Eating a leftover Valentine’s Day cupcake for a treat while I finally sit down to share a round-up of my favorite things. Still can’t believe that Monday was Valentine’s Day because it feels so long ago. Jake spoiled me with roses and we had dinner together before both of us hopped back onto our computers to get more work done. This weekend we are celebrating Valentine’s Day at the Harry Potter Exhibit. It’s been on our calendar for months and Life has been busy since I became a Program Manager at my job. Long hours, busy days, and still not enough time to get it all done! It’s been a big adjustment but I’ve been loving every minute of it. It’s really rewarding to work in nonprofit and see the good that it does every day.
How I Met Your Mother Doing a rewatch with Jake to get ready to watch How I Met Your Father!
The Promised Land Not what I was expecting but immediately fell in love! I feel like tv has been missing that drama tv show the last few years that kept you on the edge of your chair wanting more. This one is
Pivoting A 30-minute show about three childhood friends figuring out the world together as adults that makes me laugh.
Abbott Elementary This is just the show I needed this year after working in various Philadelphia schools the last few months.
And Just Like That I’ve heard some conflicting reviews on the new chapter of SATC and I personally loved watching it. Sex and the City was never that show that was a happily ever after and I respect the direction it went in.
In this post-2020 world, I don’t take wearing makeup daily for granted anymore. I love to put on a podcast with a warm cup of coffee and spend 10 minutes getting ready in the morning. This lipstick lip balm keeps my lips hydrated and looks great on all of my Zoom calls too!
Coffee. The morning newspaper. Getting back into a routine after Watching documentaries at night about the royal family. Sleeping in this weekend!
Happy New Year! It’s our first week in the new year and it feels like it’s been a month since we rang in the new year. With Covid numbers rising, we wanted to keep our plans small this year which was just what we needed! While Jake was at work, I got a much-needed haircut and at night we walked to Miracle on 13th Street to see the light display before grabbing takeout at one of our favorite restaurants, Thai Square, down the street. I am so happy we spent the weekend on the couch resting and doing some organizing because we both hit the ground running on Monday. My work to-do list doubled as we found out last minute that schools were virtual and that changed our plan for programming for the week. This week, I spent a lot of time in meetings and planning logistics for the program but I missed seeing my kids. The most exciting part about this week was that I got to use my new planner and pens that I got for Christmas. As someone who likes to be organized, I love using a new planner at the beginning of the year. A new blank page means so many possibilities!
Our only plan on January 1st was to watch the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special on HBO Max. A few minutes in and all of the magic came rushing back to me and I was in tears because it was so well put together! It was so good we watched it twice!
I’ve recently become obsessed with the Hallmark TV app so I’ve been watching Hallmark movies in the background while I work from home. It’s free and a great way to find a movie to watch when you just need the cheesy storyline.
At night while I get ready for bed, I have been playing an 80s or 90s movie on the bedroom tv. Hulu has a lot of classic 80s/90s movies to choose from right now and even though I’ve seen them so many times before, they are classics for a reason!
Last year my goal was to watch tv shows from the 1990s that I never saw and I’m excited to keep this going this year. Right now I am watching Alias and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It’s funny when Jake comes to bed at night and asks what he missed when I’m watching Sabrina. It’s just that perfect 20-minute show with funny humor and storyline they don’t write anymore.
I’m not sure what took me so long, but we are watching Superstore together and it is so funny! As someone who worked retail for many years, I can say that it is very accurate to work culture and shenanigans.
Recently on the blog, I have shared a ton of my favorite products that I love love love!
This daily moisturizer with vitamin C is perfect for winter to get a bit of a healthy glow. These eyeshadow palettes are my go-to right now and were recently on sale. It’s chapped lip season and this lip balm has avocado oil which is a game-changer in keeping them hydrated! I’ve talked about a lot of serums on the blog so I made a guide to make it easy to pick one that works best for you here. It’s a skincare step that you cannot skip! Even with a box full of foundations to choose from, I keep using this affordable foundation.
