The Little Things
August 11, 2017

Happy Friday! This week I’m wearing Essie’s Fiji nail polish.

 

I really love this color, and wish I could wear it more (but I wish that about most of my colors). It’s such a beautiful pastel color. If I didn’t put glitter on top, I probably would do 3 coats instead of the 2 I’ve done in the picture above.

Now on to some random facts for the week:

Cicada shells are EVERYWHERE right now. I mean, they are all over my fences, trees, on my front porch, etc… They are kind of cool and kind of make my skin crawl… at the same time.

My co-workers took me out for a delicious birthday lunch. Look at how huge that chai is (and it was SO delicious!)

Last week we had a retreat at work, and spent the night out in the country. I love the property, the flowers… and all the animals running about. I came back to the house to grab a sweatshirt and had to wait until one of these buddies moved…

These flowers. I wish I had some sort of flower service that would drop a now little bouquet of flowers at work every other week. They just make my office feel extra cheery.

I have a whole inside joke about tater tots with a friend. So, for my birthday, he brought me two large containers of tater tots. I managed to eat almost all of them (insert all the emoji faces right here).

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one random fact from your week?

August 8, 2017

August already?! SLOW DOWN SUMMER! This month I felt like I was *barely* reading anything, but I ended up reading 12 books this month. That brings my total for the year to 88 books.

The Hopefuls (Jennifer Close): A book about 20-somethings engaging in the political process, both in D.C. and in Texas.

A Little Thing Called Life (Linda Thompson): Ok- this was so interesting. Thompson is Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner’s  (she refers to him as Bruce to delineate before and after transition) former wife. She also dated Elvis for several years, and I found those years of particular interest. This made for a great audiobook.

Wishful Drinking (Carrie Fisher): I’ve enjoyed listening to Fisher’s audiobooks to learn more about her life. 3.5/5 stars

Luckiest Girl Alive (Jessica Knoll): This was really interesting. I actually started reading this book in the Fall of 2015, but that was a hectic time of my life so I set it aside. A bit of a mystery/very tame thriller, and it kept me hooked. 3.5/5 stars

Option B (Sheryl Sandberg): This is Sanberg’s recent book, written after the sudden death of her husband. This book is about living meaningful in the option B, when it’s not possible to have option A. When people talk about their grief journey and processing I feel like it’s beneficial, and she did a great job in being vulnerable about what her journey was like. 4/5 stars

Between Heaven and The Real World (Steven Curtis Chapman): I listened to Chapman’s music growing up, so I really enjoyed learning more about Chapman as a person. I especially appreciated the honesty and vulnerability expressed about his daughter’s death.

Kris Jenner… and All Things Kardashian (Kris Jenner): haha- I sort of wish I didn’t need to admit that I read this. That being said, Jenner’s perspective on OJ’s trial, as well as her friendship with Nicole, were fairly interesting. 3/5 stars

Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors (Janina Fisher): I read this slowly over the past 2 months, and I deeply enjoyed it. As a counselor, I’m consistently trying to read and explore new ways of doing things. I found this book fascinating and so helpful.

The Road Back to You (Ian Cron & Suzanne Stabile): I could write a whole post about this. This book is about the Enneagram, a 9 type personality that is rich with history. They talk through each of the types, and include steps for growth towards health for each type. I find that there is so much understanding and empathy that comes from understanding these 9 types!

The is How it Always Is (Laurie Frankel): A story about family secrets and the lengths that families go to hide them. I appreciated the “behind the scenes” wrestling the parents did about what was right in the “situation” (the secret), and I found the book well written. I enjoyed this.

Being White: The title of this book is slightly misleading, as this book is more about the privileges that come with being white, as well as the healthy process to get outside of one’s self and engage with other cultures and races. Parts of it were pretty good, although this isn’t the first book I’d recommend regarding race or privilege.

To Kill A  Mockingbird (Harper Lee): I’ve read this book twice before (once in middle school and once in high school), so I thought it was also time to read it again. I forgot just how good this book is, and I will definitely read it a 4th time…

If you are going to read anything from this month, I’d suggest the following: To Kill A Mockingbird, The Road Back to You, and Option B.

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one book on your “to read” list? 

August 4, 2017

Happy Friday! This week I’m wearing Essie’s Tart Deco with silver glitter on top.

