It’s my first day back to reality after our awesome beach vacation and the struggle is real. I actually felt incredibly well rested and happy to get back into the swing of things when we arrived home over the weekend, but Monday has rolled in and my momentum hasn’t exactly picked back up yet. Unpacking beach bags, folding laundry and digging out of that post-vacation inbox are all on my to-do-list today. So naturally I’m avoiding those fun tasks at all costs and thought I’d share a few recipes, links, and finds that have caught my eye in the last week!

Recipe Tests. I decided to take a real vacation and not do much photographing of food and recipes while we were away. It was actually a really nice relief to step back and test some recipes just for fun – things that other people have taken the time to write! Before we left I made a delicious French potato salad from Martha Stewart Living that is going in my entertaining rotation – I love this as an alternative to the mayonnaise-version we usually serve at BBQs. While we were away I had a craving for homemade corn chowder, inspired by all of the amazing seasonal corn we saw at the market. I used Ina Garten’s recipe, with crispy bacon and sharp cheddar cheese mixed in for tons of flavor. I also tore out a delicious recipe from Food Network Magazine for a white bean salad with prosciutto, radicchio and shallots in it – yum! I’ve been having the leftovers for lunch and it gets better each day.

Reading List. I made some good progress on my reading goal while we were away (19 out of 24 books!), thanks to some long toddler naps after the beach. Right before we left I finished a parenting book called The Montessori Toddler. It caught my eye because it was beautifully designed, and was full of really helpful ideas for how to organize your home and craft experiences for toddlers that help them with creativity and problem solving. I’m using lots of the tips as I organize our playroom! I breezed through Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – it was recommended to me by a few people and it lived up to the hype. The main character is simultaneously absolutely kooky, hilarious, and sad – the unfolding of her story kept me on my toes until the very end of the book. I’m a big fan of short stories for beach reads, so you can finish one in between dips in the ocean, and Curtis Sittenfeld’s You Think It, I’ll Say It, was the perfect choice for this summer’s vacation. Before we left I started on How To Find Love In a Bookshop which so far is very light and enjoyable. I’m trying to zoom through it so I can start Educated next, which my sister raved about!

On My Radar. I’m the last person to be giving you advice about beauty products, but I have tried two new-to-me products lately that I feel are worth sharing! I got a free sample of Clinque’s mineral sunscreen and we used it everyday of vacation – it was probably the first time I have used sunscreen where I haven’t broken out so I’m a big fan! I also decided to hop on the natural deodorant train – after trying a few that didn’t really do it for me – I just started using Native Deodorant this week and I’m already a convert. After a few days of using it I can already tell it works very well and I love the subtle, fresh scents.

On an unrelated note, I’ve decided it’s time to upgrade my pajamas from scrubby college t-shirts to something a bit more refined. I found the coziest pair of PJs from Target that I have been wearing on repeat, and am eyeing another set in the most darling striped print from J.Crew!