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Let's Talk About Buying, Saving, Investing (Or Something)


So I started this post a few days ago. I got as far as the title and walked away. I've been feeling down on myself-- mostly because I'm a complete doofus-- and subsequently feeling more down because I feel down.  You know, that whole cycle. It's been maybe over a year or so since I opened my heart about working/over working/what I expect of myself. It's been 7 months or so since I talked about my plans for this year for myself. A lot has changed since my working post and a lot has changed since my new years post, but the one thing that has not changed is my desire to work and push forward. I have two speeds: GO and SLUMP. The slump speed typically only last a few hours now until I pick myself up and start something new. (There's been improvement, but always room for more).

I had this post in mind about spending and investing (if you couldn't tell by the title) and how I'm trying to put a bit more into myself--- with things. How I bought a fancy pair of sunglasses and within two days downsized to a cheaper version and the following day decided I should return them all together. And how I told a friend about my plans to return them and she responded, "I knew you wouldn't keep them." Outside of travel or things for our home and family, I have a hard time investing in myself. It always feels a bit selfish and frivolous. What I want vs. what I need. I want new sunglasses. I absolutely do not need new sunglasses. Going back to my How To Have a Good Life post--- I absolutely believe investing in new things is or can be important--- new things and nice things. I can justify to myself buying (some) items for my home-- because our home is where we spend our life and it adds to our family comfort--- and after four years of using our old 50$ couch, it's time to make a move to something else-- that will probably and hopefully be even longer lasting. And so I've justified it. We'll spend our time here, and spend what we earn here, to create our better life. But no matter how I try to go around it, I cant seem to work the idea of new sunglasses into my life right now. At times yes, maybe later yes, but now? No. Buying without investing or a real connection is often short lived instant gratification. Or I feel that way anyway--- and I have an itching feeling most others do to-- whether they see it or not. But it's forever easy to fall into a consumeristic cycle this way.  

Anyway, I work hard. We all do in this home. We work to make it a place we want to be, something growing, comforting, and changing. You get what you give. I'm giving a lot and getting a lot. And what I need isn't new sunglasses, it's some self tact. I think I've opened up twice now about my long daily hours and what I've expected of myself in this past few months--- I wrote in pain. Some emotional, sure, I was exhausted. But much of it physical. I push and push and push and other than lasts week break, I wasn't able (or haven't wanted) to stop. I had found lucidity. I had mostly found balance. And then I chose to have our home shift a lot in the past few months. And with my lack of self grace, came, well, carpal tunnel. Insert a loud "what a moron" groan. As I came to an end in the recipes and pushed more in the writing here and there--- the pain came and I didn't stop. And hell, look at this post--- it's not short. Two painkillers/anti-imflammatories in and the pain has subsided enough to let me move forward. The part I'm struggling with is part actually stopping--- I'm realizing I don't want to stop. Ever. I deserve the self patience, but I love the push. Insert need for self-tact.  

As of now, I'm looking for a bit of extra help in this space, the book will be put off for a little bit of time (not a lot, but some-- 123 recipes done!)--- and vacation with my family couldn't be coming at a better time. I want to be engaged and engaging and I want to do more, make more, push more, but I'm learning to accept and forgive myself when I can't.At any given point, I have a million ideas swimming in my head. I'm excited for now and more excited for the future, I just have to get there.  If I want this thing (myself) to be long lasting, I have to invest in myself.

After 4 hours of on and off writing this today-- I'm off. I'll be pulling together some time for some next weeks posts--- posts I'm excited about. From pictures, to gardening, to more on our india adventure (we have such a good group so far!), to a closer look at our home things. Oh and the doctor said no chores---  let the house get messy. She doesn't know me very well--- but I'm trying ;)

Have a great weekend, everyone! Last chance to enter the giveaway and get something nice and well deserved for yourself-- or someone you love <3

Simple Natural {Vegan} Living: Our Favorite Toddler Bath & Body Products


Helllooo friends! So lately Emily has been writing these natural living posts, but I figured I'd pop in to talk a bit about our current favorite toddler products. I keep promising myself (and you guys too) that I would update my list of favorite vegan and natural products--- but time, it keeps slipping. And with a current minor double dainty wrist injury (more on that some other time)--- you can imagine everything is taking double (and triple) the amount of time. But anyway--- I keep side-tracking lately--- SO I have a few natural living posts of my own planned (some hair, some random, but all personal day to day things--- that I'm planning to get to in the next few weeks. For now though, I figured I'd talk a little bit about my (and our) favorite day to day natural/vegan toddler products. 

