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Mother Essentials: J. Elle, Best-Selling Author & Mother Of 3

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

If you’ve got a middle-grade bookworm in your home, chances are you might have a title by today’s mama on your bookshelf. J.Elle is the New York Times bestselling author of the 2021 YA fantasy fiction Wings of Ebony, and today she releases her follow-up title Ashes of Gold, which completes the suspenseful, magic-infused duology. The former educator and first-generation college student credits her nomadic lifestyle as a former military spouse and humble inner-city beginnings as inspiration for her novels. And, of course, her own three children! “Looking back on 2021, I am truly stilled at how incredibly precious time has become. Looking forward to 2022, I long, even more, to tarry in the quiet moments. And on the things that fill my days with laughter and joy,” J.Elle says. As for her Mother Essentials list below, she explains: “As a mother of three, wife, and full-time novelist, life is a never-ending juggling act. Entering the new year, here are a few must-haves that I’m absolutely obsessed with!” Take a look below!

Click-y Keyboard. “Perhaps it’s because I’m a writer by trade, but the clicky keys are my favorite. I also write at night sometimes and this keyboard lights up in all sorts of fun patterns. A total splurge, but it brings me so much joy.” Razer Black Widow V3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, $127, Amazon.

Masticating Juicer. “Getting in the daily recommended dose of vegetables for me and my entire family is so daunting. Starting the day with a cup of fresh juice (or two) helps so much. This model allows you to make big batches so you can make enough for the whole family very efficiently.” Omega Vertical Masticating Juicer, $450, Amazon.

Homemade Waxer. “I love going to a spa to be pampered, but as a busy mom, I don’t have a lot of time to. This waxer is a dream and it’s easy to use. I recommend pairing it with hard wax, which pulls the skin much less.” Gigi Multipurpose Hair Removal Wax Warmer Kit, $28, Amazon. The Original Blue Wax Beads, $26, Amazon. 

Facial Moisturizer. “It’s easy to neglect our skin between being so busy. But now my face feels like baby skin after using this. I put it on thick and don’t rub it in. Once it air dries I put on my makeup. And the finish of my makeup is wildly better with this stuff underneath.” Tatcha Water Cream, $68, Sephora.

A Good Book. “Good books are the ultimate staycation. I might be a bit biased because I wrote this YA fantasy duology, but getting lost in expansive worlds is always a balm to my soul.” Wings of Ebony Exclusive Edition, $18.39, Bookshop. Ashes of Gold Signed & Personalized Copy, $20, Blue Willow Bookshop.

Eye Masks. “Another area of neglect in my exhausting years as a mom of young kids are bags. Not Coach, the ones under my eyes! I love these eye masks because I reduced puffiness immediately on first use. Really impressive.” 24K Gold Eye Mask, $25, Amazon.

Hair Detangler. “Hair is a full-time job in my house with my natural curls and two kids with long curly hair. This brush cuts down my detangling from hours to minutes.” Tangle Buster Brush, $11, Amazon.

Artsy Planner. “I plug most things into my phone calendar like everyone else, but one day each week I like to sit down with a weekly calendar and spend some time creatively laying things out, creatively with stickers and different colored pens. I like to think it makes the really busy weeks feel more approachable.” Flora Peony Life Planner, $60, Erin Condren.

Gaming Laptop. “Spa days aren’t the only type of self-care. I love playing The Sims 4 and I wanted a really dynamic visual experience for the game, so I upgraded to this bad boy and never looked back.” Razer Blade 15, $2,100, Razer. 

Quick Drying Nails. “I learned very early in my mom years that if I don’t make time to pamper myself, it can easily fall between the cracks and not happen. I try to paint my nails at home all the time because that’s much quicker (and cheaper). Dab a little bit of this on and it dries in mere minutes!” Essie Top Coat Nail Polish Quick-E Drying Drops, $8, Amazon.

Fuzzy Slippers. “I have cold wood floors and much prefer slipping my foot into something lush and cozy in the morning. I wear these year-round because my feet are always cold. They are the perfect blend of durability and comfort. Worth every penny.” Wicked Good Mocassins, $80, L.L. Bean.

Extraordinary Ice Cream. “You must treat yourself from time to time and this ice cream is set apart from all others! You can have it delivered, gift it to friends, and subscribe for regular deliveries. And the flavors are such unique, delicious pairings.” Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Club 3-Month Subscription, $200, Jeni’s.

Grocery Delivery. “A trip to the grocery store as a mom is a multi-hour commitment. I quickly upped grocery delivery from once-in-a-while to my go-to. It saves so much time and puts money in the pockets of so many who rely on that work.” Instacart Express Subscription, $10/month or $100/yr, Instacart.

For more Mother Essentials, peep our recent past columns with kid-lit authors Karen Chan and Suzanne Greenlaw, the founders of EADEM, Minimalista author Shira Gill, Domino’s Chief Content Officer Kate Berry, the two-mom duo behind Morrow Soft Goods, mega-influencer Nabela NoorAngela O’Brien of Cleobella, Nikki Osei-Barrett of District Motherhued, Blair Paysinger of Post 21, Idia Lanlokun of Ola & Mide, Karam Kim of Bluecut aprons, children’s authors Evan Sargent and Joanna HoEli Yonas of Toki Mats, Shaina Kerrigan of Molly J., Jenna Levine of LINNÉ botanicals, Eunice Byun of Material, and Sandra Lin of Kiwi Co.

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