Hi! How are you? It seems a strange time to share a happy list, but a necessary thing too. April was a challenging month, but I’ve been so thankful for so many ways I can connect with my loved ones and for the many welcome joyful distractions.
Did you know that I send you a happy list every dang week? It’s a huge labor of love, but your feedback has made it SO worth putting in the effort.
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Before I share MY list, let’s check out YOUR favorite things on MomAdvice!
Top Ten Most Visited Articles in April
- Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint
- The Best Kindle Daily Deals Book List
- No-Sew Jigsaw Puzzle Mat
- How to Make Slushies With Kool-Aid Mixes
- How to Stain a Picnic Table
- DIY Reusable Floor Pads for Your Swiffer Mop
- How to Organize Your Board Games
- Buttery Bread Machine Rolls
- DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe
- 33 Copycat Starbucks Drinks
Top Ten Most Purchased Items in April
- Paint By Numbers Kits
- My Favorite Jigsaw Puzzle spot (they shipped these so quick!)
- $3 Manicure Sets
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour (you must be making my favorite 5-ingredient gluten-free pizza crust!)
- Mainstays Washcloths (to make those diy swiffer pads)
- Amy’s Quarantine Pants (these sold out, but these are very similar)
- Over-the-Door Mirror
- Bernat Blanket Big Yarn (you must be making my favorite diy chunky knit blanket!)
- Spray Paint Gripper (this article on how to spray paint furniture is also going bonkers right now!)
Top Ten Amazon Purchases in April
- The Mother-In-Law (this one is sooo good!)
- Miracle Creek (loved it so much)
- The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell (this is my favorite book of 2020, so far!)
- Followers (this one is excellent)
- Tell Me Three Things (one of my favorite YA reads- would be great to do a mother & daughter book club)
- The Girl He Used to Know (this is such a great contemporary fiction romance)
- The Scent Keeper
- The Sound of Gravel (this is one of my favorite memoirs)
- How to Walk Away (adorable start to finish)
- Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe
April Happy List
Did you know that I’m a professional homebody? When my health took a turn, it really forced me to stay home more, conserve my energy, and make my life as easy as possible.
Just so you know, this was one of the hardest things that I had to adapt to so I just want to acknowledge that if you aren’t adjusting well to quarantine, I do understand.
Honestly, I felt very lonely and isolated for a long time.
In my newsletter, I shared my favorite homebody resources so I wanted to share that here as well.
These are the things that made my life feel normal and have also saved us a ton of money.
My resources for the Best Homebody Life EVER!
SAVE MORE MONEY BY USING YOUR RAKUTEN APP– ALMOST ALL OF THESE HAVE CASHBACK OFFERS FOR YOU! Learn more about how this can give you cash back in this article I wrote.
Working Out At Home:
Support a local gym owner and take advantage of their online memberships to support a small business.
Online Workout Options-
If you don’t have a gym, but feel like you need to burn some steam, my favorite apps for at-home workouts are Cyclecast (for spinning classes) & Openfit (for barre, pilates, & yoga).
I also have a Pilates Wheel (ideal if you were doing Pilates Reformer classes) and access to their on-demand classes.
Also, YouTube has tons of great FREE full-length online classes to get you moving. Try Yoga With Adriene, PopSugar Fitness, or The Fitness Marshall.
In light of what is going on in the world, Down Dog and Peloton apps have been offering free trial memberships too.
Self-Care At Home:
Madison Reed (this link should give you $15 towards your first purchase)–
Interested in coloring your hair at home?
I have been using this company’s products for a year and it is an idiot-proof way of picking the right color, having the right stuff to do it, and is always salon quality. The color is thicker (so it doesn’t drip) and it doesn’t have heavy smells.
As someone with mast cell disorder, it also has not caused any weird scalp reactions like other hair coloring products do.
In fear that I might not get my orders for awhile, I went ahead and stockpiled this when all this started.
