The New Old Normal

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 50 readers to sign up with Blue Apron with this link will get $50 off their first two weeks! I came home from the hospital late Friday afternoon, just in time to meet the boys at the bus stop. I showered, changed my clothes, and unpacked the plastic hospital bag of pajamas and books and other ward-approved belongings. A few hours later, I made dinner. Chicken and poblano tostadas with roasted zucchini, to be exact. It was the easiest way to feel normal again. I've since learned not to rush back into "normal" too quickly -- the next day I attempted to take all the kids to all the lessons and then run all the errands by myself and nearly broke down in overwhelmed, anxious tears the YMCA parking lot -- but to focus on the little things. Like scrambling eggs, packing up backpacks for camp, folding laundry, making dinner. (Opting for comfort food much? Oh, you know it.) Dinner I can do. Dinner I can handle. Dinner has to happen one way or another, and I feel better and stronger for making an effort to spend 30-40 minutes on it... Read more →


Oh! Goody

This post is sponsored by thredUP. Raise your hand if you do any of the following things while shopping online: Go on a wild Add To Cart spree only to end up with a mortgage payment's worth of items at checkout, where you get overwhelmed by the decision-making process and ultimately abandon everything. Spend a inordinately long time debating the multiple color/size options on a single item (do I dare buy something other than black? what the hell is a S/M vs. a M/L? if the model is 5'11" and somehow wearing an XXS, what time does the second train arrive in Cleveland?) before getting overwhelmed by the decision-making process and ultimately abandon everything. Scream at your screen that you JUST WANT PANTS THAT FIT AND MAYBE A NICE TOP AND PLEASE STOP TRYING TO MAKE $150 BIKINI BOTTOMS A RELATED ITEM OKAY before giving up and going back to Amazon to look at costumes for your cats instead. Ahem. Yeah, my issues with clothes shopping run pretty deep. It's why I own so many yoga pants that I dislike almost as much as actual yoga. So I very much dig thredUP's latest product offering: curated Goody Boxes that outsource... Read more →


Will It Instant Pot? Blue Apron Edition

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 100 people will receive $40 off their first two weeks of meals here! My husband finally caved to the Internet Multi-Cooker Hype and bought us an Instant Pot. He bought it just a couple weeks before Valentine's Day, which is when I planned to buy him an Instant Pot, because he loves to blow up my gifting spot every. Single. Holiday. (He got socks for V-day.) He is MORE THAN A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH IT. Him: (looks at phone, eyes widen, gasps) Me: OMG WHAT'S HAPPENING IS HE GETTING IMPEACHED Him: (shows me yet another Instant Pot recipe) — amalah (@amalah) February 9, 2018 (After I finish this post I've been tasked with taking his precious Instant Pot full of his precious pork chili verde to his office to enter a cook-off on his behalf because he's stuck in meetings elsewhere. It's cute that he thinks I know how to turn the thing on, let alone how to not burn the building down.) (UPDATE: He won first place. I graciously accepted the award on his behalf. If he asks, just tell him about the spoon.) Anyway. What? Oh right. Our lives... Read more →


Brighten Up

This post is sponsored by thredUP. After the Great Floorsplosion last month, the contents of my closet remained scattered across the house for awhile -- most of my casual clothes got dumped in the bathtub, while the dressier stuff lay draped over furniture in the basement in various piles. Dresser drawers were stacked haphazardly all over the place. I decided to take advantage of the chaos and attempt yet another closet purge/editing/inventory project. After boxing up anything summer-y and everything that no longer fits (grumble grumble), I realized that I was sorely lacking in some nice basic sweaters and long-sleeved tops, and clothing in ANY other color besides black. So much black! Like my soul! I could hear the tsk of my mother's tongue. But you look so pretty in jewel tones, she'd say, as I left the house in head-to-toe black, all wannabe 90s-era grunge, with overplucked brows and fourteen coats of eyeliner. And so, when offered another shopping spree at thredUP (the world's best and largest online thrift store where you can find over 35 thousand brands at up to 90% off) (hi hi yes please thank you), I went in with a vague sort-of wish list: cozy... Read more →


Saving the Holidays (+Giveaway!)

This post is sponsored by RetailMeNot. So this is happening. Starting next week, the carpet is getting ripped up and hardwoods are going down, and all our furniture is going...I don't even know where yet. Crammed into the garage and a hallway. Maybe the bathtubs. We'll be living in the basement with a lot of boxes and some very confused dogs. While it will be SO NICE to have the project done in time for the holidays, it's...um, not exactly convenient timing in the meantime. There will be no Christmas tree until the floors are done, and our holiday shopping budget is wafer thin. The kids aren't really asking for much, thank goodness, and as long as I agreed that the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and a few other decorations could come out of storage, they seem satisfied. (I set up a holiday-themed reading nook in place of the real tree, which has gone over really well. Ike has of course been wearing Christmas jammies since June.) (Stockings for Hobbes the Tiger and Tahu the Bioncle, naturally.) (Oh yay this guy again. I can't wait to forget to move him and bolt awake every night at 2 a.m., cursing the... Read more →