This week has been busy for both of us so I’ve had to rely on our easy dinner favorites for dinner. On Monday, I made lemon garlic pasta which is super easy and always a big hit. I’ve made it so many times now that I just wing it. We always keep some Mahi Mahi burgers from Trader Joe’s in our freezer for a quick dinner. After a busy day of meetings and running around for both of us, we ordered sushi and had a small date night watching Superstore before I passed out from exhaustion from my booster shot! Last night I was working from home late so I threw some Trader Joe’s ravioli into a pot and tried to convince Jake that I made it from scratch but he didn’t believe me for a minute ha!
Picked up some amazing items from TJ Maxx and Homegoods included in the after-Christmas sale.
Ordered a lot of organizers on Amazon to get our basement a bit more organized before we bring down all of the Christmas decorations.
I ordered Jake this wireless phone charger and now I need to get one for myself because I’m obsessed. Since Jake works in tech, I had to do my research to make sure it was a good one and it has his approval!
This week I have been doing a lot of Zoom meetings so I’m living in my J Crew sweaters because they look very professional but are very cozy.
Picked up new Skinnygirl sports bras at TJ Maxx because they are soo comfy.
Looking back at the blog post I wrote this time last year, I can remember how much I dreaded looking back on the previous year. All of us were trying to navigate this new world and this feeling of unknown. There had been so much change in my life and I was not sure what path I was going to take next. I knew that big things were ahead in 2021 and I wrote goals to help me create the life I wanted to live. When I wrote the goals for last year I had no clue that I would be able to accomplish almost all of them and a few of them felt like they were impossible.
LOOKING BACK AT 2021
Get dressed every day. Remember when each day felt like Groundhog Day and we never left the house? By 2021, I was ready to get out of pajama pants and was really good at intentionally getting dressed every single day. It not only helped my mood but I felt more productive during the day.
Commit to a blog schedule and plan ahead content. This past year I spent a lot of time focused on my little corner of the internet. There was a big shift in creating quailty content instead of quantity and this way I fell in love with writing again. I seriously do not know how I would have survived the last year without this little hobby becasue it brought me so much joy!
Feel more comfortable on Instagram Stories This honestly lasted like a week becasue I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pop on my Instagram Stories and be like, “hey guys!” While I didn’t talk that much on stories, I got a lot better at creating fun content on my stories like my Currently Watching series and sharing my daily life.
Find a job that fulfills me and allows a good personal/work balance. This is something I wrote down in my journal and stared at it for a long time. I was sure this was a reach. Something impossible to achieve because it felt like such a fantasy. In the fall, I accepted a job offer at a job that I thought was only possible in my dreams. Honestlhy, I love Mondays now because I am so excited to get to work. The job schedule also allows me to have an amazing life/work balance too which is a big bonus!
Get back into a fitness routine and eat healthy. The cruise in August was a BIG motivator to get back into shape and the work has paid off! My clothes fit better and I have so much more energy now.
Continue cooking healthy meals from scratch. This started because I had so much free time and now eating healthy meals is our lifestyle. We love to order pizza and have cheat meals, but my body craves healthier meals these days. Cooking dinner at night while listening to a podcast is my “me time” at night and I love it!
Weekly baths on Sundays. My Sunday baths are my favorite part of the week. Especially now that I am back to work, it is the perfect way to unwind before another crazy week begins.
Read a book a month. I unfortunately did not meet my book goal for the year but I also read a lot of books that were 900+ pages. Reading at night before bed helped me sleep better and I loved getting lost in a fantasy world again.
Become a morning person. This is a goal that I sorta kinda accomplished? I still hate waking up early but now it’s impossible to sleep past 9am.
Schedule weekly date nights with Jake. We did as many dates nights as we could while also trying to stay safe in a pandemic.
Buy a car This was our big purchase for the year and I am so happy we did it!
Hire a cleaning service to clean the house once it’s safe. Our goal was to look into hiring a cleaning service once I went back to work but Omicron made us put that on the back burner for a bit.
Be positive. This past year I created a happy life for myself and as a result, I felt happier and more positive.
Use all the products I have before buying more. My linen closet that I use as storage for all of my products is ALMOST empty and that was a big achievement for the last year!
