7 things I learned in February.

7 things I learned in February.

Joining in with Emily Freeman to share what I’ve learned this month, from the significant to the shallow.

In no particular order:

1. It’s not you, it’s your makeup.

Years ago, I learned that if your hair isn’t working for you, the problem might be your stylist, not your hair. I made a similar discovery this month when I reordered a favorite product from Sephora (Makeup Forever lipliner in 14C, Rosewood—I wear it practically every day) and could not get it to work.

The product went on roughly, looked a little weird, and kept breaking when I tried to sharpen it. This was my third or fourth of this exact product, and I couldn’t figure out what I could be doing wrong. I ordered a new sharpener. I googled a bunch of tricks about how to get a good point on it (put it in the freezer! the microwave! use a kitchen knife!)

I finally gave up and went to Sephora, where they took one look at my lipliner and said Sounds like you got a bad batch. So sorry! and sent me on my way with a new one.

The problem wasn’t me, it was my makeup. (And the new liner has been working like a charm.)

2. I’m not the only one whose bones are getting old and creaky. 

I went to the doctor earlier this month, and we talked—as we usually do—about strategies for me to spend a lot of time at the computer without suffering the effects of too-much-typing syndrome.

It’s bad enough for you and me, she said. But don’t get me started on my kids! My doctor is about my age; her kids are my kids’ ages. So of course I wanted to know what she was talking about.

She told me she had just returned from a seminar on kids and media: not what they’re consuming on mobile devices, but how they’re consuming it—and specifically, their posture during usage times. When you spend much time hunched over a screen, it does bad things to your body, whether you’re seven or seventy. (Seems obvious, but I hadn’t thought about it much, even though I’m acutely conscious about my own texting posture.)

My doctor is extremely strict with her kids. They are supposed to prop their iPad at eye level using pillows or other furniture before they use it. The first time she catches them hunched over their screen they get a reminder, the second time they lose their device for a week.

brussels sprouts

3. The autoimmune protocol is rough. 

At this same appointment, my doctor recommended I give the autoimmune protocol a try to see if it could help with some mild but not fun symptoms I’ve been having. Think strict paleo, minus several more categories of foods: no nightshades, no nuts and seeds, no eggs.

I was strict gluten-free for years. We had several years after that when my daughter couldn’t eat anything (or so it seemed). I didn’t think this would be hard. But y’all: it is hard. And the nightshade family is bigger than I realized.

4. I’ve been doing my taxes the hard way.

Okay, maybe not my taxes, exactly. But the record-keeping for taxes? Definitely. When Will and I were at the accountant’s on February 2 (the earliest ever for us), I made some comment to him about the horribleness of tracking receipts. He said: aren’t you just using the app?

We’ve been using Quickbooks ever since we started using this accountant. It has its challenges, but I love it because all I have to do it hit one button and my accountant has complete access to everything, which is amazing. I had no idea there was an app, and now I’m using it regularly to photograph my receipts before I throw them away.

bullet journal with coffee and pens horizontal

5. I might be in love with the bullet journal (finally). 

I’ve been reading blog posts about the bullet journal system for over a year and in February I finally tried it … and I kinda love it. It’s way too early to see if it will stick long-term but so far, so good.

6. There are decent clicky pens in the world.

I believe the technical term for this is “retractable” but I call them clicky pens. My bullet journaling adventures led me to all kinds of pen recommendations, which this pen geek loves. I’m not a huge fan of clicky pens (even though my house is well-stocked with G2s) but I was so intrigued by the reviews on the Pilot V5 that I ordered a handful and they are terrific.

I still love my fineliners, forever and ever, but sometimes you’re just in the mood to branch out a little. Pen geeks, you understand.

off camera connie britton

7. Connie Britton came this close to being Tom Cruise’s love interest in Jerry Maguire.

One of my favorite recent podcast discoveries is Off Camera with Sam Jones. I especially loved this episode with Connie Britton (which was well-timed, because Will and I were just finishing our second viewing of Friday Night Lights when I heard it). She hadn’t been on my radar before FNL, and it was fascinating to hear about her acting career pre-Tami Taylor.

