books, entertainment, gratitude, home, journey, list

A hodgepodge dabble…

From this Side of the Pond
I decided to dabble in a little something new, so today I am participating in a fun little Wednesday thing, over here… Basically, 6 questions are asked, and I’ll answer. Pretty easy, right?

1. What would you say is your biggest day to day challenge?

time management is easily my biggest day-to-day challenge. I have truly important (and sometimes admirable) to-do lists, where everything really matters, to some degree… But I struggle most often with managing the time and not losing myself in the tasks. Often what gets cut is my writing time…

2. May 16th is National Biographers Day. What’s a biography you really enjoyed reading? Is this a genre you read regularly?

While it isn’t actually a biography, anyone who reads here or listens to the podcast must be so sick of hearing about this, but I am full-on OBSESSED with Chrissy Metz autobiography/memoir. OBSESSED. (I have also enjoyed biographies written about Zelda Fitzgerald quite a bit!) I love memoirs, personal essay collections and really solid literary novels.

3. How important is keeping a clean house? Do you need to de-clutter your life?

I have a “lived in” home, but it stays pretty clean and organized, for the most part. I have a couple of seasons a year where I’ll do a big declutter, but do honestly try to stay on top of it because I firmly believe that only surround myself with things I either love or need is the best way to a quality and peace filled life.

4. You’re the 8th dwarf. What’s your name?

Ha! Snarky… (but only if I’m super close and comfortable with the 7 others.)

5. What’s surprised you the most about your life or life in general?

I think being able to look back and see direct trails (like connect-the-dots) leading from one bit to the next. Also, that, at 42, I still feel like that 22-year-old in my head. I don’t have it together, I’m not much wiser than then, I still have dreams and discover new passions. At 22, I always thought by now I’d be wise and stable, so mature in my brain, but I am just not…

This came about in a conversation with my husband, over the weekend. He, soft voiced and hesitant, confessed this very thing, and I had to laugh as reassuringly as possible. I wonder what it is that makes us believe we won’t still be us in 20-30 years? It gives me an all new perspective on my grandparents, before they passed, and on the elderly people I interact with regularly at my mother’s memory care facility.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Sometimes I watch the Great British Bake-off and I’m blown away by so many elements of it. I think about how it’s probably the wisest and best “entertainment” to help us become better people… Other times, I watch it and while I love it, I admit that I had NO CLUE what I was thinking…

You asked for random.

I’m also wondering how one goes about getting a summer intern. I’m also unable to think about little beyond if I am going to be moving soon. I want to move. I totally DO NOT want to move. Adulthood is complicated, no?

(also… Don’t forget to read my CRAZY little story, and then enter to win a $50 Target gift card!)

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friendship, home, journey, list, self care

Things I have learned this week…

This has been a serious week for learning and waking this morning really has me pondering many of those things. As I brewed coffee I thought I’d take a few minutes before a friend arrives to jot down the array of lessons… (I know, two lists in a row. My fellow list lovers might be cheering while the rest of you toss your hands up and question our very existence… It’s ok, together we will make it through.)

