5 Random Things: January

After a rough holiday with COVID, the Dzafic family is slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things. But snow days and quarantine-related school closures have forced me to spend a lot less time working. At first, I was panicked, but now I’m focusing on accepting our situation and the fact that at least the next few months aren’t going to look normal for work/life balance.

I’m trying to get creative with activities for the kids at home but, like many other mothers, I’m burnt out and my creativity is at an all-time low. Last February, The New York Times told us that America’s mothers are in crisis. A year later, and it’s only getting harder.

Omicron Means Parents Are Doing It All Again, Except This Time Dead Inside. A fact and the title of an article that I found to be spot on. Two years in and we’re vaxxed, boosted, have had COVID twice, and I just can’t seem to find any end in sight. Amalia doesn’t remember a world without masks and quarantines and Luca has never lived in one.

I am not doing great, to be honest. I’m tired, I’m frustrated, I’m angry, and I’m really really sad. I feel helpless and worthless and like I’m failing at everything I try to do.

The only thing I can do is try to shift my mentality. I’m lucky to have extra time with my kids. I’m lucky to have a job where I can work while they sleep and I won’t get fired. And I’m lucky to have an amazing partner to do it all with.

So that’s where I’m at.

On a happier note, I have two exciting pieces of news this month. The first is that we reset my engagement ring as an early 10-year wedding anniversary gift. It’s gorgeous and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. It brings me joy every day.

The second is that Anel and I are heading out of town this week on our first real trip as a couple since COVID hit! It’s only for two nights but even two nights away in a new setting, just focusing on each other and having fun is exactly what we need. I am basically counting down the seconds until our flight to Palm Beach takes off.


Books – Cultish: The Language of Fanatacism By Amanda Montell: I finished this one in a few days and loved it. I’m not usually a big non-fiction fan and rarely read a non-fiction book all the way through in one shot but I couldn’t put this one down. The author writes about the language used in cults (Cultish) to recruit members and keep them engaged and attached in what can turn into an unhealthy dependent way. She follows more traditional cults (like Jonestown) and then discusses how this language is also used in cult fitness programs (like Soul Cycle and Crossfit), MLMs (such as Amway and Young Living), and social media wellness gurus. It was a fascinating book, I learned a lot, but it read like a novel because it was such a page-turner.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr: The author of All the Light We Cannot See (one of my all-time favorite books) wrote this 2021 National Book Award finalist. My dad gave it to me for Christmas and it took me a while to get into but it’s worth sticking with. It’s beautifully written and very smart. Like his last book, it follows three different storylines, but this time they’re all set in different centuries: Konstance on a spaceship in the future, Anna in the 1400s in Constantinople, and Seymour in the early 21st century. The link between all of the stories and characters is an ancient Greek story: Cloud Cuckoo Land. I’m still in the first quarter of the book so more notes to come on this next month.

Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World by Eve Rodsky: By now we all know how strongly I feel about Rodsky’s first book, Fair Play. It truly changed my marriage. I’m hoping her second book hits the same way to give my creativity a little spark per what I said above. I plan to bring it on our trip this weekend for some inspiration.

TV Shows – Sex Lives of College Girls (HBO): Mindy Kaling wrote this college-themed dramedy that follows 4 college roommates through their first few months at a small liberal arts college in Vermont. It touches on important topics while making you laugh the entire time. I binged it in a few nights and laughed out loud more than a few times.

And Just Like That (HBO): I have so many mixed feelings about the Sex and the City reboot. It’s fun to see where our girls are now. The fashion is still fun, the locations give me NYC wanderlust, and they’ve worked in some fun new characters. But it falls a little flat IMO and the death of Big in episode one completely gutted me. Can’t Carrie just catch a break!? And of course, justice for Steve!

Yellowjackets (Showtime): Anel and I started Yellowjackets last night and WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING. This show is bananas and I cannot wait to plow through it over the next few weeks. There is teen drama, a touch of murder, cannibalism(?), and lots of mystery. So far, so good.

Movies – Don’t Look Up (Netflix): I have not stopped thinking about this movie since Anel and I watched it over Christmas. It’s about two scientists (Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio) who discover a giant meteor headed for Earth that will destroy the planet. They try to explain that everyone will 100% die when it hits but no one seems to listen or care. Meryl Streep plays a very Trump-like president and Jonah Hill brings comic relief as her son/Chief of Staff. The movie is a metaphor for climate change and beyond disturbing. It’s really long so plan to watch it over two nights.

The Lost Daughter (Netflix): Maggie Gyllenhaal directed this Elena Ferrante novel-turned film and it is beautifully and hauntingly shot in Greece. Leda (Olivia Colman), an older mother and author, goes on vacation alone only to become entangled with a family from the US, especially with Nina (Dakota Johnson), a young mother who she becomes obsessed with. It weaves back and forth between the current day and flashbacks of Leda as a young mother. It’s hard to watch as a mom but I thought it was really beautifully done.


1. A.Golde Riley High Waist Jeans: in Frequency. I’m feeling very good about the fact that I’m fitting into my pre-pregnancy jean size again (albeit with a lot of yanking and pulling to get them on!). I have wanted to buy the A.Golde Riley jeans since I was pregnant but also wanted to wait until I could try on my usual size. They fit like a glove and I love the Frequency wash. I found them to be TTS.  You can see them styled 4 ways in this Instagram reel.

2. Dorai Home Dish Pad: Did I buy yet another product off of an Instagram targeted ad? Well, yes. But in my defense, this one is really good! This dish pad is minimalist and easily collapsable so we don’t have to keep out a giant drying rack at all times. I just fold this one up and stick it under the sink when we’re done or when guests come over. It looks fresh but also stays fresh because it dries instantly which prevents mildew, mold, and bacteria.

3. Hair Finishing Stick: Mackenzie included this hair finishing stick in her list of best products of 2021 because it helped her tame her postpartum baby hairs. I bought it directly from her blog post to test it out myself. It has been the only product I’ve used that actually keeps my baby hairs from sticking straight out. $11 well spent!

4. Shearling Slippers: My sister gave me these shearling clog/mules for Christmas but I wear them as slippers around the house because they’re super cozy but also give me more support than regular slippers.

5. Striped Cropped Sweater: I went into J.Crew the other day to exchange a Christmas gift and found exactly one thing that I liked. As a lifelong J.Crew loyalist, that was a bit depressing, but the one thing I liked was extra good: a perfectly cropped blue and white striped sweater. I love the colors, the red stripe around the collar, and the perfect crop.

And one new discovery.  A follower turned me on to Jill Rosenwald, a potter and painter in Boston that makes beautiful home items. I could see myself owning every single item on her site. I want to replace all of our cereal bowls with these beauties. Her use of vibrant color is so joyful!

Photo by Julia Dags.