5 Random Things: December

The halls are decked, my presents are wrapped, our holiday cards went out and I am ready for Christmas, you guys. Can you tell I’m trying to mitigate holiday anxiety but getting things done early? It helps!

Amalia is in her prime Christmas/Santa age and is truly mesmerized by the magic of Christmas. I made the mistake of buying her an advent calendar with chocolate so that has become the first thing she wants to do after school every day. But the Christmas countdown is very sweet. And I’m avoiding Elf on the Shelf until she starts asking about it.

Our other big news around here is that Luca is finally sitting up on his own! He has been doing things a lot later than Amalia did as a baby which worried me at first, but I’m learning to let go of expectations and comparisons between my two kiddos. They’re so different and both amazing in their own ways. He has been so happy, giggly, and loving. My favorite thing in the world is how much he loves his sister. She just needs to put her face near his and he laughs hysterically. Whenever she’s not near him at home, he looks around until he can find her.

Pictured above: Oliva James Dress (gifted, size down), Lily and Bean Bag


BooksCultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell– I cannot put this Grace-recommended book down. Montell discusses the power of language within what she calls “cultish groups” from Jonestown to Soul Cycle to social media gurus and their followings. It is fascinating. I’m usually not a non-fiction gal but her writing is sharp, funny, and keeps me reading way too late every night. Like many people, I can’t turn away when it comes to books, documentaries, and articles about cults. And this book explains why.

Girl A by Abigail Dean– I finished this psychological thriller a few weeks ago, and while I liked the writing and the evolution of the story, it was a little too dark for me. And I love dark and murder-y. It turns out child torture is where I cross the line. Glad to learn that I have a soul after all.

Next up: The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess and Laura Sullivan: A friend of ours shared this YA book with me (and Anel) and I’m looking forward to learning another true story from the Bosnian war. I’ve heard countless snippets from Anel and my in-laws but it’s hard for them to talk about and I don’t want them to ever feel like they have to relive the hardest time in their lives. Anel has told me he can’t read the book because it will be too triggering but I plan to start it next.

And after that: Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen– My favorite favorite favorite author has a new book out. My mom said she couldn’t put it down and I plan to plow through it during the holiday break. If you’ve never read a Franzen book, I recommend The Corrections which is on the list of my top 5 books of all time.

TV Shows – And Just Like That (HBO): Has there ever been a more highly-anticipated revival show for millennial women? I think not! I watched the first two episodes last night, and while it was great to see 3 of my 4 favorite ladies again (plus some new faces) it was far more emotional than I expected. Holy cow, I was unwell after the first ep. They really threw in the drama right away. And apologies to the Peleton PR team today. Yikes…

Succession, Season 3 (HBO): THIS SEASON IS SO GOOD. And yes, all caps are necessary. I won’t give anything away but that last scene in the penultimate episode last week was bonkers. This article convinced me of an ending to the season that I didn’t see coming. We love to hate the Roy family over here. Cousin Greg 4eva!

Yellowstone (Peacock): We are plugging away on season one slowly but surely. I read here about how Yellowstone is Succession but set in the modern Wild West and that couldn’t be more true. Anel and I are addicted in the best way possible.

Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip (Peacock): My guilty pleasures have all come together on one beautiful, marvelous, drama, and designer shoe-filled trip to Turks & Caicos. This Housewives spinoff is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Ramona is totally bonkers but I am loving everyone else as a group. I never want it to end.


1. J.Crew half-zip sweatshirt, $74 (Plus 50% off today!): I didn’t realize until after I first tried it on that I accidentally ordrered the long torso version (in camel). I gave it to my sister who is much taller than I am and she bought me the regular version in pink a swap. The non-long version is the perfect sweatshirt for hanging out and looking chic.

2. Lily and Bean mini bag, $100: My friend Kat rocked this cute little leather monogrammed bag all over London and I fell in love with it from her photos and stories. It’s just so tiny and sweet. When Amalia first saw it, she made me promise that when she is a grown-up teacher (her current profession of choice) that I’ll give it to her. It’s a great price for what looks like a designer purchase.

3. Ninja 2- basket air fryer, $179 $149 (through Saturday): Our air fryer crapped out and I bought this one on Black Friday as a replacement, and it is so much better than our original one. We use it almost every single day and the double basket has been clutch, especially when I need to heat up two different things for each kid. Or to make double batches of my air-fried buffalo cauliflower!

4. Madewell jeans, $128: I’m still not fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans but the pair I got just after birth is too big. So I finally decided to buy one pair that fits perfectly in my current body. It’s been challenging for me to accept my changing body and these gave me some confidence back again. I love the fit and the wash. They’re super high-waisted and have a straight leg that isn’t too wide. They are on-trend while also feeling true to what I like.

5. Sherpa coat, $268 $149 (Plus another 50% off today!): This isn’t new but I recently brought it back out for cold temps and have been wearing it every day. It’s so cozy and makes even my PJs and loungewear sets look chic at drop-off. It feels like I’m wearing a blanket and I’m here for that.

6. Glass soap bottles, from $26: I have been wanting to streamline our dish soap, hand soap, bottle soap situation at the kitchen sink for a while and found this Etsy shop to do just that. It’s economically smart (I can buy refill-sized soap bottles) and looks chic on the counter. I did mine in white with the brass hardware.

Bonus baby item: We have this counter clip-on chair for Luca so that he can eat breakfast and some dinners next to Amalia at the counter. It was making our counter really gross but a friend with a baby came over and told me they have a tray for it too! We love the chair because it’s easy to install, safe, comfy, and easy to clean, but the tray is next level. It helps Luca drop less food (more coverage) and keeps my counters clean.

Photo by Julia Dags.