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  1. Christine says:

    Okay, so I keep hearing that if I loved Parenthood (which I did, so very much), I will also love FNL. But I can’t get past the fact that it’s about football. Ugh. I did try the first episode but only got halfway through (too late at night to start something new). Should I give it another try? It is about more than football, right?

    • Polly says:

      I’m right there with you. Loved Parenthood so much, I still think about the characters all the time. Just can’t bring myself to watch a show about high school football- bleh.

    • Liz Calmes says:

      Give it another try!!! I wouldn’t say it is like Parenthood so that’s an interesting comparison. I cannot stand football but I LOVED this show– I’ve watched it twice, as well.

    • Anne says:

      I’m not a huge football fan and I loved it. The show happens AROUND football but it’s ABOUT much more than football. Although I might appreciate football a little bit more after watching the full series twice. 🙂

  2. Kate says:

    Is that particular AIP book the one your doctor recommended? There are quite a few choices out there. I have been gluten-free for a few years but have some persistent health issues that I suspect require following an AIP – gah! If you have any tips or thoughts on how to make it work, I’d love to hear them…what is your family eating? Here’s to wellness!

  3. Marie says:

    Yep, like your doctor I hassle my kids when they’re on their devices. I too prop them up on pillows and I threaten to take away. Smart doctor! I bought the Pilot pens too and am learning to love BuJos.

  4. Eeks! I will add device posture to my list of worries now (in addition to amount of device time, brain rot due to device use, etc.) That’s very helpful information for people of all ages. I am going to try to find out more.

    My hubby and I are down to one television show that we watch together (Modern Family). We have been talking about trying Friday Night Lights for years. We need to start it!!

  5. Chelsea Morning says:

    I must be doing our finances the really hard way b/c we don’t even use quick books or an accountant! What receipt app do you use? I looked and there are thousands. ?

  6. Your blog is such a pleasure to read. My blog is about my recovery from anorexia, so it is entirely different, and you are the only blog I follow that differs form purely focused on health, but I have to say, you’re one of my favorites. I love the simplistic and beautiful tone of your work. It’s always a joy to wake up and see a post from you. Just wanted to let you know! <3

  7. Angela Hosek says:

    Ann and Friends, thanks for posting the autoimmune protocol. I have mild psoriasis and it’s been flaring up more frequently this month so trying to figure out what to eat/not to eat to see if that works but sometimes I feel like I’m flying blind admits all the Pinterest boards. This seems helpful! Going to start the posture rules too.

  8. Nancy B. says:

    I’m sorry to hear you have a need for the autoimmune protocol. I’ve been on it for several years now. It has helped me hugely with my autoimmune issues. It specifically has lowered my overall inflammation for joints and all. I’m at the point now where I’m trying to reintroduce some new foods. I’m still better on the full protocol, but bits of other foods are okay once in awhile now. There are lots of blogs and cookbooks for it. When I get lazy, it’s ground meat and sauteed greens for breakfast and a stirfry or a roast with root veggies (leftovers for a few days) for our main meal. Slow cookers and pressure cookers are a lifesavers. It doesn’t help everyone, but for those it does, it’s a way to be able to control how you’re feeling. It can be empowering in that way, if you choose to look at it positively. good luck to you.

  9. Casey says:

    Oh, G2s are horrible! So loose and rattly. I prefer the Uniball Signo 207 pens. They make a “micro” point that is a pleasure to write with!

    Good luck with AIP. I’ve done a strict Whole 30 and that was hard enough!

