When January 1st hit, I felt an immediate wave of dread. There was this collective feeling around me and online that when 2020 ended, so would all the madness. Clearly, that wasn’t the case. I usually go into a new year feeling amped up and refreshed but going back to life on January 4th was uninspiring and sad.
Then the events at the Capitol last week unfolded and that wave of dread has turned into a feeling of deep sadness, horror, and anxiety. How can I even put into words my thoughts on what happened? It was disgusting and disgraceful and the fact that the 25th amendment hasn’t been invoked on a president who incited such violence is disappointing but not at all surprising.
One of the scariest parts, to me, is how many people support what happened and still support Trump. This country is divided beyond anything I’ve seen in my lifetime and while I can’t wait for January 20th, I know we have a long way to go as a country.
On a personal note, I do have some good news which is that my mom got the first of her two shots for the COVID vaccine which means she plans to visit us and meet her new granddaughter (my niece) in February. We haven’t seen her since last January and I could cry at how excited I am. She still plans to quarantine before and after her flight and take every precaution but it makes her feel comfortable enough to travel for the first time in a long time.
Pregnancy-wise, my third-trimester symptoms have started early (I still have 2.5 weeks left in my 2nd) like hip pain at night, heartburn whenever I eat more than a small amount, and peeing multiple times a night. I had a really rough 3rd tri with Amalia so I’m working hard to focus on eating lots of very small meals and stretching and exercising to help with the pain so that it’s not as bad this time around.
Work-wise, I’m thrilled to announce that I just wrapped up my latest marketing project with one of my good friends! Stef and I launched her new website yesterday and I’m so proud of how it turned out. We’ve been working hard on this for the last few months and seeing the final product is so exciting. I really wanted it to be image-heavy because her photos sell her work so well and it looks just perfect!
I have two more projects before the baby comes and then I’m taking off Q2 and possibly Q3 from marketing work until I get back on my feet post-partum.
WHAT I’M READING AND WATCHING
Books – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid: I finally read this book at the end of last year after many recommendations from you guys and I can’t believe I waited for so long. It was one of my favorite books of the year and, dare I say, ever??? I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and keep thinking about it a month later. It’s about an older movie star who hires a young journalist, to tell the truth about her life that no one in the public ever knew. Her story touches on love, betrayal, glamour, family, and making hard decisions in the spotlight.
It turned into something that I wasn’t expecting (I won’t give it away) and I finished it in only a few days because I couldn’t stop turning the pages. A++ from me!
I loved the author’s other book, Daisy Jones and the Six, but this one was even better which I didn’t think was possible. Read it immediately!
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante: My sister has been telling me to read the Elena Ferrante Neopolitan Novels (sow an HBO series) for the last few years and I finally borrowed the first one from her and started it. I’m gonna go ahead and admit my bad on waiting on this one too. My Brilliant Friend is the first of four books in a series about the friendship of two women, Elena and Lila, who grow up outside of Naples in the ’50s. I’m about halfway in and, while it took a little while for me to get into it, I’m now totally captivated by these two girls and their stories.
It was translated into English from Italian and I wish I could still read in Italian because I imagine it would be even better in the original form. I’ll report back next month if I plan to continue the series but at this rate, I think it’s a no-brainer.
TV Shows – Bridgerton (Netflix): Obviously. I’m only on episode 5 so please no spoilers but I’ve joined the Bridgerton craze and… Woah. So much romance, so much steaminess, so much hot Duke of Hastings. Just… watch it. It’s a solo project in our house as Anel has no interest but I’m so into it and want to spend every free minute I have watching more.
Your Honor (Showtime): My dad recommended Bryan Cranston’s new show for months and I’m hooked just one episode in. It’s about a judge whose son is involved in an accident with a mob king’s son. I won’t say any more than that if you plan to watch it. Bryan Cranston is better than ever and I can already tell this is going to be an edge-of-your-seat kind of show.
5 THINGS I’M LOVING
1. Coloring book & markers: My current form of self-care is coloring. I have been doing one page from this coloring book every night either while chatting with Anel or watching TV together. I like this particular book because the patterns are really pretty but not so complex that it starts to feel stressful. Anel has been working his way through this coloring book which has smaller lines and requires more patience. Coloring is a great form of stress-relief for both of us and Amalia likes to see our creations in the morning.
2. Simple Modern Straw Cups: I gave Anel this Simple Modern tumbler with a silicone straw as a stocking stuffer (28 oz) and then decided we all needed them. All three of us drink a lot of water and always carry water bottles around the house but this is so much better for easy drinking with the straw. I had another straw tumbler but whenever Boots or Amalia knocked it down it would spill. This one doesn’t spill and it keeps water cold!
Anel’s is charcoal, mine is the “ombre sweet taffy”, and I got Amalia the kids version in (shocker) the Elsa pattern. It’s great for a kids cup for mealtime and they have a lot of patterns so any kid can find one they love.
