5 Random Things: January

What a January already, you guys! I am coming up on 4 months of not drinking which still feels surreal, and I’m deep into my decluttering  project that is taking a lot longer than I expected.

Luca has suddenly exploded with words and short sentences and is turning out to be the silliest and sweetest little boy. Whenever he hurts himself (which is 24/7) he runs over to us at full speed yelling “hug” then runs right back to whatever he was playing with after a quick squeeze.

He and Amalia are playing together a little more too which is so fun to watch. With toys they do their own thing but they love to chase each other around the kitchen island, play ring around the rosy on repeat, and have little dance parties.

January is usually a tough month but it’s been pretty dang good to us this year!


Books –

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’FarrellFrom the author of Hamnet (winner of every award and on all the best books lists I’ve seen in the last few years), this historical fiction novel is set in Renaissance Florence in the 1550s which I appreciate since I studied abroad there in college. Lucrezia de Medici, the third daughter of the grand duke, has a mind of her own. When her older sister dies just before her wedding, Lucrezia is forced to marry her late sister’s fiancé. The book, so far, is full of drama, beautiful Italian backdrops, and history. I love it and although I’m only halfway done, give it an A rating!

Another book that I hated: I don’t want to mention the name and author but I spent a good part of the last few weeks reading a terrible book that I kept thinking would get better, but didn’t. Lesson learned!

TV Shows –

Severance (Apple+): Ok I am obsessed with this show. Anel and I get so giddy when the kids go to sleep so we can watch another episode. It is super weird and sometimes very hard to watch, but also fascinating. It’s about a hand of employees at shady company, Lumon, that underwent a “severance” procedure to sever their work and personal memories. So at work, they have no idea who they are on the outside, and at home, they remember nothing about work. Adam Scott and Patricia Arquette are fantastic and creepy in the best way possible.

We’re almost done with season 1 and I’ve gone down so many reddit rabbit holes after each episode. It’s 100% my favorite show that we’ve watched in the last year.

Shantaram (Apple+): Based on a book that Anel and I both read and loved, Shantaram is the story of Lin (Chris Hunnam, so hot!) who escapes from an Australian prison to Bombay. He ends up living in the slums and becoming a makeshift doctor to the residents. Lin gets mixed up with local gangs, falls in love, and tells a truly dramatic story. This was a fun one to watch!

Podcast –

Bone Valley Podcast:I have been craving a true crime story told in a meaningful way after listening to Your Own Backyard. I’ve finally found it in Bone Valley! In 1987, 18-year-old Michelle Schofield was found dead in a phosphate pit in Florida. Her husband Leo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Fifteen years later, previously unidentified fingerprints matched Jeremy Scott–a violent teenager who lived nearby. Jeremy has since confessed to Michelle’s murder.

The podcast host, Gilbert King, finds even more new evidence against Jeremy, but Leo still remains in prison.

Halfway through: A+ rating.


1. NA Way dry box: A Lemon Stripes follower (let’s all support her!) started a very cool non-alcoholic drink box where she sends you her favorite brands of  dry drinks. The mocktail box ($36) is fantastic and would make a great gift for anyone pregnant or not drinking. She’s gotten me into so many new brands like the ISH Spirits Spritz, a dead-ringer for an Aperol Spritz.

There are a lot of other companies doing this but I have truly enjoyed every single option she sends in her boxes.

2. Cropped puffer coat: When I began decluttering our mudroom, I donated most of my winter coats to Caroline’s House during a coat drive at Luca’s school. I kept one long puffer, one Patagonia, one fancier coat, and a vest. The only thing missing in my core collection was a short coat so I found this one and have worn it constantly ever since. It’s on sale for $109 right now too! I’ve worn it pretty much exclusively since I bought it and two friends and my sister have since bought it too. It’s a winner.

3. Over-the-door rack: Speaking of coats, our coat closet was a hot mess and one of the biggest transformations in my clean-out. We use it for coats, guest coats when people visit, cleaning supplies, and the kids’ backpacks. Our mudroom is in the basement and we use the front door mostly to go in and out so this was an unforeseen situation. I made it work, though, finally!

This over-the-door rack saved us. I have a shelf for each of the kids’ winter accessories, a place for Anel’s baseball caps, hooks for their coats so they can hang them up themselves. I also added these drawers so each kid has a place for their backpack and (for Amalia) after school activities. I can finally open the coat closet stress-free.

4. Hunza G swimsuitI finally bought one of these social-media favorite one-size-fits-all swimsuits for an upcoming trip and I really love the cut, color (I went with neon pink) and the super low-cut back. This might be TMI but it kind of smushes the boobs in which I kind of like for some reason.

5. Youtube Premium: Ok this might be silly but we held out on paying for Youtube until this month. We didn’t really use it all that much but Luca loves watching truck videos and we would have to watch ads that would drive both him and us nuts. Upgrading to Premium for $15/month has saved us lots of headache.


Taco Cornbread Casserole
Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Cheesy Tomato Greens and Beans
Ribollita Soup– I made this last night. It always hits the spot!

Photo by Julia Dags.

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