Monday, January 21, 2019

A Scrambled Work-Life Balance + Reminder to Be Free



You may have noticed less posts than usual here this month, and that's because my work-life balance has been majorly scrambled. January is always slower for work, which is honestly a blessing after the 60 hours a week I put in during the holiday season. But this month, my husband, who most of you know works for a band, has also been on tour for the last two weeks straight. In total, Robbie is gone about half the year, but he always come home once a week for two to three days, during which I work full time while he cares for our kids. When he is on the road, I have child care a couple of days a week to work, but the rest of the time it's me being a (temporary) single parent, and I'm admittedly usually on the border of losing it by the time he arrives home. As much as I adore my kids, I'm  more than ready to hand them off when he walks in the door. It can be a bit much for both of us at times, but over the years, we've created a routine that works well for both of our jobs and our roles as parents. But having him gone for two weeks (the longest in a row he's been gone since before we had kids) and trying to work full time, get the kids to school and activities multiple times a day, get them fed and bathed and dressed, and taking care of stuff around the house, etc. without a break has been pretty freaking exhausting. I like to post here at least three times a week, but this month I just had to take a step back.

I will say that in the past, I probably would have stayed up until 2 AM to work, gotten four hours of sleep tops, and then pushed myself to run on fumes to get through each day. This year one of my goals has been to go easier on myself, and allowing myself some time to just breathe or meditate or watch freaking Netflix for a half hour before I go to bed (which has been by midnight every night) has definitely helped me operate on just more than survival mode during this time.

Essley and I stopped at a local forest preserve the day before Robbie left (back when it felt like early spring at the beginning of the month; it is 100% winter now), and I snapped these photos with my phone. When things have felt like too much over the last couple of weeks, I look at them as a reminder of how easy it is to take a moment to just allow myself to be free, like Essley. I mean, this girl is truly on the most free spirits humans I've ever met. It's so easy to be inspired by that. It's also kind of amazing how our little ones, no matter how much they push us to the edge, can be teachers to we adults, isn't it?

Things will be back to normal here in February, both at home and here on Bubby and Bean. In the meantime, I'll just going to do what I can, and keep looking at the photos as a reminder on the best way to be. I also want to give a major shout out to actual single working parents and those who have their partners gone for truly long periods (like those in the military). This shit is hard, man, and you are amazing and inspiring and strong.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Little Valentine Card Love


Eco Friendly Valentine's Day Cards
Valentine's Day Cards from Bubby and Bean
Recycled Valentines

Valentine's Day may be a month away, but that didn't stop my 5 year old from taping a Valentine's banner to the fireplace literally the minute the Christmas decorations came down. This past weekend, she even asked if we could start making Valentines for her classmates. And while I gently assured her that we didn't need to do it quite this early, it did prompt me to reopen the Bubby and Bean Art Shop shop after a short break following the holiday rush, with a bunch of Valentine's Day cards., that I am now sharing with you all today. For those who didn't know we had this little side business (I don't talk about it much here, but I started it back in late 2010!), I create greeting eco-friendly greeting cards, every single one of which is printed, cut, scored, and folded individually by hand. If you're thinking of sending or giving hip, handcrafted, earth-friendly Valentine cards this year, I'd love for you to check them out.  Oh yeah, and you can take 25% of your order today through this Friday (1/18/19) with code LOVE19. Hurray!



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Monday, January 14, 2019

How I'm Going Easy On My Skin in the New Year


I’ve partnered with the Dove team to share with all of you how I'm going easy on my skin in the New Year.

Those of you who have been reading here for a while know that I am not normally a fan of New Year's resolutions for myself. It's interesting, because my personality screams "New Year's Resolution Lover!" I enjoy a good challenge (a few weeks ago I completed a 100 day fitness challenge), I am naturally a planner (even though I try to be spontaneous to pretend I'm cool), and I truly love to set goals that help me to be the best version of myself. But there is something about the pressure of coming up with a resolution at the start of every new year that leaves me feeling incredibly anxious, and if I do set a resolution and it doesn't pan out, I end up feeling disappointed. I decided years ago that New Year's resolutions just aren't for me.

