november 2021 - newsletter #8
Thanks for being here! This monthly-ish newsletter is where I share a round-up of life lately - what I'm enjoying, reading, learning, buying, doing, thinking about, and more. It is a mix of motherhood reflections, personal stories and photos, mental/emotional health updates, plant and home decor tips, blog posts round-ups, travel ideas, products I recommend, brand marketing tips and tricks, articles I enjoyed, quotes that resonated, and really anything else that comes to mind.
Hi friends! I wanted to start this newsletter with something I wrote last year about Advent calendars, as I think it it applicable to all the holiday things coming up. There can be so much expectation to do ALLTHETHINGS - to see holiday lights and send cards and host a holiday party and cute a cute stocking and bake cookies and on and on and on. But, we don’t have to give into that. What matters this holiday season (and all the time) is being PRESENT over being PERFECT. We can pick and choose what activities and traditions we want to do and what brings us joy, rather than doing something out of obligation or pressure. Just a gentle reminder, in case you (like me) have felt this way before. 💛 I originally shared it on IG here and you can read it below.
The beginning of December means a lot of people are sharing about their adorably curated Advent calendars and creative stocking stuffers and perfectly wrapped presents. 🎄🎁 I love the idea of Advent calendars and pre-planned festive festivities for my kids but I don't have the emotional energy and time this year. AND THAT'S OKAY! I am seeing lots of beautiful ideas from people who seemingly have their life more put together than I do and reminding myself — what really, truly matters is my PRESENCE. just spending time with my girls. they don't need fancy coloring pages or small gifts to open every single day leading up to Christmas or any gifts for that matter. they just need to feel loved by their mama; for me to just show up as myself.
one of my favorite authors @sniequist writes about the idea of PRESENT over perfect; that being our grounded, present self is more important than any activity we do and gift we give. that we can be fully here as our imperfect, messy, tired but wholly present selves, or we can miss it — these moments and conversations — because we're trying and failing to make everything just perfect.
this is certainly not a knock on anyone who has these adorable activities lined up or themed stockings or three weeks of small cute surprises for your kids. you do you! if that brings you joy and you have the capacity to do it, go for it! I know for some, planning these activities brings a sense of control in the middle of a very out-of-control year, and gives you something to look forward to when a lot of other plans fell through. I get that and completely respect your choice.
but if you, like me, DO NOT have that same bandwidth, remember you are not "less than" as a parent in any way. this year is hard enough — let's not put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to do all the things, especially those that will just leave us feeling more frazzled and stressed. present over perfect, this holiday season and all the time. 🤍
We unexpectedly got COVID in mid-October (shared originally here) so that was how most of that month was spent. 🥵 We are thankful our symptoms were mostly mild and short-lived, and grateful to be back to ‘normal.’ It was definitely a huge emotional and mental roller coaster, and I will share some reflections from that time in the coming weeks. It seems like it’s sort of taboo to talk about getting COVID and there’s this strange shame attached, but I know by sharing our experience I’ve felt less alone and have gotten to connect with others who have been through it too. 💛
We’re currently spending a week in San Diego! We usually host Eric’s family in Nashville over Thanksgiving, but this year decided to go to the beach! Our Airbnb is a quick walk to the beach and it’s so nice being in warmer weather and getting to admire the beautiful ocean (#westcoastbestcoast) every day.
E has been making changes to our backyard, including replacing the greenhouse roof, planting several new trees, replacing our concrete path, and upgrading our fire pit area. He shares all the greenhouse/backyard/plant things at @eastnashgreenhouse.
I’ll have a booth for my textile shop at the Porter Flea Holiday Market in Nashville Dec 10-11. If you are local, you should definitely stop by, as it’s an amazing market with hundreds of small shops and artisans selling all sorts of gorgeous things!
We booked an international trip! We are going to go to Belize for a little under two weeks after Christmas with the girls! We’ll be spending half of the trip on the beach and half in the jungle - and are so excited. ⛱
REFLECTIONS (a few things I’ve shared on my blog and/or Instagram lately)
I’ve been thinking about my spring 2020 self and holding her tenderly these days. It was such a strange and weird time, and I’ve been reflecting on those lingering emotions lately as the world is seemingly ‘back to normal’
Can we normalize screen time so us grown ups can have a moment to ourselves? For uninterrupted adult conversations? For a few minutes of silence? or for no reason at all? 😅😆
ROUNDUP OF GIFT IDEAS FOR KIDS!
Kids are way more fun to shop for than grownups, so I compiled a few different blog posts sharing kids gift ideas leading into the holidays! They are linked below, plus many saved to this ‘gift ideas’ highlight on Instagram.
Toys We Own & Love: this is HUGE roundup of toys we own and shares tons of links to items we own, all organized by category (dress up, play kitchen, outdoor toys, puzzles/games, wooden toys, etc. etc.).
100 Black-Owned Kids Shops: this blog post highlights 100+ Black-owned businesses that sell items for kids (and many for adults, too!). This post is also organized by type (apparel, shoes/accessories, retailers, games/puzzles, dolls, etc.) and links to each company's IG and website for easy shopping. There are so many incredible small businesses to support this holiday season and all the time!
Greenhouse and Gardening Inspired Toys: this is a recent gift idea roundup I put together, all inspired by our backyard greenhouse! I can't believe how many adorable greenhouse and gardening toys exist. Soooo many great options for your plant-loving kids! 🌵
Manhattan Toy x Anthropologie Gift Ideas: I was so tickled by all of the adorable new Manhattan Toy products available at Anthropologie this holiday season. This blog post is organized by games, play kitchen accessories, big gifts, etc.
RECENTLY WATCHED & READ
Watched: we just finished Dopesick (on Hulu) which is a drama telling a story about opioid addiction. It’s hard to watch, but important, in my opinion. I read the book that the show is based on a few years ago and recommend that too (Dopesick by Beth Macy).
Read: The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper (powerful memoir about the author’s self-healing journey and her role as a doctor), The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (a very special memoir written by a 13-year-old boy with autism about how autistic minds think) Seven Days in June by Tia Williams (romantic novel), Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny (funny, easy-to-read novel), It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (novel about love and domestic assault - I started and finished it in ONE DAY! 😱) and In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (another easy ‘beach read’ type). Wow I guess I’ve read a lot this month! 👏🏽
WAYS TO HELP OTHERS
Community Resource Center does incredible work in the Nashville area. There are lots of opportunities to support, including volunteering to build relief and hygiene kids (via Hands On Nashville), shopping for Afghan families new tot Nashville, supporting disaster relief efforts, and more! You can donate here or via Venmo @crcnashville ♥️
Support baby Nathanael, who underwent heart surgery at 48 hours old among other health complications, on his long road ahead (and his parents as they navigate the unknowns and also parent their four other children). You can read more about Nathanael and family here.
FROM MY CAMERA ROLL
CODES & DISCOUNTS
LUCKYANDI for 10% off everything in my Moroccan textile shop!
LUCKY20 for 20% super soft, comfy kids undies (UNDERS) made in Nashville
ANDI25 - Get 25% off Eizzy Baby - we love their collapsible silicone snack cups
LUCKYANDI- Get 10% Chelsea & West Pop-Up Play Tents
Get 20% off everything from Kitsch at this link; they sell my favorite (cute, comfy, affordable) face masks and also great hair accessories
LUCKY10 for 10% off Little Colorado - we own the kids picnic table!
LUCKY5OFF for $5 off your first Vellabox candle subscription order