First day of preschool

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I love when Magnus, perpetual co-star in his older sister’s sitcom, gets the limelight all to himself. Today was his big day – first day of preschool. He da man!


Coppa Gelato: A review by Greta Green

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Last night after a gross dinner of dry pork tenderloin and congealed mac & cheese (sorry family), we went to Coppa Gelato, a new gelato shop in Westerville near The Wine Bistro and Meijer. I love the décor: a dusty taupe faux-wood floor, bright white beadboard walls, rustic glass pendant lighting, and an espresso brown paint job. And I loved my vanilla bean gelato. But never mind what I thought.

Here’s Greta’s review.

How is your mint chocolate gelato?


What else?

SO yummy.

What’s yummy about it?

It’s sweet and minty.

How does it compare to Jeni’s Ice Cream?

It’s better than Jeni’s.

What makes it better than Jeni’s?

Jeni’s doesn’t have mint chocolate chip
[DISCLAIMER: this review was not fact-checked]

How would you describe the ambiance?

What’s ambiance?

The way a place looks and feels. The vibe.

What’s a vibe?

How a place makes you feel. How it’s decorated…

It smells like coffee. It smells like Starbucks. Very farmy.

That’s true, it is farmy! Like the lights and beadboard…?

There are pictures on the walls of farm animals.

That is true, I didn’t notice that. Magnus, how is your cookies & milk gelato?

So good. Sweet. Oreo-y. Chocolate-y.

And what do you guys think of the lemon water?

It’s sweet. Tastes like cucumber water.

And the verdict is…


Thumbs up on Coppa Gelato from my little Greenies!


Cabela’s outdoor rocking chair


We spend a lot of time sitting around a fire-pit, and hope to do more camping as the kids get older. Barrak got me this outdoor rocking chair from Cabela’s and I’m surprised by how much I love it. On Friday night, Magnus got up on my lap and let me rock him in front of the fire Barrak had built. He started to tell me about his day and – with his back to my chest –  confided a few things he didn’t want a lot of people to hear (e.g., ‘Owen pushed me’).

Guess I’m a rocker at heart.

Birthday Birchbox

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My sister got me a subscription to Birchbox for my birthday and my first one arrived on Saturday. Such a great gift. Who doesn’t love finding a pleasant surprise in their mailbox at the end of the day?

My first delivery included a black Cynthia Rowley eyeliner pencil; a mini bottle of N. 4 leave-in conditioner / prep spray; a Coola post-sun recovery lotion; a baby blue nail polish; and some fancy Harney & Sons tea bags. Love it!


The skin care routine that’s working for me now

I’m really digging Paula’s Choice lately. Disenchanted with my stand-bys and dreading another summer of humidity-induced break-outs, I started reading Paula’s website back in June, and bought a few products. If you’ve never checked out Paula’s website, she has a whole beautypedia section that I often consult before I buy any beauty product.

Before she eventually created her own products, Paula Begoun wrote a series of books called Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. I always liked her because she a) struggled with oily skin and acne and understood those challenges, b) calls cosmetics companies on their BS, and c) doesn’t gouge you with crazy prices.

I’ve used Paula’s Choice over the years but I feel like her line has dramatically expanded and improved — both the products themselves and the packaging, which is more appealing and has reminders about what the products do. I really like the website too, which has editorial content like “How to Put a Skin Care Routine Together,” hundreds of helpful reviews written by skin-care savvy customers for every product, and FAQs like ‘What’s the difference between this toner and that toner?’

The bottom line is, I trust this Paula chick. I trust that she has my best interests in mind and would never sell me a bunch of useless chemicals that do nothing. Or worse, do harm.

Paula’s ‘Keep It Simple’ routine:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Exfoliant
  3. Moisturizer + SPF


  1. Cleanser
  2. Exfoliant
  3. Night Moisturizer

Paula’s ‘Supercharge It’ routine:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Exfoliant
  4. Treatment
  5. Moisturizer + SPF


  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Exfoliant
  4. Treatment
  5. Night Moisturizer

And, here’s what’s in my ‘supercharged’ rotation:



Olay Foaming Face Wash – Sensitive Skin
Oil-free and fragrance-free – $4.99!
This is one of beautypedia’s “best of the best” cleansers, and I really like it. It has more mustard than the gentle cleansers I normally use, but it doesn’t leave my face feeling tight.



Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner

What it does:

  • Weightless liquid minimizes pores
  • Helps prevent signs of aging
  • Eliminates flaky, dehydrated skin

Sometimes toner feels like a superfluous step. Not this one. This is so refreshing – especially after a day running around Disney World – and it doesn’t sting. It feels somewhat moisturizing, so you could almost skip moisturizer on a really humid day.



Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

What it does:

  • Creates radiant, even-toned skin
  • Reduces redness & builds collagen
  • Unclogs & diminishes enlarged pores

This has been key to getting rid of all my bumpies and making my skin seem brighter, less sallow. And it doesn’t sting.

Moisturizer + SPF


Hydralight Shine-Free Daily Mineral Complex with Antioxidants
Broad Spectrum SPF 30

What it does:

  • Light lotion leaves soft, matte finish
  • Great for sensitive skin & rosacea
  • Prevents signs of aging

It’s not the lightest moisturizer I’ve ever used. But it soaks in quickly. And it’s a mineral sunblock so it doesn’t make me break out. Huge bonus.



Resist Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum
with Hyaluronic Acid

What it does:

  • Fights multiple signs of aging

You only need a few drops of this nectar-like serum. It feels like I’m restoring my skin’s natural barrier.

Blemish Treatment


Clear Daily Skin Clearing Treatment
2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide / Regular Strength

What it does:

  • Immediately reduces blemishes
  • Leaves an invisible matte finish
  • Visibly reduces red marks

This doesn’t sting or dry out my skin like stronger BP treatments formulated for teenagers. So I’m more apt to stick with it. It doesn’t even feel like a treatment; just feels like a light lotion. I feel like I’ve seen a difference.



Best Face Forward Foundation
Broad Spectrum SPF 25

What it does:

  • Gives natural-looking coverage
  • Shields against wrinkles & dark spots
  • Leaves a silky matte finish

I like the barely-there finish. It’s more like a tinted moisturizer. I use champagne beige.

So that’s my commercial for Paula’s Choice. Paula says it’s a myth that your skin eventually gets used to products, and they stop working. She says it’s like eating a good diet. At first, you’ll lose weight, so the effects may seem more dramatic. But you have to keep at it to maintain good health. Here’s hoping I continue to have good luck with my new bathroom-counter favorites.