I tried watching the Grammys tonight and honestly I had no idea who anyone was and found myself exclaiming “that’s not a skirt! That’s a belt!”. That, of course, made me feel old and tired so… instead here I am writing my newsletter while drinking a cup of chamomile tea and reveling in my prematurely old lady-ness ☺.
Welcome, btw, to the many, many Cup of Jo readers who followed after a (delightful and unexpected) shout-out! FYI, this newsletter comes weekly (barring ear infections, pneumonia, etc) and is basically a mash-up of random things I like. My life is a hot mess of children, fashion, tech, and weird life hacks/things I get obsessed with. Note: nothing in this newsletter is an #ad, I’m not paid by brands… basically I post things I like and that’s that. I do use Amazon for tracking/affiliates though. And FYI you’ll see me donate to DonorsChoose.org or another charity each month as a result of that.
But enough housekeeping!
This week, rather than have a dedicated theme, I thought I’d just share a few things that each person in the family is liking right this minute…
Happy reading/shopping and see you next week!
Random silicone covers for food: One of my resolutions this year was to reduce plastic waste (I’ve only used two plastic bottles this year so far… I used to drink literally 6-8 bottles a day at work) and these lids have helped reduce plastic wrap waste. These are also great because, honestly, what is more annoying than plastic wrap—it always gets stuck on itself, you have to unstick it, etc etc. You just pop one of these over any round bowl or container and boop! You’re set!
Year and Day: Another new year’s resolution that is decidedly more shallow/do-gooder than the reduce plastic waste one was to finally be an Adult and have matching plates/dishes. When I was in college, I thought it was cool and bohemian to have all mismatched everything. Now I just want everything to be the same—and also not so precious that I would cry if Ren broke something. Well, Ren broke one of these Year and Day mugs the first night I got them. I’m still processing that… anyway, this line of home goods is so pretty (all the colors are gorgeous, we have a combination of Moon and Fog) and really nice quality for the price.
Veestro: I was sent a gift code to this site about two years ago and I finally redeemed it this year (yet another new year’s reso is to use gift cards as soon as I can) and I wish I hadn’t waited so long… because it is SO delicious. I’m vegetarian and—again, prematurally old lady—I feel like every food delivery service option makes their food overly salty. This brand is really light-tasting and Ren and Tao love it too, particularly the soups! A few of my IG followers asked if there was a code and Veestro made one for me. Just use EvaChen212 and you’ll get 10-15% off (I don’t remember which, agh, sorry).
And because I feel like I need to offset my grimly utilitarian picks with something pretty, I really like this Laura Mercier Primer. I actually learned about it from my mom (who, actually, had gotten it as a gift from me) because there was one day when she just looked extra well-rested (she’s retired and has the nerve to text me to be like “just woke up from a three hour nap! I feel great!”… NEVER text that to a mother of toddlers/infants) and she credits this primer. I like the radiance one but frankly they are all fantastic.
Nespresso machine: A few weeks ago, the machine started acting up (turns out it needed to be descaled) and it was a CODE RED situation in our apartment. This machine is how Tom is able to watch both kids on his own on the mornings I sleep in, so I am very grateful to this machine. Also, the cost per cup is cheaper than the deli downstairs ($1.10 vs $2) so it’s also just practical.
T2 chai tea: The way I am very enthusiastic about Bamboo Paper Towels (no, seriously), Tom is very enthusiastic about chai tea. He basically has tried every brand out there and says this T2 is the best.
(Just realized that both of these items are caffeine-oriented, lol, that says a lot about the state of exhaustion in our household)
Eddie Bauer puffer coat: I asked him why he liked this coat and he said “it’s warm.” Upon further prodding, he said, “it’s warmer than the other puffer coats I have but still light.” That’s all you’re going to get from Tom, guys, sorry.
Smarty Girl leggings: When I was pregnant with Ren, I had a Vision of what Ren’s future style would be. She’d wear black leggings with maybe a grey tutu, maybe a little leather moto jacket, and lots of sass. If you need a visual, google “Alexander Wang niece Alia”. The first time Ren truly rejected my sartorial advances and made a grab for pink, I literally wept (I may have been pregnant with Tao at the time). Today, Ren likes pink AND dinosaurs and airplanes and sharks… and this brand makes leggings that are pink with all the aforementioned object so they are a total win in Ren’s eyes.
West Elm lamp: SO many of you Direct Messaged me on Instagram after seeing this on my Stories… Ren’s new bedside table reading lamp is really kid-friendly because it’s low (not easily pulled over), dimmable, and LED/not too hot to the touch. Four (me/Ren) thumbs up ☺
Lunch box divider cups: Also by popular demand based on my Direct Message inquiries, these are the little cups I use to separate all of Ren’s food in her lunchbox. I recently realized that she’s a grazer—she (like her mom, ok fine) likes to see a lot of little things in her lunchbox and pick and choose what she wants to eat… I use these to do a handful of berries, 3 animal crackers, 1 Babybel cheese, etc. The approach is working better than packing her a thermos of pasta or a turkey sandwich so… sigh, so be it.
Monti Kids toy set: A few weeks ago, I posted about the most annoying but beloved toy in our household… This week I feel like I need to balance out the karmic energy of having inflicted that on you guys by telling you about Monti Kids! We got a set as a gift a few months ago and the toys are all Montessori method and gorgeously made in wood, and not at all annoying. This makes an ideal gift for a first time mom or for a mom who doesn’t want ugly crap in their home (I am not one of those moms, I welcome anything that will entertain the kids for a moment of sanity. I wish I were one of those moms!).
A Gorgeous/Not At All Hideous Mobile: When Ren was a baby, I had a mobile for her that was literally, like, as cheesy as it got. Tao’s taste is much more sophisticated, lol, and he loves staring at this beautiful mobile from Anthropologie. Listen, it doesn’t chirp out Mary Had A Little Lamb, but that is not a bad thing, am I right?!
What A Wonderful World book: We read to Ren a TON when she was a baby (her first favorite book was the goofy/interactive Arlo Needs Glasses, FYI) and have really been trying to read as much to Tao. One of the first books he “bonded” with was this illustrated version of Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World. Just try not to cry the first time you sing-read it to your baby.
OK, that’s it for this week!
Thanks for reading along and see you next time,
PS: the past newsletters are here…
#Momhacks: including the mesh bags that make folding tiny baby socks slightly less annoying.
Random Stuff I Like, Part II: Nerding out over a “tea organizer” is as nerdy as it gets.
Beauty Stuff I Like: Not all face wipes are created equal!
How to Travel with Kids: I’m not traveling with Ren and Tao for a 3 months and 6 days. Yes, I have a countdown because I am that traumatized!
Random Stuff I Like: I’m training Ren and Tao to use this vacuum cleaner.
Kids Books: I plan to update this list next week! Well, maybe… I said that last week too.
OG Baby List: this is the list to send your friends who are expecting! It’s on my (vast) to-do list to add a few things to this list, so will do that in the coming weeks… (which I realize I said last week too)