My brain has finally regained enough focus to read (er, skim) an entire article so I'm back to reading! Here's what caught my attention this week. Also, sending solidarity 👊 to the toddler parents out there who survived another round of daily savings time aka being held hostage in your own home by tiny tired tyrants.

Maternal mental health drives climbing death rate (CNN): Another ripple affect of the continued regulation and removal of women's healthcare and living in a country run by insurance companies. With clinics and healthcare facilities forced to close down, millions of American women now live in healthcare deserts without access to prenatal and postpartum healthcare. 

Research shows what state standardized tests actually measure (Forbes): This extensive study brings to light something those of us who spent time in public education know - context matters in reading comprehension (fun fact: if you don't know 90% of the words in a sentence, you won't comprehend it). Since standardized tests are designed by and for wealthy white people, the examples used in both reading and math problems involve topics that people from different background will struggle to grasp (think golf, baseball, etc).

Y'all know I despise the weight we put on standardized tests. Hoping studies like this continue to shed light on the topic.

A marketplace of girl influencers managed by mom and stalked by men (NYT - gift link, no subscription required): This was really really hard to read but important to understand as parents who have kids entering the social media age. I also learned a lot reading the comments - I hadn't considered the POV that the parents may be groomed by predators as well.

Is Ozempic the new orthodontia? (WaPo - gift link, no subscription required)

Imagine if — to protect their children from the stigma of being fat — parents begin to fall for the lures not of orthodontics (teeth correcting) but of orthomorphics (shape correcting).

Imagine if the moment a child is deemed “chubby” or “husky,” parents rush to their local orthomorphist for a prescription to “fix” them.


2024.3.11 Sunday Reading List

Monday, March 11, 2024


We've got a big week coming up and I like to have a plan so I don't miss out on anything or end up overspending. This is how I'm planning to spend money on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Giving Tuesday.

Black Friday

I am keeping my eye on a few products hoping for price drops on Black Friday, some sales have already started (woo hoo!):

NOTE: I have used the Rakuten extension to get cash back on online purchases and to find additional discounts and coupons (at checkout it scans every possible discount code and applies for me) for years. I thought it seemed scammy but it has consistently worked for me. (this is a referral link but I would share with or without the referral because it is very, very legit and stacks on savings for an already good day for us). 

Beyond Yoga 30 - 75% Off [today] (+2% cash back with Rakuten): My favorite maternity jumpsuit is $45 off for Beyond Yoga's Black Friday sale, and the non-maternity version (affectionately known as the hot auntie version) is $42 off in some colors and even more heavily discounted in other colors. The Icon Midi dress that I wore all through pregnancy and will resume this summer is $50 off as well.

Good American 30% Off [today] (+2% cash back with Rakuten): I've been getting targeted with Good American Always Fits jeans that claim to fit four sizes...sounds like what I need as my body changes postpartum. I purchased the Straight Leg and Flare to try (*I won't let myself keep both* *I won't let myself keep both* -- I repeat to myself as I wait for them to arrive).

Tommy John 30% Off [today] (+2.5% cash back with Rakuten): I have the Women's Downtime Joggger set (jogger and henley) and am ordering an additional set because it is all I own that is light but warm enough to sleep in [hi winter night sweats] AND works for night time nursing. Super, super soft. I also really like their undies, and the waistband was soft enough to wear right after my c-section.

Magnetic Me Sale TBD (+ 2% cash back with Rakuten): These are my absolute favorite onesies, we are reusing all with baby #2 so they last. They're pricey but I'm hoping for a good Black Friday discount to stock up for gifts. If there's a decent enough discount I'm also adding the women's nursing PJs to my cart.

Small Business Saturday

The crowd sourced Black Owned Business Guide has been updated with y'alls additions, let's support some Black owned businesses! Please email or message me on social media if you have additional businesses to add!

Giving Tuesday

Similar to Black Friday, Giving Tuesday is the final fundraising push for non-profits to get into the black. I went on a rant on Instagram about the way we think about non-profit funding and the false narrative around "overhead" and you can find a very legit Ted Talk about it here

The TL;DR is that a lot of people divert funds away from nonprofits who use donations for overhead, but overhead is absolutely critical to carrying out missions (staffing, marketing, supplies, etc). Ironically, the only way for us to know how much money goes to overhead is via an accountant which is in fact, overhead. Here is a list of non-profits y'all shared with some of my favorites as well - remember even $5 makes a difference. 

This is also a good day to help clear teacher wishlists which have heartbreaking items like tissues and pencils. 

