Products and Books I'm Enjoying in 2023
Book Recommendations, Loving and Learning Lately

Loving and Learning Lately {48}

Products and Books I'm Enjoying in February 2023

Welcome to Round 48 of this little series I started of all the things in life I’m loving and learning lately! Here you’ll find everything from the books I’m currently reading to the products I’m loving to the shows I’m watching (which, spoiler alert–won’t be very many or very exciting, since I’m not a huge t.v. or movie watcher). If you want to check out past editions of the series, click here.

Note: There are affiliate links in this post, which means I may get a small percentage of any sale made at no extra cost to you.

Loving Lately

  • I was looking the other day to see if you could still get free print magazine subscriptions anymore (spoiler: you can!), and I found this really cool site that rounds up a TON of freebies and is updated multiple times daily. We live pretty far away from many of the retailers and restaurants mentioned, but I’ve already been able to take advantage of a few things (including several of those free magazine subscriptions!).
  • We’ve been trying to cut down our heating and energy costs as much as possible since prices have skyrocketed lately (and our bill was already super high to begin with), and my mom recently bought us this awesome draft stopper. We’d tried to get a rubber draft stopper previously that went UNDER the door, but it was a huge pain to try and figure out and ended up not fitting our main door anyway. This draft stopper that she found is like an extremely heavy duty tape that you place on the back of the bottom part of your door, and it’s surprisingly effective, not to mention ridiculously easy to put on. (And, bonus: it’s deeply discounted right now since we’re going out of winter, but it would work well for the energy costs of summer, too!)
  • We’ve been in the thick of potty training lately, and so I needed a bit of a review of the Oh Crap Potty Training method that we’ve used successfully in the past. I have read the full book (which is worth reading through at least once), but I really just needed a refresher, so I signed up for a free one-hour webinar HERE, which covered all the basics and which helped me to see that we’re actually doing better than I’d previously thought. If you’re about to enter potty training at any point in the next year or so, it’s worth checking out.

Learning Lately

Current and Recent Reads

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Unpopular opinion alert: I didn’t think this was quite as amazing as everyone else seemed to. I mean, I can see why it would resonate a lot with some people because the character development was decent and the video gaming world was interesting, but…it wasn’t my favorite. I personally didn’t care much for some of the main characters because they felt endlessly self-absorbed to me, and I also found parts of this to be really slow, which meant I would go long periods of time without picking it up. I also get tired of every contemporary fiction book nowadays needing an agenda of some kind — it’s like every author thinks they need to take a stand on every hot issue, rather than just creating a good story. All in all, this wasn’t bad — I did give it three stars — but for me personally, it won’t be making any “best of” lists anytime soon.

The Flower Hunter by Lucy Hunter

I read a lot of books about flowers in general, flower farming, and flower arranging, and I’m basically always looking for the same kinds of things: gorgeous photography, inspirational ideas and essays, and practical how-to information. This book definitely combined all three masterfully, which makes it rank right up there with my favorite floral styling books of all time. For me, books like this are more than just a pretty thing to put on a coffee table — they’re actually worth reading and studying, as well. This would make a great gift book for any flower lover.

Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary and Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull

We’re about to finish up the entire Fablehaven series, which has been our family read aloud for many months now. It’s a little bit over my 4-year-old’s head, but my 7-year-old has been devouring it. These last two installments were even better than the previous three, and we’re even talking about reading the follow-up series Mull published to this one now. All in all, this is a fun, age-appropriate fantasy series for kids 7 and up (and Matt and I were usually just as invested in the story as they were!).

Die With Zero by Bill Perkins

I’d been hearing a lot of buzz about this one in the FIRE (financial independence/retire early) and personal finance communities, and the premise intrigued me. Often the goal for most people in retirement (and especially in early retirement) is to make sure you’ve invested so much money that you can withdraw 4% per year and virtually never run out. This book argues for a radically different approach, pointing out that in working towards that goal, you needlessly work many extra years of your life. Basically this book in a nutshell is that you shouldn’t put off enjoying your life and your money, and that you should also aim to quit work as soon as you can. Obviously a book like this raises strong opinions in people who are deeply into personal finance, but I’ve quite enjoyed it thus far (I’m only about halfway through). While I’ll probably never feel comfortable being as extreme as he proposes, I think he makes a lot of really good arguments, and I already feel like my thoughts on the whole financial independence/retiring early thing are starting to shift as a consequence.

French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon

This is a re-read for me, but it’s been a looooong time. The first time I read this, my oldest wasn’t even a year old yet, and I’d definitely count this book as being among the most influential when we were brand new parents. We’ve noticed in the past couple months that there have been a lot more complaints about the food being served around here lately (mostly around our dinners, which definitely focus more on vegetables and which I usually don’t tweak at all to fit the kids’ preferences). Our daughter is pretty good not to complain and to just try a little bit of everything (even if she doesn’t like it), but our boys are VOCAL about their reluctance to basically try anything new. It’s been wearing. I’ve been revisiting this excellent resource about helping kids to not be picky eaters, and we’re already making some positive changes around here. This is definitely one I’m glad I bought as part of my personal library. (It’s also one that made it into this book round-up, in which I talked about many of the titles I’ve read that have made me a better parent.)

Links Worth Sharing

  • I’ve struggled on and off with anxiety for years, but lately it’s become very manageable, and it’s no longer something I fear or spend much time grappling with. A huge ah-ha! moment came when I read this article on the five causes of anxiety (which is likely not going to be what you think) and then read some of the site’s other content on how to specifically reduce the amount of time you spend each day worrying and attending to anxiety. It’s been enormously helpful, and I’ve seen about a 95% reduction in my anxiety/time spent dealing with anxiety since I had the mental shift and started using the techniques the site outlines. Definitely worth passing along if you or someone you love struggles with anxiety.
  • A lot of you seemed to also love the Minimal Mom video I shared last LALL round-up on going room by room through your house and dealing with clutter, so I’ll go ahead and share another recent favorite of hers on YouTube — How to Declutter an Overwhelming Space. I like how she breaks down the process into bite-size pieces and talks you through the mental process of effectively letting go of as much as possible. (Also, extra bonus: if you like decluttering and organization content, you’ll want to check out this bundle of resources that’s available now.)

Your turn! What are some things you’ve found lately that are worth passing along?

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