intent & loving…

Happy Friday!

Things have been fairly quiet around here. Turning 41 and having my youngest turn 18 has been serious business. Add to that my 23rd wedding anniversary and WOW, busy busy. Plus the fact that I spent the upwards of twenty days with an upper respiratory infection. Thankfully Gen contracted whatever nasty virus I had, but in her it seemed to only live a day or two. Chw, thus far, is in stellar health. Minus being a little sleep deprived from sweet Mr. Knightley, we are doing pretty grand.

I have been thinking, over the past few days, about wanting to blog and connect with you a little bit, but perhaps it’s the combination sleep deprivation, our blustery weather outside and just beginning to feel human again, which had me unsure of what to write. Then, this morning, as I was making a small pot of tea- it hit me…

As of late, I have stumbled upon a few things I am really loving. Some have been at the suggestion of friends, some have been by chance and I wanted to share them with you.

  • I love tea. I have likely always loved tea, but sometimes I just get a little forgetful of how much I truly love tea. Then, I wind up being invited to tea somewhere and my love is rekindled. This past weekend I was introduced to a tea flavor by Harney & Sons named Paris. I have to preface the furthering of this subject with a confession. I pretty much detest bagged tea. I am a loose-leaf girl, all the way, for a variety of reasons. My only exception is Harney & Sons. I went to tea on Saturday and this flavor sounded interesting. (don’t get me started on how caught off guard I was that a tea house used bagged tea, because I will come across as a total tea snob and I really am not. I promise) This flavor is AMAZING! I immediately purchased a tin of Paris because- DIVINE.
  • Last night for dinner, I tried this recipe. While I did a couple of things differently, I have to be honest- it was DELICIOUS!
  • My friend Jen told me about the book Big Girls Do It Running. I really enjoy it because, for the most part, I find the Author’s story and approach really relatable. I am inspired to give carb cycling a try.
  • We really don’t watch a lot of TV. Occasionally Gen and I get caught up watching entire series (Currently it is 90210. The girl has a healthy obsession with the 90’s… I am so proud!) There really isn’t much that all three of us really enjoy together, but this new sitcom on NBC called Trial & Error is one we adore. So funny, we LOVE it.
  • I am not sure how familiar you are with Essential Oils. I Swear by them! Over the past few months my dear friend Debbie has turned me on to a few products (that go a bit beyond Essential Oils) that have literally changed my life. They are both in this brand, the ON Guard line. One is the throat drops. While I was sick, these made an amazing difference! Two is the toothpaste. Listen for a moment, this toothpaste, after just ONE use, became something truly special for the three of us, as well as my older daughter and her family. Amazing does not begin to cover it. (I already loved the hand soap, all-purpose cleaner and oil itself.) I am honestly not trying to sell you, just sharing what I love and am willing to elaborate if asked! :)
  • Word searches… No, I am not joking. a couple of months ago I picked up a pretty little Word Search book at Barnes & Noble. (who knew they could be cute and pretty???) I used to love them, was giving up most phone apps (time wasters) for Lent and decided to use this as a substitution. Talk about rekindling a love! For my birthday I received another pretty Word Search book and my spare moments often include doing a quick WS puzzle.
  • Our pet store (which is awesome) told us about these teething rings. They promised a life saver, and they weren’t kidding. Knightley loves them. (he loves chewing on toes, feet, fingers, chins and any other visible flesh more, but these serve as a good distraction!)
  • I received a bag of this coffee, as a gift. You guys, if you are wanting an indulgent weekend coffee, this is the one for you. It is amazing. It is too decadent to drink every day, but it is absolutely our new weekend treat!
  • Rising well before the sun. Having a chronic illness has made early mornings, over the past few years, a struggle. I won’t pretend something changed, because it hasn’t. Because of Knightley, early mornings are a necessity and I have been using that time in more intentionally positive ways. I make a homemade breakfast for my family, play with the puppy, read a little. Whatever I need to do to think less about how crummy and sore I feel, and more about the people I love. It’s not always that easy, but I have seen it shaping my days/week a little differently.
  • If you pay any attention to me at all, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of face masks and skin care. I stumbled upon this mask, and what I loved about it were the ingredients and the price. I used it this past Monday (while sipping my Godiva coffee) and it was heavenly. Five days later and my skin is still amazing. (plus, you guys, we went to dinner for our anniversary and the entire staff REFUSED to believe that we’d been married 23 years and that our youngest was 18. There is really something to be said about an intentional and healthy skin care regimen!)

