The Little Things
April 17, 2017

As I mentioned earlier, in the month of April I’m playing The Minimalism Game! Since I’ve made it two weeks, I thought I’d type up a short little update on how it’s going.

Although the game is written to last a month, I originally committed to 15 days days, meaning I was committing to 120 items. However, I left it open to continue for as many days as I felt that I could. I’m now on day 17, meaning that I’ve gotten rid of 153 items.

minimalism game

My house doesn’t seem to look very different at all! It’s amazing how many items we have hidden away in closets, on book shelves, and in drawers. I know that it is, however, making my life easier because it means less to dig through when I’m cooking or getting dressed in the morning.

I’ve found it fairly easy to get rid of items this month, probably because I haven’t moved to more difficult items. For example, I went through a huge stack of magazines I had been putting aside in favor of reading (at the start of the year I decided to not subscribe to any magazines for the time being because it wasn’t adding value to my life). I went through 54 magazines this past week, and it felt good to be able to release all of those things (and makes my book shelf SO much nicer to look at!).

As I’ve started looking for items to get rid of, and as I continue to reflect on my time in Mexico, I realize more and more how I feel almost stressed from looking at the quantity of things in each room. This realization has made it a little easier to release things.

And now I’m rambling 🙂 I think I’m going to commit to 25 days of this game, and then I’ll decide where I’m at at that point.

Is anyone else playing along with the minimalism game this month?

April 10, 2017

After two solid months of reading, March was a slow down month for me. I was out of town for 17 days of the month, and the days that I was there were either prepping for a trip, unpacking, or working extra to make up for the times I’m gone. All that to say, reading got set aside, especially for the 9 days I was out of the country. In March, I read 8 books (total for the year is 39 books). Here’s what I read:

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Jen Hatmaker): wow- this book feels really tough to write anything about because it was just so thought provoking. Hatmaker writes about her journey with excess, as she chose seven areas of life to address, each for one month (including food and clothing). It felt convicting and motivating.

The Mothers (Brit Bennett): I gave it 4 stars. It was well written, and spanned the lives of two friends over many years. The reader gets the inside look at how a secret impacts friendship and community of the span of years. It was great!

Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card): My family read this book out loud when we got together at the start of last month. This is a book about Ender (just a child) who goes to a military type school and learns to play computer simulated war games. Through twists and turns he learns that he is to play a much bigger role in the world…

The Memory Book (Lara Avery): This story is about a young girl who as a disease that is making her lose her memory. Because of this, she chooses to start writing a book of things to remember for herself. This book confronts questions of living well when faced with a devastating diagnosis, and looks at how this impacts family and friends. I loved it.

The Magicians (Lev Grossman): I watched the first season on Netflix, so I decided to read the series! I enjoyed this first book, but was glad that I had watched the series first, as it made the book feel easier to follow. It’s like Hogwarts… except crazier.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (Mark Manson): This was interesting, and he definitely had some good stuff to say throughout.

Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion (Missy Franklin): I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it. There were multiple things I learned about Franklin’s life, and especially appreciated how she talked about the disappointments and life lessons learned from Rio.

Redwood Bend (Virgin River Series: Robyn Carr): I’m still slowly making my way through the series- I think I’m close to being done. I hope I am! I want to finish the series but I’m starting to get bored with the books.

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

April 4, 2017

I’ve been on a journey to simplify and create space for the things that I really value or that add value to my life for quite some time. My first trip to Mexico in 2015 took a tiny little seed and really kicked it off, and it’s sort of spiraled from there. In 2016 I got rid of an item a day for the year, but I think I actually ended up getting rid of 409 items. That felt good, of course, but it certainly didn’t feel like enough… especially after the ridiculous number of boxes that were delivered to my house when my parents sold my childhood home. I feel like I’m drowning in stuff, and I don’t like it.

The idea of doing the minimalism game hit in February I think, but walking through communities in Mexico really made me want to get rid of more things. So, this month, I’m playing the minimalism game!

minimalism game

Ok- so what’s the minimalism game? This is from The Minimalists. You get rid of one item the first time, two the second day, three third day, etc… through an entire month. Their rules are that you have to get the items out of your house by midnight that night. I’m mixing up the rules a bit:

First of all, I’m not set on doing it for a month. Maybe I will, but likely I won’t, especially since this is a busy month for me and because I’m injured. I’m hoping to go about two weeks. I calculated it and if I play for 15 days, I’ll be getting rid of 120 items. My rule is that I also don’t have to have it out of the house by midnight. Again, because I’m injured, I need to make this more realistic, so I have a space in a room where I have a donate box. I’ll deal with it at once instead of walking lots of extra steps.