Bonus, if you are struggling, they have stylists that can help you navigate doing this at home (via online chat) and have video instructions for the first time.
Personally, the bowl & brush make it easier (for me) and I love their salon cape that saves my clothes from dye mishaps. We got to use the cape again when I gave my hubby a quarantine haircut so it has come in handy.
Many women get regular shellacs, but I never liked to spend the money unless we had special occasions.
I opted for nail stickers instead and love that I can get $3 manicures at home now.
My nails are so much stronger especially since my top (and bottom) coat is this nail strengthener.
I will say, they take some time to get the hang of and pattern helps disguise any wrinkling a lot more than a plain color.
If you are still dealing with shellac removal, I couldn’t believe how good this worked when removing my holiday shellac.
So rude that our body hair persists amidst all this- hahaha! Try this for your lady mustache, these strips for body hair (warm with your blow dryer), and this defuzz tool that are helpful until you can get back to your salon.
Anxiety? Cha, cha, cha! Here’s what’s helping me over on my struggle bus.
Before things really heightened, my physician stressed the importance of baseline numbers so I knew if I was healthy or sick. When he asked about how high I’ve been getting my heart rate up (when working out), I admitted that I could only assume that I was hitting the suggested number. Having baseline numbers lets you know when your body is “off” and minimizes mental stress when it is anxiety-driven.
I do not have a fancy watch or tracker so I got this $28 tracker and am loving it. Now I know what my resting heart rate is, if I am hitting the heart rate zone for fitness, and I can make sure I’m moving enough.
As we are changing our routines, step count and activity levels do become more important to me. I find this tracker to be a help and love the reminders to move, the vibrating alarm (that doesn’t wake up the whole house while we are different schedules right now), and being able to monitor my sleep is really important right now.
My physician sent out a letter on how we were to handle our symptoms if we were worried about COVID-19. He is one of those, “knowledge is power,” people and advised purchasing a pulse oximeter as one way to minimize anxiety or to assess whether you should puruse treatment or testing.
In his words, “I recommend that those at risk get a pulse oximeter that you can buy for $30-50 at Amazon or any drug store. It clips on your finger and tells you your oxygen percentage, normal is usually 96-98%. You do not need a prescription for it. Get a baseline. If you do get sick and feel short of breath it is an objective way to see if there really is a lack of air—those below 93% consistently should get evaluated. It helps to take the worry and guesswork out.”
While we are on the subject of this, I have never been MORE thankful that I went the direct patient care route this year.
Getting an immediate response from a physician and staff have been invaluable.
Here is where you can read more about that how that works and see if it is available in your area.
This is a mail delivery option if you need to get your birth control delivered to your doorstep. They also offer other women’s services that might be helpful to you.
A $5 membership will give you a $10 store coupon every month and gives you access to prescription delivery (can’t be controlled substances though like ADHD or opioids). Please note, it takes 1-2 days to process your prescriptions.
I have talked non stop about how much this app has helped me. Did you know that your pain increases during stressful times like these?
They are offering their app for half price and making many of their premium resources available to you for free right now.
Talkspace or Betterhelp–
If you need to talk things through with someone, these apps allow you to have virtual counseling sessions.
If you have already established a relationship with a therapist, see if they are willing to connect via Zoom or Facetime for a session.
Keep these options in mind if you have a child/teen that is struggling with their new normal.
As grocery stores struggle to stay stocked, try to think about places that aren’t usually on your radar.
We were able to get a lot of necessities “off hours” at a local gas station. We don’t usually separate out meat purchases, but Shelton Farms (local) had fresh daily deliveries so we could stock our freezer.
We rounded it out with these options below:
I could not be more thankful for Instacart right now.
Not only does this service shop ALDI, they also handle my Costco runs too.
In our town, they are able to shop Kroger, Target, Petco, Meijer, Gordon Food Services, Sam’s Club, CVS, and Fresh Thyme too.
With so many people shopping, these aren’t the typical two hour deliveries that I’ve come to expect.