I really love this color, especially in June and July when I have a little sun on me. For the most part two coats covers my nails, but there are occasionally small spots that are a little see through. That’s fine with glitter on top, but I’d probably do three coats if I didn’t put any sparkle on top.

On to some facts for the week:

1. When I find this on sale, I like to snatch a few up! I love the lime flavor and the lemon ginger one the most.

2. A friend’s birthday was a few weeks ago, and she wanted to go paint pottery for her birthday. A group of us went, and I painted this little bud vase! I’m not artsy at all, but it was a lot of fun to paint, and I’m excited to use this over the summer and fall with flowers from my garden.

3. I haven’t read To Kill A Mockingbird since high school, but on Monday I decided that I needed to read it again. I’ve been listening to the audiobook this week and have really been enjoying it.

4. My new secretary started this week, and I’ve spent the week training her a bit, getting to know her, etc… My last one I worked with since 2009, so it was really really sad to see her go. I’m really excited about the one who just started this week, though, and am excited to have her as part of our team!

5. I’ve loved having fires the past few weeks, enjoying quiet and stillness. On Sunday I enjoyed a by myself fire while reading- so relaxing!

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one random fact from your week?

July 21, 2017

Feeling positive about ourselves (or others, or our situation, or ____ (fill in the blank) can be difficult, right? In so many ways complaining, grumbling, or negative thoughts are what’s natural, and they’re what comes easily. However, we aren’t victims to our own thoughts (even when it feels that way). I know I’ve said many times on this blog that words have meanings, so I want to give you a little tool today to help aid you in feeling positive and healthy towards yourself, others, or a particular situation you might find yourself in in life.

The 5:1 rule. John Gottman, a psychology professor, had a “love lab” at the University of Washington. There, he studied couples, following them over the course of many years. One of his findings was the 5:1 rule. In relationships, to feel positive and happy about the other person and the relationship as a whole, there needed to be 5 positive interactions for each negative interaction. 

Let that sink in for a minute! It’s not a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio. Clearly, as humans, the negative has a much bigger impact on us than the positive, which is why we need so many more positive interactions to help balance our the negative interactions that we have.

So I’m going to take this a step further. While this rule was outlined for couples, let’s expand it to ourselves, our relationships, and the situations in which we find ourselves. What if we allowed the 5:1 rule to play out in each of them as well?

When you’re struggling with feeling positive about yourself, someone you have to interact regularly with, or a situation you’re in (i.e. WINTER), you can choose to repeat positive or negative things to yourself. If you repeat the negative over and over, you’re of course going to feel negative, but if you train your thoughts on the positive, then perhaps you’ll find that your emotions might follow suit.

It’s worth the risk of trying, right?

July 21, 2017

DO you remember when I used to do my weekly nail polish and friday facts posts each Friday? When I went back to search on my blog it appears the last time I did one was March of 2016! For whatever reason I just felt like doing one this week, so here goes!

This week I’m wearing a new-to-me color: Essie’s baguette me not. (I put Essie’s set in stones glitter on top– because life is better with sparkle)

 

It’s a nice lavender color. It went on really smoothly, and 2 coats was sufficient to cover it up. It’s such a fun spring and summer color! And I realized that I accidentally matched my dress and nails this week- oops!

Ok- here are some Friday facts for the week!

My knee has been injured for 22 weeks now (UGH), but I’m finally to the point where I can swim comfortably. I need to write a full post on this but… I swam a mile earlier this week! It felt great to be able to get in a “longer workout” again, especially since the water feels so good on my knee.

Look at those goggle lined eyes🙈😬 I went early early this morning to the pool and swam a full mile! My first mile since 2013, and it felt great! #swimming #goggles #gogglelines #exercise #physicaltherapy #torntendon #kneeinjury

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I’ve added a few new plants to my yard this year, including these sunflowers and hydragenas. I can’t stop with the flowers… and I don’t want to. They feel good for my soul.

In mid-May I finally bought a Hydro Flask for myself, and I have been loving it all summer! It’s super easy to take with me (and I’m a firm believer of keeping water on me most of the time, especially in the summer), and because it’s insulated it keeps water cold for hours (seriously- the other night around 5 pm I put a bunch of ice and water in it, took it to a friend’s house, came home and went to bed, and there was still ice in it in the morning!). I’ve been loving it!