I’m not going to post pictures every day of what I get rid of because that’s boring and adds no value to anyone else, but I’ll do a post at some point as I’m going along! If you want to play along with me, let me know!

 

March 29, 2017

Except for my post last week about my knee injury, it’s been pretty quiet in my corner of the world (including instagram- my name is littlethingscaroline there!), but for a great reason: I got the opportunity to go to Mexico again this year! I see and experience so many beautiful and difficult things while there each year, and it always takes me some time to process. But, I wanted to share with you all a few pictures of a place I love so dearly. I haven’t put many pictures on my computer yet, so these will have to suffice.  I was there volunteering, but at the work sites I was working, so the pictures I have are from the evenings or the one educational/fun day we had there.

Climbing through the Mayan Ruins of Tulum. On crutches, unfortunately, because I partially tore a tendon in my knee.

Dessert time one evening.

I look forward to this meal every year

One of my favorite places.

Like I said, I learn so much every year as I spend time in the communities around Cancun, and feel so thankful for the tiny (VERY tiny) role that I get to have in working with vulnerable children in this area. Now off to process, sleep… and try to find guacamole that will come a little close to comparing to the guac there!

March 22, 2017

In recent blog and instagram posts I’ve mentioned that I injured my knee. (it’s been just over 4 weeks now) So- I was outside “jogging” (I was not out on a run, but moving quickly on a side walk) and when my right foot hit the ground, I instantly felt a hot stabbing pain in what I described as inside my knee. I halted immediately for a second and then started to walk on. Something felt a little off, but it wasn’t painful to walk so I figured I just had a weird little tweak.

Over the course of the next several hours it got a bit more sore, and by that evening I was slightly limping. By the next afternoon I had it wrapped in an ace bandage and definitely had a limp, and by the next morning it was getting swollen and I had a weird little bruise on my knee cap.

Since then my knee has gotten even more swollen and it’s tough to put it straight or at a 90 degree angle. I was limping so badly that I finally gave in and got crutches (and now have to ask co-workers to get me things like water or coffee, which I don’t prefer to do!).

Anyways- I finally succumbed to getting an MRI, and it turns out that I partially tore my petallar tendon (no surgery needed, and it looks like it’s healing pretty well) and now have bursitis.

I’d heard of bursitis before but didn’t know what it was. Apparently we have little fluid filled sacs in our joints called bursa, so bursitis is an inflammation of that fluid sac. And it is painful and definitely limits my mobility.

I’m doing PT exercises to work on my range of motion, but am also in a brace that helps to compress and reduce some of my knee swelling, as well as being on crutches. So, it turns out the little “tweak” is having all sorts of impact on me. Gross.

I’m feeling pretty frustrated. I got achilles tendinitis just over a year ago, so while I’ve had many good runs at 4 miles and under, I’m pretty frustrated that I can’t seem to get above it right now. And, honestly, even more than that, I’m frustrated that I can’t even walk normally or without pain.

beach wheel chair and sunset

I’m thankful that I was able to go see my family for a week and really focus on resting it. I’m thankful they were able to get a wheel chair from a friend of theirs so I could still long distances at parks with them (we love our walks!) and I’m thankful that the beach had beach wheel chairs to rent (I tried using crutches on the beach and it just didn’t work so well at all!). And I’m thankful that I don’t need surgery!

Oh- I’m also thankful I still got to hang out with the alligators in the wild 🙂

March 15, 2017

Disclaimer: I received a pair of  oofos flip flops 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! 

Having feet that are in rough shape is nothing new to me. I grew up dancing, and have you ever seen the feet of someone who does pointe? YIKES! And now I run and bike and definitely get sore and achy muscles. I’ve spent the second half of my life searching for things that’ll help my muscles and feet feel better and spring back so I can have another solid work out.

When I first heard of Oofos flip flops last summer, I knew I had to try them, so when I had the option of doing so this month, I jumped on the chance to do so.

And then I hurt my knee. Cue very little walking and absolutely no biking or running for me. So, I can’t tell you how oofos works after intense work outs.

crutches and flip flops. Seems like a good combo, right?

Here’s what I can tell you: My feet still feel tired right now, especially my left foot as it is bearing way more weight than it usually does (my right knee is the injured one!). Each night I get home from work I just want to be done walking around, but I obviously can’t, and oofos has been amazing.

The first thing I noticed is the thickness of the sole. Look at it compared to my normal flip flop!

It’s a big difference, isn’t it?