I advise making your list a day prior (at least) and picking the first slot. If you know when your grocer stocks (or can call and ask), you can time this to their delivery.
I ask that they leave everything on our front step so we don’t come in contact with any unnecessary germs.
Walmart Grocery Delivery or Pick-Up–
Walmart Grocery Pick-Up is free, but they also offer a similar service for grocery delivery. This link should give you a 15 day free trial. Memberships are running, roughly, the same price as Instacart.
I have been using Grove for years for all our cleaners, hand soaps, cleaning tools, beauty products, toothpaste, and paper products. If you are struggling to find toilet paper, for example, this is a great way to get it without battling the crowds.
If you haven’t used it before, this link should give you a free 5-piece gift set on your first order.
We did have help cleaning our house (physically hard on my body) and now that we are under self-quarantine, we will be responsible for keeping up with stuff.
I got two caddies with necessary cleaning items (microfiber towels, cleaners, grout brush, tub cleaner, tc..) so we can divide and conquer around our house.
Groupon For Wine–
I am not about to compromise my health for booze so we decided to order online.
Instacart will not pick up wine for us, in Indiana, so I ordered a box of wine from Groupon.
Yes, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Wine Insiders is usually one that is offered everywhere and I’ve been really happy with how it is shipped and how quickly it arrives. We did a mixed box of white and red so everyone is happy over here.
Keep in mind the shipping prices, look for coupon codes, get that Rakuten cashback offer, and I hope it saves you tons of money (and germs).
Online Meeting & Connection Options:
Most of my friends have been meeting up on Zoom, but without a premium membership your meeting times are shortened.
Google has made premium memberships to Google Meets free though so you can do your conferences at home with no fees. I rely a lot on Zoom, but you can’t beat a free premium membership.
This is my favorite app to stay in touch with people (locally and far away) It’s a video walkie talkie app that allows you to send a video message to someone you love and they can reply with a video message back when it is convenient for them.
It’s a REALLY cool tool, that has improved so many of my relationships.
Missing your friends? SAME. My friends and I decided it would be fun to pick up a show together now that Netflix is offering the coolest app (or extension- depending on how you view shows) to throw a virtual Netflix party.
Basically, you can watch a show or movie together and chat together about it while you are watching.
This is an online app if you are a big reader or just need something to escape with.
You don’t even need to own a Kindle- it is one you can do on an iPad or even your phone.
If you have tweens or teens, this service has SO many great books and the rates are super affordable.
They offer unlimited audiobooks, books, and magazines. This link should give you a free 60 day trial membership to help you escape.
Library Online Services-
There are SO many great partnerships that you can look into that are available with your library card.
Love indie films? See if your library is partnered with Kanopy so you can stream a great flick.
Looking for a great audiobook but don’t want to pay a membership fee? Hoopla, Libby, or Overdrive are all great options that you can access with your library card.
Love magazines? Check if the library is partnered with Flipster for digital browsing.
Digital Courses (For You or Your Kiddos!):
Skillshare (this link should give you two free months) or Bluprint are two of my favorite resources.
These sites have classes that you can take that can be a great boredom buster for tweens/teens or even for yourself. Crafting and cooking are always a go-to therapy for me. I’ve had a Skillshare membership for about three years and have taken so many amazing classes.
More Happy List Fun
Available on Amazon Prime, this reality series is similar to, “Next in Fashion,” and features a slew of amazing clothing designers that are tasked with making over-the-top fashion and wearable fashion for the everyday consumer.
Hosted by Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn, it is one of those reality series shows that showcase how makers bond together on projects and true creativity.
It’s perfectly mindless, set in Paris, and has been a welcome escape from headline news.
I realize that one of the reasons that I have had a hard time keeping track of my days is because my day didn’t have a rhythm anymore.
As I struggled to keep up with our house (and food prep and e-learning and work) I realized that no one else was on the struggle bus with me.
