August has been a whirlwind! I celebrated a birthday (in NYC!), and we finally launched our young lawyer out of the nest. (He’d been home studying for the Bar Exam this summer.) Y’all, he is 26 years old, and I still cried! (Ahhhh, some things never get easier…) Along the way, I’ve learned a lot and discovered some cool new things, and I can’t wait to share them with you! Let’s jump right in, okay? Click any of the pink links in the text OR the images anywhere in this post OR in the graphic at the top for more information. You’re gonna be SO in the KNOW!
What I’m Learning
The Empty Nester Dishwasher SITUATION – In the empty nest, you always know it’s time to run the dishwasher when it’s full of mugs, spoons, and cereal bowls. Hahahahaha! Please tell me I’m not alone!
Chasing Meaning in the Empty Nest –
“Chasing meaning in your life is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.” – Kelly McGonigal
I’ve written a lot about the importance of chasing meaning in your life once the kids have gone. I remember back when I was thinking about starting Empty Nest Blessed; I was worried that the stress of it would be too much for me and cause a lot of anxiety. I read McGonigal’s book, The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It, and watched her TED Talk, and it was so helpful! I think I thought that since I was “retired” from being a mom with kids at home, life was supposed to be all low key and stress-free! She helped me discover that sometimes stress equals engagement, passion, and excitement, and I didn’t need to be afraid of it. This quote (also from her book) hit me right between the eyes:
“Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.”
Don’t let fear rule you, okay?
Doodle, Dah-ling – Recently, I agreed to host an event at our home this December. There wasn’t an exact date nailed down. My friend Gale said, “Don’t worry, we’ll ‘Doodle date’ it and see when most people can come!” I had no idea what she was talking about, but she filled me in. Doodle is a free online scheduler that lets you plan things for a group of people and figure out when most people can make it! So helpful, right?
What I’m Loving
1. Healing the Empty Nester’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Parents After the Kids Move Out, Go Off to College, or Start Taking Flight – I have not read this book, but my sweet friend Stephanie told me about it, and I plan to do it soon. I get lots of emails and DMs from empty nesters who seem to be “stuck” their empty nest grief—even several years after their nests have emptied. This breaks my heart! The author of this book is the well-known grief counselor, Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., and he’s actually written a series of books on grief in general, aimed at everyone from kids and teens to adults.
2. Reusable Silicone Food Savers – These colorful little food savers fit perfectly on the bottom of your cut fruits and veggies to keep them fresh and can also be used to cover cans or jars. They’re safer than using plastic wrap because they’re BPA and phthalate free, and they’re dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe. I think these are a genius for the empty nest! (Ya’ know, when you’re only using half the tomato…) 🙂
3. Faux Fur Heart Accent Pillow – I am in love with this pillow! It comes in three colors, and I think it’s just the cutest thing. I’m at the beginning stages of turning one of the upstairs bedrooms into my office. (Ya’ know, the International Headquarters of Empty Nest Blessed – Hahahahaha!), and I feel that I might need this pillow somewhere in the room (even just on a shelf). In fact, the entire collection of accent pillows at Nordstrom is so adorable right now I’m just swooning! Be sure to check out this one and this one for fall.
4. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in “Red Dahlia” – My friend, Gale (from the Doodle story above), introduced me to this universally flattering tinted lip balm, and now I’m obsessed! It looks dark in the tube, but it’s not because it’s sheer. It has a beautiful tint that looks good on everyone! It’s Burt’s Bees best-selling tinted lip balm, so it can be hard to find in stores. I had to order mine online, and I’ve linked it for you.
5. Convertible Cardigan – This cozy fleece wrap cardigan is ah-mazing! You can wear it with the front open and long, or you snap the bottom together and slip it over your head. (See examples below.) It comes in six colors and is available in regular, petite, and plus sizes. I wore it for a photo shoot this week, and it is the softest and yummiest thing you can imagine. I’m 5’5″, and after reading that it ran long in the reviews on the Nordstrom website, I ordered it in a petite. It was perfect! (It’s selling out fast, so hurry if you’re interested.)
6. Waterproof Mascara Top Coat – I sang the praises of this product in a recent post on my favorite waterproof makeup, but it came to my rescue this week when I had to go to my friend Laura’s father-in-law’s funeral (He was the most precious man…), and I didn’t have any waterproof mascara. (I always cry at funerals and weddings.) It’s a clear gel that you swipe over your favorite mascara, and it seals it in and makes it waterproof! I am not even kidding you!!! (Note: it’s only available online.)
7. Set of Two Bracelets – I’m picky about bracelets because they can get in the way, but these slip-on bracelets are so comfortable! I love that the black and gold one kind of moderates the cutesiness (Is that a word?) of the tassel one, for a go-with-anything pair that would make an affordable gift for yourself or one of your peeps.
8. Veggie Wash – Even if you buy organic produce, just rinsing it under running water cannot be expected to get it clean. You wouldn’t just rinse your hands if they were dirty, right? This product is a long-time favorite, and what I use to safely remove wax, soil, and agricultural chemicals from my produce.
We’re headed down to Austin this weekend to help the young lawyer move into his apartment. I hope you have fun weekend plans with your people!