Favorite Things I Need to Tell You about Right Now

Favorite Things I Need to Tell You About Right Now – Vol. 2

Hey friends! To start the year, I did a post on “Favorite Things in 2017 That I Need to Tell You About Right Now,” and decided that it needed to become a semi-regular series. So I’m back today to share a new list on random finds and new favorite things and trends I’m obsessed with lately. And since my friend Brandi and I are always swapping these kind of ideas back and forth, I’ve asked her to contribute! And like before, this post in not sponsored in any way — I just genuinely recommend it all.

Skecher Go Step Boat Shoes

Amanda: My mom recommended Go Walks to me last summer and while the overall brand has a lot of styles that I don’t like, I am in LOVE with the Go Step style that look like Sperry’s since I bought my first pair on sale last fall. They are seriously one of the comfiest shoes I have ever owned, have never given me blisters and I’ve been able to walk in them long distances without it affecting my plantar fasciitis. I’m currently trying to figure out what pair I want next.

Ebates

Amanda: Ebates is a service that you download as a plugin on your internet browser (there is also an app) and then as you shop online it offers a percentage cash back on your purchases. Then you get a check every quarter with what you’ve made. I heard about Ebates a long time ago, but I always thought that there was a catch of some sort or that it would take too much effort to work. But I was wrong, its literally just one extra click of a button to activate each time. Now, I could see how it would drive someone to spend more money than really necessary, because the site advertises all of the different deals going on with various brands. But I have just used it for purchases that I already otherwise was going to make. When I was planning on buying new running shoes and knew exactly which pair and size I wanted, I went to Ebates to see what retailer had the best cash back offer and made my purchase there. Since July, I’ve made almost $60 back, and my next check will be a bigger one because I just I was able to use Ebates for a plane ticket I recently bought.

If you are interested in using Ebates, use my referral link:

https://www.ebates.com/r/AJAESP?eeid=28187

…and we’ll BOTH get a little extra back 🙂

Mine Design Noted Candle

Amanda: Since the past year or so I’ve been regularly burning candles in my home and my favorite has been this one that I snatched up as on add-on item with one of my FabFitFun boxes. The scent itself is just a light floral scent, but the best part about it is that you can write messages on it with pencil and erase and rewrite as many times as you’d like. It’s perfect for my style and been a fun addition to my home. After I am done burning the original candle, I’ll put votives in it so I can continue to use it. Right now it says “Surviving Not Thriving.”

Kombucha

Amanda: I don’t drink as much pop as I used to (but I’ll never give it up completely), but I’ve always crave the fizz. Kombucha has become increasingly popular recently and after one my friends suggested I try it a number of times, I finally gave it try and now I’m hooked. Kombucha is essentially fermented tea, is really refreshing and is a good source of probiotics. It still has sugar so I don’t drink it everyday, but its become a tasty treat about twice a week or so. I usually buy it at Trader Joe’s and really like the Trader Joe’s brand Pomegranate Hibiscus, Health-Ade’s Pink Lady Apple and GT”s Synergy Trilogy.

JERGENS® Wet Skin® Moisturizers

Amanda: I’m usually pretty skeptical of these kind of products but one of my friends let me try some of her JERGENS® Wet Skin® Moisturizers when I was visiting last fall, and seriously, its so good! It’s official description says it “works with water to instantly lock in moisture from your shower. Skin stays soft and luminous all day, without a heavy, sticky feel.” I’d say that description is pretty accurate. I have really dry skin and now use this about twice a week or so when I’d get out of the shower. It has really made a difference, especially throughout the harsh winter months. I tried the Refreshing Coconut Oil version and am looking forward to trying some of the others.

Erin Condren

Amanda: I talked about choosing a new planner and my new love for Erin Condren in a blog post in January. What I didn’t share is that I first fell in love with these planners when I bought one for my Mom for Christmas in 2016, and then again in 2017. When Brandi was looking for something new last year, I knew these would be a good fit for her too. My Mom and I both have the “Life Planner,” which best fits our needs.

