skincare favorites

It’s pretty laughable that I’m about to share some of my skincare favorites, considering about a month ago I was still washing my face with bar soap and moisturizing with Honest Co. body lotion.  But around the time I decided I wanted to up my skincare game (and clearly the bar was set pretty low) I was gifted with a few random pieces that I love and wanted to share.  Happily, these are all organic/non-gmo AND decently priced.  And I really do feel like since I’ve started using these that my skin feels better and looks brighter (which is great since I’m no-makeup most of the time).

derma e vitamin A retinyl palmitate creme


I used this at a friend’s house and fell deeply in love.  It’s thick and super moisturizing, but doesn’t feel heavy or greasy.  I immediately came home and bought it and then encouraged Dave to use it, too.  He raved about it as well.  We’re sold.  It’s for all skin types but I’m especially loving it right now, when the weather is cold and my skin feels more dry.  But once it’s on it soaks in quickly and disappears, which will make it awesome for summer, too, when you want something lightweight and when your skin isn’t as dry.

amara organics vitamin c serum


This was gifted to me but I LOVE it.  Bonus: I feel super fancy using a serum, like a real adult or something.  I put a couple drops in my palm an rub it on my face.  It soaks in quickly and makes my skin feel tighter (in a good way).  Then once it’s dry I put the derma e cream on top.  Amazon recently had this as a lightning deal, so I snatched up a bottle to have on hand when my current one runs out.

giovanni d:tox system purifying facial cleanser


This was gifted as well and I’ve been really happy with it.  I love that it has activated charcoal in it.  It feels gentle and doesn’t leave my skin with that too-tight feeling that some cleansers create.

And as a bonus, another item Dave and I have both been digging.

uncle harry’s fluoride-free toothpaste, peppermint


Recently my peri-oral dermatitis came back – basically a fancy word for saying eczema around my nose and mouth.  Yes, I am just as glamorous as you all imagined.  This has shown up before – namely during pregnancy – but this time showed up when I am decidedly NOT pregnant.  I did some research and found that fluoride in toothpaste can aggravate it.  Dave and I try to buy  non-fluoride toothpaste anyway, but I’d recently mixed up and bought a Tom’s of Maine tube that had fluoride.  Anyway, Dave found this gem on Amazon and we really love it.  It’s super super minty, a little goes a long way, and it leaves your mouth feeling really clean – no weird aftertaste or gritty feeling.  It doesn’t suds up like typical toothpaste, which has sometimes bothered me in the past, but for some reason hasn’t been an issue at all with this kind.  Highly recommend!


marathon #9 – veteran’s marathon

I signed up for this race after the Fort 4 Fitness marathon, when I got a PR but missed my goal of going sub-4:20.  I felt like with a little more training and push I could do it.  The Veteran’s Marathon is affordable and – bonus! – nearby.  And I did it!  4:18:48!


I previously ran the Veteran’s Marathon in Columbia City in 2010 (please see that post for a funny video of Dave and Mosie… ah the days when we were young..).  I liked the race okay, but it was pretty hilly and the second half, which looped out in the country, was pretty lonely.  They since reconfigured the course so the marathoners just ran the half marathon course twice.  I liked the course much better this year – it was still out in the country but didn’t feel as tedious or long and the support was better than I remembered.  It was still mostly just water stop people (bless them!) but they were excited and encouraging.  There were still hills but nothing monster.  I walked up one hill, at mile 23.5, and ran the rest (or chugged slowly).  They were bigger than I’m used to, but nothing insurmountable.

The morning of the race was cold (27 degrees!) but no wind and the promise of a sunny day to warm things up.  I wasn’t sure what to wear for the race and bugged Kimberly about it on voxer to maker her help me figure it out.  In the end I decided on shorts, tall compression socks, a tshirt, a long sleeve tech shirt, and gloves.  Waiting for the race to start and the first couple miles I definitely would have appreciated a buff (my nose was so cold!) and hat, but both would have been completely unnecessary after a few miles, so I’m glad I didn’t have them.  I took the tech shirt off around mile 14 and tied it around my waist.

I also wore a hydration belt that was loaded with my phone, 8 fruit leathers, and two bottles of my homemade sports drink (honey, lime, himalayan salt, water).  Once the water bottles were empty (around mile 15) I filled them with gatorade at the water stations.  This worked well because the water stations are a little spread out at the Veteran’s race (every 2 or so miles, sometimes less, sometimes more) and I’ve found when I sip drinks it’s much easier for me than gulping cupfuls.  The fruit leathers worked well as fuel – I stumbled upon this right before my last long training run, when I realized I didn’t have any fuel, but did have Aldi fruit leathers.  They’re flat and pack well, taste great, and digest easily.  I ate one at miles 3, 6, and 9, took a GU from a water stop at mile 12, fruit leather at 15 and 18, then drink the rest of the way in (my stomach felt ok but the thought of eating something sounded awful).  I think I fueled well during the race, but probably could have done better beforehand.  I ate two pieces of toast with coffee at 6am and packed a fig granola bar to eat around 7:15, but totally forgot about it until the gun was about to go off.  So that was smart.  I don’t think it changed the race that much, but still.  Rookie mistake.

