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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Your Yearly Reminder to Stop & Savor.

I write some version of this post every year, and just like always, it's just as much for me as for anyone who may read it. 

Here we are, less than two weeks out from Christmas. Things tend to start to get a little hectic around this time, so I wanted to drop in with my yearly reminder for you to slow down and savor.

'Tis the season for gifts and parties and lots of plans, yes. It's also the season for joy and gratitude and wonder. Don't lose those last three because you're so caught up in the first three. 

Joy and gratitude and wonder are all free, but you have to look for them. And, in my personal experience, it's a lot harder to find them if you're running around at light speed trying to do all the things. 

So this week, slow the heck down for a minute or two and just savor the good things around you. Listen to your favorite Christmas music. Actually look at the Christmas lights in your neighborhood instead of just rushing to get home so you can rush to the next thing. Don't run yourself so ragged that you arrive at Christmas day exhausted and stressed over how much money you've spent. That's no way to start the new year. 

This time of year is beautiful and special for so many reasons other than what you can buy or what you have to do. So don't miss that! 

Have the best day today. Do yourself a favor and savor the week, okay? Love you, mean it. 

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Happy Festivus! An Airing of Grievances.

My friend Lindsay (who, side note, is one of my favorite bloggers. Like, I'd continue to read her blog even if I was no longer a blogger because it's just the best) does a yearly Airing of Grievances post inspired by Festivus. When she announced it early this time, I knew I had to join her this year.

So, without further ado...things that have disappointed me this year: 
Paying for Amazon Prime only for two-day shipping to turn into five-day shipping that may or may not ever actually get there. 

People who try to corner me into an argument about things that cannot be argued with logic. 

The fact that I so often fall for it and get sucked into these arguments. 

Clothes that no matter how careful I am to wash in cold water and not dry, will shrink the second they're washed. 

How in some brands I'm an XS and in some brands I have to get an XL to even maybe be able to squeeze into it. 

The fact that, of all things, SHOES cannot just be universal sizes. It's supposed to be INCHES. HOW DOES IT VARY SO MUCH BRAND TO BRAND?????
People who can't let you say something without pointing out how they are more ___ than you. If you are cold, they are COLDER. If you say you're tired, they're like "LOL YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TIRED IS UNTIL YOU HAVED LIVED THESE EXACT SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES I AM LIVING." 
The fact that vegetables just do not taste as good as unhealthy crap. They just don't. 

People who slide into my DMs trying to sell me something by being rude. "I couldn't help but notice you could use my help losing those last few pounds." BYE, SUSAN. 

People who say, "must be nice!" 

The fact that my phone autocorrects "Mondays" to "Monday's" even though I have literally never typed out a sentence about something belonging to Monday.

People / bloggers / brands who label clothing as "Mom friendly."

Meetings that could have easily been emails.  

Unsolicited parenting advice. 

When someone texts me and says "Call me." No, you call me. And if I don't answer JUST TEXT ME, OKAY?

Whew, I feel better. Your turn! What grievances are you airing today?
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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Things That Should Be on YOUR Christmas List.

It's that time of year where the internet is brimming with gift guides and I LOVE it. My friends Lindsay, Jordyn, and Kait have some great ones if you're looking to buy gifts for your friends! However, If you're anything like me, when someone in your life asks you what you want for Christmas, your mind looks something like this: 

"Christmas? Gifts? What are those? What are my interest? Do I even like things? Have I ever had a hobby?"

Or, you know, something like that. 

So, to help you out, here are some ideas of things to put on your Christmas list. And not like, I saw these online and think they would be good gifts, but I actually own these and love them and would be thrilled to get them as gifts kinda gifts.

Under $10: 

A beanie with a hole for your ponytail. || Can't stop, won't stop wearing this. Also it was $13 when I bought it and it's currently under $5!

A frother for your morning coffee. || I truly think this was the best $6 I spent in 2018.

This nail polish that dries within 60 seconds. || I seriously can't use anything else anymore now that I know this exists. 

These silicone reusable straws that help you drink more water. || They're also the perfect width for a smoothie straw! 

This ice roller to make all your face puff disappear. || File under "Things I had no idea existed but not can't live without."

This sleep mask you can put in the freezer. || Block out all the light and get rid of puffy eyes all at once. 

Under $25: 

A facemask that will last you forever. || Cheapest, best face mask ever. 

This magical zits-be-gone potion. || You know what 2019 doesn't need? Breakouts. This stuff is magic. Put a tiny bit on your zit before you go to sleep, wake up with it basically gone. 

A natural way to sleep good without any crazy dreams. || Melatonin puts me to sleep, but gives me nightmares. I put up with it (because ya girl can't sleep to save her life) until I found this. 

This lotion that smells like vacation and tightens everything up. || It's technically for your bum, but I put it everywhere! It smells like summer.