Continue investing time and energy into Blonde Rosie.
Stay organized to keep a work/life balance.
Live a healthy lifestyle.
Join a gym or fitness studio.
Continue Sunday bath time.
Read one book a month.
Become a morning person.
Schedule weekly date nights with Jake.
Try new restaurants in Philadelphia.
Hire a cleaning service to clean our house so I don’t have to anymore!
Travel to New York City.
Travel to Washington, DC.
Watch less tv.
Focus more on connecting with old friends and creating new friendships.
Feel more confident at work and take on more tasks.
We spent most of the last year either in lockdown or trying to navigate the process of re-entering the world again while a worldwide pandemic was still happening around us. It’s been a weird year and while it felt very short when looking back at my photos, it also flew by all too quickly. In *checks calendar to confirm what year it is* 2021, I stayed at home more and as a result, I didn’t shop as much and kept coming back to the small things in life that brought me joy. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and made my mornings special with a magazine and a cup of coffee. In the Fall, I started working again after a long period of funemployment. Still miss those days of having no plans but I am so lucky to have found a job that I am passionate about and love.
Here are some of my favorite things that got me through the last year. As I was writing up my list I noticed it looks very different than previous years. I shifted away from a materialistic lifestyle and lived a very simplified one in every aspect. When we realized that we weren’t going anywhere, I purged a lot and put most of my other items in storage. Even with going back to work, I try to keep this simplified theme going in every aspect of my life. Has the last year inspired you to live without clutter and a less busy schedule? Let me know how you simplified your life this year in the comments below!
CONAIR HAIR DRYER BRUSH
All of my other hair tools are sitting in my linen closet collecting dust because this is the only hair tool I use anymore. Perfect blow out every single time!
I go through products a lot because I have the platform that allows me to have the opportunity to work with different brands and try new things. But this is one product I keep coming back to again and again because it keeps my blonde hair free of brassy tones and protects my color.
I brought the book Outlander on vacation in August and read the whole thing in less than a week! I had to Amazon Prime the second one for next day delivery so I had something to read on the plane ride home. It’s been such a wonderful series to get lost in the last few months.
VITAL PROTEIN COLLAGEN
I love love love Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. I can feel a difference in my body when I don’t take it right away. It’s such an easy way to make smart healthy decisions first thing in the morning.
This week was back to work after a nice long Thanksgiving vacation. It was a fun weekend to spend time with the family watching Hallmark Christmas movies, doing some shopping with my mom on Black Friday, and enjoying turkey leftovers as much as possible! We wanted to enjoy a mid-week date night so we walked downtown to watch the tree lighting at City Hall and walked around to see the little pop-up shops. With the large crowds, we decided to come back another day to fully enjoy it because this year the Christmas Village set up is bigger than ever! Since it can’t be date night without a meal, we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants, Pub & Kitchen for dinner. We both got a cocktail to celebrate almost getting through the work week! Going into the week, we knew our work schedules were going to be super busy so to give us something to look forward to on the weekend, we made plans to decorate our house for Christmas this weekend. And if you cannot tell… I AM SO EXCITED!
So let’s get started and talk about my favorite things this week.
I’ve been enjoying 30 minutes of “alone time’ after work before J gets home. I usually curl up on the couch and watch an episode of Paris in Love or Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip on Peacock. It’s the perfect show to watch because it requires zero brain energy and is very entertaining. SPEAKING of Housewives, you must watch Housewive & Shah Shocker on Hulu if you follow the Jen Shah drama. I binge-watched Catherine the Great on Hulu one weekend because I love this show so much.
I love wearing a full face of makeup but I hate taking it off at night. Ugh, it is a struggle! I recently just finished using Maybelline Satin Liquid Foundation which I have used on and off for years. Luckily, I had a bottle of Maybelline Super Stay in my vanity that I’ve been using ever since. Wearing a mask most of the day because of work, I’ve found that using a full coverage foundation stays on the face better than a sheer foundation. Also I have been using this moisturizer every morning under my makeup and I notice my face looks brighter with daily use. At night I’m still using my retinol and dab a few spots of this moisturizer around my eyes since that area can be sensitive.