The key lime oreos that are out this summer- pure deliciousness!

I went into a meeting yesterday at work (it was 4 hours long), so I came prepared with snacks and all the fluids to stay hydrated. I may have been laughed at by almost everyone around the table… 🙂

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one fun fact from your week?

 

 

July 17, 2017

Happy Monday! I haven’t done a “currently” post in awhile, and since I’m loving all things summer, I thought that I’d put one up!

Currently Drinking: SO much lemonade. I unfortunately get heartburn after drinking it more than 2-3 days in a row, but I can’t stop because… summer. It’s delicious.

Currently Eating: All the cherries. Since the third week of May I’ve eaten cherries 5-6 days a week, and I am enjoying them as much as possible as their season ends. I look forward to cherry season every year.

I’m also enjoying all the summer oreos- like these dunkin donuts mocha ones!

Currently listening to: Despacito because it’s summer and such a fun song! I’m also listening to a whole lot of podcasts.

Currently Watching: Switched at Birth. I started watching the show on July 4th, and I’ve made it through the first season. I am really enjoying it so far.

Currently Reading: Lots of books! I’m currently rotating through a book on trauma, the book “Being White”, the book “The Road Back to You” about the enneagram types of personality (there are 9), and “The Last Battle” which is the final book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis.

Currently Smelling: Love & Sunshine lotion from Bath & Body Works- it smells like delicious summer! I’ve also been burning the Bath & Body Works Midnight Blue Citrus candle.

Currently Excited for: Honestly I just consistently look forward to pool time. I’m looking forward to being able to bike outside, being able to run again, and to spend as much time as I can outside while it’s still nice and warm!

Currently Wearing: My knee brace- my ever present companion for the last 21 weeks. Dresses to work, work out clothes most of the rest of the time unless I’m at the pool! I love summer clothes.

Currently Loving: A more relaxed summer schedule. I crave June, July, and August (although I find all sorts of ways to enjoy the rest of the year) due to a lighter work load, extended daylight to spend time outside, and time with flowers. I’m also loving having a pool to go to this summer.

 

Now it’s your turn to share! What are some of your “currently” statements for the month?

July 10, 2017

On July 10, 2014 I sat down in a chair and got my very first tattoo. I’ve spent three years thinking about the tattoo and explaining it to others. I’ve never regretted having the tattoo at all, and I love being able to share some of the story behind it (I tell the story of my it is well tattoo here). I find myself often staring at it, and it’s become a solid and grounding reminder to myself in difficult moments.

But recently, in the last few months, I’ve noticed something else emerge as well. This tattoo feels that it has become a part of me at a much deeper level. It feels that there would be something deeply missing from me without it, and I love it. The tattoo has slowly worked its way in to an increasingly more meaningful place in my life, integrating into the whole of who I am and what I’m about.

Tattoos have a cool way of doing that.

Now it’s your turn to share! Do you have a tattoo? If so- what is it and what’s the story behind it?

July 5, 2017

I love summer for so many reasons, including some extra time I have to read (and the time I have to read outdoors!). This month I read 14 books (I was at 62 books at the end of May), and have read 76 books so far for the year.

Here’s what I read this month:

A Gentleman in Moscow (Towles): I was really excited to read this book book, and I was a bit disappointed. I wonder if reading this particular book would’ve been better than listening to the audiobook. I just felt sort of… bored… throughout it. However, there were some really beautifully written passages though. 3/5 stars

My Name is Lucy Barton (Strout): I really enjoyed this book. This is written as an autobiography but it’s a fictional character, and I thought it was brilliantly done. This was a very quick read. 4/5 stars

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works (Harris): This book is written by a reporter who had a panic attack on Good Morning America. This story is his journey to find a sense of inner calm and joy in the middle of a fast paced and hectic career. 4/5 stars

Everything, Everything (Yoon): A book about a teenage girl who is allergic to almost everything, and is therefore stuck in her house. A family moves in next door, and she’s confronted with life outside her house. Again, a quick read, and I really enjoyed it. 4/5 stars

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (Shetterly): I have been REALLY really excited to read this book. I actually started reading this in April, but just couldn’t get hooked. I felt like there was way too much unnecessary detail given that made it drag on a bit. So, I returned the book and requested the audiobook, and that definitely helped. Can you find yourself both inspired and bored by the same book? There were parts I found so absolutely fascinating and inspiring and interesting. It was a very interesting story before, and one I previously knew nothing about. 3.5/5 stars

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America (Dyson): The title is pretty self-explanatory. This book discusses various aspects of racism and inequality, and the author shares some of his own personal stories as well. Many good reflections, challenges, and truths throughout the book. I value his vulnerability in sharing parts of his own story throughout.