When I put them on, I felt like my feet were getting hugged and like I was walking a bit on a cloud. I loved it! As I started walking around, I first noticed the great arch support that they have. I can guarantee that these guys are going to feel absolutely amazing to put on after runs (whenever I can get back to running!).

They have flip flops, sandals, and clogs that can all help with sore feet and recovery after runs. They also have the new “project pink” line of items. When items from this line (including my flip flops) are purchased, the company donates $10 to breast cancer research! I love buying products that also contribute to research, so the Project Pink line feels extra exciting to me!

You can learn more about oofos and their products here.

March 14, 2017

Disclaimer: I received coupons for free luvo meals 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! 

My life could be defined as a bit unpredictable. I mean, I have a set schedule each week, but I’m on call all the time, so at any minute I drop what I’m doing to respond (I absolutely love my job and it feels like an honor to get to do it)! Sometimes I unexpectedly get home at 10 or 11 pm and haven’t eaten dinner, and other times I get woken up by a phone ringing at 1 am and don’t get to sleep again that night- because of that, things with meals can be a bit tough. That’s where quick frozen meals come in to play.

But, a lot of freezer meals aren’t that healthy or balanced, so I’ve tried to avoid them as much as possible… until now. Enter Luvo meals.

These meals are healthy and include a protein, grain, and are delicious. Here’s a bit from their website: A full serving of fruits and veggies. Appropriate levels of sodium and sugar. High in fiber. Whole grains. Meats raised without antibiotics. That’s the kind of talk that gets us excited. Meals made with ingredients your body needs and flavors your taste buds will marvel over.

Now that’s something that I can get behind.

The meal that most stood out to me at the grocery store was the chicken mango meal that included whole grains, broccoli, and kale.

I opened the box up and found a pouch, which I put in the mircrowave for just over 5 minutes. After letting it sit for a minute I opened it up and slid the food out onto my plate! Easy!

IT. WAS. DELICIOUS. I would be happy with that quality of meal if I had purchased it from a restaurant, so having it in the comfort of my own home (and the microwave) feels like a luxury! I will 100% be purchasing more of this meal in particular- a favorite!

Another meal that I really enjoyed was the Tandoori-inspired spiced chicken, which included mango, brown and jasmine rice, broccoli, and cauliflower – and 19g of protein! It kept me full for several hours which is fantastic.

Some of the meals have milk in them, so with that I just take a lactose pill (if I haven’t had much other lactose in the week).

The meals are $4.29. For everything you’re getting, I feel like that’s a pretty good deal, but I wouldn’t do it every day. However, I will definitely be keeping these on hand for the last minute changes in my schedule or the nights I’m too tired to make dinner!

 

You can read more about Luvo and their products here.

 

March 12, 2017

Disclaimer: I received a UV reflective half buff 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! 

Oh Buff- let me count the ways that I love you! Seriously- I now own 5 or 6 buff products, and I love each of them dearly (I lived in my Buff hood when I went to Colorado for several very cold days back in January!). So, when an option to try out a reflective uv half buff popped up, I was immediately in, jumping up and down.

Seriously. Actual squealing when I opened up the package and saw this:

So pretty, right? The fabric is so fantastically comfy, does a great job at wicking sweat (I’ve worn my non-reflective uv half buff on all sorts of hikes, mountain climbs, runs, and bike rides), and protects from UV rays!

This buff is unique in that it has reflective strips on it, making you extra safe while you’re out on the roads!

Did I mention that they are so comfy and stay in place really well? I even wear mine around the house just for fun!

I haven’t been able to work out in this one yet, as I partially tore my patella tendon (and now I have bursitis… grrr….) and am trying to rest it as much as possible, but wearing this Buff has helped me stay focused on rest so that I can get out and use it as soon as possible!

Knee brace and buff. haha.

If you want to learn more about the UV reflective half buff, click here.

March 7, 2017

February is traditionally one of the lower (or lowest) reading months of the year (only read 3 books last February!), even after accounting for having fewer days. It kicks off my first busy season of the year, so after the slow month of January I have far less time to read. That being said, I still try to read a bit before bed every night. In February I read 12 books (and am at 31 books for the year!).

Here’s what I read:

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House (Brower): I’m not sure where I learned about this book, but as soon as I read the description on goodreads, I was intrigued. This book interviews the staff of the White House throughout administrations including the Kennedys, Johnsons, Reagans, Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas. It was absolutely fascinating.

Winter Storms (Hilderbrand): This was book 3 in the Winter series (I read the first two books in January). The series takes place on Nantucket and follows the lives of a family who owns an inn (plus some of their friends). It resolved the story lines from the first two books and it was definitely a fun read during the winter.

