life Travel

5 on a Friday: Amelia Island Edition

December 29, 2023

1- I am intrigued by this book! I’m only half through, but I am already ready to level up my Apple Notes organization. (It’s not bad, but now I see that it could be better — and I could probably put more in there).

2- I loved this episode of 10% Happier – it’s a re-air, but I didn’t hear it the first time and I listened to it on the plane.

I have become very interested in attention lately (and relatedly, the types of inputs we are faced with that may impact, deflect, or absorb our attention).

3- Suzanne wrote about her total cost outlay on beauty products. Let me just say that if you read this and shrank back in horror because your haircare budget alone eclipses her yearly total . . . well, you are not alone.

I am not going to calculate mine. Truthfully, I don’t spend a ton on cosmetics and skincare but my Japanese straightening is expensive (though for me having hair that takes 0 minutes to style is worth it). My dermatologist gets a chunk of the pie, too. Side note, I generally do not take beauty-related spending out of my allowance. The societal expectations and pressures are so different between genders that I have decided that this is fair and haven’t gotten pushback 🙂 .

Shout-out to the Allure Beauty Box (this; I have no affiliation with them!) which I now share with A — for $27/month you get an array of skincare and makeup products and I almost always have some nice high-end creams that I’m working through. It means switching frequently (because many of them are sample-sized) and I don’t love everything sent, but the value is definitely there and it’s even better now that she is interested in sharing.

I also don’t consider running-related spending to be in the beauty category (Suzanne included fitness). To me, exercise and running is part hobby, part health. (But unlike my hair straightening, my running expenses DO come out of my allowance.)

It was a fascinating post!

4- Q1 Reading: I’ve decided to create a Q1 TBR list based on ‘best of 2023’ lists! If you’ve posted one, it would be amazing if you share the link in the comments. Obviously this list will not contain every recommendation but I’m thinking ~6-7 fiction picks and 6-7 non-fiction picks. I already know I am including The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese and The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride (which I already started but won’t finish before 1/1!).

(I think a loose theme for each quintile this year might be fun – thinking Spring = backlist titles; Summer = summer reading picks probably mostly from Modern Mrs. Darcy; Fall = genres I don’t usually gravitate towards; Reflection Season = wintry picks + reflective/personal development books.)

I’m not aiming to read any specific # of books and I suspect I will probably end up around 50 – this seems to be my magic number (2020, 2021, 2022, 2023)!

5- Vacation Report: Fairly good so far! OF COURSE travel with kids is never 100% relaxation, but there have been some nice moments. Yesterday we went to the beach and they ran around and got wet/sandy for an hour (wearing sweatpants; it wasn’t that warm!). We had lunch at Timoti’s (tried and true fave, it did not disappoint!) and then toured Fort Clinch for the first time.

Then groceries and some chill time. I started my official 2024 Planner move-in!! Then I made baked ziti, we had ice cream and we all watched Leo. I fell asleep at 9:45 and Josh put the kids to bed so I have no idea how late they were up.

Today’s plan: run (soon), the girls and I want to get our nails done, mini golf or skateboard park, and possibly Wonka at the theater nearby. Probably Wicked Bao for dinner!

Happy last Friday of 2023!


  • Reply Lisa’s Yarns December 29, 2023 at 8:09 am

    I will post my best of 2023 list next week! I wanted to make sure I didn’t read something amazing in the final weeks of the year!

    I thought of you when I listened to this podcast episode of People I Mostly Admire (host is Steve Levitt): I did not realize that Verghese took a break from medicine to go to the Iowa for an MFA! It was a fascinating episode and you will probably especially enjoy it since you are a physician. I plan to read Convenant, too, but I need to be in the mood for a long book!

    Your trip sounds perfect! It makes me look forward to a time when our kids are a bit older. We are resuming our family beach trips in April. We took the last 2 years off but now that our youngest is 3 and seems able to handle a flight we decided to get back to beach trips. We are going to Destin in April with my parents.

  • Reply Laura V December 29, 2023 at 10:42 am

    My best books of 2023:
    The Postcard by Anne Berest
    All That is Mine I Carry with Me by William Landay
    Kids Run the Show by Delphine De Vigan
    The Whispers by Ashley Audrain

  • Reply Alyce December 29, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    I laughed at that beauty expenditure list. As someone who literally does not buy anything from the drugstore, my main takeaway was that, even if I don’t think I am, I am in fact very high maintenance. Lol.

    • Reply Alyce December 29, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      Also, to be clear, I wasn’t laughing at the blogger. I was laughing at me and my ridiculousness. I seriously believe I’m low maintenance but was reminded that I’m nowhere close to the truth.

  • Reply jennystancampiano December 29, 2023 at 7:44 pm

    Ooh, Amelia Island! I’ve never been there. I’m sure it’s cold up there, because it’s actually “chilly” down here! Sounds like a really nice vacation.

  • Reply Christina December 29, 2023 at 7:48 pm

    Most of these weren’t published this year but here are my notable reads of 2023!

  • Reply Caroline December 30, 2023 at 10:05 am

    Please let us know, what specific Japanese straightening treatment do you get? If it’s ok with an endocrinologist, it will be ok with me. I have done these treatments a few times in the past and they are so amazing, but then I get all tied up trying to figure out how toxic they are and feel health guilt about getting them.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 30, 2023 at 12:04 pm

      I do traditional Japanese which uses ammonium thioglycolate, the typical “perm” chemical. I don’t do Brazilian or keratin where formaldehyde forms. It is permanent but I have to do the roots as they grow in. I’m sure it’s not risk free as nothing is but I am comfortable with it!

  • Reply Caroline January 2, 2024 at 5:38 am

    Thanks for this info!

  • Reply Amanda P. January 3, 2024 at 3:05 pm

    Hi Sarah, Here are mine:

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 3, 2024 at 3:30 pm

      It says I have to be invited to read!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.