Really, the natural product options are endless these days. There's no reason not to choose natural, organic, and/or cruelty-free options for your kiddos (and yourself) as often as you can. This is just a smallish round up of what we're currently using--- we hope you'll like some of them (who knows maybe you already use and love them)--- either way, we hope you get out there and try some natural, safe, and cruelty-free products. It feels nice-- physically and emotionally, ya know? :) These are some of our favorites:

Sunscreen: I get asked this a lot. My typical go to has been Alba-- lately I've been trying out Block Island. Emily votes for Badger. I haven't tried Badger, but I actually have heard really great reviews on it. I think pretty much all my natural go to mama's have voted Badger. Admittedly, we don't use a lot of sunscreen-- even here in south florida. Our best sun protection? Limiting high sun time. But if we know were going to be outside during high sun time, we lather up. 

Body Wash: I typically recommend California Baby--- mainly because you can find it at most everywhere--- natural co-op stores and your run of the mill everything store. Like, Target probably carries it. The price tag can be a bit off putting, but I swear one bottle lasted us an entire year, if not long (and yes, she bathes regularly). But really, theres a lot of options out there. We plan on probably maybe discussing our favorite natural soaps later. God knows I've tried a million (for fun).

Shampoo: So uh, neither one of us actually use shampoo on our own kids. I accidentally asked Emily to draw this--- I actually use the conditioner version of this---- as well as a conditioner to wash with. I'm sure the shampoo works great-- I've actually loved all the Poofy products (diva number: 1640) I've tried, but haven't tried the actual shampoo since we don't use it. So yeah, the leave in conditioner (diva number: 1640) is where its at. Great for tangles great for whatever. Emily uses baking soda on Lily (they're both doing no-poo, like I tried a while ago). 

Toothpaste: Toothpaste weirds me out--- I mean the neon colors and sparkles? yuck. And I won't get into the fluoride no fluoride debate--- use what you think is best. But I think we can agree that having the organic and natural option for something your kid is going to be putting in their months--- and probably swallowing is a good idea. For kids there's a fruit punch or cherry option (diva number: 1640). Our non organic pick up in the store option is Jason's. Emily chooses Tom's.  

Oh and lotion, Both Em and I hands down agree: coconut oil

List
sunscreen: one / two / three / four
shampoo (diva number: 1640)
leave-in conditioner  (diva number: 1640)
toothpaste fruit punch (diva number: 1640) / cherry / orange / strawberry 

And as always, if you have favorites you love in your home, please feel free to leave them in the comments. We love discovering new products-- and I'm sure others will too :) 

Alright, friends--- I'm off to answer emails and give my grandma wrists a break. Happy wednesday, everyone! 

Illustrations by Emily De Nicolais exclusively for ohdeardrea. To see more of Emily's work, click HERE

A Summer Fresh Flower Wreath


I've admittedly been a pretty crummy friend this summer. In general (with the exception of travel) I tend to be a homebody and I don't make much of an effort to get out and see people, but especially this summer, I've been here hermit-ing myself.

Occasionally (but oh so rarely) I'll make an extra hour for a friend to stop by--- for my own sanity as well as Marlowe's. Half the time we just take a minute to sit and the rest of the time has been used for more art and creative projects--- they're stress free, relaxing, and typically add a bit of extra color to our home. This must be two weeks ago already--- but Halle came by so we could have a bit of flower fun. I spent part of the time editing cookbook photos and these girls spent their time making this fun and beautiful flower wreath.

Sure fresh flower's don't last forever like the fake ones, but their is something so charming about a fresh flower wreath for your home. Now that this one has dried it's actually sitting on our dining room table (around the bunny) as part of a center piece--- I like it a lot! I think would actually be a beautiful addition to some sort of summer or spring party :)

Anyway, it's friday. This past week has been good to me.  Between daytime weddings turned all day celebrations and getting away with our far away friends--- I'm feeling refreshed and new. I'm excited to plan all the little details for our upcoming travel plans---and I'm even excited for a list of home projects and garden projects. If you're looking for a fun and easy home project this weekend, this is a pretty fun one to pass the time :) 

you'll need:
a 10 or 12 inch wooden hoop
thin floral wire
scissors
a more filling green flower/foliage such as ferns, gardenia leaves, or seeded eucalyptus
some of your other favorite flowers!

how to:
-begin placing your greenery on top of hoop.
-ask tiny helper to snip two inch pieces of wire and tightly wrap wire around leaves, securing it on back of wooden hoop
-keep adding greens, until you've covered you're whole hoop
-snip stems of flowers, leaving only about an inch or two
-carefully wrap wire around flowers at base, then wrap around wreath and pull tightly to bring wire back to backside.
-if hanging, cut a 10 inch or so long piece of wire. wrap one end around top of wreath and secure.