  • I am part of an AWESOME class/group and after meeting together yesterday, I have seriously had that wisdom flooding my every thought.
  • A coffee grinder will be much more affective when grinding beans, if it is plugged in.
  • Forgetting to give your neurologically needy dog her nighttime anxiety meds is a really bad thing, especially when a gigantic thunder-storm shows up to serenade the dark hours… (poor Emma)
  • Clinique eye cream for puffy eyes is wonderful, and totally my best friend today… (As will be a nap, despite the insane volume of coffee I seem to be consuming.)
  • speaking of dogs, healthy outside time is AMAZING after four weeks of unhealthy and terrible dog-sickness. It felt like a never ending form of hell, but it turns out to be that a probiotic recommended to us is not ideal for dogs and it was affecting their stomach lining. We’re on the mend and I am beside myself with relief. (I have PTSD when it comes to sick dogs, you guys. It’s a real thing.)
  • outdoor writing spaces are the best. Seriously.
  • open windows, (when the weather outside is open-window-weather) might be my new favorite thing.
  • It is possible to walk into the Pottery Barn/Williams Sonoma outlet and only spend $8.
  • Seeing things you love through your husband’s eyes/perspective can be so cool. (also, sometimes, annoying… But in this case, it’s cool.)
  • When people who love you keep urging you towards something because they see how badly it is affecting you, consider their words.
  • Video chat is fun. Video chat with several people is more fun.
  • When we listen and stick to our path, there is affirmation all around. I am more in awe of this every day, this past month.
  • Honor the people you have loved. Don’t slander them when you are angry. Don’t act beneath you to “get back at them”. We are all better than that, and you only hurt yourself really…
  • There is no too late. A really amazing story was shared with me, this week, about a woman whose husband passed away when she was sixty, in 2006. She stepped in, after having always been a housewife and mother, to take over his auto business. (that is 2006, you guys. Right before the economy tanked, right before the automotive industry took a plummet. Right before nearly the entire state of Michigan surged into a state of shock/trauma/ruin) This business has grown, blossomed, she now speaks and encourages others in their businesses… This whole story is beyond amazing to me!
  • Adult people can decide not to make dinner, and it’s ok. The world will keep spinning. This is a concept I don’t think I have ever really considered. If we are hungry, we will figure it out. (seriously, and super sadly- mind-blowing.)
  • We are surrounded by really amazing women because we women are amazing. Sometimes connecting with them, when they come to your mind, is something they desperately needed.
  • there are some really interesting jobs out there and sometimes they might call you, out of the blue. That doesn’t mean you have to take it, (i didn’t) but it is super cool to be wanted!
  • Just. In addition to my revelation about the negativity of the word too, a conversation with a friend yesterday turned me on to the negativity attached to the word just, especially for women. Wow.
  • When the weather calls for Sunshine and 82 out, it’s probably going to rain and have a high of 48- just sayin’…
  • And lastly… When getting dressed, on little to no sleep (thanks, Emma!) if you put on the first layer of a summer dress, and then after not really feeling the dress once the second layer is on- make sure to remove both layers before throwing a long tee over your leggings and taking the dog for a nice walk… (true story. As we were getting home, and my friend pulled up, I realized I had essentially walked around my subdivision in leggings, a black slip and a Lu La Roe perfect shirt. It was awesome… need more coffee.)
entertainment, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage, self care

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

Two years ago, this week, I embarked on a fast which changed my life forever.

I’ll agree, that sounds incredibly overdramatic, but it is also one hundred percent the truth. That time in my life was among the darkest and most hopeless. While I never (ever, ever, ever) want to go back there, I also maintain being proud of myself for coming through it and growing in the ways that I did to manage it. The fast was fourteen days long, intentionally, and turned out to be seventeen days total. It was not a dietary fast, but rather a heart/mind/self-control one.

This week, while I am not in a dark place, I am embarking on a pretty similar journey. While I would love to sit here, in this space, and tell you all about the reasons why- I can’t. Not only would that be in violation to my fast rules, it also wouldn’t be a great idea. Someday, I’m sure… But for now, as I get ready to share the top five things I loved the most about this past week, I’ll ask that you send me all of the good thoughts/energy and prayers you can muster. Not for the strength to fast (though I’ll take that too) but for the outcome.

This week!

  • My windows have been open almost every day, and most days (this past week) I have been able to snag at least a few minutes of real-life vitamin D!
  • I Feel Pretty… (begin rant: There is so much love/hate about this movie and honestly, it just baffles me. It is your average light-hearted rom com, at base. If that isn’t the sort of movie some people enjoy, then why are they going? If you can’t stand Amy Schumer then why are you going? Why do some people do things just to complain about it? Life is too short for that nonsense! end rant.) It is poignant and lovely and chock full of wisdom girls of all ages can benefit from. I remember early on, critics were so upset that AS was playing someone “overweight and ugly” when she is neither. The thing is, that is irrelevant! It doesn’t matter. That’s the whole, entire point of the movie! At the end of the day, I think the topic is way outside of the industry’s comfort zone, so the idea is to bash it instead.
  • On Monday we caught a show by Nancy & Beth. We laughed a lot, teared up more than expected and had the best time! It was so much fun! If you aren’t familiar, get yourself familiar. Megan and Stephanie are natural performers and gave the show so much heart. The very special added bonus, (aside from the INCREDIBLY talented musicians comprising their band) was Megan’s husband Nick Offerman. My husband worships at the shrine of all things Ron Swanson and so this was a special time for him! I loved experiencing it with him, and watching him. Seriously- FUN NIGHT!
  • Issue 23 of my favorite Flow Magazine <3. I love them all, in their own unique ways, and it is a happy day when, after hunting, I have the new one in hand. This one does NOT disappoint!
  • This story makes me tear up whenever I think of it. Heartwarming and beautiful! I hope that, beyond the in-the-moment-selfless-help, this man is able to get the help/hope he needs… For so many of us, suicide is a very sensitive subject, close to our hearts. It was also part of the discussion in this week’s episode of our Collective podcast. (If you haven’t listened yet, you should!)
books, chronic illness, entertainment, food, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, marriage, self care, travel

