Today’s Friday Thoughts post is super speedy! But kind of fun. And a little random. 🙂

I literally always have a thousand things I want to tell you guys about (disclaimer: most of these things fall into the category of “very little substance”). Today I picked *just* ten of them to share.

For the recommendations, none of these are sponsored. Just little things I’ve bought and loved and feel like the world needs to know about. Some of the links below are affiliate links for products I’ve bought myself on Amazon, but as always, feel free to shop around for the best deal.

1. Best Lip Stuff Ever.

My friend, Nicole, gave me this amazing lip stuff {aff. link} (chapstick? balm? notreallysure) a while ago, and I have used it daily since. I’m super particular about moisturizing chapstick-type lip products because most of them actually dry out my lips. This Lypsyl magic wonderness is a miracle product. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

2. Best Instagram Account to Follow.

I’m trying to seriously limit my time on social media, and I have been tempted over the years to give it up entirely, but there are a few accounts that keep me motivated to stay, and @sharonsaysso is at the tippity top of the list. She calls herself America’s Government Teacher, which might be a turn off if you’re thinking that leads to a dry and boring social media experience, but her account is extremely scintillating, fun, unbiased, a little random, and incredibly helpful (especially right now wading through

I love her. She has no idea who I am, but I’d probably fall over in utter starstruck wonder if I ever met her in real life. I am really proud to call myself a #governerd. Any other governerds out there?

3. I Got Myself a New Kitchen Table.

And I love it so much that I’m beginning to enter the phase of life called: Crazy Kitchen Table Lady. I had nothing against my sturdy, resilient, garage sale find table that graced our kitchen for the last 10+ years, but on the side, I was always casually searching for an eventual replacement.

Our neighbors hosted an HOA meeting a few months ago and while everyone else was talking about fixing potholes on our road and nominating absent members for board spots and detailing how many miniature donkeys should be allowed per home lot, I was gazing longingly at the hosts’ kitchen table.

It was eventually hard to ignore my social awkwardness, so they kindly gave me the info for a local store (Impact Imports) that makes custom kitchen tables from huge slabs of wood (our table is made from monkey pod/parota).

Long story short, I went to Impact Imports rustic showroom, fell in love, convinced Brian it was the right thing to do (or rather, told him he didn’t really get a vote), and six weeks later, our new baby, er, I mean, kitchen table was delivered. They were able to use the top part of the slab to make two benches for one side of the table, and I grabbed the other chairs off Amazon (not the highest quality chairs, but totally functional right now).

4. Plant-Based Mosquito Repellent

You guys, the mosquitos are HORRENDOUS on our property this year. Like, full on swarming horrendous. I’m not above using the strong stuff when it’s needed, but being out with our animals several times a day means I like having a more natural alternative (if I’m being honest, it’s largely because I don’t want to smell like deet-infested mosquito repellent all day – even some natural sprays have the worst smell).

I have tried many, many plant-based or natural mosquito repellent sprays, and this one wins hands down {aff. link}. It works well for shorter periods of time (probably wouldn’t be the best for deep country hiking, but for 20-30 minute stints out in the pasture or going on walks, it’s great) and I can’t understate how awesome it is that the smell is hardly there.

On a sidenote, when we want more powerful coverage for hiking or camping or prolonged time outside, we use these mosquito wipes {aff. link}.

Also, last thing because I can’t believe mosquitos are getting this much attention in one of my blog posts, but we also keep this bug bite balm {aff. link} on hand and it relieves the itch from mosquito bites amazingly well (and keeps the younger kids, and ok me too, from kind of melting down about the itchy scratchy issues).

5. Sweet and Sour Candy for Life.

I cannot resist sweet and sour candy. Sour patch kids. Sweet and sour hi-chews. Give it all to me. The tangy and sweet combo is my undoing.

I also happen to really love Australian-style licorice (Wiley Wallaby is one of my favorite brands). When I spied this sweet and sour licorice {aff. link} in a tiny gas station in the wilds of Idaho on a road trip, I was intrigued.