  10. Erin in CA says:

    I am interested to hear how the AIP diet does for you. I was diagnosed Celiac almost four years ago, and in spite of following a strict GF diet, I’m still not quite as healthy as I’d like. But at the same time, I look at that AIP list and think, “what the heck do you actually EAT??” But it may be in my future…

    • Christa says:

      Erin – I’ve also got celiac, and after a year of strict gluten-free, dairy-free I still wasn’t feeling great. I’ve now been doing AIP for 14 months and it’s definitely made an improvement in my symptoms. Yes it can be challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, and once you feel better, it’s not that bad. And as far as what I eat, it’s pretty simple: meat and vegetables minus nightshades. 🙂 And bacon, that’s practically it’s own food group!! Good luck!

  11. Anna says:

    I love various pens, too. I have my favorites, but I’m always trying something else. Recently, I had several run out of ink. When replacing, I couldn’t decide on form (cuteness) over function, so I bought both. 🙂

  12. Renee says:

    We just became a 1 to 1 iPad school this year and have had lots of discussions about posture, eye breaks etc. It adds a whole other level to thinking about using technology in the classroom!
    Have you ever checked out the Pen Addict blog or podcast? He has tons of pen recommendations of all types. It’s so much fun if you like that sort of thing 🙂 I love the Stadeler fine liners too!
    I’ve been toying with the idea of doing the Whole 30, my migraines are kind of out of control this year, but I’m so nervous about it! I guess if you can make it through the autoimmune protocol, I could make it through that, right?

  13. Angela Mills says:

    I just went pen shopping with my daughter and she said, “It didn’t take me this long to pick out my wedding dress.” I told her you only wear your wedding dress once, whereas I would be using these pens for months 🙂 Yay for pen geeks!

  14. Hope the autoimmune protocol goes well!
    My husband and three boys have been on it for the past year & a half. Best thing is having someone who can support you through it. My husband’s two sisters, who are also on AIP, are our constant source of ideas, recipes, and encouragement, when it feels like we’re never going to get all their health problems sorted out!

  15. Jill says:

    Anne, asquirrelinthekitchen.com is a great AIP resource. My pens and journal arrived today! My teal Leuchtturm journal is so beautiful – almost scared to use it!

  16. Lindsay Lea says:

    AIP is hard at first but gets much easier! I would say it took me about a month before I felt comfortable and had a handful of go-to meals (but if you stick to meat+veg+good fat+herbs you can’t really go wrong!). I would definitely recommend Phoenix Helix- she does an AIP recipe round up on her blog and has the most amazing podcast. Also I was able to get a ton of AIP cookbooks from our library that gave me lots of good ideas (The Paleo Approach Cookbook, The AutoImmune Protocol Cookbook, He Won’t Know It’s Paleo). Good luck! I hope it helps you to feel better!

  17. Torrie says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your autoimmune disease flareup–I was diagnosed with a relatively rare AI disease last year, and after being on Prednisone and methotrexate for months and months (and hating it), I decided to try an elimination diet (no corn, soy, gluten, or dairy). It was SOOO hard, and in about to recommend to you my lifesaving recipes, I just realized that most of them have eggs and/or nightshade vegetables. Best of luck to you! If you end up coming across any great resources while you’re on this strict diet, I would love it if you shared. I followed The Autoimmune System Recovery Plan book, but it didn’t have many recipes, and I couldn’t find a site where the food seemed palatable AND simple, so any resources you have would be great! Best of luck to you.

  18. Gretchen says:

    Anne, I have just recently discovered your blog and podcast. I appreciate them both so much! I just wanted you to know that I have swan dived right down the bullet journal (and all associated blogs, instagram feeds, supplies etc… hello Boho Berry and Goulet Pens) since first reading about it on your blog. Oh Dear. Please do keep us updated on your journal adventure. Good luck with your AI Protocol. Giving up nightshades is a tough one.

  19. Stephanie says:

    I just felt I had to throw my favorite pen into the ring . . . I am a devotee of the Zebra F-402 pen. They’re stainless steel, so they have this beautiful weight to them, and they write wonderfully. They make me happy when I use them.

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