the sparkly life: 19 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

Friday, September 25, 2020

19 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

So...hi! I know I've been MIA pretty much all summer. And spring. (Eek!) I basically took it off, first kind of by accident, and eventually, on purpose. In the spring, I just could not focus on anything beyond virtual school since my son essentially needed me to sit right by his side the entire time and keep him focused. (Thank god my daughter is very self-sufficient with virtual school!) 

Then, in May, we moved to our lakehouse (about an hour away) and lived there until Labor Day. It was a godsend. It was so nice to get out of the city and feel so isolated from everything going on, and we got so much family time and relaxation. We've had that house for 14 years (!), but have never spent more than a single week there at a time (and rarely that). It was very much a weekend house until this year. 

I hesitate to even acknowledge any "good" things that came out of covid, when there has been so much tragedy and disruption to everyone's lives, but I'm being honest: Spending the summer at the lake was an unexpected gift for our family. We spent so much quality time together and became so much closer. I'll never forget that time. It was actually very sad to come back to our "real life" in Hoboken, even though we truly love it here! For the summer,  our real life seemed very far away. And so did this blog. 

But we're back now! And life is (sort of) back to normal. My son is in-person at his school four days a week and one day virtual. My daughter is doing a hybrid model alternating one week in-person, and the next virtual. I'm praying we can keep this going as long as we can. People, wear your masks!

Anyway, I hope everyone is healthy and safe. Whatever you're up to this weekend, I hope you make it a great one. Here's a few fun things to check out in the meantime...

• I recently bought this sweatshirt and these sweatpants from Old Navy, and I'm obsessed! So comfy, so cute, and with a very subtle, fall appropriate tie-dye, they're pretty much all I want to wear right now. They remind me so much of a Richer Poorer sweatsuit that I kept seeing all over Instagram. But they're about $100 cheaper. (And they're on sale right now!)

• I never got around to doing my July and August book roundup posts (oops), which is unfortunate, because I read 19 books and a lot of great stuff during those months! So, for now, I'll just list the very best of the best here. These are the must-read, absolutely-loved five- and very-strong-4-star books that I read in July and August:  Notes on A Silencing (in the vein of Know My Name, this memoir tells the gut-wrenching story of the author's sexual assault at a famous boarding school)The Pull of the Stars (one of my favorites of the year! The story of a nurse working in a maternity ward during the 1918 flu pandemic The Lions of Fifth Avenue (loved this historical fiction about a family living in an apartment in the New York Public Library--an apartment that actually existed!)Good And Mad (Rebecca Traister's brilliant non-fiction take on women's anger through the years will make you want to burn it all down)Leave the World Behind (one of my favorite books of the year! Absolutely gorgeous writing combined with a can't-put-it-down storyline about a mysterious, apocalyptic event)A Very Punchable Face (I actually had tears running down my face more than once listening to Colin Jost's hilarious--and actually surprisingly touching--memoir)Caste (must-read non-fiction that compares the current racial situation in America to India's caste system. Eye-opening and mind-blowing) and A Traveler At the Gates of Wisdom (by the author of the incredible The Heart's Invisible Furies, this epic novel is one of the more creatively structured stories I've ever read)

• Ever since quarantine started, approximately half the things I've made have been from Half Baked Harvest. (Literally.) I'm obsessed with her recipes! Comfort food with a twist, they are all really easy to make and super delicious. A few new HBH recipes I'm planning to make soon: Pumpkin Cheese Stuffed Bolognese Bake, Cream Cheese Swirled Pumpkin Bread, and One Pot Broccoli Cheddar and Dumplings. Yum!

• I wish I had discovered them earlier in the summer, but for these last few warm days of the season, I've been living in these Target shortsCute, but with a forgiving, elastic waist (!), they are exactly what my quarantine body needs right now. And they're under $18!

• After hearing so many raves about the Dyson cordless stick vaccuums, I finally took the plunge and bought one a few months back. And, oh em gee! I would have never thought I could get so excited about a vaccuum, but it's a gamechanger! Infinitely lighter and easier to use than my giant honking full-size vaccuum, it actually makes vaccumming kind of fun! Definitely not the chore I used to dread. This is the one we have (V10 Animal). I love it and it's worth every penny. 

• Over the summer, I did my first puzzle since, oh, the age of 10? And I loved it! Ever since, I've been looking for another one since we're likely to be locked down again sometime this fall. And I think I've just found the one (ones?) I'm getting: Just learned that Rifle Paper Company now makes puzzles, and they are beautiful.

• If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been doing a lot of textbanking lately. Well, I've become obsessed! It is (truly) SO fun, and it does so much to relieve my election-related anxiety. Instead of just sitting around refreshing Twitter, and worrying, I'm actually doing something to help the candidates I care about in the states that will decide this election. If you are at all curious about texting, please feel free to ask me ANY questions. (Or go to the Election 2020 highlight on my Instagram. I have links plus a very detailed video telling you exactly what to expect from textbanking.) Bottom line: It's simple and totally non-stress. I'm an introvert who gets super nervous at the thought of cold-calling strangers, but this is NOT that. It will make you feel better and you'll be making a difference. Try it! So far, I've textbanked for the North Carolina Democrats, the Michigan Democrats, and the Miami-Dade Democratic Party. In the coming weeks, I've also signed up to text bank with Jamie Harrison's campaign in South Carolina, and Theresa Greenfield in Iowa. Good place to start: Any of the links I just shared, or check out this site and sign up to receive their volunteer emails. They'll send opportunities across the country every week. But please do sign up for something. The election is just weeks away!

• One more (easy!) way I've been volunteering: writing letters and postcards to voters in swing states! I was shocked to learn that handwritten letters have been shown to be extremely effective at motivating people to vote--even more so that calls, texts, or canvassing! And there are some great organizations that make it really simple by giving you the names and addresses, ideas, and sometimes even a form letter to print out (and then add your own touch to). So far, I've written 20 letters to Michigan voters (and am working on 20 more to Florida voters) with Vote Fwd and I'm currently working on 20 postcards to Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virgina voters with Flip the Senate. (By the way, sharing this is not to brag. This is to show you how easy it is and hopefully motivate you to join in! If I can do it, anyone can!) 

Have you guys done an election volunteering? Please tell me below or over on Insta. I LOVE hearing about it! Have a great weekend!