All in all, it was a great race.  The course was a little long – 26.3 (even on their website it’s listed as 26.3, which is baffling to me).  I felt like I ran well, pretty consistently (my first half was 2:07, second half 2:11 so I slowed a little, but not trainwreck), and at the finish was pretty certain I could not have pushed more or done much differently during the race.  It was a satisfying race and I was really proud of it.  Coming back to the marathon now with three kids I feel like I’m mentally tougher – I can recognize during a race when I’m tired or want to walk, but it’s easier for me to push through that and just keep going whereas before I might have given in.

This puts me at 9 marathons, which means marathon #10 should be something fun or special, right?  Any suggestions?!?! 

podcasts, take 2

Not too long ago I posted about my favorite podcasts.  Since then, the list has shifted a little.  Here are my current favorites:

The Popcast: still my all-time favorite.  So hilarious and fun to listen to.

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey: I love hearing two women talk.  Is that weird?  It’s just so interesting to listen in to their conversation, learn new things, feel validated in others.  It swings from deep and thoughtful to silly and lighthearted and surface.

The Big Boo Cast: Similar to The Happy Hour, but always the same two hosts.  Bonus: southern accents.

Mom Struggling Well: Two women talking again!  Has a more parenting-focused bent, but runs the gamut of topics.  I’ve found it encouraging, hilarious, and challenging for my attitude and perspective as a mom.  The host, Emily, does not take herself too seriously and is very honest about her struggles/frustrations as a mom and person, which I love.

ARC Stories: Looking at the southern tradition of telling stories.  They have a topic and then various people will share stories around that topic.  It’s personal, sometimes very funny, and intimate.  I love it.

Lazy Genius: Kendra is on a break right now as she recently had her third baby, but I always look forward to her podcasts.  She’s insightful, funny, sarcastic, and smart.

Other podcasts I touch on periodically: by design, Young House Love, Mud Stories, Surviving Sarah, What Should I Read Next (I really like this one and her book recommendations are wonderful, but my list of To-Read is crazy long right now so I needed a break.)

What are your favorite podcasts?

family pictures

Last week we took family pictures.  Our last family picture was December of 2014, so I thought it would be nice to have a picture of all of us (although, to be fair, I was 12 weeks pregnant with Molly at the time, so technically she was there, too).

We scheduled the pictures for 5pm on a Tuesday at a local calendar garden.  At 4pm I was already annoyed, as Leo and Katie were being absolutely crazy while I was trying to dress them – lots of naked cartwheels, not listening, etc.  I gave them a big snack and packed more in my purse.  We sent Leo and Katie out to the car while we rounded up a few last minute items, then came out to the garage to find both of them sobbing.  Apparently Leo had stabbed Katie in the eye with a pencil (somewhat by accident) and he felt guilty and her eye hurt.  At that point it was almost comical to me.  I tossed some more snacks in their general direction and they recovered (and Katie’s eye was fine).

I had told our photographer that I really just hoped for one picture of all of us and one of the three kids.  And that our expectations were pretty low because we knew our age range and how tricky it can be to get a good picture of all three at the same time.  We started with the family picture.  We did family pictures in two places and by the end of the second place Leo was already asking if we were done, Katie couldn’t stop coughing from the cold air, and Molly really wanted to explore

We coaxed about ten more minutes out of them using threats and crackers before calling it.  The whole thing was probably 15 minutes, 20 max, but our photographer was patient (she’s a mom) and sweet with the kids.  And she totally caught some fantastic pictures!

My absolute favorite.
And this one!
An accurate depiction of what our photographer had to work with.
So close…


So close… and then Katie coughed.

marathon #8: fort4fitness

On Saturday I ran my eighth marathon, my first since the fall of 2012 (post-Leo).  It was hard – harder than I remembered them being – but I came out with a new PR of 4:21:21.  I initially hoped to go under 4:20, but with how I felt and how I had to fight the last few miles, I am really happy with the time I got.


So let’s back up.

