Happy August! It’s time for this month’s SO in the KNOW post, where I do my best to spill the tea on my favorite finds of the month! As empty nesters, we’re learning & growing all the time! I love it when you share what you’re learning & loving with me, and today is the day when I get to share with you! I love writing this post every month! (To see previous months’ SO in the KNOW posts, click HERE.)
I must admit, I’m cracking up at the way we’re all ob-sessed with all things fall! Here in Dallas, our heat index today was 105! I’m trying to enjoy every last drop of summer! How about you?
What I’m Learning
If you think you’ve been getting more scammy Robocalls than normal, lately, you’re correct! According to an AARP article published in April 2021, Robocall volume in the U.S. hit an estimated 5.5 billion calls — an all-time high — in October 2019. During the pandemic, the incidence dropped to about 2.8 billion calls a month. Lately, these calls, many from scammers, have climbed to about 5 billion a month. I got 10 in one day this week! Many of them left voice mails, from an Amazon Customer Care representative. 🙄
What can you do? You can download Nomorobo, which is free for land-lines and $1.99/mo. for cell phones, or you can contact your carrier to check out their free tools.
- For AT&T, click HERE.
- For Verizon, click HERE.
- For Sprint/T-Mobile, click HERE.
- For Consumer Cellular, click HERE.
For more information, see Consumer Reports Jun 2021 article, “The Best Ways to Block Robocalls.”
Alarming News About Emojis
An article this week in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Sending Smiley Emojis? They Now Mean Different Things to Different People,” broke the devasting news (to emoji-lover me, at least) that Gen Z has adopted new meanings for common emojis. And it’s become an intergenerational minefield. (I would use an emoji here to express how this news has crushed me, but I’m afraid of sending the wrong message!)
As you can see above, I immediately sent an alarmed text to my 24-year-old assistant, Natalie. (She answers my texts faster than my own kids — I think because I pay her!) Rest assured, my friends! We are on it and will get to the bottom of it! Look for a new installment in my “Tackle Your Tech” series soon!
In the meantime, tell your kids you read the article from the WSJ (you’ll sound soooo high-brow!) and get their take on it! As I told you in my Eight Practical Ways to be a Great Parent to Your Adult Kids post earlier this week, your kids love being asked about their areas of expertise. Um, texting is probably one of those areas, just sayin’. (Also, who knows what you’ve been texting them that they’ve misinterpreted lately! 🤣) Yikes!
Let’s Be “Close Friends!”
Speaking of tech, have you heard of the “Close Friends” feature on Instagram? This is a fun way to share secret Instagram Stories with only the people you add to your Close Friends list, instead of all your followers. I would love to be included in your secret circle, so if you follow me on Instagram, feel free to add me to your Close Friends list (@emptynestblessed). That means it will be easier for me to see the Stories you share because your Story icon will pop up right next to mine at the top of my page, This way, I won’t ever miss what you share!
Here’s how to add me:
Not on Instagram but want to get on? No problem! I’ve got a basic starter tutorial on Instagram that you can read HERE.
What I’m Loving
- Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls – You probably already know this, but single-use fabric dryer sheets use harsh chemicals to soften clothing. They’re bad for the environment, your skin, and your dryer. I recently converted to wool dryer balls, and after doing my research, I settled on Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls. This woman-owned company exclusively uses New Zealand wool because the country is known for for humane and responsible sheep ranching and wool harvesting. The dryer balls themselves are handcrafted in Nepal, in a workshop that empowers Neplese women and pays them a living wage. #lovethat
2. Scrunchie Apple Watch Band – I recently developed skin irritation from my silicone Apple Watch band and the other silicone bands that I have been using. According to THIS article, It could have been due to trapped moisture underneath, or I could have developed an allergy to silicone. 🤷♀️ Either way, I knew it was time to switch up my bands. After trying a bunch, I opted for this comfortable and machine washable scrunchie-style band. It has great reviews, it’s super comfortable, and I absolutely love it! Next up? A dressier band for special occasions.
3. Sleeveless V-Neck Casual Tank – This cute top is Amazon’s trending bestseller right now! Apparently, the craze has something to do with the flattering way it drapes and the strategic slimming front pleat! I’ve got it in my cart in two colors, but wanted to share it with you (ya’ know, so you’d be SO in the KNOW!) even before mine arrived! It’s a cool rayon, with a touch of spandex, and it comes in a whopping 26 colors and patterns. Reviews say it’s equally great with shorts and sneakers, or even tucked in with a skirt and pumps. Now that’s versatility!