Tada! A beautiful and welcoming wreath ;)

Hoooray random fun diy! Don't forget to enter the amazing 1,000$ giveaway. Oh and I'll be posting another pretty amazing giveaway in the next few days on instagram. Stay tuned!

Have a great weekend, friends! 

A 1000$ Gemvara Giveaway!

 

I know I've mentioned it at some point before, but I have jewelry. Mostly of the handmade or incredibly sentimental kind. When my grandpa came to the United States he put down roots for us in a brick and mortar shop specializing in gold and silver. I remember visiting every summer and going through piles of "junk silver" and cases of ring molds for custom rings— always wanting to be able to one day design my own. As time went by, the jewelry part of the business ceased, but I've been able to hold on to a few pieces he made or purchased especially for my grandma. Throughout the years I've been lucky enough to not only collect pieces from my grandmother, but I’m grateful to receive my fair share of sentimental handmade pieces as gifts as well. I love bigger, handmade statement pieces on the day to day, but more than those, I love the more simple and meaningful pieces one gives or receives.
I've been lucky enough to team up with Gemvara to offer you guys a pretty amazing giveaway opportunity. And while jewelry may not be an everyday topic around here, beautiful, love filled jewelry means a lot to me. And even more so--- to be able to choose to share the gift of creating something special for just my mother and I. We have very different taste when it comes to jewelry and style, but we both somehow, separately fell in love with a similar looking ring on Gemvara. As different as our styles are, we both always seem to fall back to black for (wearable) color choices. Also, I'll be honest, it wasn't really planned at all, but I was more than pleasantly surprised to see how perfectly the ring matched my wedding and engagement band ;)

We're heading up to Massachusetts in the next few weeks and I can't wait to share our matching rings with my mother. I know it means a lot to me to be able to do this with her, and I'll assume it means just as much for her ;) We’re different in A LOT of ways, but I’m happy to share this with her. But in the meantime, I'm excited that Gemvara has offered one lucky ohdeardrea reader the opportunity to win a 1000$ gift certificate to choose their very own piece for themselves (and/or someone they love of course!).

one / two / three / four / five

Each piece from Gemvara is handcrafted right here in the United States. And there's no inventory--- which means that each piece you order is especially made for you. And everything is customizable. My favorites were all the yellow, black, and white tones, but there are over twenty different gemstones to choose from and over nine different types of precious metals. 

For your chance to win a 1000$ gift certificate to Gemvara, click HERE, insert your email and get to designing your custom piece (it's fun, trust me). Then simply comment back here on this post with a link to your favorite piece! 

Want a discount? Receive 15% off any order for the next 72 hours simply by clicking THIS link! Hooray! 


*This post was sponsored by Gemvara. Gemvara offers 101 days for returns--- even on engraved pieces! U.S. residents only please! Giveaway ends next thursday. One winner will be chosen and emailed shortly after! Thanks!

Simple Natural Living: A DIY Texturizing Sea Salt Spray


​All Natural DIY Spray for Beach Waves

Why we use it:

Everybody loves a good beach day. Warm sand, cool water and let's not forget those voluminous, perfectly textured and incredibly manageable waves that magically appear in your hair after spending some time in the surf. I've tried just about every product out there in an attempt to replicate this glorious "beach hair" since moving (far) away from the subtropics. I've found a few decent products but they were either full of ingredients that I didn't recognize or insanely expensive. Thus, this super simple, all natural alternative (I also use it to hold up-dos in place and too freshen up my newly converted no-shampoo-hair, but more on that later.)

What you'll need:
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/8 cup of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of jojoba oil
  • 7 to 10 drops of lavender oil
  • spray bottle

How to:
In a spray bottle combine the water, salt, and jojoba oil. Next, add in the lavender oil (You can really use any essential oil you like. Cedarwood or rosemary would work really well too.) Shake vigorously! If you're going for waves, spray the solution on wet or dry hair and then give it a good scrunch and/or twist. If you're using it as a styling agent for an up-do, spray on dry hair (with your head flip upside down) and then work it through to the ends with your fingers. And there you have it. Wavy, manageable, yummy smelling hair. 

I use this spray almost every day and haven't had any issues with dryness from the salt (that jojoba oil works wonders.) But everyone is different, so it's probably best to test it out before committing to full time use.

-Emily

Author & Illustrations by Emily De Nicolais exclusively for ohdeardrea. To see more of Emily's work, click HERE
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