I go back and forth on resolutions — some years, I take the time to write a few out, and others, I designate a specific word or intention for the year ahead. This year, I have a couple of specific commitments I’m making to myself, and most of them center around self-care:
- Persist in my every-other-day running habit, running at last three miles per session, and grafting on some calisthenics and weights afterwards. I would really like to feel strong this year after enduring the flu, COVID-19, and a nasty stomach bug in 2020. Pending pandemic-related logistics, I would love to hire a personal trainer for just a couple of sessions to help me designate a specific and realistic course of weights/calisthenics/stretches to use post-run.
- Commit to a reading routine. I averaged about two books/month this year, which felt manageable and decent, but I often leaned on the arbitrary deadline of my book club meetings to binge large portions of my tsundoku. I would love to set aside specific evenings or even portions of my evenings for reading. It’s been tough to balance with my one-on-one time with Mr. Magpie, as we love to use the evenings to go over our “STPs” (Shoop Talking Points — how business gets done around here) and then unwind while watching a show together, but I like the idea carving out some QT with my Kindle. I think I will start by marking Monday night as reading night. I’m such a rule follower — I’m much more likely to follow through when I set something hard-and-fast (and calendar it!)
- Double down on skincare. I will be 37 this year and seriously feel I’ve aged two decades since having children and have the face to show for it. Ha! I do not use Botox, so I am slowly making peace with the wrinkles that have come with age and am focusing on getting into a skincare regimen that really works on helping my skin look bright and clear. (I am doubtful any treatment prevents or treats wrinkles…) I have some good components in play already (I specifically think topical Vitamin C has done wonders for brightening my skin — I have tried a number of different brands and frankly they all work very well; this is a great and inexpensive formula if you want to test without breaking the bank) but my specific goals are to finally dominate the occasional breakouts that I have battled since 13 and achieve a Courtney-Grow-status glow. I’ll be chronicling all my experiments in future “Honest Review” posts, but right now, I’m in the midst of testing a pattern of retinoids (I am using Differin on the recommendation of countless Magpies) and glycolic acid (I use these wipes). Currently, I have a three-day cycle: Differin one night, glycolic acid the next, then a hydrating face mask the third (I really love Philip Thomas Roth’s rose stem cell mask, which I think they might be discontinuing as it is increasingly difficult to find, but each tub lasts an eternity…buy now and you’ll be set for, like, a decade.)
- Uphold the one-screen-at-a-time rule. Since around Thanksgiving, I have been ruthless in upholding this rule in the evenings by banning cell phone use once I’m in bed and moving my cell phone out of reach while we are watching TV in the evenings. It has been unbelievably healthful and deeply satisfying. I sleep better (!!! so much better!!! have not slept this well in my entire life) and feel as though I enjoy myself much more while watching TV and reading. It also feels that my evenings are far longer and more graciously-paced! I could do better on this front during the day, and, as a corollary, could be better in general about not using my phone when with the children, but the one-screen-at-a-time prohibition is an easy mnemonic to start with.
- My intention for the year is grace, which has many meanings, all of which I love, but I am specifically dialed in on the notion of courteous goodwill toward others. This means giving people the benefit of the doubt, creating space for them and their feelings, and also — and this is a key one I picked up from a Magpie commenter earlier this year (read Beth’s comment) — acknowledging that I cannot control how others will react or respond and accepting that truth with calm understanding.
Any you want to share?
Post-Scripts: 2021 Shopping List.
+Thanks to many reader suggestions, I am now following skincare guru Caroline Hirons. She has several helpful cheat sheets with useful tips on designing your own skincare regimen. One thing that surprised me was how many products she uses — wow! It’s encouraged me to try a cocktail of products, though I am going slowly and adding individual items one at a time so I can isolate ones that aren’t working for me. I find the order of products she lists especially enlightening. At any rate, one refrain of hers is that the single-most important product category to invest in is serums. One of the ones she loves (and so does the gorgeous Courtney Grow, mentioned above) is Clarins’ Double Serum, which apparently Clarins sells one of every few seconds. It is a long-time best-seller. I finally bought this to layer on top of my Vitamin C. I am still researching Hirons’ suggested ordering of products and have a few blank spaces in my own regimen, but this is an exciting start.
+I ordered this day designer for myself for the new year. Last year, I used an undated weekly calendar pad most of the year, which I liked because I am a leftie and there was no binding to contend with, but I did miss having the calendar days easy to access and found I was often penciling them in for pages weeks and weeks out. (More agendas here.)
+I bought mini her own wall calendar (she loves Snoopy) this year, too, an idea I lifted from mini’s Montessori, which hosts a number of helpful parent education nights throughout the year. We had a fairly bumpy time getting mini out the door for school towards the end of the year, and I think it was related to the strange and inconsistent schedule from Thanksgiving onward — it really threw her for a loop and she was always asking “do I have school today? Do I have a half day? Is tomorrow the weekend?” One of the school’s suggestions (more generally related to minimizing toddler tantrums) was to hang a calendar on the wall so that children know what to expect the following day. Time is such a complicated concept, and most toddlers thrive on routine and/or well-set expectations. Our plan is to work the calendar into mini’s nightly routine, i.e., after brushing teeth, we talk about what’s going on tomorrow, and for the rest of the week.
+New workout gear to help with my exercise commitment! I have written about most of these items already quite a bit, but on my list/already bought:
ALO RETRO TUBE SOCKS (THE ICE BLUE!)
MY FAVORITE ATHLETIC WATER BOTTLE — THE SPORTS NOZZLE IS AMAZING AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH I’VE GIVEN IT AS A GIFT TO SEVERAL PEOPLE
+Other highly random finds for the new year:
A SELFIE LIGHT (I MEAN…IT’S 2021, WHY NOT?)
THIS TAPER CANDLE HOLDER IS AMAZING
HOW DARLING IS THIS PINK AND WHITE STRIPED POT HOLDER SET?!
I HAVE BEEN A FAN OF TOWELS BY MATOUK AND YVES DELORME FOREVER, BUT AM CURIOUS ABOUT BOLL & BRANCH SINCE I HAD SUCH A GOOD EXPERIENCE WITH THEIR SHEETING…I WISH THEY HAD MORE BOLD DESIGNS, BUT THERE’S SOMETHING APPEALING ABOUT A PILE OF FLUFFY WHITE TOWELS ANYWAY
THIS NIGHTGOWN FOR MINI!!!! TRULY WISH THEY HAD IT IN MY SIZE
LUSTING AFTER THESE SANDALS FOR SPRING
OBSESSED WITH THIS REVERSIBLE QUILTED PULLOVER
THIS SIMPLE PLAID CAMEL SCARF IS TO DIE FOR (AND ONLY $26!)
P.P.P.S. For my recently engaged Magpies.