Pride Over Pity (Lowry): Written by a person who was on 16 and Pregnant is on Teen Mom 2. I thought her story was interesting, especially some of the things that happened that the show didn’t show (or happened before she was on the show). 3/5 stars

The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country (Russell): The author moves to Denmark for her husband’s job, and this book is her account, month by month, of differences she notices and lessons she’s learned about how the people in the “world’s happiest country” lives. It was interesting… 3.5/5 stars

Measure of a Man: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents’ Tailor (Greenfield): The title pretty well explains the book. I love stories of courage and resilience. It was inspiring how he took the horror he lived through and lived meaningfully afterwards. I listened to the audiobook and it was great. 4/5 stars

A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life (Sittser): Sittser lost his mom, wife, and daughter in a car accident, and wrote his story in his book A Grace Disguised (I really love that book). In this sort of “follow up” book, he talks through the aspects of a good story, overlaying that with his own life experiences. 4/5 stars

Gossip Girl #1 (Ziegesar):  I watched Gossip Girl two summers ago, and I had a real desire to watch it again this summer. But then I found that there was a Gossip Girl book series and jumped right in. I’m not sure how I would’ve liked the book without seeing the show first, but I enjoyed it.

Barefoot (Hilderbrand): I actually had started this book last summer and then abandoned it within the first twenty pages because I felt a bit bored by it. I decided to try again this summer, and I’m glad I did. This was a fun and quick read taking place on Nantucket, following the lives of two sisters and one of their friends. Their summer takes some unexpected turns, and the trio of girls has to do their best to deal with all that has unfolded. 3/5 stars

Love and First Sight (Sundquist): I listened to this on audiobook, and I couldn’t force myself to stop listening. This follows the story of a high school boy who is blind and starts at a new school. It follows him as he confronts questions about his lack of ability to see, how he thinks about relationships, and what he wants out of his life. 4/5 stars

You Know You Love Me (Gossip Girl #2) (Ziegesar): This is the 2nd book from the gossip girl series. Fun and quick to listen to.

So that’s what I read for the month. If you’re going to read anything from this list, here’s what I would suggest: Love and First Sight and Everything, Everything.

Now it’s your turn to share! What book are you most looking forward to reading this summer?

 

June 26, 2017

18 WEEKS 🙁

When I hurt my knee 18 weeks ago, I’m so glad that I had no idea how long this healing process would take, because I would’ve felt incredibly overwhelmed by it all.

The question I keep getting from friends and people at work is “are you noticing any changes?”

The answer is: YES! A huge yes!

When I was in Florida over Memorial day, I was able to get into the pool and that helped to loosen my knee up a good amount, which has increased my range of motion. YAY!!

I’m able to walk longer distances and am down to only one crutch, which still provides a bit of weight off my knee while walking. I’m also walking more (short) distances with no crutches, which feels unbelievable. The fact that I can more easily get myself coffee or water or food feels so relieving.

And, a huge development happened a few weeks ago: I’ve been able to bike! I’m going for very short times 1-2 times a week, and it’s so painfully slow, but I don’t really care (ok- I a little bit care) because I’m biking-ish again and it feels so good (also weird and sometimes a little tight and painful).

See that pace? I’m pretty much moving at toddler pace, but I’m taking every minute I can get.

I’m still sitting a bit more, am wearing the compression sleeve, ice massaging, and putting my legs up on the well to help decrease fluid in my legs (bonus: this helps with POTS) as well.

