I’m someone who can tend to overbuy/over collect things in order to hold onto experiences or make sure that I remember something. I’m naturally more sensory based (for my Myers Briggs Type, I’m a Sensor), and because of that, having things I can see and touch can seem essential to making memories.
While some of this really is true (for example, when I see my tiny owl statue next to my TV, I smile and remember the trips to Greece that I’ve taken), I have also realized that I don’t need multiple things to remember an experience by.
This point was driven home when I was listening to The Minimalists podcast (I think it was #6 “Tuesdays”); they said “Our memories aren’t in our things. They are in us.” I stopped and listened to it again. Our memories aren’t in our things. Woah. Of course our things don’t completely hold memories.
So I started to wrestle with the balance between what I hold onto and why. What did I need to job my memory and remind me of those happy times, and where did it become excessive.
This quote was in my mind a lot recently when I went back to Mexico. Especially when I travel, I’m tempted to buy a lot of things so I don’t forget. The thing is, though, that over the last year since the first time I went to Mexico, I’ve remembered it a lot, and it’s not because it’s a thing in front of me. I remember it because it was important, because it challenged me, because it’s changing the way I live my life. That memory is stored within me. So as I walked around the markets and small shops throughout the week, I reminded myself “Our memories are within us, not within our things”. I enjoyed looking at the items, taking some mental pictures, enjoying the cultural experience, and then I walked away.
In fact, the only thing I purchased this year in Mexico was a small thing of Mexican candy that I enjoy and a small bag of coffee to bring home and enjoy. in that way, I can enjoy a sensory experience that reminds me of the trip, but then I use it up and it doesn’t take up space for years and years.
And you know what? I am remembering this year’s trip the same way now as if I had purchased several things while there, because my memories are within me.
This feels really difficult for me to embrace at times, but I’m challenging myself and am seeing progress. That’s what matters.
Hydration is SO important while exercising, so I was excited to try SPIbelt’s hydration belt!
I’ve been a HUGE fan of SPIbelt for years, as my dad got one for me almost as soon as I started running, and I’m so glad that he did! This hydration belt just takes it that much further.
In full disclosure- I haven’t run in this belt, as I’m injured. But, since I’ve run in their belts before, I can tell you that the bounce is very low with these belts, and they stay really well in their place. This belt has a thick band, and it’s incredibly comfortable to wear. The pouch in the back is excellent for carrying your essentials on the run. It looks small but it stretches a good amount, so I have no problem putting my ID, phone, keys, and a small snack in the pouch. Impressive, right?
I’ve been wearing my belt on walks, as it’s SUCH a convenient hands-free way to hydrate. However, as with a lot of other exercise gear, it’s also good for other activities as well.
I’ve worn my belt outside several times on walks, while gardening, and while mowing, and I absolutely love it! I know it sounds sort of silly to wear a belt like that while gardening, but it’s so convenient to have my water on me whenever I get thirsty!
My friend Cassie also tested the belt this month, so if you want to know what it’s like to run with it on, you can read her thoughts here.
I have been a fan of SPIbelt since 2011, and I’d highly encourage any runner to check this particular brand out! Even better- I have a discount code for you! Use “caroline10” for 10% off your purchase!
Now it’s your turn to share! How would you use this SPIbelt in your summer workouts or activities?
I’ve been lagging a bit on posting lately, but here’s my book list for March and April of 2016!
Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life. This was a really quick and easy read, but I really enjoyed it. There are several things that I highlighted in the book that I’m using as I move forward with my Decluttering Project.
Fangirl: I actually started this in February, but finished in March. This book, by Rainbow Rowell, was much better than Attachments. I’m a fan of Rowell’s writing, and enjoyed this fun and easy read.
The Queen: This is a novella based on one of the characters from The Selection Series. I really love that the author has written these little novellas to give the reader a bit more of a taste for these characters; it makes the story much more enriching.
Rising Strong: If you haven’t read anything by Brene Brown, or even listened to her Ted Talk on vulnerability, run immediately and get a book or listen to the talk. She has such wisdom and care in the way she presents information, and it’s so beneficial. I would strongly recommend you read this book!
The Favorite: This is another novella based on one of the characters from The Selection Series, and I loved it!
The Heir: This is the 4th book from The Selection Series, and it was excellent! Seriously- I really love the Selection Series!
Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General
The Prince: Again, this is a novella that explores the background of one of the characters from The Selection Series.
NPR Laughter Therapy: A Comedy Collection for the Chronically Serious: I was thinking that this would be really funny and make me laugh, but, for the most part, it didn’t. There were some parts that were funny, but I was also a bit disappointed.
Sh*t My Dad Says:I rated this a 2.5 on goodreads- most of it wasn’t really funny at all.
Playing With Matches: I REALLY enjoyed this book- A LOT. This was about a matchmaker in a Jewish community, and I felt really invested in the characters from the start.