Everyone could see that I was stressed, but directing everyone on what to do was another stressor. How can I get people to help me though if I don’t know what I need?
I decided to sit down and divide all of the household tasks to make things easier on myself.
I made charts for each family member (yes, including my husband, we are all in this together).
Copies were made and hung on a kitchen cabinet and each person is responsible for helping.
I am sharing how we are divided the chores and a blank printable for making your own routines. The daily routines sheet has been a helpful reminder to get moving and to end the day as a team (with cleaning up after dinner).
My kids did remark that this is helping them keep track of their days better and they DO want to help their mom and dad right now.
I’m calling this one a win!
Taking care of everyone else in our lives can feel really overwhelming right now and it can be really stressful when you have divided yourself in so many ways. It is overwhelming when so many in our lives are hurting.
The care budget helps you decide what you need to prioritize and how to conserve your energy so you can take care of yourself too.
I plan to take pen to paper and figure out what needs to make this list while conserving our own resources (money, energy, time, etc..) in the days ahead.
Knowing that I have a clearly outlined plan does contribute to my overall happiness right now.
Last weekend, my husband and I decided to have a she shed date night and it was just the pick-me-up with both needed. We ordered a little food from our favorite Italian place, popped popcorn, cracked a bottle of Groupon wine (pinkies up!), and curled up for a movie.
I’m not sure how this rom-com movie never made my radar, but if you have Hulu, it’s a must-see date night flick.
It has multiple stories (similar to Love, Actually) and it is just the kind of feel good, laugh-out-loud date night movie you need.
It is a bit like a documentary as it explores the reason why we have certain attractions to the opposite sex.
It also explores why our brains does the the things it does and how this impacts our relationships that we create.
This won’t change your life, but it was a really fun distraction for a date night at home and you can’t beat that right now. (see the trailer, watch the movie on Hulu)
The “Stay Home Take Care” Care Package You Need
We are all looking for different things right now and Girls’ Night In wanted to create a little care package to help address whatever you might be needing this month.
Looking to stay connected? Trying to be useful? Looking for ways to entertain your kids? Looking for ways to stay entertained? How about caring for yourself?
This virtual care package allows you to click on what you need the most and spits out ideas to make your life just a tiny bit better.
There are loads of ideas that will fill your cup while waiting out this pandemic storm. I hope it entertains you as much as it has entertained me this week. (check out your virtual care package here)
Any Harry Styles fans out there?
You must, must, must watch this beautiful concert.
It blew me away. I also have a not-so-secret crush on this guy.
If you do too, be sure to read this steamy romance that just might be based on my not-so-secret crush.
Be warned, this one is HOT, HOT, HOT.
My daughter is a HUGE Stranger Things fan so I had a feeling that she would flip for this series..and I was right.
Disclaimer, this series is much more adult than Stranger Things and is recommended for kids ages 16 and up, according to Common Sense Media.
That said, we are in a time where we just want to see our teen daughter having joyful moments with us so we bended our usual standards to watch this with her.
Produced by the same people that made Stranger Things, it is a coming-of-age story that has just 7 short episodes, with a heck of a cliffhanger ending.
It has the same kind of sci-fi feel we have come to expect with these producers, as the main character discovers she has some superhero powers that can uncontrollably erupt when she gets angry.
As she learns more about herself, she realizes that her dad’s death also may be connected to her own daily struggles to control the consequences of her anger.
This has a very Breakfast Club feel, a killer soundtrack, and it sucked us in within just a few minutes.
My only disappointment is that we completed it in two days and now have to wait for season 2.
Again, use your best judgement on parenting with this one or devour it for your next couch date with your partner. (watch the trailer, watch the show)
Looking for a new podcast?
Although there are only a few episodes, I am already madly in love with this sweet podcast.
Since gatherings and celebrations in groups are temporarily put on hold, this podcast focuses on ways to celebrate when you can’t physically be together.
It isn’t just the specific answer to these celebrations that makes this one so sweet, it has tips and tricks that I plan to apply to real life celebrating when we can be together again.