So- am I close to running? I don’t think so. I don’t think I’m close to doing rides outside either, which grieves me a bit because it’s summer and gorgeous biking weather. But, I’m seeing progress and I’ll take it. 18 weeks down… I don’t know how many more to go…

June 5, 2017

Happy summer time! May signals a change to my summer schedule (the last week of the month), so I’m enjoying a slower rhythm, more nights chilling on my back porch, and more time to read! I also spent the last week of the month in Florida (I had a work thing down there), so I had some extra time to read around the pool and on the beach! In May I read 15 books, bringing my total to 62 books this year (for interests sake, I went to see when I hit 62 books last year- I did on July 18th). At the end of the post I’ll share my must read books from the month.

Here’s what I read in May:

Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home (Laura & Lisa Ling): Last month I read a book by the other reporter who was imprisoned in North Korea, so this month I decided to read about the situation from the Ling sisters’ perspectives. It was incredibly interesting, and was a really quick read.

At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe (Tsh Oxenreider): I really loved this book. The author’s family packed up and went on an almost year long tour around the world, living in various countries. This was a delightful book, and I so enjoyed not only reading about various parts of the world, but also the lessons the author learned about herself along the way. 4/5 stars.

I Got This: To Gold and Beyond (Laurie Hernandez): This book was written by one of the gymnasts from the 2016 women’s gymnastics team in Rio. This was an interesting, quick, and fun read, and I loved reading about her experiences in Rio and on Dancing With the Stars.

The Magician’s Land (Lev Grossman): The third book in the Magician’s series. It was interesting, and I appreciated some of the ways that he tied up the storylines.

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands (Lysa TerKeurst): I actually didn’t even write anything about this book on goodreads, although I did give it 3/5 stars. There were some good takeaways sprinkled throughout.

This is How You Lose Her (Junot Diaz): I didn’t prefer the style of writing within this series of short stories. Quite honestly, I also didn’t love the main character at all, so it was hard for me to desire to know what came next for him or to root for him. 2/5 stars

Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path (Erin Loechner): I listened to this via audiobook, and I enjoyed it. The author was open about her journey to “slow” and more intentional living, and I appreciated the ways that she acknowledged how she was changing without making it “all or nothing”. 3.75/5 stars

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely (Lysa TerKeurst): Again, she makes several good points throughout the book, but I still found myself a bit internally torn without words to put to why I was feeling that way. 3/5 stars

The Secrets of My Life (Caitlyn Jenner): This book was absolutely fascinating. I really enjoyed hearing more about her life growing up, the interactions with OJ Simpson (and how the whole trial played out within the family), his time with the Kardashians, and the candidness in talking about the transition.

Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood (Trevor Noah): I didn’t know anything about the author before I read this book, and I found his story to be incredibly interesting. I found myself feeling thankful for his vulnerability and what he shared. I also appreciated the moments he stepped away from his story and gave a few pages of history and context for what was happening within apartheid, and then placed his story in that context. A must read. 4.5/5 stars

Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Wisdom and Virtues (Laura Ingalls Wilder): This was a random choice in books, but I really loved The Little House on the Prairie series. I wouldn’t read it again, but there were moments that were slightly interesting.

Firefly Lane #1 (Kristin Hannah): i had a bit of a hard time initially getting into this book, but by about 30% through I couldn’t put it down. There were a few moments that dragged, but otherwise I was hooked. I may have even cried a little bit at the end, which was especially awkward since I was reading it on the plane. 4/5 stars.

The Silver Chair (Chronicles of Narnia) (C.S. Lewis): I’m slowly making my way through the Chronicles of Narnia (I started in the late winter/early spring of 2014), and this is the 2nd to last one. I’ve still struggled with the fact that the entire series doesn’t revolve around the 4 siblings, so every book has been a slight disappointment because of that.

What We Find (Sullivan’s Crossing #1) (Robyn Carr): This story takes place out west, based at a family’s store on a hiking trail. It was a fun story about careers, love and family.

The Rumor (Elin Hilderbrand): On vacation I love to read at least one book that takes place at a beach, and this trip this was the book! This book takes place on Nantucket, and actually has a quick reference to a book I read two years ago over Memorial Day (The Castaways). It was a fun, quick read.

Here are my “must reads” for the month: At Home In The World, Born a Crime, and Firefly Lane. All three are very different, so there’s a nice balance there!

Now it’s your turn to share! What book are you looking forward to reading this summer?