I am always interested in book, show, music and product recommendations! What are you loving lately??? PLEASE SHARE!

To move to…

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Early on, in 2016, I created a spotify playlist entitled To Move To… As anyone who knows me knows, I am one of the worst “namers” in the history of naming things. To me, at the time, it seemed a clever way to label my workout list. As the year progressed however, this playlist morphed into my motivation for many areas, not just fitness. It is pretty amazing that this long-ago list worked it’s way into birthing the only word which made any sense at all, for this year.

MOVE.

It is a powerful word. It means a vast degree of many things. It reaches into every area of my life, from health and fitness, to writing, to education, to parenting and marriage. MOVE. Stagnancy kills. MOVE. Even if it’s a step in the wrong direction, it is better than nothing at all. MOVE. Move. move…

My word for this glorious fresh and unwritten year is move.

This isn’t my image. It belongs to Vimeo actually. When I saw it though, I knew it fit my vision for this year, my heart for this year, in a thousand different little ways. Move. To move in such a way that the place where my feet were is left better after my time there…

I do not do resolutions. I commit to goals. Typically, but not always, these goals stem from my word. With a word as huge as this year’s, I don’t think there is a goal that would not apply, somehow.

Goals:

  • To read two books (minimum) per month.
  • To learn one new thing, every month.
  • To complete my passion project More.
  • To complete and self/indie publish my novel.
  • To lose those 50 last pounds I need to lose.
  • To literally move to a more conducive home for the next phase of my life.
  • To expand my freelancing/writing income.
  • To enjoy my family intentionally, in simple and life affirming ways.
  • To visit somewhere I have never been before.
  • Find my writer’s tribe and flourish within it.

Move.

Where are you seeing yourself, this year?

Movie, movie, movie…

This morning was shaping up to be a great day for a variety of reasons. This morning, when I found myself wide awake after only a couple of hours of restless sleep, I decided this within the wee hours of the dark night, and so far it is. I mean, sure, I am feeling pretty tired. By 7 a.m. I’d already done half of our weekly laundry, watched an episode of Jane the Virgin, caught up on emails, had breakfast and coffee with my husband and done a little writing. Also admitting that my entire To do list is more of a hoping to get to list, and have a little grace for that.

As an avid movie lover, 2016 has been a bit of a let down for me. I am wondering if this is because I am just getting older… Or maybe it is that 2016 has been such a hard year that suddenly (*gasp*) movies felt less important than before… (truthfully, this last one just doesn’t feel true, but I guess it is still a possibility.) More often than not, these days, we sit here and feel unanimously like there is nothing worth going to see. Despite these less feelings, there have been some really great movies that I loved, come out this year. One of my all time favorites was Storks. I know, I know. This sounds ridiculous, especially since I am not an animated fan typically. I took my grandson to see it, and then my husband. And then my best friend. And in the wee hours of this morning, when apple alerted me to the fact that my pre-buy was available- I very nearly curled up on my couch to watch it alone.

Today was a pretty good movie release date, through Apple. Hillsong, Let Hope Rise is waiting for me, along with The Hollars. Both of which were also films I loved this year. (there will be more on Hillsong LHR, closer to the dvd release date.)

I was thinking, this morning, about classic Hollywood vs current. One of my favorite modern Christmas movies, The Holiday, touches on how back in the day, it was a big deal that a small handful of movies opened in a quarter. Now, a dozen plus movies open each month, and three months later we are watching them at home. It is fascinating really, but if you look at so many of those old movies in comparison to so many of our now films, it is easy to spot a difference in quality. Sure, special effects are better, images are sharper and sound is more layered, but it takes more than some software to make a story come to life. While there are movies I still fall in love with, I am admitting that (even for this die-hard movie obsessor) quality trumps quantity every time…

In honor of Award’s season beginning and the Golden Glob noms coming on Monday I wanted to leave a little list of the 2016 releases I actually loved. Feel free to share what you’ve loved!

The Hollars

The Finest Hours

Hello My Name is Doris

Money Monster

The Meddler

XMen Apocalypse

Free State of Jones

Ghostbusters

Bad Moms

Imperium

Greater

Hillsong LHR

Storks

Arrival

I have seen a ton more but these stuck with me… Some because they were crazy funny, some because they moved me and some because it’s just thought-provoking… Have you seen movies lately, you love?

