life Reading Travel Weekend

5 on a Friday: Spring Edition

March 24, 2023

1- Loved the interesting takes yesterday! I actually titled the post on a whim after writing it but it was fascinating to hear the responses.

2- T-1 week until spring break!!! I’m ready. DC itinerary color coded and almost all of our reservations and tickets procured. SOOO many fun cuisines – we are planning on Ethiopian, Spanish, Turkish/Mediterranean, and more. Even if the cherry blossoms have already come and gone we will have awesome food.


I told the big kids it was a learning trip and they actually thought that was cool, so hopefully the enthusiasm will continue (we’ll try to break up museums/historical sites with outdoor time + souvenir shopping + ice cream).

ALSO, I have been living vicariously through Kae‘s Costa Rica posts. I’m pretty sold on going there and doing a similar trip with the one concern that the roads/driving sounds really really dicey. On the plus side, I think we could fly direct from MIA airport!

3- I just committed to braces for A (phase 2) and C (phase 1) simultaneously the next ~6-12 months. On the plus side – simultaneous appointments = efficient! They are both getting expanders + braces — for A, the second round of both! But then she will be DONE. She has no baby teeth so this is the final frontier. On the negative side – that’s just a lot of tooth care and angst and management of stuff. I need to get them Water Piks.

4- Another great productivity sis podcast episode: Guidelines for Productivity at Work from The Productive Woman. This was really nicely done I thought!

5- I am doing an ep of BLP on screen time coming up. I would love stories from those who have changed their screen consumption habits — or the corollary, too — if you spend a decent chunk of time on screens but don’t mind it! I don’t think reducing screen time is a moral imperative. I DO personally dramatically prefer my life with less of it (and specifically without social media).

Weekend plans:

Saturday early long run (4 tempo miles in there so that’s kind of fun + exciting)

Kids gymnastics + library routine

TJs probably with all 3 kids

Friend dinner @ our house — I am going to do a combo of easy stuff + takeout I think

Mary Poppins with kids at Broward Ctr (have to admit I’m kind of psyched for this?)

Hopefully reading more of How to Do Nothing with a side of S3 Ted Lasso.


  • Reply sbc March 24, 2023 at 1:37 pm

    If you don’t want to drive in Costa Rica, it is very easy to pick excursions that include transportation (if you have kids who use car seats that is more complex of course) and I had no trouble finding a hotel in Manuel Antonio that arranged transportation from and back to San Jose. Were there times that the driver passed a little aggressively by going into the lane with approaching oncoming traffic, yep! Was it honestly worse than some of the driving I have seen in the DC area, nope!

  • Reply Erin March 24, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    I’m also loving Kae’s Costa Rica posts and am diving more into the world of travel points/miles so trying to figure out if we could swing it with the points we have…. but not drive lol.

    My 13 year old just got an expander and the first few days SUCKED but she’s already adjusted (she got it one week ago yesterday) and is back to eating regular school lunch. She had to modify a lot of her favorites (she loves bagels and popcorn and those are out for a few years) but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be!! I had one as a kid that had to be manually turned, and hers automatically expands so thank god for that innovation.

  • Reply Jessica March 24, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Hmmm, I have various thoughts on screen time.
    -Some forms of screen time are fine with me. I read almost exclusively on Libby, which is much more convenient than going to the library, since it doesn’t bother me that it’s not a physical book. I also have close friends and family that live far away, so obviously video calls are an important form of screen time.
    -Somewhat ironically, my partner and I also do many of our hobbies together on the computer even if they could be physical hobbies. We play chess on together because we like that we can review the game analysis after, where it recommends what our best moves should have been. We do crosswords online together as well as in crossword books. We do virtual escape room games together on our computers. And of course we watch videos together on occasion. I love all of these shared activities, and it doesn’t bother me at all that it’s on screens.
    -I do find it relaxing to have analog activities that I do as well. But even then I am often listening to music simultaneously while crafting, cooking, etc.
    -I try to limit mindless scrolling, since I don’t enjoy it. This is of course the most difficult part of managing screen time. It helps when I have easy books to read on Libby, and I also enjoy blogs for this reason (once I’ve read all the new posts, I can’t keep scrolling!). Things that are low energy but not mindless scrolling.
    -It’s much easier for me to stay off of new social media than to quit ones I’m already on, so I have been careful not to join anything new for a long time – the last new platform I joined was LinkedIn.
    -I think that for me, it’s more important to understand what will actually make me feel satisfied, than to limit screen time. Some days, I genuinely will be happy with having spent my time watching a movie. Other days, watching a movie is just a form of procrastination, and I will feel worse afterwards. I try to be aware of which type of day it is, and choose my activities appropriately.