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

It’s just not possible…

I look outside my large Michigan window and curse life as I know it. The warmth that was Tennessee this time last week, while here, today, it is snow and bitter cold.  Again. So over it…

I am also battling a cold, and intensely sore from wild and crazy things like caving beneath the Smokey Mountains and a new workout routine, back here in the land of frigid. I am achy and congested, frozen-finger typing while I am bundled up in an oversized sweatshirt, scarf and yoga pants. Emma, my seven year old Aussie, is corralled in the bathroom due to some sort of doggy sickness that I honestly feel like I cannot muster the energy for and I am nursing my second Coke zero of the day (yes, I do realize it is only ten in the morning) because my throat is swollen and on fire and it just feels better to drink that over razor sharp water… My box of tissues sits to my left, stack of books to my right. Atop the stack, naturally, is my Let Go journal…

I feel miserable and terrible, and really pretty awful too.

Let it go, Misty

And maybe it is possible. Possible to feel all of the sad, bad, sickly things and still be a ray of shining something inside. Let’s try that, anyway.

Sharing the love, with you-

  • The husband and I went to Tennessee to celebrate twenty-four years since we first said I Do. The trip was wonderful! It was so great to take adventures together, just focus on BE-ing, and make new memories while investing in Us. The only really unplanned inconvenience was the traffic down, where we crawled at a snail’s pace along with EVERY SINGLE PERSON heading to Florida for spring break. Never would’ve thought, but now we know for next time… Among the AMAZING things we did in Tennessee, my favorite things to list (without making this an entire Knoxville area edition of the standard Friday post) would all involve Market Square, in Knoxville. Not only is trendy and yet somehow timeless, but it has an adorable little dog park right in the middle, and we got to meet lots of great little dogs! (It is safe to say that this part is not going to make Chw’s BEST list.) My favorite shop in the Square was the Knoxville Chocolate Company, not for what seems like the obvious reasons, however. The chocolate parts were more  earning of my husband’s adoration. For me, it was the artwork and gifts. They were featuring works from local artist Milk Moon House, and I fell head over heals for several of the pieces displayed!  It was a sad reality that they were pretty far out of my budget, and so with deep sadness I walked away… (also, shout out to the Blue Coast Bar & Grill for miraculously making the best french toast I have ever put in my mouth!)
  • When we first decided on Knoxville being our destination, a friend recommended a visit to McKay’s books. (If you’ve never had the overwhelmingly sensory experience of visiting this entertainment haven, you might want to consider a trip to Knoxville.) Nothing I can say would ever do it justice, and the place itself isn’t my second item here anyway. It is something I discovered while digging through their Vinyl. This album/movie is so fundamental to my childhood. You would have thought I’d dug and found a trove filled with gold and diamonds, for all of the enthusiasm I still have over this record.

The dark side’s callin’ now, nothin’ is real
She’ll never know just how I feel
From out of the shadows she walks like a dream
Make me feel crazy, make me feel so mean…

