All of the Things I'm Loving Right Now

It’s been a great summer (post child’s tonsillectomy and big vacation to Italy!) But, like many of you, we’re in the season of life where it’s just busy…all the time. These are the things that have kept me sane or have sparked happiness in the past few weeks!

Things that Keep Us Healthy

When I came back from my trip, I desperately needed a little detox in my life. I’ve also been working to be stronger in general, aka more time spent exercising and strengthening my bones and muscles. Fond Bone Broth Tonics are surprisingly tasty and do a body good. With a bad back, I’ve been reading up on the benefits of bone broth—and this is the first one I’ve tried that’s been helpful and delicious! Veggies Made Great Fritattas have been my go to breakfast as of late. I can make them in the microwave in 45 seconds and take them with me to work! I have a hard time getting enough vegetables because I just don’t love them, but sneaking them into breakfast has been amazing. And fun fact: my whole family will eat these, which makes them a food staple in my house!

I’m always nervous about pesticides when I buy fresh produce. Since shopping at Farmer’s Markets isn’t always in the cards with a busy work schedule and active kid, I was thrilled to test out Teal Trunk silicone scrubbers on my fruits and veggies. What I love MOST about this product is it’s something my 4 year old can use and it keeps her involved in her own health and safety.

Of course, I’m also about my dog, Hunter’s, health and happiness, which is why I can’t stop talking about Olvi Pet. These are all natural dog treats and the dentabars are hands down one of the most effective treats for stinky dog breath and he gobbles them right up!

Things that are Nostalgic

The 80s and 90s are back and I, for one, am loving every minute of it. I heard a lot of complaints about the new season of Stranger Things, but I, for one, LOVED IT. You may have been mad about the product placement, but I was so happy to remember my own time in the 80s thanks to this and I loved it. (Also, I want EVERYTHING from the Target Stranger Things Line).

Also, the summers of my youth were filled with trips to the library and a lot of reading outside. Our local library had a summer reading program for not just kids and teens, but adults as well! It was so fun to challenge myself to get pages in to earn prizes. My daughter filled her entire summer reading page, and I was able to read 5,500 pages this summer! I LOVE sharing my love of reading with her and seeing a library so dedicated to motivating its community to read!

Things that Matter

My daughter and I are always working on a charity project. Whether it’s donating art supplies to our favorite art supply studio, Spoonful of Imagination, to sending packages to active duty military, we are always doing our best to give back. I’m so proud of my daughter’s latest venture to give back: Brooklyn’s Blessings Box! Her favorite part of her adoption story is that we had a baby and didn’t have any clothes for her other than the outfit she came home in (and some onesies that made everyone ask how old HE was). She wanted to start to gift boxes to families who had recently adopted. I love this and it’s been a blast buying baby and kids stuff to start building boxes!

What things are you loving right now? I want to hear from you! Tweet them to me at @juliakayporter!

Summer Adventures are Coming Our Way!

Every summer, at some point, I say, “We should…”

As in, “We should go there” and “We should do that.” And guess what? Summer ends and we didn’t go there or do that.

This year, I’m creating a Friday Fun Adventure Map. I have created a work schedule that allows me to be at home part of the week, and I have left Fridays wide open. Sometimes, that’s because we have a family vacation planned—I’ll be sharing this year’s big trip to Italy! Sometimes, it’s just nice to have downtime.

But, I’ve decided to find another day for downtime and instead, to have an adventure with my daughter at LEAST every other Friday this summer.

So far, I’ve made a list of fun things we have never done in a one hour radius. I’m going to have several of them on cards turned over so we can’t see them. (I’ll have a section for rainy day activities as well, although with all of the amazing kid friendly movies on their way—thanks Disney—rainy Fridays might be saved for movies).

On Wednesday night, we will pick a card and go to that location! (I feel like I need to give myself some time to pack what we need and rope some other moms and kids into joining us on our day of fun occasionally.

Why am I writing this? Because I need to be held accountable. Watch out for more posts about our adventures in June!

5 Things to Have on a Trip (That will Help You Pack Light!)

I travel a lot and for the most part, have mastered the art of packing light. (I even wrote about it for The Knot this past summer!) It’s hard not to throw in a ton of outfits (because you love your clothes so much and we never really know what situation will occur), the reality is that with careful planning, sticking to a color code, and wearing your heaviest items on the plane, you can pack easily for a week in a carry on bag. However, I can’t make that happen without these five items!

Downy Wrinkle Releaser

Thought I try to pack things that won’t wrinkle easily, sometimes I need a garment for a work event or wedding that will wrinkle no matter what. Downy Wrinkle Releaser is literally a miracle product. I don’t travel without it. An added bonus is that it makes your clothes smell fresh if you’re wearing them more than once!

Shout Wipe and Go

These wipes remove stains quickly. (I’ve gotten out blood, wine, and ketchup with them) and they’re tiny. I actually keep these in my purse regularly for food mishaps at the office. Again, if you intend to wear a item more than once, these are a must have!