    • Reply Jessica March 24, 2023 at 2:29 pm

      Oh, and related to that last point. It feels almost too obvious, but the most success I have in changing screen time habits is when I really think about and acknowledge that a certain habit is making me unhappy. If a habit is neutral, I’m much less likely to change it, but mindless scrolling for too long really puts me in a bad mood. It’s easy to want to avoid that mood, so that tends to guide me towards more enjoyable forms of screen time at least (if not something analog).

      I think that this is because I am a Questioner. I imagine that other tendencies will have more success with other strategies.

  • Reply Nina Wegener March 24, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Sarah, pre-Covid I would attend a professional conference every year which was held in the Omni Shoreham hotel in the Woodley area of DC. One of the absolute musts was dinner at the Lebanese Taverna. So I was happy to see that that will be one of your stops. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I wanted to send you a photo I took of their mezza platter but couldn’t figure out how to send an attachment. But you will be there soon enough and will be enjoying the REAL THING! Enjoy!

    • Reply Sara March 24, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      I live in the DC area and Lebanese Taverna is delicious! And it’s great for families since there’s a variety of things people can enjoy. We really enjoy Matchbox as a family, too. They have great brick oven pizza and it’s fun for everyone. I’m sure there are other amazing places to go, but those are the ones we enjoy 😊

      • Reply Maggie March 27, 2023 at 12:33 am

        As a longtime reader and resident of DC for 6+ years, this made me chuckle. Lebanese Taverna is a very corporate chain! There is much, much better Lebanese food to be had in the city.

        @SHU – would be interested to know your itinerary (feel free to email me) to ensure you’re getting the best of the best of our wonderful city 🙂

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 27, 2023 at 5:38 am

          I will send it! I will admit I have greatly enjoyed Lebanese taverna in the past but it actually is not on the itinerary!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns March 24, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    Coming up for air from another day full of meetings to read/comment on your blog! I hope you have a great time in DC! That will be such a fun trip. DC makes learning extra fun with cool monuments, museusm, etc. I’m so behind on blogs so haven’t Kae’s vacation posts but I look forward to catching up and would like to do something like that, maybe in 8-10 years when my kids are older!

    So I don’t pay ANY attention to screen time now that I’m off social media. The screen time data has never accurately reflected my sceen time because it seems to count zoom calls and other stuff. Besides the ridiculous # of client calls I’ve done recently, I”m mostly use my phone to play wordle and Spelling Bee on the NYT, duo lingo, and then keeping in touch with friends over whatsapp/text. I’ve also cut our family a break in terms of our kids screen time recently. We have had a brutal, never ending winter and there is a limited # of activities I can do outside with a 2 and 5yo. So they’ve watched a lot of movies (well, the 2yo hasn’t actually watched much… but it sort of entertains him). I tell myself they will watch less movies/tv when the snow is gone and we can go for walks/scoot/go to the park. But we still have over a foot of snow on the ground so it feels like park visits are far off…

  • Reply Omdg March 24, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    I was in Costa Rica last December and it was incredible and you should not be afraid of the driving. From MIA you should be able to arrive in the morning, and then you will have plenty of daylight left to drive to guanacaste or Arenal or Manuel Antonio. The roads are curvy and slow but it’s ok, just take your time. YOU MUST GO. Everybody in the family will enjoy it. It was amazing. I want to go back to Arenal, guanacaste, and monteverde. I also would love to see the sea turtles on the Caribbean coast. Such a great vacation!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 24, 2023 at 3:12 pm

      Now I’m thinking . . . spring break 2024! Okay awesome to hear another glowing rec!