Winter: This was the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles, and I really loved how the series ended. The writing was great, and it kept me hooked, even with it being 820 pages.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette: I started this audiobook in the summer of 2015, but stopped due to lack of interest. I decided to listen to it again while weeding this spring, and I liked it a little better, but not by much. It didn’t hook me.
#GirlBoss: This is an autobiography sort of book about one woman’s journey to starting an incredibly successful business. It was interesting to see some of her insights on leadership, although she did a whole lot of things I would never consider doing.
I laugh at myself sometimes because I often feel like, no matter how much I read, my “to read shelf” gets longer and longer. My strongest “to read” suggestions from the last two months have been: The Lunar Chronicles, The Selection Series, and Rising Strong.
Now it’s your turn to share! What’s your book recommendation from the last few months?
As I mentioned back in January, my word for 2016 is “Simplify”. I thought I’d give an update on what I’ve been doing to embrace that word.
So that’s where I’m at. I’ve thought through my values and am trying to create a life that lines up more intentionally with the values that I currently have. I’m trying to learn to release my possessions, knowing that stuff isn’t what I value or makes me happy.
Now it’s your turn to share! What would you like to do to “simplify” your life?
Disclaimer: I received the Zensah Well Rounded Shorts to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
I’m a HUGE fan of Zensah products (especially my compression sleeves), so when I had the chance to test out Zensah’s Well Rounded shorts, I jumped at the chance!
My favorite Zensah gear!
When I received the shorts in the mail, the first thing I noticed was how comfortable these shorts were (I think I mentioned it in most of my instagram posts!). They feel incredibly soft, especially for exercise shorts, and I loved that. They look incredibly little when not being worn, so I was worried they might be too small. The sizing guide, however, was accurate for me, and even though it looked small, they fit just fine.
To say that I love these shorts is an understatement- I haven’t wanted to take them off!! I even sat in my living room the other day reading while wearing them. I’ll take any workout item that is comfortable enough for both workouts and lounging around the house.
Something I’m concerned about when I purchase shorts is comfort: I don’t want a waistband to dig into me, I don’t want the legs to ride up, and I want to feel like the shorts are breathable. I focus on each of these things my first few workouts in any pair of shorts I wear, and I’m happy to report that the Zensah shorts hit the mark in each area!
One thing I should mention: they are slightly see-through-ish. Ok, before you write the shorts off your list, let me explain. Some of the Pros have noticed that underwear, if patterned, can be seen occasionally. The simple solution to this has been to go commando! They aren’t see-through enough for this to be a problem, and I know a lot of people wear running shorts without underwear anyways. I just wanted to share this with you so you wouldn’t be surprised.
On a walk in my zensah shorts (and hydration spi belt, which I’m also reviewing right now!)
I can strongly say that I am a BIG fan of these shorts, and am so happy that I had the opportunity to test them out. I’m usually hesitant to try new shorts because they can feel so uncomfortable to me, but these are a major WIN in my book!
Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one thing you look at when you buy a pair of shorts?
I so enjoy having the chance to not only lead a course on “healthy helping” and serving other cultures and communities, but also getting to lead college students on a trip that allows them to see and experience things first hand. Like last year, the trip was 10 days long; the first 7 were spent working with an organization (they spend a lot of time doing education for people who come down to work with them, which I love, along with a very holistic and healthy (and trauma-informed!) way of working with vulnerable children and their families), and the last 3 were spent looking at other parts of culture, along with having a bit of time to play tourist.
Journaling and Coffee at the team house
One of the things that really stuck out to me was how very different the Cancun that most people think of (the hotel zone) and the real Cancun actually are. There is a beautiful strip of water and beach that is manicured and created specifically for the tourist, and then there is the business area of Cancun and the “inner city’ and the “outer communities”. For a year I have felt deeply privileged to have had a small look into the other sides of the real Cancun, and this year that feeling only deepened.
The wonderful thing is that I built relationships with really wonderful, beautiful people last year, and getting to go back this year meant that I got to re-connect with them again. At one of the sites, there was a girl I spent time with last year who has special needs. I went to her house and got to speak to her mom, who has such a desire to help her daughter, but doesn’t have the money to do it.
When I saw her this year I sprinted over and said hello, reaching out to grab her hand. She immediately threw her arms around my neck, and then pressed her forehead against mine. We spent the next several hours together, and I tried to show her love and care. This little girl brings tears to my eyes when I think of her, and I’ve counted it a privilege to pray for her over the last year.
There were several work projects we did. I spent six hours weeding at one site, and the ground was covered ( I mean absolutely covered) in ants, and cockroaches were running around. The team built beds for a set of teenagers who hadn’t had a bed before, and seeing them cry at the sight of their own beds felt deeply overwhelming and beautiful. We played with kids, ran programs, and provided whatever we could to the organization that is already at work there. It was good, hard work, and it was beautiful.
I ate delicious Mexican food every day (including all the guacamole that I could desire), I ate at some of my favorite restaurants down there, and I got to know 14 great college students. We had good, hard conversations and wrestled through all sorts of situations. And I got to mix some cement, which is something I look forward to every trip!
freshly made guacamole
Coffee from the hotel balcony on Easter Sunday.