Dearest Mr. Kringle,

In my November/December Newsletter I shared a gift list with suggestions for people you may be shopping for this Holiday season. I am a stickler for details and observant, to a fault, so throughout the year I collect ideas for things. It brings me great joy when a subscriber emails me to tell me they purchased one of the items for a loved one. (this has happened about a dozen times since my newsletter went out!) I love helping others and often dream of being a personal gift shopper because, let’s face it, giving gifts is THE BEST!

My daughters were begging me to get a list together for Chw. He’s kind of the worst at making a wishlist. When I pointed this out to him, he said that I hadn’t exactly presented him with one. We aren’t really exchanging gifts this year and my daughters both know what I would like, and wouldn’t, so the idea of making a list myself seemed ridiculous. Then, as if by magic, a long time reader emailed me and asked when my wishlist would be up. Weird right? See, every year, around December 1st, I tend to post a “dream wishlist”. It’s not a big deal, and it’s just for fun. We all have those things we’re dreaming of getting, but know we won’t. Well, apparently she looks forward to this list at the start of the holiday season, which is super cool and pretty funny, to be honest.

At any rate, after careful thought, I’ve decided this place could use a light-hearted/fun post so here it is…

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1.) Drake Tufted Sofa I mean, seriously… is this not the most beautiful sofa? This color… The tufting…
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2) If I haven’t complained on here about my current kitchen, please be amazed. It is my least favorite kitchen in all of the kitchens. This little kitchen set is SO adorable though and whenever I see it, i just grin from ear to ear! My kitchen needs some love.

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3) THIS recipe box. Do I need a new one? No. Not really…  But recipe boxes tend to be among those things that are typically pretty ugly and never really “fit in”, but this one… Well. :)

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4.) This Vase is gorgeous. Among my favorite things, in all the world, are fresh-cut flowers. I love them. I imagine this vase filled with flowers and my domestic little design loving heart soars…

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5.) These food prep boards… I mean, imagine the love these would bring to my kitchen. (remember my woeful kitchen confession above? *sigh*)

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6) This PTR face mask sampler is something I drool over every single time I’m in Ulta. PTR is my FAVORITE “something essential, yet special” skin care line, and with my Mask Monday stuff, this is PERFECT!

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7) I have been on the hunt for this Palette for what feels like ever. I have dreamed of it… Someday. (maybe. Hopefully. If only…)

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8) It is amazing. Enough said… 65-loews-spa-day-massage-or-facial-reg-125-2250482-regular

9) A spa day, complete with a facial, deep tissue massage, pedicure and glass of wine.

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10) a private jet. I miss my kids like crazy and soon Gen won’t be home either. (college) my closest friends live insanely far away and sometimes a “quick weekend” somewhere warm sounds perfect…

So there you go! Of course, I don’t need any of these things. The best parts of Christmas, for me, have nothing to do with what I unwrap. It is all about who I am surrounded by and the joy that lights up their eyes, along with what I can possibly do to make that a reality… What are you “wishing” for?

P.S. A quaint little Inn, in Cape Cod, Ma… :)

Hello, August…

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I’ve been back in Michigan for a little over two months and after moving, and moving, and sitting on the brink of moving again, I’m finally starting to find a normal feeling. Everything still feels fragile and a bit surreal, but I’m attempting to move forward-one foot in front of the other- and here’s my hopes for this month we call August.

Home~

upcycling a serving tray

Being inside less and outside more

downsizing to a capsule wardrobe

experimenting more with essential oils

 

Health~

get back to a good work-out routine

swim, swim, swim

yoga, at least once a week

bike rides

Savor~

quality time with my husband and kids (when possible)

me time

evening walks

reading, poolside

Connect~

counseling

handwritten letters

remembering birthdays

attending a book club

going on a photography adventure

Kitchen~

focussing on fresh & locally sourced meals

loads & loads of sun tea

grilled fish with fresh herbs

scones with lemon curd & Devonshire cream

homemade ice cream

Read~

Present Over Perfect

Kisses from Katie

Where’d you go, Bernadette

The Jesus Centered Life

Watching~

Season 7 of the Good Wife

Season 3 of Parks & Rec

Suicide Squad

Ben Hur