Brandi: Toward the end of 2017, the search for a new planner began. I had tried a bullet journal in 2017 and it was evident I really just needed full monthly views spare pages to put down notes and to-do lists. After lots of researching and asking around, I found Erin Condren and felt like I had hit the planner mother lode. If you saw or talked to me at the end of 2017, I likely tried to sell you on this planner brand because of how low-key obsessed I was am with it. There are 3 main planner layouts and tons of covers, colors and customizations to choose. Truthfully, it took me longer to pick out a favorite cover design and color combination than it did to research a planner type. I finally settled with the Monthly Deluxe and paid for extra notebook pages in the back. Since I ordered my planner, I’ve ordered an academic planner for my sister, a wedding planner for a friend, a plain notebook for work and tons of accessories. In addition to all the planner options, they also have lunch bags, personalized notepads, blankets, throw pillows, wine totes, and so much more. Luckily they’ve started a rewards program so I can earn points on my purchases to put toward MORE PURCHASES!!

This post is not sponsored, but I do have a referral code if you are interested in getting something from Erin Condren yourself.

Podcasts

Brandi: I learned pretty early on that being in a shared work space with lots of other people talking on the phone, I’d need something to help block out the extra sound. Listening to music works sometimes, but at certain times the jamming out and lip-syncing is not conducive to working. That’s when I started looking into podcasts. There are so many options for subjects ranging from things you can learn, talk radio recorded for podcast listening, people recapping television shows, and lots of humor. I started listening mostly to see if I could passively learn anything, but now a lot of my podcasts are light-hearted and meant more for comic relief than anything. They help keep the work day or a car ride lively when music isn’t cutting it.

Here’s my current Top 5:

  1. The Dave Ramsey Show
  2. An Acquired Taste Podcast
  3. The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe
  4. TED Talks Daily by TED
  5. The Brooklyn Boys Podcast

Bonus: Game of Thrones The Podcast by Bald Move (when the show is live & new)

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What are some of your favorite things lately?

Life at Random

Emotional Courage

Today’s post is going to be a bit more real life. I’ve mentioned a few times recently that I’ve been struggling with having a positive attitude, but if I am completely honest, it is a bit more than that. I went through a break up right before Christmas and for while I’ve just been flat out struggling. At the end of the day, I know that I have a lot to be happy about and thankful for, but that just has not been enough to keep my mood up lately.

A few weeks ago I saw this Ted Talk, “The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage” by psychologist Susan David, that really spoke to me in a way that I needed. She describes her life work as “emotional agility,” and her talk is summarized as “sharing how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility.”

Link to video HERE.

I’ve always been a realist and don’t usually shy away too much from my emotions, but this experience has been a bit different than I’ve ever had before. There have been so many times when someone would ask if I was OK, and I felt compelled to brush it off, and say yes, when I really, truly wasn’t. I felt myself judging or criticizing myself over getting upset over what I deemed as silly things or at really inopportune times.

In her talk, David says, “I was praised for being strong. I was the master of being OK.

She then said that in a study she conducted, she determined that “one-third of us either judge ourselves for having ‘bad emotions,’ like sadness, anger or even grief — or actively push away these emotions… Normal natural emotions are now seen as good or bad, and being positive has become a new form of moral correctness.”

Umm WOW. How many of us take pride in mastering these habits? I do believe in the power of being positive, counting your blessings and so on and so forth, but I don’t know that I’ve ever truly looked at it this way. I just knew deep down this time around that I was going to need some time to feel these ‘bad emotions’ that she describes and didn’t want to feel like there was pressure to be OK anytime soon.

David also said that people who say ‘I just want this feeling to go away,’ have dead people’s goals. And I laughed quite a bit, because its so bluntly true. My favorite quote came shortly after this when she said…

“Tough emotions are part of our contract with life. You don’t get to have a meaningful career or raise a family, or leave the world a better place without stress and discomfort. Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.”

This stuck with me the most, because it also resonated with other stages of my life. I’ve always believed and accepted that sometimes, to get to where we want to be, we have to do hard things. If I say that I don’t usually shy away from my emotions in other areas of my life and other obstacles, then why should this be treated any differently? I do not believe in or follow the line of thinking that “Everything happens for a reason,” but this, the thought that “discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life,” is one that makes sense and feels real to me.

I’m obviously not a psychologist and I’m not writing this blog post out of some need for attention. Writing is the way I work through things, and I wanted to share this Ted Talk and a few of my own thoughts because the thing that usually helps me the most is when a friend, or a stranger, says “it’s OK, I’ve been there and I get it.”

Before I saw the Ted Talk, I also got this text from a friend that fit so perfectly with the lesson and was a way of looking at things and leaning on friends that I had never thought of before.

So this is me saying to others, I’ve been there too, and I get it… AND, take your time and let yourself feel all the things that you need to. The rest of us will do the positive thinking for you until you’re ready.