Do you ever bake something so amazing that you start hoarding its ingredients so you can always make it any time a sudden craving shows up? That’s the case with Halfbaked Harvest’s Chocolate Banana Bread. I made this last week and it’s so delicious that I’m literally about to close my laptop and go bake it again. If you’re a fan of delicious things made in loaf pans, this one’s a winner. Pro-tip: Err on the side of leaving it in the oven too long to bake than too short. There’s nothing worse than realizing your loaf is starting to cave in the middle 30 minutes after you remove it from the oven because it didn't quite bake through the center. I may have learned this the hard way...
In this week’s episode of “I’m turning into my mother,” I have to say that I am truly madly deeply LIVING FOR my new Kindle Oasis. First of all, this reader is waterproof. Did you hear me?! Get in the tub and read stress-free, people! Beyond that, it can sync and seamlessly move between Audible audiobook listening and Kindle reading and will keep your place wherever you are. This means I can listen to my book when I need to be hands-free, then when transitioning back to reading in bed later at night, the Kindle takes me right to the page where I stopped listening. Also, it has adjustable warm lighting options so that you can read in bed without causing eye strain or telling your brain that it’s daylight outside, so falling asleep after a good chapter or two (or seven) has never been easier.
After having a baby, this memory foam reading pillow was amazing for round-the-clock feedings and is so comfortable and supportive I literally have to be convinced to get out of bed. It’s a far better alternative to stacking up every pillow in your vicinity and hoping they’ll support you. This pillow was specifically designed for sitting up in bed comfortably, and man does it deliver.
In addition to the pillow above, I used this laptop desk from bed when I needed to address my inbox, etc. during postpartum recovery. The height is adjustable, and it’s conveniently wider than the width of a laptop itself, so there’s plenty of room for my phone, etc. There're also really smart guards at the bottom to prevent things from sliding off if you’d like to use the desk at an incline.
I know we’re all looking for smart meal prep moves these days, and I’m currently on a soft boiled egg kick and wanted to discuss. It can be hard to find the right method for achieving the perfect soft boiled egg, but I’ve been using the steaming method because I’ve found it to be the easiest and most consistent. To achieve it, just bring about an inch of water in a pot to a boil. Add your eggs (this method is intended for LARGE eggs, btw!), throw the lid on, and set your timer for five minutes and thirty seconds. Once the timer goes off, immediately run ice cold water over the eggs. Then, just crack and eat! DELISH.
Especially for those with work-from-home setups (before social distancing and during), cord holders are genius. We’ve all had to hide a mess of wires coming out of televisions and routers and every gadget imaginable, but these little guys corral the cords in an organized fashion. It can be difficult to hide cords entirely, but it’s actually pretty simple to add a little bit of organization to a previously chaotic web of wires. These are self-adhesive, so they’ll adhere really easily to the back of a desk or entertainment center, and they’ll let you run a group of cords along or behind essentially any surface you like. There are lots of great ways to use them, but one of my favorite ways is adhering them next to my bed so my phone charging cord doesn't fall behind/under my nightstand when not in use.
As many of us adjust to a new work-from-home reality, it’s important to implement smart strategies for keeping communication productive. Two items that are worth taking a look at are this snakelike holder and ring light and this tripod and ring light to be able to hold video meetings and conferences hands-free and in proper lighting. The natural light near my desk is suboptimal, and I’d like it if people I’m communicating with could... you know, see me. Yes, this setup is also great for social media videos, live Instagrams, and the like, but for meetings purposes this is also a smart setup to have at home to avoid looking like you’re broadcasting live from a gremlin cave. Unless you live in a gremlin cave in which case... as you were.
We’re reverting to full elementary school entertainment around here, indulging in a good puzzle or two during our downtime. Rich and I recently ordered this one and it’s a great time-occupier while you’re practicing social distancing! These are also great for the days before Colette hits toddler-status and starts grabbing for everything. I mean she can’t really even master her own thumbs right now much less invade our puzzle space, so we’re good. She’s a terrible backset puzzler though, questioning my every move...
If ever there was a time to have your loungewear game on point, it is right now. I recently bought these and these because this is no time to hate the sight of your own downtime wardrobe, and it’s also nice to be able to mix things up. While I am still a big proponent of getting out of your pajamas while you work from home, there's no rule that you can't spend your day in some adorable matching loungewear.
Anyone who’s ever wished for a third arm while cooking, crafting, lounging, or trying to expertly copy a YouTube tutorial will love this one. This mountable arm holds your iPad, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy tablet, Kindle, and more. Give the gift of an extra appendage. I have this and love it beyond words. Most often, I use it mounted to my bed so I can watch something while going to sleep.
In this house, we never miss a Farnam Street post. The blog is an amazing resource for advice and self-betterment in all aspects of life. Its readership includes Silicon Valley and Wall Street titans like Dan Loeb and Ray Dalio, among many others. I highly recommend that you subscribe to a little weekly brain food via their newsletter, too.
If you're looking for easy, delicious, wholesome comfort food, place your Good Stock soup order now. We've been enjoying them almost daily over the past many months and find that they're the fastest way to satisfy soup cravings without totally demolishing your kitchen. They come in perfectly-portioned frozen bags which you can heat up now or save for months in your freezer. They contain zero nasty chemicals or preservatives and are made from wholesome, local ingredients, so you can take comfort in knowing that you're putting only really good things into your body. The flavors are DELISH and include all the classics you love like roasted tomato, bone broth or chicken and vegetable, as well as weekly specials for something a little more out-of-the-box. Or pot. Whatever.