Our Blue Apron Anniversary

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. So we've been Blue Apron members for...wow, three full years now, officially. Every Monday, two boxes show up on our doorstep. (We find that two boxes of the 2-person plan feeds our 5-person family perfectly, often with leftovers. Blue Apron also has a 4-person family plan but we found the portions a touch smaller and the meals more kid-friendly than our kids really need. YMMV.) We unload the ingredients, pull out the recipe cards, map out when we'll make what, and bam. Our dinner menu planning and shopping is done for the week, in less than 10 minutes. We have tried other meal delivery services in that time, but have always returned to Blue Apron time and time again. Some are just too expensive and/or the prices advertised don't include the shipping costs (tricksy hobbits). Others consistently sent us rotten ingredients and reaching customer service was a labyrinth of response-less frustration. (BA lets me report missing or damaged ingredients directly from their app, and I always hear back with an account credit within a day. Their customer service is fabulous.) Another one promised super fast, zero-prep meals but relied heavily on processed foods... Read more →


The Dog Ate My Fall Wardrobe

This post is sponsored by thredUP. Stuff Poppy Ate, an Addendum: 21) Amy's favorite jacket. RIP, favorite jacket. This jacket was a Target find -- one of those great "I want something exactly like this but do not want to put any effort whatsoever into shopping for something like this" items you randomly spot on a rack on your way to pick up some paper towels. It was perfect. I wore it constantly in the fall and last spring, dressed up, dressed down, you name it. I LOVED this jacket. (Good thing I also really, really love that dog.) My first instinct when seeing the dog-shredded sleeve was to check and see if Target still sold it. And indeed, they do. For $40. I did not remember paying $40. And I did not particularly feel like paying $40 all over, again. Spending another $40 would mean that technically, I spent $80 on a faux leather moto jacket from Target. (Don't try to argue with my brain logic here. It has very specific views about how money works.) Thankfully, thredUP to the rescue. (thredUP, in case you haven't checked it out yet, is the largest online resale shop where you can... Read more →


This Old Hairz

This post is sponsored by PURA D'OR and 2MinuteClub. After my last sponsored post on 2MinuteClub's skin products (which I am still using, still loving, BTW), a wholllllllle bunch of people asked me if I'd tried their best-selling Facebook-famous shampoo and conditioner. I said that I had not, but really wanted to, and...well. Mayyyyyyyybe if they were happy with the skincare post they'd let me try the hair care line next. BOO YAH. First, here's what I'm dealing with: Super duper fine hair. I have a ton of it growing out from my oily-as-anything scalp, but thanks to the aforementioned fineness, plus coloring and heat styling, it gets increasingly dry and brittle as it grows out. Which means lots of breakage and fly-aways and split ends that require regular trims. Which also means I have been trying to grow my hair out to my Goal Length (of just below boob level) for approximately 700 years. I'm still several inches short, since I eventually end up having to cut back most (if not all) of the growth progress thanks to the dryness and breakage. Now I know I could stop 1) coloring and 2) heat styling, but y'all. Come on. Frizzy,... Read more →


Handyman

This post is sponsored by thredUP. I've mentioned once or 100 times that I'm not a big fan of clothes shopping. I'm very impatient and get discouraged too easily -- I don't like the first thing I tried on! These dressing room lights are killing my self-esteem! This is boring and my feet hurt! -- and I also don't have that awesome "shopper's eye" that translate how something looks on the hanger with how it will look on my actual body. Obviously I love online shopping but I still get really indecisive and unsure about clothing. I am an e-commerce cart-abandoning nightmare. Jason, on the other hand, totally has the shopper's eye. He also finds shopping fun, and even relaxing, both online and in person. I know. He's either a gem or an insane person. As a result, I'd say he easily buys about 80% of my wardrobe these days. Which is admittedly awesome and convenient. So...shine on, you crazy diamond, I guess! So when thredUP expressed interest in a second sponsored post (along with a tempting $150 shopping credit), I knew I wanted to outsource the grunt work this time around, and I set Jason loose on the site... Read more →


This Old Skin

This post is sponsored by NxN. A few years ago, I showed up at a client's office for a meeting and was immediately asked if I was feeling okay. Because (groan groan groooooan guys don't ever say this to people) I "looked really tired." I felt fine, and had actually slept very well the night before. What happened is that I forgot to put on any foundation or concealer, and -- GASP -- had inadvertently revealed my actual human face to my coworkers. This weekend, on the other hand, I went out on a date night with my husband and very much deliberately left the foundation (and concealer and bronzer and highlighter and all that other jazz) at home. Nobody said I looked tired, and instead Jason told me several times that I looked pretty. Yes, he's biased. THAT SAID, my skin! Look at my actual human face skin right now. It's 39 years old and it is happy. So let's talk a bit more about my skin, because this is a blog and that's what we do here: It is technically combination, though probably more on the oily side overall. Other than the occasional hormonal breakout, I've outgrown the... Read more →