There are a million nuggets of wisdom on making people feel special and seen that I had to pause and take notes. I also had to look up the podcast’s hostess and just discovered she has a book out that I now am dying to read.
One gorgeous idea, that was shared, was the idea of sharing a playlist of songs that are special to you with your friends.
Each person listens to their friend’s playlists and then get to tell their stories over a Zoom chat about why those songs are special to them.
Personally, I think this would be a great date night OR a fun option to do with your teen or tween that gives you a chance to learn about what music is important to them. (check out the podcast)
I remain committed that I do not want you to spend your money right now unless you really need something.
So, please skip this one if you have a closet full of comfy pants right now.
Personally, I live in jeans, but that is not what I have been wanting to wear at all.
Poorly timed, I had been working on my capsule wardrobe (before the pandemic) and had been looking for a dressy jogger that I planned to wear out and about this spring.
These joggers are now the thing that I have been reaching for every day and I’m so glad I had added them to my wardrobe.
They don’t pill or wrinkle, they washed up with no shrinking, fit true to size, and are lightly fleece lined (warm, but not too warm). They are the perfect jogger and, unknowingly, became the official quarantine pants of 2020. They look perfectly business appropriate, but are actually sweatpants. (shop them only if you need them please- true to size)
Looking for a great distraction? I am not sure how I stumbled on this Instagram account, but I’m so glad that I did.
Be prepared, this is quite the Instagram tunnel, but you will learn so much.
The account gathers images from the past and puts together all the research behind the photo.
My husband and I spent an entire evening going through the account and learning all sorts of interesting things. I’ll pick out three that I can’t stop thinking about.
This is an image of the only man ever who was born a little person and ended up a giant because of a medical condition.
Did you know that they tried to make a motorcycle communication device so that the biker could talk to their passenger behind them? So wild!
This woman became a legit library. Like, strapped it to her back and sold books for twopence each. I feel a Halloween costume for next year coming on!
If this account doesn’t offer you a distraction for an evening, I’ve got nothing. Looking back at history is one of my favorite things to do these days.
Have you seen, “How to Fix a Drug Scandal,” yet?
In 2013, Massachusetts State Police arrested a 35-year-old crime drug lab chemist, named Sonja Farak, for tampering with evidence, but it ended up being only the beginning.
Over time, details emerged that Farak had been in fact using the drugs that she was tasked with testing.
Many people ended up going to jail for drug-related crimes and were sentenced to years in prison, without having a fair trial.
This is an incredibly thought-provoking documentary and has so many layers to unpack. I’m trying not to rush through it. (watch it on netflix, watch the trailer)
I’m putting my college dorm DJ skills to work and made a fun playlist for our date night.
Titled, “Closer Than Six Feet,” these are the steamy songs I’m loving.
I made a fancy dinner for us and we got a bit of a dance party going on thanks to these fun songs.
As a disclaimer, this is not a playlist for everyone because LANGUAGE.
If language bothers you, here is your Earbud Escape from COVID-19 that I think you will just love and is more censored.
Unfortunately, Spotify doesn’t offer a lot of the radio cleaned-up versions of the songs. If you want a steamy, fun playlist that has LANGUAGE (hahaha!), then check out, Closer Than Six Feet.
Also, if you aren’t following me on Spotify, you are missing such a gorgeous collection of music.
All of the playlists (minus this one) are clean! I love every kind of music so I’m confident there is a playlist for you.
I love music as much as I love books and I hope that shows in these playlists.
One of my biggest joys is so many artists reach out to me now to be included and I get to introduce songs that people would have never heard.
I hope you enjoyed this month’s round-up of February fun. My goal is that my happy brings a month of happy to you too! If this post doesn’t convince you my newsletter is fun, I’ve got nothing. Sign up over here to get this fun weekly in your inbox.
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I hope my happy brings you some happy too this week. What topped your April happy list?