It is incredible how much of this year this has already passed. And while a lot of great things have happened since I wrote a post similar to this a couple of months ago, the highlights have been my website turning a year old in June and our nice long vacation to Australia in July. The best part though was my daughter turning two. And I sincerely hope I am not committing the grave sin of speaking too soon, but I feel as if my life with her has become considerably easier since then. She definitely listens to me a lot more than she used to, which has resulted in me being less stressed and a general atmosphere of love and peace in our household. I have also been very proud of myself for successfully completing my first 30 day challenge (update here) and even though I have not picked up a new challenge yet, I am excited about the changes I am going to make in my life. So without further ado, here is what I promised you in the title; the things we have been loving these past few months.
Fred Dinner-Winner Tray
I saw this kids’ tray on Amazon while searching for something else and I honestly felt this was a genius product. I wanted to shout out and show it to all the exasperated moms of picky eaters out there. Turns out, I didn’t need to do that. It is already quite popular. The Dinner-Winner tray is designed like a board game and you can serve small portions of your child’s meal in each compartment. They have to eat through the entire plate to reach the “Finish” compartment where you can hide their favorite treat. It will potentially turn stressful meal times into a fun game and hopefully your child will clean their plate for once without you pulling your hair out. I bought this tray for my daughter and even though she is too young to get the concept of a board game right now, she eagerly eats from the brightly colored, small compartments to reveal the words written on the tray. She is also too impatient and undisciplined to wait until she finishes her meal to see what is in the hidden compartment. So mostly I hide her one true love, black olives in there and she gets one olive when she finishes all the food in one compartment. Right now I have been using this tray for breakfast and I fill the tray with her portion of egg, fruit and cereal for the day and on most days she cleans up the entire tray. Success!!!
Daniel Wellington Watch
The Husband bought this Daniel Wellington watch as a gift for me on our daughter’s second birthday (he is awesome like that). And while I am no expert on the technical features of a time piece, I know a good looking watch when I see one. This is a very minimal, traditional looking watch which is exactly the kind of thing I wear on a daily basis. I like the stark white color of the dial against the gold hardware and black leather straps. This is a great option if you are on the lookout for a budget friendly, smart looking watch that you can seamlessly take from class to work to play. I have worn mine nearly non-stop since I got it and it works with everything I wear. Or at least I think so.
Where’d you go, Bernadette
I know that I promised myself that I will read more meaningful literature this year just like I used to before I became a mom and had a fully functioning brain. And I honestly tried really hard but failed miserably at focusing on even a single comprehensive sentence of the important books I had lined up. So while Johnathan Franzen and Donna Tartt sat judging me on my bed side table, I downloaded Where’d you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple on my kindle. This book to me was like my mom’s garlic bread on a winter evening. Warm, cheesy and I just couldn’t get enough of it. It is the story of the disappearance of an architectural genius, Bernadette, told in a series of emails and other correspondences, complied by her daughter. There is nothing life changing about this book, nor is it a major page turner in any way. Yet I found it very hard to tear myself away from this story and eagerly stole opportunities during the day to get back to it. What I loved most about this book is the author’s narration. It was sincere and compelling, like chatting with your best friend. And you end up enjoying and loving these annoying and unlovable characters, just because they are important to the author. I didn’t know at the time of reading this book, but the author was one of the writers of my greatest favorite TV series of all time; Arrested Development. All the more reason to read the rest of her books before getting back to the half read Purity and Gold Finch.
