Welcome to our newest series. In “Friday Favorites,” our team will share a handful of favorite items. These can range from clothes to beauty products to recipes to books and anything in between.
I have three kids ages 6 and under and three dogs; I also work a full-time job and maintain a Reserve gig. I am a busy mom. Life in my house can be hectic, and that is putting it mildly. Between my husband, myself, and our amazing nanny, we keep everything afloat. But honestly, it’s a three-ring circus most of the time!
And “me” time? Forget about it.
From the moment our three year old crawls into bed with us – usually waaaaay before the alarm clock goes off – I am up and running. Dishes, laundry, lunches being made, etc. are all happening before I fly out the door to make it to work.
But self care is important. With time for it so precious, here are a few of my favorite things give that me little pops of pleasure throughout my week.
Spa trips aren’t in the picture right now, but at night I can easily treat myself to a little facial treatment. The inexpensive ones at Target are fun and easy, and they stock a good variety. I love the ones that come with three options in one. It allows you to use a moisturizer (cheeks), a detoxifying (t-zone) and pore minimizer (nose), targeting specific trouble spots. An added bonus is that it makes my kids laugh when I come out of the bathroom with a green face, pretending to be a dragon! It’s an affordable and easy way to treat my skin.
As someone with pale, nonexistent eyelashes, I pretty much wear mascara every day. I don’t have an extensive makeup routine: concealer for the dark circles (thank you lack of sleep) and mascara are definitely a must have for this mama. Drug-store brands like Maybelline Full n’ Soft, L’Oreal Paris Voluminous or Cover Girl Lash Blash and higher-end ones like Younique, IT Cosmetics Blowout Mascara and Benefit’s “They’re Real” are just a few of my go-to’s. Just like chapsticks, I typically have a mascara in multiple purses and diaper bags.
My kids love to paint and play with crafts so we have a well-stocked art closet. Ours includes everything from construction paper to puffs and tissue paper. Since I’m the one usually setting everything up, I use the kids crafting and painting time to work on some fun projects of my own.
Last year, I started subscribing to an art kit called “Let’s Make Art” that offers super fun and easy to follow watercolor tutorials on YouTube. The monthly kits come with four projects, watercolor paper and paints, a finished picture, and graphite tracing paper. It’s a fun way to be creative, and the tutorials walk you through different painting techniques.
The best part is the no stress philosophy. Sarah Cray, the artist behind Let’s Make Art, encourages you to keep trying and emphasizes that every picture will look different. There’s no right or wrong in art! It’s watercolor so it’s supposed to be imperfect and ethereal. How great is that message for kids and adults?
I know it’s full of sugar and fake flavoring and hydrogenated oils, but I love flavored coffee creamer. I’ve tried to switch to other things: from homemade creamer to butter and even plain milk and sugar. But nothing else compares to the creamy, rich flavors of creamer.
I usually have a few in my fridge for variety. A newly discovered favorite is Starbuck’s Dolce Cinnamon. But my classic favorite is Sweet Italian Cream by CoffeeMate. I could be sipping a fresh cup from my Polish pottery bright and early on weekend mornings or chugging from my travel coffee mug as I navigate traffic. A sweet, creamy cup of coffee makes this busy mom’s mornings (and afternoons!) better.
Although time is at a premium, I often squeeze in at least a few minutes with a good book to unwind with at bedtime. It’s a ritual I’ve kept for almost my whole reading life. As a kid, my mom would yell at me to turn out the light; but I would hide under my covers reading with a flashlight until I couldn’t take the stuffy air anymore.
Now my pre-bedtime reading time is usually much shorter. Sometimes I only manage a few pages before I’m falling asleep! But there’s always book (or five) on my nightstand. At least once or twice a week, I take a solo lunch break at work and enjoy some reading time there as well. Currently, I’m reading Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens and Songs Without Words by Ann Packer.
Another great literary find is the podcast “What Should I Read Next” that I listen to during my work commute. I get a ton of great suggestions from the show, often ones I would have never discovered.