple on earth, have our moments. Over the last three years, my anxiety has caused most of our fights. I would get really obsessive about him coming too close to me or chewing too loudly or doing something that would make my heart race. Since I’ve been medicated, this is 100x better.

The other sticking point for us is tasks around the house. I work from home and end up doing a lot more for the baby, dog, and home, and it frustrates me to no end. I wrote about this recently and plan to do a full blown blog post on it because it’s been so successful, but we wrote out a list of everything I do and gave him some tasks to takeover. In the last two weeks, he’s really owned everything he said he would and it’s helped so much!

4. How do you cope with Amalia goes through very dependent phases? It is so hard. She has really only had two that have lasted. One was around eight months and one started around Christmas. If I walk away she says, “Mama mama mama mama” like a broken record until I come back. If she’s really tired or hungry she scream cries the second I put her down. As a mom, it’s really hard to see her so upset by something I do, but I have a new friend (the mom of one of Amalia’s daycare buddies) who is a psychology professor and knows a lot about behavioral psychology. She explained to me that while these phases are really difficult, it’s actually good for your kid’s development.

So I cope by remembering that! I also try to get down on her level (physically) and explain to her that she’s safe but I can’t be next to her 24/7. I’ll say let’s have a hug then I’m going to get my water. You can read this book until I come back. It doesn’t always work, but I like to think that she understands some of what I’m saying. It’s been pretty brutal since Christmas but in the last week, it’s died down a lot. Another great coping mechanism is knowing that everything is a phase and it will end soon!

5. Why can’t I DM you anymore? I’ve been getting this one a lot lately as well. And here’s the honest answer: 1. You can still DM me, you just can’t respond to my stories. 2. I turned off story responses because I was getting over 150 messages each day, and found myself constantly attached to my phone in order to respond to them all. It was becoming obsessive and taking time away from my work and my family. Now I get probably 20-30 per day and it feels a lot more manageable. If you want to message me, you can still do it in my profile or by forwarding my story back to me. I hope that you understand! Gotta protect my mental health 🙂

This Week on Lemon Stripes

Spinach Blender Muffins
Rewear It: Black Turtleneck

Photo by Julia Dags.

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  1. Alessandra said:


    1.18.19 · Reply
  2. Vanessa said:

    It’s funny you mention Botox because that’s been on my mind a lot lately. Not for cosmetic purposes, though, more for migraine relief. I’m 36 years old and I suffer from frequent migraines. My Mom recently told me that she had heard that Botox is used to treat migraines now. I’m not sure how effective it truly is, but apparently it freezes/numbs the muscles responsible for causing tension headaches and migraines. At this point (because I get them so often), I’m willing to try ANYTHING. I’m planning on booking a dermatologist appointment soon to get their take on it.

    1.18.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Interesting! I will add a question about migraines in my post with the doc. I’ve heard that too but don’t know much about it.

      1.18.19 · Reply
  3. Emily said:

    I love all the bright sweaters! I’m saving up for a Gray Malin print right now, what’s your fave?

    1.18.19 · Reply
  4. Lillie said:

    Did you know that Bon Appetit runs college meal programs?! I just saw this post about my alma mater yesterday. Too bad they weren’t around back in the day when all college food sucked!

    1.18.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Whaaaa? I had no idea! I would go back to college just for this. Very cool!

      1.18.19 · Reply
  5. Colleen Hordych said:

    I just want to say, that I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now, and I just love the honesty and transparency you’ve been providing lately! Keep staying true to yourself, and I am loving your new series here! Can’t wait to try some of those super bowl snacks <3

    1.18.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks so much, Colleen! That means a lot. So happy that my content is resonating. Makes my whole day to hear that 🙂

      1.18.19 · Reply
  6. grace said:

    thank you so much for including my post, julia! xo

    1.18.19 · Reply
  7. Cait said:

    Can you ask your derm the major difference between Dysport and Botox? Which lasts longer? What are the effects of each? Cost difference? Thanks!!

    1.18.19 · Reply
  8. Tracy said:

    I love Jess’s assistant piece on supporting women. I try to share one women own business a day with friends, family, colleagues, etc…

    I am seriously over the snow and it hasn’t even started….But makes for a cozy day under the covers.

    1.18.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I love that! Such a great goal. I have a lot of good recs if you ever need more 🙂

      1.23.19 · Reply
  9. I went through a literal year of mom foggy brain after having my son. I joke he totally sucked me dry of any and all creativity. lol Glad to see you are on the mend. Actually really looking forward to reading your story regarding your medication and what not.

    Mad props to you guys for always working on your marriage! That is so important and it’s crazy to me how many people refuse to talk about it. (:

    1.23.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Hahah I know exactly what you mean. They suck the life out of you but give you all the joy right?

      1.23.19 · Reply
  10. Danielle said:

    I love your blog and have followed for years but I’m kinda annoyed by the “Botox light” comment. I have been getting Botox and Dysport since I was 29, so I’m not annoyed by the fact that you get it at all (love mine!), but it feels somewhat like a cop out to call it “Botox light.” In the last five years of talking to different dermatologists about it and other research, I have never once heard it called that or that sort of comparison made. It’s the exact same product – like Pepsi vs Coke. You might need more units of Dysport, but that’s accounted for in the number of units injected. In short, this seems like a half truth, like you’re saying you’ve done it but with a caveat. Still love your blog, but if you’re going to say you “can’t lie”, then own it!

    2.11.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Hi Danielle! I’m so sorry about my mistake here. That was how it was described to me when I got but but since I wrote this post a few people have told me that it’s not at all the case. I promise you I wasn’t trying to lead anyone astray, and I feel so dumb! Luckily I did an interview with a friend of mine who is a derm and she cleared up the difference for me. I’ll be posting it later this week 🙂

      2.11.19 · Reply
      • Danielle said:

        That’s totally fair, no need to feel dumb at all! Thanks for the response and can’t wait to read the upcoming interview to see if you like your results 🙂

        2.12.19 · Reply