That said, this year I vowed to approach the new year a little differently. Since I tend to be naturally hard on myself, and I have a strong feeling that's the main reason New Year's resolutions create anxiety for me, I thought to myself, "what if your resolution is to be easier on yourself?" It's the simplest concept really, but I think sometimes it can be difficult to grasp. So I came up with a list of ways I'm going easy on myself - from practicing self-compassion to allowing myself a lot more breaks - and I'll share more about all of that with you soon. I also decided to go easy on myself beyond the abstract, with my physical self as well - starting with my skin. I'm excited to be partnering with Dove to share how I'm doing just that.


Despite the advice of every dermatologist and aesthetician I've ever seen, I've always been rough on my skin. It doesn't matter how many times I repeat "gentle is better," I constantly find myself using products that harshly exfoliate, dry my skin out, and, ultimately, cause damage. So in my efforts to go easy on my skin as part of my 2019 resolution, I decided I needed to be gentle with my microbiome. Never heard of your microbiome? I hadn't either, but it turns out it's pretty important. The microbiome is the skin's living protective layer and a balanced diverse skin microbiome serves an important role in keeping skin healthy, moisturized, and resilient. It turns out that I've been as harsh on my microbiome as I've been on myself.

To maintain a balanced skin microbiome, you need to be gentle on your skin. I knew that meant I needed to change the harsh products I was using to wash and exfoliate my skin. Dove Body Wash microbiome gentle, so it made perfect sense to give it a try. And guys, I am so glad I did. I picked up a bottle of Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash, and after just one wash my skin felt smooth and soft. I love that the scent is refreshing but mild, and that the exfoliating beads are effective without feeling like I'm sand blasting my skin. My skin feels nurtured, instead of abused, and I understand why: Dove is the #1 dermatologist recommended body wash, made with 100% gentle cleansers, free of sulfates and pH balanced. It works with my skin, instead of against it. No body wash is gentler to skin than Dove.


Honestly, the softness and smoothness of my skin after going easy on it with Dove Body Wash is almost like a metaphor for how I feel - body, mind, and spirit - now that I'm going easy on myself in general. Instead of entering the new year feeling and looking stressed, it's like a weight has been lifted in many ways. And that's pretty great. I love my Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash, but I'm also looking forward to trying out Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash and Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash. If you're looking to go easy on your skin and cleanse without stripping away its healthy, nourished qualities, give one of these body washes a try. You'll be glad you did! Dove Body Wash is sold at mass, food and drug retailers nationwide with a suggested retail price of $5.99/22 fl. oz.


Will you be going easy on yourself this year? Do you have any New Year's resolutions?



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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Happy Birthday, My Loves



Emmett turns three years old today. THREE. I'm not really sure how that happened, but it happened. Remember that little seven month old baby who fought for his brain and life through an epilepsy diagnosis with a terrible prognosis? He started soccer on Monday, is crushing preschool, and is one of the silliest, happiest, brightest three year olds I've ever met. I am so proud of him.


Essley turned five a week and a half ago, on December 28th. FIVE. We register her for kindergarten in a few weeks. Unreal! The little baby girl who made me a mama is a tiny star dancer (she is now in three dance classes a week!), loves art and cooking and swimming and soccer, and can't wait to go to school every morning. She is genuinely the most social person I've ever met, but loves her one on one time with me too (which is truly my favorite thing ever). I am so proud of her.


I don't share a lot of personal posts with the kids here, but I'm feeling sentimental today and wanted to publicly wish them happy birthdays. I know it sounds cliche, but these two are my greatest joys. They teach their daddy and me how to be our very best and how to appreciate the mundane, and they make it so easy to love them. Happy Birthday E and E! You are the two most incredible people I've ever known, and you fill me with so much gratitude. Here's to the best year ever for you both!

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