I’ll share a bit more about some other experiences in future posts, but today I wanted to just barely scratch the surface on this deeply wonderful, other side of Cancun.
Hello!! I’ve vanished a bit around here… but for a very good reason!
I’ve been in Cancun, Mexico for the last 10 days, leading a group of college students, just like last year. I had a wonderful, thought-provoking, and deeply beautiful time there, and have only just started to process the experience (and am so far behind on many aspects of life here!).
I can’t wait to share more about the trip with you all, but for now, I thought I’d leave a picture or two.
Have a wonderful week!
As I’ve been working increasingly towards living a mindful life with peace (shalom), one of the things I’ve added to my life is the idea of a mini vacation. I realized that I had never talked about this idea here back in July when my parents were helping me move a bit (they helped drag some boxes over before my official moving day).
At night after we had spent about 12 hours running errands, carrying boxes in to the house, and pulling weeds, we were back at my apartment and had just finished dinner. Before we did the dishes I had them come out and stand on my back deck and enjoy the lightning bugs flying around over the field. It’s one of my favorite summer views (I miss it already!), and I wanted them to enjoy it. And then I explained the “mini vacation” to them!
I started to realize that one of the great things about vacation are all the extra intentional things that people do. For example, when I’m on vacation in Marco Island, I will run down to the beach and enjoy sunset after dinner, even if I haven’t cleaned up from dinner yet. It’s an intentional thing that I prioritize. One year when I got back from the Island, I realized that, at least a few days a week, I could choose to implement a similar slowing down and “enjoying the moment” situation. So, I’ve made it my goal to pause and take five minute to enjoy a sunrise or a sunset, the gently falling snow, the changing leaves, a ray of light, or the views of the lightning bugs at night. I enjoy reading outside on vacation, so I try to do that once or twice a week as well, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.
When we intentionally choose to pause and find joy and awe in the present moment, we’re able to release all sorts of happy chemicals and hormones into our bodies, which decrease cortisol (stress) and help fight against anxiety and depression. We ground ourselves, and this time can serve as a “re-set” to our day!
I’ve loved giving myself “mini vacations” over the past two years or so, and look for opportunities to regularly engage in this type of behavior!
Now it’s your turn to share! What is one “mini vacation” that you enjoy? Is there a little thing you could do more often to give yourself a break?
I actually read The Husband’s Secret last fall, and just realized that I never posted the review of this book- oops! The Husband’s Secret is by Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot), so I’m instantly pretty excited when I sit down to read a book by her!
The book follows Cecilia, a woman who finds a letter written by her husband, to be opened after his death. He hasn’t died, but she sits down to read it anyways. The content of the letter shakes up her world and calls her life into question. Two other women’s lives and stories remain interconnected as well, and as their individual lives unfold, connections begin to be made as their lives are woven together. How will Cecilia move forward with the truths from her husband’s letter, and how will the other women’s lives be impacted?
Here are a few quotes from the book:
“This was how it could be done. This was how you lived with a terrible secret. You just did it. You pretended everything was fine. You ignored the deep, cramplike pain in your stomach. You somehow anesthetized yourself so that nothing felt that bad, but nothing felt that good either.”
“Falling in love was easy.anyone could fall. It was holding on that was tricky”
“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It’s probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”
So how did I personally enjoy The Husband’s Secret? I would’ve given it a different rating at different points of the book, but overall I’d give it between a 4 and 4.5 (out of 5). There were some slow points even though I consistently enjoyed the story line. The epilogue was absolutely fantastic, and made the entire book worth it!
If you’re looking for more book reviews or suggestions, check out my book reviews page!
Happy Friday! This week I did something totally different for my nails, and used Essie’s Silk Watercolor set:
My friend had the abstract flower set, so it came with the solid white, along with a blueish-purple, green, and pink. I didn’t trust myself to be able to do the flowers with my left hand, so I decided to do random “brush strokes”. It was pretty fun 🙂
Here are some random facts from the week:
I saw these cute minion cookies at the grocery store, and had to scoop them up for Friday night dinner last week with friends. They were almost too cute to eat!
On another food note- I often talk about Oreos in these Friday Fact posts, so I thought I’d mention the new cupcake Oreos. They were delicious, but one of my friends said they were too chocolate-y for him. I loved them though!
The “follow up” book to The Selection Series, which I’ve been on hold for at the library since I read the series in January, finally came up for my Kindle this week! I’ve been really loving reading it!
I got this mahogany coconut candle right after Christmas, but have been holding onto it for “spring”- and apparently with the time change I felt like it was finally time to pull it out. It smells SO delicious!
I went to throw my top coat on this past weekend, and it was stuck (see below). It was fine two weeks ago, so I’m not sure what happened in the past two weeks to make it get all gloppy like that!
Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one random fact from your week? To you have a favorite scented candle?