4. Letting Go by Eevi Jones – USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling & award-winning writer (and author of more than 40 children’s books), has written one the sweetest book just for empty nesters. If you loved reading Robert Munsch’s book Love You Forever to your kids when they were little, then you will adore this sweet book. It’s written just for empty nesters who have kids heading out for the first time and makes a great gift for a new empty nester. Pair it with Eevi Jones’ Forever My Always book for kids leaving to venture out into the world for a thoughtful mother-daughter gift.
5. Velcro Fastening Cable Ties – Bob is obsessed with these reusable zip ties! He first ordered them when he was looking for something to use to hold his fishing poles together when we were traveling in the car, but since then he’s found about a million other uses for them in the yard, garage, and in his closet! We’re now on our second order, and I’ve even snagged a few to keep my iron and steamer cords organized.
6. Supergoop’s CLEAN Unseen Sunscreen – Oh, this is a game-changer, you guys! You know I’m a huge fan of Supergoop’s clean beauty sun protection, and this sheer, clear clean beauty SPF 40 sunscreen goes on under your makeup and will not give you a white cast. It has a velvety texture, no scent, and it’s oxybenzone-free, cruelty-free, and reef-safe. Bob uses mine! I’ve linked to this economical 2.5 oz limited edition jumbo version which I just bought, but it does come in a smaller 1.7 oz tube (or even a sample size .68 oz tube if you’d like to try it in a smaller size first!
- At Nordstrom HERE. (Free shipping/returns.)
- At Supergoop HERE. (Free shipping at $40+)
- At Sephora HERE. (Free shipping at $50+)
- At Dermstore HERE. (Free shipping at $50+)
7. Cable Knit Cardigan – In my recent Fall Trends We Spotted in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale post, I told you that cable-knit sweaters and cardigans were going to be a big trend for fall! They were all over the Nordy sale! This soft acrylic cardi comes in 28 colors and patterns! It’s going to be a fall wardrobe staple! Trust me on that!
8. Belkin InvisiGlass Ultra Screen Protection – I always use a glass screen protector on my phone. Do you? It’s much cheaper than paying for a new screen if yours cracks! I replace mine every 9-12 months because I use my phone so much! Recently when I needed a new glass screen protector, my daughter told me about the one that she uses. It has a lifetime warranty! Like, when hers cracked she emailed Belkin and they sent her a new one, no questions asked! That means this is the last screen protector you’ll ever need! She bought hers from Apple, and (of course) they’ve cornered the market and you cannot find it anywhere else! (I looked, of course!) Still, with Apple, you get free shipping! So good and so easy to apply! I linked to the one I bought for my iPhone 11 Pro, but you can see all of the available sizes HERE.
9. Collapsible Travel Hangers – When we get to a hotel, Bob always has to ask for more pillows and more hangers for his wife! 😆 Thankfully, this set of ten portable hangers have solved that problem! They fit easily into my suitcase, and can work (half-unfolded) for kid’s clothes too! What a great gift idea!
10. Travel Cable Organizer Bag – If you’ve read my Travel Must-Haves post, you know I’m super picky about my travel bags, organizers, etc. This genius cable organizer bag has earned a place in my must-have hall of fame! (In fact, I even went back in and added to that post!) With 5 elastic loops for shorter cables or earphones, and 2 larger elastic loops for longer cables, plus multiple sizes of mesh pockets for AirPods or whatever, this handy organizer has revolutionized my travel organization system when it comes to electronics! I ordered it in black for Bob’s upcoming birthday!
11. Dove Refillable Deodorant Stainless Steel Case (+ 1 Refill) – Snag this on your next Target run! Dove has put their 0% Aluminum Sensitive Skin deodorant into a reusable stainless steel case, and I, for one, am a fan! It’s refillable, eco-friendly, and ideal for sensitive skin. (Also available at Walmart HERE.)
12. Quilted PU Leather Weekender Bag – I snagged this cute pink quilted weekend duffle for an upcoming weekend getaway, and I cannot get over how high-end it looks! It has a pebbled faux (PU) leather exterior, a satin lining, and it folds flat for storage. It holds so much (22″ Length x 10″ Wide x 11″Height)! Click through HERE to see the other color options. (The black is so chic!)
13. Coffee Table Book for Stacking – I’ve been working on accessories for my home office, and I needed some large coffee table books to stack on my etagere. Large coffee table books are so expensive! This thick paperback decorative book is blank inside (!) because it’s designed to be combined and stacked with others to decorate a coffee table, bookshelf, bedside table or room! How clever is that? Fine Furnishing Press has books like this available in all kinds of colors, and they’re all just $18.99! Check out all of the colors and titles HERE.
I hope you learned a lot today! I loved sharing what I’m learning & loving in my empty nest with you! Got any cool finds you’d like to share with your little community? Leave a comment and let me know what you especially loved in today’s post or give us the scoop on your latest finds, okay?