  • Camp Buggy Creek: a place where children can reach beyond their illnesses and enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood.
  • City Year: An education nonprofit dedicated to students' and schools' success.
  • Comfort Zone Camp: transforms the lives of children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, primary caregiver
  • DC Dream Center:  inspires youth and adults to dare to dream, equipping them to reach their God-given potential.
  • Equity Lab:  takes on the nation's biggest challenges of individual, institutional, and systemic inequity.
  • Food Banks: please look up your local food banks, they are really struggling right now due to an influx of need, and the community depends on them for food.
  • Foster the Family: exists to support and encourage foster and adoptive families, mobilize and equip the community and church for foster care and adoption.
  • Martha's Table: Community Kitchen is designed to promote upward economic mobility.DC Diaper Bank 
  • NPR: Nonprofit journalism with a mission. 
  • Ronald McDonald House (google your local chapters): Eases the hardship of children's illness on families.
  • Waste Not Want Not: provides a waste prevention service for the community and provides economically disadvantaged individuals with products and services they need for relief.
*this post contains some referral links meaning I earn a slight commission on some items if you purchase through the links. I do not recommend anything that I either have not tried or do not intend to try, and I am always upfront about what I have not tried but am recommending. No pressure to use my links, just ant to make sure y'all are aware.

a guide to the week: black friday, small business saturday, giving tuesday

Monday, November 20, 2023

What a relief that oversized tops are IN this year - just in time for Thanksgiving. These are the tops I have purchased during late night feedings (anyone else have an issue with late night online shopping with a newborn..?). 

I'm not ready for hard pants yet but when I am ready I'll be wearing these with my favorite jeans + sneaker or boot. I wear a nursing tank (linked is my preferred tank because it has padding) under my sweaters to give me tummy coverage when I lift my sweater to feed. This post is a good resource on how to tuck sweaters.

The Amazons

1. I was shocked by the quality of these Amazon sweaters! Crewneck Batwing sweater (I sized down to a small, color is Red Apricot) + Real Me leggingssocks + shoes

2. Amazon sweater #2 FTW. Stuck with my regular size medium here. Oversize Crew Neck Sweater (wearing my regular size medium, could have sized down to small, if in between sizes go down) + Pocket Leggings (Lulu Align dupes - I'm in my regular size medium, 25" Sage Grey) + shoes

3. Top  (in my regular size medium) + pocket leggings (Lulu Align dupes - I'm in my regular size medium, 25" Sage Grey) + shoes

Other Favs

4. This one is more casual in person than it looks in pictures because it has some distressing. The Chill Crew Sweatshirt (40% off today. Fit is oversized, I sized down to small) + Real Me leggings + shoes.

5. I've seen this Lumber Jane Shirt (fit is oversized - I sized down to small) everywhere and can confirm it's worth the hype - super comfy. + Real Me leggings + shoes

6. This is the softest sweater I own and I have it in two colors. I recommend sizing down. Coaster Luxe Recover Sweatshirt +  Pocket Leggings + shoes + mini diaper bag (actually holds everything you need for leaving the house with one kid, woman-owned business, I love it). 

Thanksgiving outfits - the best oversized sweaters and tops

Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Sephora Sale always brings up conversations around skincare and how our routines evolve - y'all may remember a few years ago when I was hellbent on using all "clean" products, and then a few followers who are literal scientists and chemists (with PhDs, not just people who google a lot like me) gently suggested resources to understand the actual [minimal] dangers in our skincare products, and how big companies have taken these not-data-based-fears to convince us to spend lots and lots of money on "clean" skincare. 

So, while I am not a medical professional or a scientist who understands things, I have entered a new phase of skincare and makeup. Below are some things that have helped me out:


After I had Hall my postpartum skin was out of control and my Sephora products weren't cutting it, so I consulted a dermatologist (if you're in the DMV I have had great experiences with Integrated Dermatology - they take insurance and do cosmetic services in office). My appointment was less than 10 minutes long and included a full skin cancer screen followed by an acne/aging skin consult. My dermatologist got me on this routine:

  • Morning: facewash with Cetaphil >> a tiny amount of Vitamin C Serum (she recommends this serum) >> by CeraVe moisturizer >> sunscreen.
  • Evening: facewash with Cetaphil >> prescription Retinol >> CeraVe moisturizer 
    • Once/week: exfoliate
A few notes: 
The Vitamin C serum is pricey but it lasts for awhile. I am waiting to reorder for Derm Store's Black Friday sale starting November 17th in hopes that it goes on sale.

I stock up on Cerave at Costco and share it with my kids (it great for my sensitive skinned babies).

My derm calls the Retinol into a mail in pharmacy that takes my insurance, making the Retinol cost $15.

Yes, I been punching the air about how much money I've sunk into "clean" facewashes and toners and serums. 


I haven't updated how I do my makeup since the demo at the mall's Clinique counter (I just wanted my Clinique Happy perfume!!), and I have spent the last few years applying makeup with my fingers because life is busy and my toddler loves makeup brushes and it's just not worth the fight to get them back. 