Winter Garden (Hannah): I’ve read other books by this author and enjoyed them, but knew nothing about this book going into reading it. Short story: I adored it. The book goes in depth into the relationship between mother and daughter, of sisters, of family dynamics. It takes place in the present and in the past, and merges these two together. The end of the book made my heart ache so deeply and I wanted to cry for quite awhile. I’m not sure my heart has felt simultaneously so heavy and so wonderfully about the same story. I so appreciate the author’s ability to take the reader to deep emotion as she walks them through the story.

Shockaholic (Fisher): Another book by Carrie Fisher, which was narrated by her in the audiobook version. She shared several interesting family stories throughout the book that I enjoyed hearing about. 3 out of 5 stars.

The Magnolia Story (Gaines): I’ve only watched a few episodes of HGTV’s fixer upper, so I went into this book not really knowing much about them. I enjoyed the book and learning more about what lead them to one another and to their hit TV show.

The Perfect Letter (Harrison): This is written by Chris Harrison, host of the Bachelor, so I’m a little embarrassed to even say that I read this. It was an interesting story.

Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways To Love Your Body (Kate Hudson): I was really disappointed in this book, and gave it a 2 out of 5 stars. I loved some of the stuff she talked about at the beginning of the book, focusing on engaging with emotion and the idea of “being present in your body”. It went downhill after the first 25% of the book.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (Sandberg): I read this book 2 years ago, but decided to read it again since I got a new leadership position in the last year. She normalizes feelings that many women in the workplace experience, puts challenges to sit down at the table, and speaks so much truth.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story (Leaming): I have no idea what drew me to download this audiobook from the library, but I randomly did before a run and ended up really enjoying this book. I don’t know much about Jackie, especially outside of her years as first lady, so I found this book about her life from birth to death especially fascinating.

Commonwealth (Patchett): Hmm. Not sure how I felt about it. Some parts seemed to drag endlessly on. Reading the description and hearing others’ reviews of this, I assumed that I would absolutely love this book, but I didn’t. Gave it a 3.75

I Know How She Does It (Vanderkam): A book about “how they do it” for women! It felt like a pretty realistic look at the ways that women can make time for relationships, leisure, etc…, offering multiple looks into ways that this is done. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Hidden Summit (Carr): This is the next book in the Virgin River series that I’ve been slowly going through for the past several months. 3 stars- one of my least favorite of the series.

If you read anything from this month: Winter Garden and The Residence.

Now it’s your turn to share! What are you reading currently?

February 27, 2017

Wow, February flew by. I’m sure the nice weather and weeks of sunshine and temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s have helped! February kicks off one of my busy seasons for the year, so I’ve worked a whole lot of extra hours in the evenings and on the weekends, but am intention to balance in some extra self-care moments too. Here are some “currently’s” for the month!

Currently Drinking: Fika Latte! This is a latte with lavender, honey, and espresso and it’s delicious! In Sweden, Fika suggests “to have coffee”.

Currently Eating: CURRY! I have been increasingly obsessed with curry over the last year and a half or so, and just made it last week (and maybe ate it 4 dinners in a row).

Currently listening to: The Liturgist’s Podcast (specifically the one on the enneagram).

Currently Watching: While I’m typing this, I’m watching Hunted on CBS. I think it’s interesting to see how people evade being captured (it’s a reality show). I’ve also been pretty obsessed this month with watching Madam Secretary, which I finally just caught up with!

Currently Reading: I read so many things at the same time. I’m currently reading Lean In, A Grace Revealed, a book by Robyn Carr, and Carry On, Warrior.

Currently Smelling: My sparkling icicles scented candle from Bath and Body Works. It is pretty much my favorite candle ever… at least in the winter 🙂

Currently Excited for: A few presentations that I’ve done/am doing in a 10 day period. I actually enjoy public speaking for the most part (I hated it in college and broke out in hives during a few presentations!). These presentations are on all sorts of topics I feel passionately about, so they feel life giving. I’m also looking forward to getting to see my brother in the next few weeks (I haven’t seen him since July 4th!).

Currently Wearing: Air Force Sweatpants, a knee brace, a plaid shirt, and cat slippers. haha. On my nails I’m wearing OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark with bronze glitter on top!

Currently Loving: The beautiful February we’ve had! I’ve had time to get some stuff done in the yard like picking up sticks that have fallen since I last raked in November, as well as cleaning up some extra leaves that have fallen throughout the winter.

I’m also loving lifting weights since I did Lean Body Bootcamp (check out Trainer Paige’s program!) in January and February.

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