If you’re able to work from home right now, you’ll want to check out last week’s post containing work from home advice that I find really helpful. One of the smartest habits to start right now, apart from not turning on the television, is making sure you’re sitting and working comfortably, to avoid the aches and pains that can pop up when we work from home without the proper chairs and posture that we’re used to in an office. There’s a seat cushion and balance ball in this post that Rich and I have found really helpful! (Plus, some other gadgets below!)
I’ve spoken before about my love of Athleta activewear and I recently placed another order for a second pair of these life-enhancing joggers and this lounge-y chic funnel-neck sweatshirt. The joggers are without a doubt the ultimate comfy pants for an easy day (they are SO SO SOFT), but they still have a stylish vibe to them so you don’t feel like you just rolled out bed. Over the holidays, I spotted my sister-in-law wearing this funnel-neck sweatshirt and simply needed it. It looks so chic and is perfect for extra chilly days when you’re running errands (or running literally no errands). You understand my need for versatility.
I don’t participate in winter without Sorel. I've worn these glorious slippers constantly over the past many months and love them because they have a substantial sole which provides plenty of support if you’re on your feet around the house for extended periods of time. As I am now a professional baby soother, I appreciate this.
I've talked about this brand many times before and take it from me—when in doubt buy yourself a gift from Barefoot Dreams. I have this robe, this blanket, and I would very much like every single other item they make because there is simply nothing softer or more snuggle-worthy on the planet. Most of us are likely to be at home for the foreseeable future, so if that isn’t inspo enough to add some coziness to cart, I’m not sure what will be.
With a baby on my lap, the coffee table and I are completely out of touch. Literally. I need something much closer and more convenient (preferably on wheels), that doesn’t require a ton of reaching or moving around. This incredibly functional (and shockingly affordable) “C table” is keeping the things I need like my laptop and phone close at hand no matter who has decided to fall asleep on me. You can also use it for the same purposes in bed. It’s the BEST.
NB: There are lots of great, super chic C tables out there (I personally love this option and this option) but for my current purposes, it was critical to have a C table that had wheels (so I can move it easily with a baby in one hand) and also adjustable height (so I can use it interchangeably while on my couch or on my bed). I wasn't looking for a permanent decor option (I'd go with one of the above if you are), but rather a more functional table that can be put away in a closet when not in use or guests are over.
We’ve dabbled in meal subscriptions before, and I'm thrilled to report that Home Chef has really stood out from the pack. The recipe selections are high quality and customizable, and you’re basically getting excellent quality dinners at $10 per serving. The meals are absolutely DELICIOUS, and we’ve found them to be much easier to prepare than other meal subscriptions because Home Chef goes the extra mile in prepping things for you. Essentially they’re minimizing our grocery runs and making tastier food easier to achieve. If you want to give them a try (you really should) use code MARY80 to get $20 off your first four boxes, for a discount of $80 total—the biggest discount Home Chef has ever offered!
I initially just ordered this ingenious travel power strip for use near my bedside table, but it’s so minimalist and functional that I’m getting one for every room in the house. It’s meant for travel (I never leave home with out it), but it’s so genius for home, too—especially in small places where space is an issue.
In this day and age I think we can all agree that noise cancelling headphones are mandatory—especially if you're working from home, adjacent to family members and babies who are not always perfectly silent. These Sony noise cancelling headphones are actually ranked higher than Bose, and currently over 20% off. Enjoy them now at home and kick back with the smug knowledge that future children on airplanes and arguing subway tourists will never bother you again.
I’m entirely convinced that I will lose any Airpods I own within 30 seconds of purchasing them and have therefore resisted the ubiquitous ear accessory, despite being shamed online and IRL for my continued use of earphones (brace yourself) with actual CORDS (the horror!). However, my desire to live a cordless life (especially when working out) has been ever-increasing, so as an intermediate precautionary step to see if (a) I like the Airpod lifestyle and (b) I can actually keep track of these tiny buggers, I purchased these bluetooth wireless earbuds on Amazon for less than a third of the price of Apple airpods. This just in: they’re AMAZING. They fit very comfortably in my ear, they’re waterproof (so I don’t worry about getting super sweaty with them in the gym), and they last a really long time. Also just alleviating that constant fear of dropping an actual Airpod in a subway grating is such a relief.
I often turn on a show or podcast while I’m falling asleep, but not every app (especially video streaming apps) have a sleep timer. Maybe this is something the rest of the world already knows, but I just realized the amazing sleep timer functionality that’s already built into the Clock app on your iPad or iPhone. All you have to do is open the Clock app >> tap on Timer >> select how much time you want before your show/podcast/audiobook stops playing >> and select “Stop Playing” on the “When Timer Ends” line. Did anyone else’s life just change?
When it comes to skincare, I’ve gone into detail about my facial cleansing regimen and as you probably know, the Elemis Cleansing Balm is a mainstay in my routine. Aptly called "a spa in a jar," it's one of the best self-care investments you can make right now. Speaking of investments, rest-assured that one jar will last your for many, many, many months (even if you use it twice a day like I do). It does such a spectacular job cleansing your skin of pollutants, dirt and makeup without stripping your skin of its natural oils and the truly DIVINE smell also instantly melts away stress (speaking from experience). I swear I sleep easier after using this.
I’ve shared this favorite many times in the past, but when staring down into my tote bag that was littered with at least four of them at the bottom, I thought it was high time to share again because they’re JUST SO GOOD. The Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick is the drugstore product I’ve obsessed over and hoarded for nearly 10 years. My favorite color is plum perfect, but the shade lineup is amazing and the price is unbeatable for something this gorgeous and moisturizing. So so moisturizing. A perfect winter lip option.
While I was recuperating post-surgery a couple years ago, a friend dropped off the most thoughtful, hilarious get-well gift—this adult coloring book (along with this one). It's so much fun and hugely therapeutic if you're looking for a way to de-stress. Be warned, they incorporate very "colorful" language, so these are definitely not for children.