HOWEVER I found Erica Taylor on Tik Tok (also on Instagram and Youtube) who shows accessible tutorials on how to update our routine for aging skin. Some of my favorites:

Easy Daily Makeup Tutorial (it's actually easy I can do it)

Dated Eyeshadow (I feel old)

Dos and Don'ts (makeup stuff we were taught to do that now makes us look old)

Here is the actual makeup I'm using (most recommended by Erica and/or actual friends):

my adult skincare and makeup routine

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

 If you follow along on IG you know I saw my dermatologist after Hall's birth to deal with my postpartum skin issues and my derm rocked my world when she got me off all my pricey skincare products and on sunscreen, Cetaphil, Cerave, Vitamin C serum, and prescription [$15!!!] Retinol. So while I'm not spending like I used to at the Sephora sale, there's still fun to be had. 

Here's what I ordered for the sale that ends on 11/6 (because I know we're all sitting here with full carts scared to pull the trigger):

My hair stylist turned me on to this shampoo and conditioner to treat my dry, flaky scalp and it has been a god send. 

Erica Taylor is a 90's makeup artist who is doing the Lord's work and teaching those of us who haven't updated their makeup routine since that Clinique showcase in 7th grade how to do makeup for our aging skin.  I ordered the Merit Bronze Balm she uses for her "Grilled Cheese" makeup tutorial. I'm terrified of contouring due to an incident years ago with a makeup artist that left me walking down the aisle for my friend's wedding looking like I'm on my way to my guest spot on a Jersey Shore club night out, but MANY people in my DMs reassured me that this is contour for people scare of contour. 

When I posted the balm on IG, everyone and their mom got in my DMs telling me how much you love it and that I need to try Merit's Concealer and Foundation stick as well so I threw that in my cart. 

Also straight from Erica's tutorial I ordered this minimal blush.

And added my favorite mascara that never runs,  no matter how many times per day pregnancy/post partum hormones have me crying. 

2023 Sephora Sale Items

Friday, November 3, 2023

We have officially been home for two weeks with the new baby, and these are the products we have used approximately 1 million times. Most of these products are second purchases for us as we are still using them for our 20 month old, meaning they LAST even though these are the budget friendlier versions of the products.

1. Portable Bassinet ($59): This folds up and is lightweight and easy to move from room to room and set on the couch, counter, wherever we are hanging out, for the baby to sleep (because newborns sleep A LOT).

$136 savings vs. Dock a Tot

2. Baby Bouncer ($79): Adjustable, washable, collapsible (so easy to transport) and for all intents and purposes seems exactly the same as the Baby Bjorn bouncer. This goes everywhere in the house with us and is a great seat for her while I'm showering or using the bathroom too. 

    $130 savings vs. Baby Bjorn

3. Basic diaper brand: We use Pampers and I have the app that lets me use my phone to scan diaper packs for rewards. The key with diapers is that when we start experiencing blowouts or leaks, it is time to size up and NOT to switch to the most expensive brand that promises no leaks. **Remember to run your fingers along the edge of the diapers so the ruffles are out- this also prevents leaks and blowouts!**

$46 per box savings over the leading fancy diaper brand 

4. Changing pad ($31): We use this basic ass changing pad with a waterproof surface you can wipe anything off of, a buckle for the rollers, and grips that allow you to set it on any surface. Lightweight and easy to move from room to room.

$120 savings over the Keekaroo Peanut changing pad

5. Guava Lotus Bassinet + Travel Crib Bundle ($349): I love that this bassinet is part of the pack and play travel crib, so once we're done with it we can still use the parts for years. The bassinet rocks and collapses making it easy to travel with. Sidenote: the Guava Lotus Pack and Play is ELITE! Y'all may remember a few months ago when I was pregnant (with terrible nausea) and flew alone with my toddler + our suitcase + stroller + pack and play and it was zero issue because the p&p was so lightweight and easy to carry. I am easily frustrated by putting together anything (I outsource Ikea furniture assembly..) and it takes me less than 20 seconds to set this up. I'm not being paid for this, I just want everyone else to experience the ease that comes with a great baby product.

    $1,345 savings over the Snoo

6. Bassinet Sheets ($13): I completely forgot these were a separate thing we needed with our first and had to Shipt a pricey set from Target when we got home lol oops. 

7. Wipe Dispenser ($22): There are some not so obvious necessities when it comes to a wipe dispenser and this one has them. Need to have a weight inside that ensures you only pull out one wipe at a time (nothing more frustrating than moving as fast as you can with a baby releasing every possible body function simultaneously at 3 am and continuing to pull out a CVS receipt roll of wipe), tap to open, foolproof seal to close. We opt out of the wipe warmer because a warmer is not portable and they don't have it at daycare so our baby's gotta get used to a cold booty - sorry!

    $20 savings vs. wipe warming dispenser

8. Magnetic Onesies ($40): Ok these are a splurge so they make a good registry item but the magnets make chaotic changes easier and ease is something I'm willing to pay for. If not these I am also fine with the double zip onesies. Under NO circumstances do I EVER use a sleeper with snaps. I have a 3 snap maximum. 

Hope this is helpful!


Book list with reviews

My Birth Story

What they don't tell you about scheduled c-sections

first 2 weeks home with a newborn: the budget friendly newborn baby products we use the most

Wednesday, October 25, 2023