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I don’t know about everyone else, but each week I feel heavier – not just physically from the amount of Oreos I’ve been eating while home, but also an emotional, mental heaviness. It’s like I’m exhausted, bored and overwhelmed all at the same time.

Fact: I wrote the above passage when we were on week 10 of quarantine. We are now in week 78, or at least that’s what it feels like.

The heaviness – both emotional and cookie-related – is still here. Summer plans have been postponed until next year at the earliest. (See you then, Backstreet Boys concert and Schitt’s Creek live tour.) Like so many other parents out there, I’m currently not only a mom and freelance writer, but also a teacher, nurse and five different therapists for JB’s summer school-at-home.    And now it looks like social distancing and at-home school will be continuing throughout the fall at least.

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever scowled as much as I have in 2020. So I’m attempting to find a smile or two wherever I can.

Here are some of the things that have helped lift this heaviness throughout the past few months, bringing me a much-needed dose of humor, heart, and/or fun.

Alexa & Katie on Netflix: I happened upon this adorable Disney Channel-esque program thanks to a particularly obscure journey down an IMDB rabbit hole. Alexa & Katie is a multi-camera sitcom following the titular teenage BFFs as they navigate high school. Oh, and Alexa is in remission from leukemia. I cannot say enough good things about this sweet, sappy show. A show about a teen with cancer could have taken an awful 7th Heaven turn, but it somehow stays light and upbeat. It was exactly what I needed during this crazy time in our world. I was especially impressed by how the program handled mental health issues like anxiety, panic attacks, and medical-related PTSD. It also had some truly poignant moments about parenting a child with complex medical needs. Bonus: Alexa’s mom is played by Tiffani Theissen, aka Kelly Kapowski, hero to brunette Polish-last-named girls everywhere in the early 90s!

Cucumber and watermelon beauty products: While we are on the topic of growing up in the 1990s, let’s discuss Bath & Body Works. If you are anything like me, just hearing that store name makes you think of glittery lotions and body sprays with overpowering scents like Pearberry, Sweet Pea, and, of course, Cucumber Melon. This summer, I am all about skincare products with cucumber or watermelon. They are perfect for an affordable little pick-me-up, and they are pretty darn effective, too. Here are a few of my favorites:

Our living room mantle: We are so fortunate to have a safe, beautiful home to spend these past few months. At the same time, we could use a change of scenery every so often, and a way to mark the changing seasons in what seems like a never-ending timeless void. So for the summer, I redecorated our mantle (as shown in the photo above). The bright colors and playful patterns lift my spirits just enough when things are feeling especially tough.

What little bright spots are you finding in your life this summer? I’d love to hear from you!

(Please note: There are Amazon affiliate links in the above post. If you purchase from an affiliate link, I may be compensated.)

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