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I hope everyone is having a happy and festive week. I know the holiday season can feel overwhelming… so don’t forget to carve out a little time for yourself- even if it’s a warm cup of cocoa under the sparking tree after your family has gone to bed ❤️

life_as_louise_favorites

I wanted to share a few favorites that I’ve seen floating around lately…

Like most readers, I have way too many books on my tbr shelf (in my house and on my GR page). I’m obviously driving M down the same path. I love collecting children books for her. Carolann shared some of her daughter’s favorites and I’ve added them all to my wishlist for M.

In the fashion department, the always cute and comfy and cozy Chelsea has been working on affordable Amazon styles. Some day we’ll be able to safely brunch and shop and party… so we’ll have somewhere to wear these adorable ensembles. Fortunately, Chels puts together some cozy looks, too!

In keeping with book recs, Lauren has put together a list of great reads for specific people who’d enjoy them! I can vouch for a fews of these! (And now want to read all the others!)


Ok… I’ve gushed about this series before but I just saw SEASON 3 is now out! If you love period dramas and you haven’t checked out High Seas (Alta Mar) on Netflix, you really really need to!

K and I have started to get serious about zero-based budgeting. I used the Dave Ramsey free trial to kick it off, but I got rid of the subscription after the trial was over and I’m going at it alone. This isn’t a new novel idea… just something I figured I’d share.

Alright… I know I had more to say but I forget. Have a happy Tuesday!

Baby Talk: Recommendations (0-5 Months)

I know not all of you have kids/want kids/plan to raise any more small humans. BUT chances are you know someone who’s pregnant. Or someone who might get pregnant some day. Or maybe you do, in fact have small babies or are expecting one. Regardless, this post is for you.

Use it as advice, use it as a gift guide. Whatevs.

These items have been the BEST & I would 100% recommend them to any new
mom or dad!

M is a swaddle-loving baby. We were all sad when she started rolling and we had to leave her arms out. We still haven’t switched to a sleep sack yet because she likes the swaddle around her chest. Fortunately the Ollie Swaddle is versatile. It can wrap both arms, one arm (for the transition), or no arms. It’s a little pricey, but M sleeps the BEST with this swaddle- and trust me, we’ve tried others.
*here’s a referral link so you get 10% off and I earn $5

We were blessed with a verrrrry sleepy newborn. She would snooze at home, in the car, at restaurants, etc. Our portable Hushh sound machine was SO handy when we were on the go. (She has a sound machine in her bedroom, too.) Now Moo tries to fight sleep so we don’t get as many naps in public, but this was a life saver during the first few months. Now it goes with her to the baby sitters’ houses for nap time.

Finding things for babies to play with is hard. Fortunately, they just sleep & eat (& sometimes cry) most of the time. We found this play mat for M early on and it’s been a hit. From the start she loved the black and white images & mirror. Now she chews on the crinkly raccoon and kicks at the melodic porcupine. And it washes up so well! (Ask me how I know, lol… #spitupQueen)

These blinds have completely changed the game. We have cute striped curtains (as seen here) but they didn’t block the light for crap. I had a dark towel hanging in the window 🤦🏼‍♀️ These are paper & you cut them to the width of the window. They block ALL the light.

I wash a lot of bottles. I wish someone had thought to gift me latex gloves, lol. They cost $2. (I bought myself some finally.)

So far we’ve found two teethers that M absolutely loves. This strawberry teether is great because she’s able to grab on a very basic level and she can hold into this and bring it to her mouth. She can’t hold her Teething Egg yet, but it brings her SUCH relief when we hold it for her to rub her gums on. They actually have a grippie stick that I might buy so she can hold it herself.

(Not So) Pro Tip: SNAPS vs. ZIPPER Sleepers
People feel very strongly about this- mostly claiming zippers are best. I don’t completely agree. If you have a baby that HATES being cold, snaps are lovely because they allow you to open the bottom half of the outfit without freezing the baby. And they don’t bunch up like zippers sometimes to do… (A double zipper that unzips from the top AND bottom is the creme de la creme IMO.)