The Laundress Wash and Stain Bar

Though I don’t typically need something like this for a long weekend, if I’m traveling out of the country or for over a week in a hotel, this is a must for washing items that might need to be cleaned. In fact in a warmer climate, this is perfect for hand washing bathing suits and other items for multiple wear and hanging outside to dry.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

This is a personal must have for me because I watch to many TV shows that show all of the germs at airplanes and hotels. I feel a like my clothes and items are a little cleaner if I’ve wiped down surfaces with these wipes.

Packing Cubes & Baggies

I’m actually new to packing cubes, but they make a big difference! You can fit more into your suitcase by organizing like items in these. I tend to keep underwear and socks rolled neatly in ziploc baggies. You can squeeze the air out of them and they will lay flat in your suitcase.

I’d love to hear what tips you have for packing light! Comment on this post OR tweet them to me at @juliakayporter.

Friendships in Adulthood...It's Harder Than It Seems

I’m working on an article about friendships and working moms and it got me thinking about friendship and adulthood in general.

It’s rough to make new friends when you’re grown up. When you’re a kid, your friends are presented to you either at school, in extra curricular activities, or through your friends. As we grow up, we’re looking for more in friendships than just finding people who like the same things.

The reality is, with technology, friendships are evolving and we can stay in touch with our friends who have moved far away. But, there are other aspects of friendship we don’t have to deal with in adulthood.

If it’s Not Working, Move on
When you were younger, you had to hang out with someone if your mom made you, but you’re in charge now. If you don’t have enough in common, if it’s more work than fun or if you’re giving more than you’re getting, you don’t need to be friends with that person. I mean, obviously you should be respectful and kind to everyone, but your time is valuable and you’re not obligated to share it with someone that doesn’t value you.

If you Have to Buy Their Products, It’s Not Friendship
The Washington Post noted today that female friendships are suffering due to MLMs. On multiple occasions, people from my past have friended me on social meda—only to sell me a product. When I say I’m not interested, they’re not interested in anything else. I also feel guilty when friends ask me to buy their products—when I don’t, it sometimes complicates things. No judgement if you’re part of an MLM, but don’t get mad at your friends who aren’t “supporting your business” if they aren’t interested in the product and don’t push people away by pushing a product they have no interest in. I have lost many friends because of this and it’s rough.

You Need People Who “Get You” In Your Life
You guys. Life is hard. We are working, we have kids, we have family obligations, and we have homes to clean and groceries to buy. It’s a lot. If people don’t understand your passions, your goals, your day to day life…it’s not going to work. I’m not saying to cut out people in your life that don’t have children if you do, aren’t married if you are, etc., but if they can’t understand that you can’t always answer a text immediately because you’re in a meeting or that you can’t have lunch on Tuesdays because your kid has dance class, it’s going to make you feel guilty for something you can’t control. I keep my “friendship space” open for people who are like minded, are there for me, and who understand why I do what I do and value what I value.

If They’re Always Critical, It’s Not for You
This just doesn’t work for anyone. If someone’s criticizing you constantly from what you’re doing in your life to how you’re doing it, then maybe they’re not happy in the friendship either. You have too much on your plate to worry about pleasing someone that might not be able to be pleased.

Listen, you’re grown up. You choose how late you stay up, how you raise your kids, where you vacation and guess what, you can choose your friends.

Finding "Me Time" in a Chaotic Day

You read it all the time…find time for yourself. It seems difficult, especially when you’re a parent. But, like everyone else says, it’s so important for your happiness and sanity.

This infographic explains it best: From recharging and unwinding to allowing yourself time to better problem solve and cope, “me time” is essential. So, how do you do it? Here’s how I make it happen!

Plan Everything

I schedule everything—not just in my work calendar on my phone, but in a paper planner where I can see my entire day and see what times are free and unaccounted for. I’m a fan of the Passion Planner because it allows for goal planning and reflective journaling as well (something I like to do in my free time). I often find slots of time I would undoubtedly waste on social media that I fill with something valuable that makes me happy (like reading a chapter of a book!) Get your Passion Planner Here!

Find Simple Pleasures that fit in Small Time Slots

I love knitting, but with work, keeping up with housework, and running my daughter to her activities, it’s hard to fit it in. I’ve noticed though that I often have a few minutes during drop off time and pick up at preschool, while I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, or even while overseeing activities at home where I can knit a few stitches. Instead of just sitting idly during these small time slots we all have in our day, have something handy that makes you happy, whether it be a book, crossword puzzle, craft, or even just a few minutes to call someone you love!

Share “Me Time” with a Friend

Though we think of me time as solitary time (and that’s still important), find an activity that you like to do with a friend and schedule it in. Make time to do it. Plan in advance if you need to. In fact, my husband and I have football season tickets and a subscription to a regional theater in the summer. This is time we schedule well in advance to do something together that gives us joy. Because we plan it so far in advance, childcare isn’t as tricky.

I’m blessed with a supportive spouse who understands the need to do things that make us happy, so we are quick to take over for the other when we need a moment of peace!

What things do you do to find your “me time”? Tweet them to me at @juliakayporter!