Moving on…

  • Because we love them and it’s what we do- the husband and I caught a movie at the local cineplex our last night in town. Him, (quite eagerly), and me (significantly less so) nestled in with popcorn to see Ready Player One. We had spent a pretty big chunk of the day adventuring through underground caves and I was feeling pretty tired. On occasion my inner grandma has been known to come out and nap through movies, and I was pretty certain this would be one of those naps. It was not. By principal and taste I pride myself on not being much of a Sci-Fi lover, but this movie… So crazy good.
  • I love to read. I don’t always have the time, but I am trying to be more intentional about picking up books. One thing I cannot do is read in the car. I just can’t. And my husband loves to listen to audiobooks, but the one thing he cannot do is read physical books. Something about holding a book just inspires his inner grandpa to pop right out and drift to snoozeland. Neither one of us can justify the regular cost of purchasing Audio books because… well, they are ridiculous. (and yes, he listens through the library, but the wait list is often unbearable.) Enter Otto. Maybe you’ve seen it pop up in various social media ads, promising to be the Netflix of audio books. That’s how I first heard of it, and skeptically, I looked into it. You guys, it IS the Netflix of audiobooks! We listened to a couple of great books, on our trip. Our favorite was The Woman in Cabin 10. (sidenote: I am surprised the consumer reader reviews aren’t stronger because this book HAD IT ALL…) Feeling super crummy this week (as I mentioned), and not playing entirely by-the-book with my Dirty Keto life, I have been self caring by some more reading. (We all need some self nurturing…) Am absolutely loving listening to This Is Me and recommend it to every woman/girl/person.)
  • I don’t usually watch New, midseason TV shows. (They aren’t usually very good and they also stand a greater chance of getting cancelled, so why commit?) I am a major fan of Zach Braff though, and as an Office lover, also adore Jenna Fischer. Their new shows Alex Inc. and Splitting Up Together are actually really good. I don’t know that they will get renewed because these are pretty smart and not the normal trendy types that do well… Fingers crossed! (Plus Emily Kapnek is bringing us Splitting Up Together and she was the brilliance behind Selfie– a show I deeply loved, that was gruesomely cancelled even though the internet went to war to save it! So you could say I’m a little jaded.)

What have you been loving lately? PLEASE share- I need all the joy I can get right now!

entertainment, food, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage, Misc., self care

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

I had so naively hoped that I could rave about how gloriously beautiful the weather was, now that it’s Spring and all. In reality though, so far Spring is pretty much just like Winter, and let’s face it- many are open for disappointment…

I do enjoy saying that it is Spring though.

It is Spring. Spring!!!

So far, though Spring is on my naughty list, and therefore NOT making this cut, this week, I am cautiously optimistic at it’s potential in weeks to come…

1.) Around November, this woman that some of you may have heard of, (her name is Oprah, just in case you’re one of the few) released a list of her Favorite Things. I have, in all honesty, never found many things in her list to be things I loved (especially where the book club aspect of things fell) but still, curiosity spurred me to check it out. I cannot remember anything on that list, save one thing in particular. While I may have been the last person around to learn what an air fryer was- I knew instantly that I needed this miracle machine. Funny thing about new, well-reviewed products though, (especially when they make Oprah’s list) they are out of stock. For a long, long time. So, we saved our pennies, and waited. And waited. And waited. And then, one week ago today, the heavens parted and I was alerted that Macy’s was having a ONE day sale, and they had ONE in stock. And then, as strange as it may seem, that 40% off little miracle, was tucked away in the back room and no one knew why. (I did! It was meant for me! Happy birthday, to me! Air fried chicken for everyone! (and bacon! And everything! Let’s fry it all!)

2.) While at the miracle sale, at Macy’s, (A store I NEVER shop at, and reminded me of my Dillard’s employee days as soon as I walked through the doors) a display for these little diffusers was sitting by the register. As a part of the one day sale, it was $20. TWENTY dollars! I picked up a few other goodies from the Ellia table, and brought home this amazing little gem. I love it so much! I sleep to sounds of the ocean, and it runs beautifully… Plus, let’s be honest- it’s gorgeous.

3.) Today is the day! Season two of Santa Clarita Diet is here! I am thrilled! We LOVE T.O. & D.B. so much and the combination of them in such a metaphorical way is absolutely genius!

4.) Ok… Southern Sweet tea has saved my life, this week. I don’t want to hear about the sweetener in here being not super Keto friendly. I literally do not care. I drink Coke Zero, which also isn’t keto friendly, and this tea is probably better for me than that… At any rate, I LOVE sweet tea, and this tea is carb and calorie free. So yeah… And it is so incredibly tasty!

5.) I literally stumbled across this song by Needtobreathe this week and I have to say it really hit me right where I was, like an arrow to the pit of me. Thought I’d share. :)

As always, I love hearing what has stirred your soul and made you smile, this week.

Happy Friday!