And then I became absolutely obsessed. These little sweet and sour licorice drops are probably my favorite iteration of the sweet and sour candy trend ever. Be forewarned: they are completely irresistible. As in, I have ordered them in bulk and I still have no idea how they disappear so quickly.

6. Speaking of Snacks.

I would be a terrible friend if I didn’t also tell you about my other two favorite snacks. Dill pickle pretzels {aff. link}. And dark chocolate drizzled boomchickapop {aff. link}. Both of these are very worthy distractions in my life right now. And speaking of dill pickle flavors, these spicy dill pickle almonds {aff. link} are also fantastic.

6. Planners: A Very Serious Question.

I may have asked this before and can’t remember (also: too lazy to dig through old posts), BUT, what kind of planning system do you use? I am a hard core paper planner. And I get teased about it mercilessly from family and friends. I cannot convert to the inconvenience of electronic planning.

Now is probably the time to confess I also have a mini obsession with post-it notes and use them endlessly. I enjoy writing in my spiral bound paper planner, and I’m not sure I can give it up, but it has it’s downfalls, of course (doesn’t sync with my family’s calendars, not always convenient to schlep around with me wherever I go).

I’ve used many paper planners over the years. Erin Condren. Personal Planner. Made my own from a template my talented SIL shared with me on InDesign. And currently have Agendio. I’m picky about my paper planners – size, weekly layout, etc. Sigh. It’s a complicated life to be so tied to a paper planner, but I just can’t envision a world without my trusty sidekick planner.

I’m curious: How do you plan your life? Paper? Electronic? Fly by the seat of your pants?

7. PSA: Comfiest Dress in the World.

I can’t adequately describe how loungey and comfy and cute this dress is {aff. link}. Comes in a zillion color/pattern options. I have dark gray. Don’t overthink it. Sizing is generous. Also: IT HAS POCKETS. Need I say more?

8. Have You Seen?

I have heard so much about the K-drama Crash Landing On You. Have you watched it? I would like your opinions on whether it’s worth watching. Based on the subtitles, I wouldn’t be able to multi-task while watching, and that’s a serious concern. And by multi-task, I’m not talking about doing anything super ambitious – more like painting my toenails or filling out my paper planner. #nerdalert (If you have any other must-watch Netflix or Amazon Prime shows, comment below!)

9. Hatch.

Many moons ago I told you that I had been gifted a Hatch Restore alarm system for my birthday from Brian and the kids. Here’s the report several months later. I LOVE IT. My favorite setting is the gradual sunrise wake up as the light brightens on the clock so that I’m not jarred out of sleep by the harsh beeping I’ve experienced the last 40+ years of my life.

I’ve also dabbled in some of the meditations included in the app as I actually try to establish a reasonable bedtime routine, as opposed to attempting to get in bed as freakishly fast as possible when I realize I’ve stayed up way too late again. Anyway, I highly recommend it! It’s operable from an app on my phone, and I’m just warning you that it’s impossible to avoid going down the rabbit hole of wake up sound options. Like, there’s a gazillion variations of wind chimes, and that’s just the beginning.

I’m not affiliated with the company at all, but I really love the clock/alarm. My only complaint is that even on the lowest brightness setting, I feel like the numbers on the clock are a bit too bright in the dark of nighttime, but that doesn’t outweigh my love for everything else about it.

10. School Starts Next Week.

And I am in disbelief that I’ll have three high schoolers, one middle schooler, and one lingering elementary student. Who am I and how did I get here? Also, I feel old. Also, maybe I’ll start exercising again. Also, maybe not. Also, I’m making everyone pack their own lunches this year. Also, I did that last year, so no big change from this lazy mom.

Also, good luck to all you moms and dads and other support personnel for kids everywhere attacking a new school year, whether that be public, private, homeschool, virtual, or whatever. May the force be with us all.

Love your guts! Thanks for being here. I say it all the time, but I mean it: you have no idea how grateful I am for this little corner of the internet where we can hang out together.