What's Saving Me Now

My friends Beth and Megan started an Instagram account a while back called @savingmenow, where they post about all the little blessings in their lives that are giving them joy. Also, Tsh Oxenreider often has episodes of her podcast The Art of Simple all about “what’s saving my life”, with the very same idea in mind - talking about all the little things in her life that are currently making her happy. I think it is such a good idea to take a few minutes and look at all the good things in your life every once in a while. Just a pause to say “thank you” for all the little joys.

So with this idea in mind, here are a few things that have been “saving me” lately.


I was always a voracious reader growing up, and even into adulthood. For whatever reason, whether it be kids, losing my subway commuting time, or the influx of social media, I somehow fell out of reading books. For some reason, this year something clicked, and I was able to fit my reading practice back into my life. I’ve read twenty books so far this year, which is a lot compared to what I’ve read the past few years!

A recent favorite read: Martha’s Vineyard: Isle of Dreams by Susan Branch
I just adored this handwritten book about a woman reclaiming her life after divorce, beginning again in the woods of Martha’s Vineyard. It is the perfect fall/winter cozy read. The watercolor illustrations throughout are just adorable.

Also, I am currently a little obsessed with children’s illustrator and writer, Tasha Tudor. I recently bought her books, A Time To Keep and Around the Year, and both books focus on the lovely aspects of every month of the year. So important to remember as we move into these dark winter months - there is something special about each phase of the year, that cannot be found at any other time - and its those special qualities that I am aiming to focus on and be thankful for this winter.


I was tipped off by some friends to this art journaling class by Brene Brown, on the OWN network, based on her book “The Gifts of Imperfection.” After a few weeks of creating in my art journal, Logan decided he wanted to join in. We have been spending lots of mornings painting, making collages, writing gratitude lists and drawing in our journals. It’s been such a fun activity to do together, and so relaxing! Lila joined us the other night as we made our own mandalas. Check out my Instagram stories highlights to see what we’ve been up to!

I’ve been inspired by a lot of art journalling accounts on Instagram and also the following books:
- Journal Sparks by Emily Neuberger
- The Joy of Watercolor by Emily Block
- Draw Your Day: An Inspiring Guide to Keeping a Sketch Journal by Samantha Dion Baker


I have been completely devouring podcasts on my morning and evening walks with Tank. Some of my favorites:
- Up First by NPR - my daily news brief
- Armchair Expert - Dax brings so much joy to my life, for real.
- What Should I Read Next - giving me lots of titles to add to my reading list!
- A Small Voice - interviews with some amazing photographers (I just listened to Martin Parr!)

Any podcasts I should add to my list??


Other little things that are saving me now?
- Raking the leaves outside!
- Its not here yet, but I just ordered a fire pit for our porch, and I have a feeling it is going to be so lovely this fall and winter!
- These flameless LED candles (beautiful and safe around little kids and puppies!)

* * *

The other day Logan and I listed all of our favorite things about November in our journals. My list included: colorful leaves, “spooky” walks (walks around the neighborhood with flashlights after dark), scarves, slow cooker dinners, Lila’s birthday, crisp cool mornings, Thanksgiving, baking, the smell of fireplaces, candlelight, bright fall sunshine, knitting, the whistling of the wind, puzzles and board games.

What are some of your favorite things about November?

What is saving you right now? Let me know in the comments!

Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. If you'd like to see more of her recent documentary family photography, head over to her Facebook page or follow her everyday adventures on Instagram. If you are looking for a family photographer or lifestyle videographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family, small business or event, please contact her for more information.