I started running again – consistently – this past spring when Molly (finally) started sleeping through the night.  I had thought about doing a half marathon but wasn’t sure which one to do or if I wanted to put the money into it… and then Kimberly  generously registered me for the Fort4Fitness half marathon!  Around the same time my friend here in town started training for her first marathon and I said I would be happy to run with her anytime.  I jumped in on her long runs and found myself going 12, 15, and then 18 miles easily.  I felt really good.  I started to wonder if maybe a marathon wasn’t such an impossibility after all.  I checked and I could easily switch my Fort4Fitness half registration for the full, so I did.  I ran 22 miles by myself one Sunday morning and felt fantastic.  I realized when I finished that if I had kept that pace for the whole marathon I would PR.  That felt crazy to me and also really exciting.

Race morning I got up and got my stuff together, coated myself with coconut oil to prevent chafing, poured coffee in a large mug, and hopped in the car.  I drove down to Fort Wayne and met up with Kimberly, who had graciously picked up my packet for me the night before.  We went to the bathroom and talked and I tried not to be nervous.  It felt really strange to be running a race again after all this time!  We got in the corrals and I saw my friend Richele, who was there to run the 10K.  It definitely helped to see her, too, and to feel her excitement for me.

The first 10 miles I felt really good.  I don’t think I went out too fast but I did feel like my energy started to flag a bit.  Miles 10-20 I held steady and just did the work.  Miles 20-26 were hard – I really had to dig in to keep going and to keep moving.  I knew going sub 4:20 was looking dicey and at mile 23 I knew that I really needed to push hard if I wanted to PR (previous best 4:22:06).  The finish is in the baseball stadium and you run around the bases, which is fun.  I went hard and finished really well, which felt good.

I know there are some things I could do differently in the future – most notably a longer training cycle and better fueling (fortunately Kimberly gave me a GU race morning which I took at mile 20 – otherwise I would have not been carrying enough fuel on my own).  But for being my first marathon back in four years and for a PR I am so incredibly happy and proud of what I achieved.

I watched Kimberly finish her race (4:23 and a PR for her on a run she intended to do slow and as a training run!) and then I drove home.  In true mom-fashion I washed my face with a wet wipe in the car, then stopped at Aldi before I got home so I could grocery shop (I put on a long sleeve shirt over my running clothes so maybe the smell was masked a bit?  Let’s hope?).  Then I came home and cleaned up the kitchen and showered and took the kids for a walk and made dinner… post-marathon looks a lot different with three kids!  I also slept 10 hours last night, which felt amaaaaazing.

The day of the race I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it was and how much work it took.  And one day later I’m already eyeing another marathon in November, debating if maybe I should give it one more go this year.

On an unrelated note, I just paid $18 to renew my domain again for the year, so who knows, maybe I’ll return to marathons and blogging.  If I did, what sort of things would you come here to read about?

on running

For the last year or more I’ve wondered if I’m still a runner.  I haven’t run very much and when I have it’s felt pretty awful.  I didn’t enjoy it and it felt too difficult, both mentally and physically.  I thought maybe I just wasn’t the runner I used to be, that maybe something had shifted in me and I needed to find something else.  But recently Molly has started sleeping through the night the majority of the time (insert a happy dance, jazz hands, and all the heart-eye emojis here) and I’ve been running in the mornings again.  It started with intervals – running 3 or 4 minutes, then walking for 1, and repeat.  Then I switched to just ditching the intervals and running and one morning as I cruised through the miles I realized I’m enjoying this.  Turns out when I’m not feeling as bone-deep tired, I really do still love running.  I love the quiet mornings.  I love the alone time and the breathing and pushing my legs and my lungs.  I like feeling sweaty and that burst of energy that comes from tiring yourself out a bit.  I’m looking forward to my morning runs again and enjoying the work.  It feels a bit like getting some of myself back again.

vacation reads


We were on vacation last week at Kelleys Island – a small island in the middle of Lake Erie, near Cedar Point.  We enjoyed golf carting around the island, throwing rocks in the water, hiking, and more.  It was really great.  There’s little to no cell service on the island, so it’s a great way to disconnect as well.  As always, I got quite a bit of reading done!  Here are the books I read while I was away.  Bonus: I would recommend each of them!

  • Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
  • Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines
  • Back When We Were Grown-ups by Anne Tyler
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Falling Free by Shannan Martin (Shannan is a dear friend to me and this book is truly amazing – funny, thought-provoking, honest, and just beautiful.  It’s challenging but not preachy and it’s a very true representation of who Shannan is and how she lives.  I’m so proud of her!  You can preorder her book here.)

I also started The Devil Amongst the Lawyers by Sharyn McCrumb and while it was slow to start, I’m enjoying it now that I’m in the middle!

What have you been reading lately?