So right now, with the first five months under our belt, I can confidently and enthusiastically recommend these items! Did you have something that saved your sanity in the early stages of parenthood? Did I convince you to gift an expecting mama any of these things?

10 out of 10: Would Recommend

I went back to work (on a part time basis) yesterday. My maternity leave was on the short side- only 8 weeks- but that’s how it goes when your husband owns the business and you’ve both got more than just money invested. Anyway, while I was off work and changing diapers/holding a napping baby/giving a bottle I logged quite a few hours on Netflix & Hulu.

I don’t waste my time watching things I hate so I recommend all of these.

High Seas (Netflix)
I am IN LOVE with this series. It’s a Spanish period drama (the English is dubbed over but it has yet to bother me) and it is so so so good. I’ve binged both seasons and can’t wait for season 3 to be released. It’s about two sisters, set on a cruise ship just after WWII. Lots of mystery, romance, etc.

Once Upon A Time (Netflix)
I loved this series when it was on the air but I fell off the wagon around season 5. I decided to restart the series. The first few seasons are amazing but from what I remember things get meh around season 4… Maybe I’ll feel differently this time around but I’m only halfway through season 2 right now.

The West Wing (Netflix)
K and I decided to rewatch this series. We watch it together so we only watch in the evenings. I will always and forever recommend this series to everyone. It is the greatest. We’re currently on season 5 (but I’ve watched the whole series).

The Crown (Netflix)
I’m not obsessed like the rest of the world, but I enjoy watching an episode or two when I can actually focus. I’m still in season one.

Letterkenny (Hulu)
Unfortunately, I discovered this gem on the last day of leave. Fortunately, I have two days off a week to chill with M and be at home… so I can binge more episodes soon. It’s crude and weird and hilarious.

Holiday in the Wild (Netflix)
A super cheesy Christmas movie but it was cute. Plus it had elephants, Rob Lowe, and an adorable story.

Funny enough, I had a handful of shows I wanted to watch while on maternity leave but I didn’t start any of them. I was going to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Dolly Parton’s Heart Strings, & Schitt’s Creek (BUT I DIDN’T REALIZE IT WAS ON NETFLIX). Oh well. I’ll get to them eventually.

Have you watched any of these? If not, have I convinced you to start?

 

Whine and Dash

Well howdy.

Let’s chat, shall we?

We got home from vacation Saturday night (from Arizona) and the hits have not stopped coming.

Enzo has a large mass on his back (under his skin) that we’re getting check out today.

I am sick with what I believe to be the WORST sinus infection known to woman.

We are working through this upcoming weekend with a business trip so TGIF doesn’t exist.

Sigh. I shouldn’t complain and I know it. With the exception of Enzo’s ailment (which does have us a little freaked out), everything is going to be a-ok and we’ll survive unscathed.

So today I’m deflecting & sharing some blog posts that have really inspired me lately:

See? Recommending some all-star blog posts (and bloggers) is much more productive than me complaining. So go see them and leave me to my wallowing. LOL. I kid- we’re gonna turn this week around… starting right now!

(But seriously, send some good vibes to little Enz. He’s had a rough few weeks.)

The Roaring Swing Groovy Fabulous Blog Collaboration | The Recap

HOW ARE WE HERE?

Welcome to the final installment of the #RSFGBlogCollab for 2018! We went back and forth on how to set this post up. We settled on a “Best of the Best”category, a “Through the Ages” category, and a recap of “On Deck” recommendations from the year that I did end up getting to!

Be sure to link-up with Alexandra and I to share the period books and movies and tv shows that you’ve read and watched!

Best of the Best

If I could sum up all my recommendations and give you a TL;DR of the very best…

You need to read Serena by Ron Rash and Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (1920s) and Ashley Weaver’s Amory Ames series. Also, dip your toes in the Agatha Christie pool with And Then There Were None (1930s). Obviously read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (1950s) and alllll the Harry Potter books (1990s). Both of my 2000s books are must-reads: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.

You need to watch The Mummy (1920s), A League of Their Own (1940s), Roman Holiday, & Clue (1950s). In our family, Secondhand Lions and That Thing You Do are considered classics (1960s). If you haven’t seen the Harry Potter films (1990s), what are you waiting for?! Also, Talladega Nights (2000s) forever and ever.