Beauty.Blusher by Beauty Blender
If you are a makeup wearing female and have not heard of the Beauty Blender, I will assume that you have been living under a rock. Or you could be terribly busy with various other things in your life, in which case I would be dead wrong and completely inappropriate. Sorry. Nevertheless, if you haven’t heard of the beauty blender, it’s a makeup sponge but unlike anything you have ever used. Words can’t do it justice, so get one ASAP and see how much your foundation application improves. The one I want to talk about today is the Beauty.Blusher, the slightly smaller version of the beauty blender, which is meant to be used with cream and powder blushes. I use the pointy end of this to apply corrector and concealer on my infamous dark circles. But you see true magic when you use this to apply any blush. The application it gives is so flawless that you don’t see any product sitting on your skin. It seems as if you are actually blushing from within. I hardly ever pick up a brush for my blusher anymore. Remember that you have to use it damp otherwise you will not see this perfect flush that I am talking about.
Orange Ballet Flats
When your wardrobe is as boring and monochromatic as mine, you have to depend on makeup and accessories to inject some color into your existence. And while I only ever buy neutral colored shoes, The Husband forced me to get these orange colored flats from Kurt Geiger a couple of months ago. They sat in my shoe drawer for a long time until one day my daughter dug them up from underneath all the sneakers. At two years of age, she has already taken up the role of my footwear decider and I mostly try to wear whatever she picks out for me. I liked how they looked on my feet, the pointy toe made my feet and legs appear slender and it looked like I had actually made an effort to get dressed. I have happily worn them loads since that day. The orange color completely jazzes up my blue jeans and T-shirt uniform and I instantly start looking like an outgoing, fun person, which I can assure you, I am not. I have been really enjoying these shoes and they are surprisingly easy to pair with anything I wear.
Hands down, best running comedy series in the universe right now. I had watched one season of this show a couple of years ago and then forgot about it (stupid me). One day, last month I started watching this from the start at dinner time and pretty soon, The Husband and I were putting our daughter to bed before her bedtime every day just so we can watch Silicon Valley! And even though we had planned to savor this show instead of watching the whole thing in a few days as we always do, that didn’t happen. Within two weeks, the entire four season were done and gone and we were on first name basis with all the characters. The series is based on a tech start-up out of the Silicon Valley and the cast is made up of some amazing comedians and super talented actors. All characters, even the supporting ones, are so well written and so gorgeously played that you can’t decide which one you enjoy watching the most. It is not often that you find such camaraderie and synchronization between fictional characters that you end up believing and hoping that they are best friends in real life. If you also suffer from the empty hole in your heart that I get when I am without a show to watch on a daily basis, give this one a chance. It will silently slip into your list of best things you have ever seen on TV.
A Ready Bowl of Salad
Even though I am not a great lover of salads, I will have it if someone prepares it and presents it to me with a glass of water. And since like all well-meaning parents, I want my daughter to be crazy about fruits and vegetables, I have been forcing her to eat salads for as long as she has been eating solids. I firmly believe that you can’t isolate your child from your own habits and expect that they will turn out to be a very different (and hopefully a better) person than you are. You need to make changes in your own self before you demand them of your child. In short, if my daughter sees me eating a salad as a snack, she will do too and I will count it as a small victory in my motherhood journey.
My issue with salads is, I hate making one. So for the past couple of months, I have started this routine of making a big bowl of salad the first opportunity I get in the morning. I simply put in one of everything that can be eaten raw in my fridge or I make my grilled vegetable salad which I talked about in this post. And an hour after breakfast when my daughter hangs on the kitchen gate, pretending to be famished and asking for something to eat, I give her a small bowl of salad instead of handing her crisps or a cookie. I too, munch on the salad when I feel a little peckish mid-morning, I serve it to my daughter with lunch again and leave the rest in the fridge for The Husband to snack on when he gets home. I really like how ten to twenty minutes of effort from me in the morning saves the entire family from eating junk during the day. And to reduce my prep time in the mornings, I recruit The Husband to wash the fruits and vegetables on the weekend and keep them in Ziploc bags in the fridge, ready to be cut up and assembled. This leaves me with no excuse not to prepare a salad every day.
I have realized that for some reason, this is my favorite kind of post to write. I enjoy looking back on past months and everything in a list like this is associated with a fond memory I am making of my life with my husband and daughter. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Thanks for being here right now.