Since it’s Valentine’s Weekend, I thought I’d share some things I’m loving right now!
(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this post that may earn me commission.
1. “Farmhouse for Four” on Instagram
I’m in love with Lauren’s modern farmhouse seen above. Follow her on Instagram to see more of it!
*Update: It’s for sale! See the photos*
2. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
I got this book for Christmas and found it really inspiring. This resonated with me: “Instead of passion, follow your curiosity. Your curiosities are clues you can follow. Curiosity is what keeps you working steadily, while hotter emotions may come and go.” I couldn’t agree more!
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons Podcast
I’ve also been enjoying her Big Magic podcast, called “Magic Lessons.” She takes reader questions and interviews interesting people like Brene Brown and Cheryl Strayed.
3. Salad Chopper
I make salads every day for lunch, so I use this a lot. The Salad Chopper (affiliate link) comes with its own bowl. You throw whatever ingredients you want into it and then use the double stainless-steel blades chop it all up. My current favorite combo is Greek salad dressing with tomatoes, red onion, red peppers, cucumber, carrots, and feta.
Dave says to let you know he uses it to cut cold butter into small pieces when he’s baking. (He recently made this raspberry Danish and it was melt-in-your-mouth amazing.)
4. Jennifer’s Summer Cottage in the Woods
It’s always been my dream to build a little vacation cottage for our family, so I’ve been following along as Jennifer builds one for hers at Rambling Renovators. It’s fun to watch it come together, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!
5. The Cutest Security Camera Ever
When we were looking into security systems, they were all very complicated and expensive with monthly fees. Then we found the Arlo camera (affiliate link), and I’m in love with this thing. It’s tiny. It has NO wires. You can easily set it or hang it anywhere, even outside.
We have one on our front porch, so when the doorbell rings, I can check my phone to see who’s there before answering it. It automatically records every time it senses “human movement,” so you can see if anyone came by when you were away. Having the cameras inside the house makes it easy to keep an eye on our pets when we’re gone, too. 🙂
8. Donors Choose
This has become one of my favorite ways to donate money. It’s a site where public school teachers post classroom project requests for whatever they need that they couldn’t afford otherwise.
I recently helped a teacher in a high-poverty school district to create a “book nook” in her classroom. She was able to buy shelves, books, a colorful rug and purple bean bag chairs. The children wrote me letters telling me which of the books were their favorites. Loved that.
Visit the Donors Choose website to see if there’s a project you might want to help with!
9. Me Before You
My book club read Me Before You (affiliate link) last year and loved it. I’m excited about the movie that’s coming out in June. Have you seen the trailer yet? I wouldn’t have thought to cast Emilia Clarke as Louisa — a definite departure from “Game of Thrones”!
I was going to tell you about this book (affiliate link) that has me riveted right now, too, but then I realized that it wasn’t a very romantic suggestion for Valentine’s Day (ha). If you love architecture and history, though, it’s a fascinating read.
What are some of the things you’re loving right now? I’d love to hear about them!
Aren’t they making a movie of the book The Devil In The White City?
Hi Kay! It’s apparently been in development for several years (via IMDb). I hope they get a movie made of it eventually — that’s one I’d love to see! 🙂
the arlo camera is $150 for just 1 and not the base. what is the totla price for everything ?
if i was gifted teh xox salsd chopper great but to spend $25 on it is too much.
the jim jeannie gaffigan skit wasnt funny to me.
donors choose is great thanks for sharing.
are you still writing the secret blog ? i havent got any emails about it in a while.
Depends on if you want a base and if so, which type. Amazon has the options if you want to see. None of them is very expensive.
I still send out a newsletter almost every week with a link to my “Secret Blog,” which I update once or twice a month! 🙂
I’ve just read Me Before You, loved it and am looking forward to the movie. I am currently reading the sequel, After You by JoJo Moyes and am enjoying it.
Additionally, I also just read Big Magic and loved it.
Alie B says
Your salad chopper looks like a handy little gadget, Julia. I love Jennifer’s cottage. I’d like to see a bit of color injected into the finished product. Loved hearing about your donation for a book nook in a school. I work in that kind of school too, so I think it’s wonderful that people want to help make others’ learning richer and more meaningful. I love vintage valentines. In fact, I like pretty much everything vintage/antique. I swear, I was born in the wrong era!
Carrie G says
Thank you so much for mentioning Donor’s Choose! I am a teacher who has been able to add new technology, science experiments, engineering, art supplies, and PE equipment with grants from Donor’s Choose. I am always amazed at the generosity of people to help children with their learning!! Thank YOU!
That’s wonderful, Carrie! I’m so glad to hear that. It’s really inspiring to see all the projects that get funded through their site! 🙂
Cynthia Lambert says
I ? NY = I Love New York. That advertising campaign started more than 20 years ago. They used the heart icon to save space for bumper stickers. So I ? Apples means I Love Apples. I ? Boys means I Love Boys, etc. Not I “Heart” Anything. That makes no sense at all. It’s a big fallacy that people have picked up. We can’t heart anything, because heart is a noun, not a verb. That’s like saying I Floor Mashed Potatoes. You can’t floor something, because floor is a noun.
Cynthia Lambert says
Well, that’s crazy 🙂 All the times I typed the heart symbol, it was replaced with a questions mark, for some reason. Anyway, you understand what I was saying.
LOL, Cynthia, I know it was silly, but I was just trying to be cute for Valentine’s Day. I think I’m going to start saying I “floor” things now to see if I can start a trend. Ha. 🙂
Well, Julia, I “hearted” this whole post! Thanks for so many goodies!
Ha! Thanks, Nicki! 🙂
Laura McDaniel says
I just ordered the Elizabeth Gilbert book, Big Magic. NEED the extra ‘inspiration’ myself (just got laid off, so redoing WHAT I want to do for my next career/job). LOL We are flying to Philippines and then Singapore so I’m pretty certain I’ll get through most of it on the 11 hour flight! HA
Like hearing YOUR feedback on it – I so enjoy your blog. And also want the little cabin (someday)…
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Laura! I must have jotted down a notebook’s worth of quotes out of it while I was reading. I actually picked it up from the library and loved it so much I bought my own copy that I could underline things in. 🙂
Thanks, Laura. Have a great trip!