  • Reply Emily March 24, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    Wow, A has already lost all her baby teeth? My 10-year-old still has 10 baby teeth. Or did they pull some of her baby teeth to get braces? I remember getting braces at A’s age and they pulled my remaining baby teeth first. I am also living vicariously through Kae’s CR posts and am thinking about hoping to pull off a trip there in 2024 or 2025! My kids are currently 10 and 9.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 24, 2023 at 3:31 pm

      She was a very early tooth loser. Nothing pulled. Ortho says C is much more normal!

  • Reply Sarah March 24, 2023 at 10:28 pm

    We LOVED DC for spring break– even with little kids. We the Pizza was a real crowd pleaser.

  • Reply Grateful Kae March 24, 2023 at 11:34 pm

    Your DC trip sounds great!! I’m a little sad in a way that both of my boys are going there on their 8th grade school trips (well, E went this past fall, and A will go this fall in October 2023). It’s awesome, but also means a family trip there doesn’t make that much sense since they will see most major sights already with school.

    And re: driving in Costa Rica, I think it depends how confident of a driver you or Josh are. In most places I think I would have been fine, but San Jose would have made me uncomfortable and there is in general a lot of what I consider “maneuvering” type driving- backing into small parking spots in hotel or restaurant parking lots, tight turn arounds, parallel parking in town, lots of “passing” happening on roads, pedestrians in the street, etc. I am not so good at that kind of stuff. 😬 I drove once home from dinner one night and then my husband *strangely* never asked me to drive again for the duration of trip. 😅😅 🤷‍♀️ I thought I did okay… lol! But my husband is also Mexican and Costa Rica driving is way calmer and organized than Mexico driving, so I think it is all relative. He had no problem at all with the driving in CR. My dad said he was very glad he was not driving in CR, however. Many people do seem to rent cars though, and from the times I have been in Miami/FLL, I thought the traffic there seemed pretty insane- so you guys would probably be totally fine!!! I really, really enjoyed the flexibility we had with the car in CR. Most of the places we were in were not really walkable to any attractions (many things were like 15-20 minutes out of town; etc) so without a car you’d need to use shuttles, taxis, arranged transport with tours, etc to get around. Also a very common and do-able option! People do it both ways for sure there.

  • Reply Stephanie Large March 25, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    One thing that has helped me reduce my time on some apps is set app timers so after I have used the time on the app that day I am done with that app for the day. I can scroll Instagram once or twice a day for less than 10 or 15 minutes total, which I feel like is perfect for keeping up with friends and family who communicate mostly through social media but keeps it from being a mindless time sucker.

  • Reply Alyce March 25, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve been to Costa Rica twice now, once in grad school with friends and earlier this year for a week long yoga retreat. The trips were completely different and both amazing! On the grad school trip, we rented a car and had no problems. It was an utterly unremarkable driving experience, and we went all over the country (spending time down by Manuel Antonio and up in the cloud forests). The one thing about the car rental we were told was to absolutely buy insurance and to get it through the rental company. If you do have damage from the roads, it’s better to have had their insurance than to deal with it remotely. If I recall correctly, we did get a crack in the windshield from a rock hitting the car and we had zero follow up problems when we dropped the car off.

  • Reply Brenda C. March 25, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    Re: CR – getting around vacation locations is a huge source of angst for me. I kind of “expect” hubby to drive but he’s often tentative, and will NOT drive on the left. And some places, parking is awful. It’s one reason we can’t decide on a trip. 🙁
    We went there many years ago and did not rent a car – did some excursions and other private transport.

  • Reply Megan March 26, 2023 at 5:02 am

    I’m a pretty screen-y person and I do quite a lot of social media. Honestly, I prefer Facebook because I feel like you can interact with people more than just viewing their photos. I do make a conscious effort to interact in a positive way- focusing on my friends and strengthening relationships as opposed to arguing with strangers, reading ebooks, texting with friends, etc.

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