3. Recycled kid’s plates: Speaking of kids’ kitchen gear, I decided to replace her plates, bowls, and utensils with all matching pieces from Re-Play, a company that makes everything out of recycled materials. I had posed the question to my Lemon Stripes Mama’s Facebook group and got the rec for the brand there! I got her a mix of blush pink and bright pink to mix and match so it looks good together. I went with divided plates for meals, regular plates for snacks, bowls, and utensils.The plan is to get baby boy the same pieces in shades of blue when he’s older.
The company looks very cool after reading up on it. Their products are all American-made and, per their site, they are BPA, BPS, PVC, lead, phthalates, surface coatings -free. As of 2019, Re-Play has saved 40 million milk jugs from the landfill.
4. Eileen Fisher tunic: One of my best friends works for Eileen Fisher and I love their clothes and their philosophy, so she helped me pick a great tunic shirt that comfortably covers my butt and bump, but is also something I can wear postpartum. It makes me feel human to wear non-maternity clothes that look and feel good and this little splurge was a really nice treat.
Similarly, I have this Old Navy shirt 3x (all in black, currently $8!) and lived in it my last pregnancy, for 3 years in between, and again now. I wear it all the time, under Dudleys, to workout, to lounge, everywhere. I size up to Medium because I like it oversized and like that it can still fit while prego.
5. The Nugget: I can’t actually believe I’m condoning this secret purchase Anel made but it is truly a dream and I can’t not share the love. When he first opened it my reaction was literally, “You paid that much for 4 pillows on the floor?!” And then Amalia proceeded to play on it all weekend long. We made forts, slides, read on it, jumped on it, made obstacle courses, and I don’t even know what else. I thought for sure she’d be over it in an hour but nope it was a weekend-long journey and, after posting about it on IG last night and reading comments for other moms, it sounds like she won’t get sick of it anytime soon.
It is a crazy popular product right now so you have to get on a waitlist to buy one but I’m here to tell you that it’s worth it. I promise I thought it was ridiculous when I saw other moms post it… Until I got one. I foresee hours and hours of fun on this thing.
Bonus: If you don’t already follow Shieva Ghofrany on Instagram (@biglovefiercejuju), I highly recommend a follow. She’s an OB/GYN based near me and has become a personal friend of mine. Sadly she’s not my doctor because her practice doesn’t take my insurance but I watch almost every single video she posts on pregnancy, fertility, and women’s health. I love her way of explaining complicated topics that make them easy to understand.
Shieva and her business partner, Jen, started a very cool concept, A Tribe Called V, with a mission is to increase your knowledge in order to decrease your anxiety regarding your female health. Within that, they have a product called My OB & Me which is focused on pregnancy and one of the coolest resources I’ve ever come across for pregnant women.
It includes a 200-page e-book that answers every single pregnancy question you can think of and has become an invaluable resource for me this time around as well as an awesome private Facebook group where you get access to Shieva to answer your questions about pregnancy, pre-conception, and post-partum times. But the coolest part, IMO, is that they send you a doppler (it’s so fun to listen to the baby’s heartbeat at home!), blood pressure machine, and urine dipsticks so you can do true telehealth sessions with your own OB.
Shieva is giving you guys 15% off the program with code LEMONSTRIPES this month!
Now you tell me! What is one thing you’re loving, reading, or watching this month?
You’ve motivated me to finally pick up “The Seven Husbands” after I finish “Verity” which I just started and will probably devour in a day or two! So good! Love the look of Realistic Organizer and will probably unwind tonight checking it out..and people are OBSESSED with the nugget!! Everyone I know who has one has bought multiples and say it occupies their children for hours!!
Verity is such a good one too. I’m so jealous that you get to start Seven Husbands from the beginning. You will LOVE it!
I see vaginas in every coloring sheet you post. LOL – maybe you are manifesting your birth.
OMG hahaha. I def saw it in the pink one but not the others. So funny.
I feel like the only person in the world who isn’t watching Bridgerton right now. I keep hearing so much about it!
Trust me when I say: Start it tonight!
Unrelated to the list, but your hair color looks great!
Thanks so much! I’m so happy with it right now.
I love Re-Play! I’ve been using their plates, bowls, utensils and sippy cups for my toddler and I absolutely got them in colors to match our Fiestaware, haha.
And I’m building a list of books to check out from my library, so I’m excited for your recommendation!
Ha! I like your style 🙂 I’m so excited for all of her stuff to match. The things that bring me joy these days…
HI, Julia – I follow many bloggers but you are the only one who has used her platform to speak about the challenges our country is facing and your hopefulness for the future. That’s refreshing- and also brave. just wanted to say thank you and this just turned 50 mom and wife loves your content.
Re-play is the absolute best! They are indestructable and hold up well in the wash.