You need to binge Downton Abbey (1910s/1920s), Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (1920s), The Astronaut Wives’ Club (1960s), The West Wing (1990s/2000s), & The Newsroom (2000s).

*the Miss Fisher’s series is currently making a movie !! And a new series !!

If you are a history lover, you should check out the following podcasts, too!

Through the Ages

I read a lot of historical fiction (and some nonfiction). Here are some of my favorite books, movies, and television shows that pre-date the 1900-2000 we covered this year!

Books
(1521) The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book, but when I was in HS it was one of my favorites. It was my (fictional) introduction to the Tudor family and it’s where I fell in love with them. I HATED the film they made from this book, but I actually like the movie version of (book) cover art. I love the green in Natalie Portman’s dress. The movie suuuuuuucked, though.

(1609) The Gentleman’s Poet by Kathryn Johnson
Again, I read this book quite a few years ago, but I loved it. I was in colonial Jamestown over Thanksgiving and they mention this wreck in several stories/museums. I loved that I had a little backstory from having read this- even if a large chuck was dramatized fiction. This is a sweet little love story filled with adventure, survival, and Shakespeare.

(1850s) The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
One of my all time favorite books ever. (Thanks, Jana!) It’s much darker than I typically read and there isn’t a sparkly happy ending, but DAMN this book is good. The characters are likable and hateable. The story is violent and touching. The setting is awesome. It’s a western, but almost like a Quentin Tarantino western. It’s also a movie now, too. (I won’t be seeing it because I can read violence- I can’t watch it.)

*It’s funny and amazing to think that people were living like the characters in The Sisters Brothers at the EXACT same time as those in my next book, Gaslight. I feel like historical fiction opens your eyes to the unique paradox of our history. Yes, it’s fiction, but these setting happened. 

(1861) A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews
I’d be shocked if this wasn’t on Alexandra’s list– she recommended the book on her blog. This is a cute, festive, romantic novella. It’s perfect for a) Christmastime and b) historical fiction lovers. Nothing too steamy in this short romance- just playful banter and gorgeous holiday scenes and the potential for a happily ever after.

(1949-1970s) 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
This book technically fell into our collaboration timeline, but I didn’t read it until the decade had passed. (Thanks for the rec, Michelle!) As I’ve recently mentioned, this true collection of letters is a sweet and short picture of Miss Hanff’s interactions with an English bookstore staff. It’s lovely and heartwarming.

Television
(16th century England) The Tudors
This is probably my favorite tv series. The costumes and the stories and the history… plus it’s not too violent as far as Showtime period dramas go. Let’s be real… the women shouldn’t be quite so exposed and Henry VIII should be WAY fatter- especially by the end, but I’m good with it. Also, Natalie Dormer and Henry Cavill are in this series and they are HOT.

“On Deck” Reviews

Books
(1940s) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
So good. I’m so glad I read it. It was sadly sweet & hopeful. A good WWII novel without too much death and despair.

Movies
(1940s) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
A little different from the novel, but equally sweet and charming. I recommended this movie to my grandparents (they loved Downton Abbey) and they LOVED it (without having read the book)!

(1990s) Empire Records
Lots of bloggers rave about this film. (Stephanie’s blog is named after a line from it.) I’d been meaning to watch it but this collaboration finally pushed me to do it. Plus, I found it on Netflix. It was very teen-movie-nineties and I loved it. I loved the relationships and quirkiness of all the characters. It was kind of silly but I really like the take away.

Television
(1930s) And Then There Were None
I ended up finding this 3-episode mini series on hoopla. Holy sh*t, I loved it. It was a perfect dark British mystery. And while Philip Lombard (Aidan Turner) was a very, very terrible man, he was freaking smokin’. Hot damn.

Thank you SO much for going on this historical ride with us!! If you want to relive any of the past decades you can check them out here: 19101920193019401950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000

Check out Alexandra’s wrap up! Don’t forget to link up below!

 CLICK HERE to join in the fun & visit other blogs!