When we got back home from my parents house we came back home to an empty fridge and not much in the pantry. So on Monday after work I had to walk to the grocery store so we could eat dinner that night. This week I made barbeque chicken, stuffed peppers and quesadillas for dinner. Not that fascinating I know but it’s so nice to have options again!
I love visiting my parents because of how close they live to some of my favorite stores! We stopped in at Hobby Lobby and picked up a few things for the house before stopping at Homegoods and it’s dangerous when I walk in the front door! Hobby Lobby has an entire aisle dedicated to Grinch decor and I want all of it! Our Christmas plans are still up in the air so I delivered my parents Christmas presents when we were visiting at Thanksgiving to be on the safe side. I got my mom a butter ornament as a joke gift that I let her open early because we always joke about how much butter we use when we cook.
I keep a semi-full closet full of clothes at my parents house as well as a bottle of my favorite perfume so I don’t have to bring it back and forth.
For the past few weeks… months actually I keep saying that the next week will be easier or that next weekend we won’t have that many plans. Then the next week arrives and we are full steam ahead trying to do it all. I’m sure I am not the only one who is trying to balance work and life right now and it is only going to get busier with the holidays around the corner. Being back to work means that I need to create new routines to help me relax and recharge on the weekends.
Here are a few ways that I slow down during the week to allow my body to rest and be able to conquer that long and never-ending to-do list.
Sunday Brain Dump
This has been a lifesaver for me because it only takes 5 minutes and I can make a list of everything that needs to get done and have an idea of what is coming up that week. Once everything is in my notebook, I schedule tasks and events on my paper and digital calendar linked to my phone. My digital calendar is composed of mostly reminders to do things so I can stay on task each day and not feel overwhelmed doing a lot of things on one day.
Over the last few years, I have committed to only cleaning the house on Tuesdays. By doing it once a week, it keeps everything in good shape so it’s not that much to clean the next week. On Sundays, I love going to bed with the living room pillows fluffed on the couch, an empty laundry basket, and fresh sheets. When you just think about all of the chores to do around the house, it can feel like a lot. But by doing a few things each day each week, it’s all doable. Reminder to run your dishwasher before bed each night. Your future self will thank you!
Saturdays are for Errands
During the week, I make a list on my phone of things we need to buy, stores to stop at, and such. If I can do all of my errands in one trip so I can be home at a reasonable hour on Saturday, I am in a much better mood. Sundays are for relaxing and Saturdays are for socializing so I like to get all of our errands done early so I can feel like I actually have a weekend.
I’ve debated over getting a gym membership for months now but for now, working in my bedroom works for me. I tell myself that I will work out for just 10 minutes at night before bed because that is when I have the time and what works for me. Most of the time it goes longer than 10 minutes but it’s not as daunting when I say it will just be a few minutes of ab workouts or lifting weights.
Set a Reminder for Bedtime
I’ve talked about this routine before and it is what has helped me the most since going back to work. I’m in bed at night at a certain time each night and my body looks forward to it every evening. It doesn’t matter if I’m watching tv or reading in bed, as long as I’m in bed, my body knows it’s done for the day.
Self Care Is Important Too
I’m not kidding when I set up reminders for basically everything going on in my life. That includes a reminder to take a bath on Sunday evening before bed, a face mask on a Wednesday, and a quick polish change on Thursdays. If it’s in my calendar, I’m more likely going to set time aside for myself, and taking care of yourself is important too!
About that busy holiday season….
If you are planning to travel to visit family, pack early so it’s one less thing you need to worry about. I’m doing my Christmas shopping early and dropping off items at Thanksgiving already wrapped to make the gift exchanges easier. We have so many holiday traditions in the city we love to do so I already created a calendar invite and invited J to see the Christmas tree lighting and walk through Macy’s Christmas Village. It’s on our calendars so we have something fun to look forward to and it won’t feel rushed. Decorating the house for Christmas should be fun so I’ve already started the deep clean for when we take down the fall decor and start putting up the trees! It may seem daunting but plan ahead. Your future self will thank you for it!