These blender bombs that will take your smoothie to the next level. || These simplify making  smoothies AND they taste amazing. 

This planner that fits all your notebooks into one pretty binder. || The planner to end all planners. 

Under $50:

This One-Step hair dryer & styler. || If you're anything like me and find it difficult to hold a brush and a hair dryer at the same time, this is for you.

This plush robe. || I wear this allll the time. It's the coziest. 

Treat Yo'Self:

The Spanx Leggings. || If someone wants to buy you a splurge kinda gift, these are SO worth it. 

The Beachwaver. || I can't say enough good things about this. It takes the guesswork out of curling your hair. It takes me less than 10 minutes to curl ALL my hair with this. 

What's on your Christmas list this year?

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Spending December: A To-Do List For Adventuring Through Your Month.

It's the most magical month of the yearrrrrr! And there are 31 days of magic we get to choose how to spend. I have a few ideas of how you should spend them. 

1. Start an Advent calendar / reading plan. Yes, we're a few days late. Yes, you can still do it. 

2. Donate to those in need. There are most likely things in your kitchen that you could donate to a local food pantry and not miss at all, but they could make someone's whole holiday so much better. 

3. Make a playlist of your very favorite Christmas songs. Blast said playlist as often as possible. 

4. Decorate for Christmas! Whether you go all out or get a mini tree from the dollar store, do whatever makes you happy.

5. Watch Elf. Not in the Christmas spirit yet? We can fix that. 

6. Mail someone a Christmas card. Bonus points if it's someone who wouldn't expect one. 

7. Look up festive things happening in your town this month. 

8. Get some holiday coffee. Highly recommend the Archer Farms candy cane and gingerbread flavors, both at Target.

9. Declutter. Especially if you have a kid who will be receiving toys for Christmas. Toss/donate old toys.

10. Give someone a gift in secret. LOVE Secret Santa in real life. 

11. Bake Christmas treats. 

12. Watch your favorite Christmas movie.

13. Watch a Christmas movie you've never seen before. 

14. Go take Santa pics. Take your kid or your pet and then please share these pictures. I have two years of priceless Santa pics with Jack, really hoping for a third funny one. 

15. Get dressed up. There's just something about getting dressed up in December. You can get fancier than normal and it just feels right. 

16. If you live in driving distance of Orlando, go to Grinchmas at Universal! I mean, I personally think it's even worth getting on a plane for. It's my FAVORITE. 

17. Do something that has nothing to do with your to-do list. Take a break and check in with yourself. Don't get so busy doing all the things that you don't enjoy this season. 

18. Have a Christmas dinner party. Whether you invite over the whole neighborhood or just cook your favorite festive things and watch a movie, both are perfect. 

19. Make hot chocolate. Get fancy with it! 

20. What's the one thing that always makes it feel like Christmas to you? Do that one thing. 

21. Make your last-minute Christmas shopping a festive celebration. Last minute shopping used to stress me out to NO END. But the last few years, I've made it into a celebration...Christmas music, peppermint mochas, enjoying all the store's decorations. 

22. Go to a Christmas service. Regardless of your faith, there's something incredibly peaceful about Christmas services. 

23. Go look at Christmas lights. 

24. Celebrate Christmas Eve! My favorite day of the year! 

25. MERRY CHRISTMAS! Make it the best one ever! 

26. Have the MOST lazy day. Yesterday was probably crazy, take a break today! 

27. Spend some time reflecting on 2018. What do you hope to be different in 2019?

28. Write 2018 a letter. 

29. Write 2019 a letter. 

30. Set some goals! Whatcha gonna do with this new year headed your way?

31. Celebrate New Years! 

How will you be spending December?
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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Books I Read in November (& Whether or Not You Should Read Them).

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza 

Plot: "An outrageously funny novel about one woman's attempt--through clay diets, naked yoga, green juice, and cultish workout classes--to win back her career, save her best friend, and lose thirty pounds.

When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin--the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin--her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, and no, her beautifully cut trousers don't fit like they used to, so Janey throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants and spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues. 

At a juice shop she meets Jacob, a cute young guy who takes her dumpster-diving outside Whole Foods on their first date. At a shaman's tea ceremony she meets Hugh, a silver fox who holds her hand through an ayahuasca hallucination And at a secret exercise studio Janey meets Sara Strong, the wildly popular workout guru whose special dance routine has starlets and wealthy women flocking to her for results that seem too good to be true. As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can't help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place? 

A hilarious send-up of the health and wellness industry, Fitness Junkie is a glorious romp through the absurd landscape of our weight-obsessed culture." 

Favorite quote: “Have we all become so desperate to share everything that we’ve stopped enjoying our lives?”

My thoughts: I love when a book is lighthearted and fun but still manages to cover some serious topics. This one fit the bill perfectly. I laughed out loud several times but also nodded along thinking ugh yes, that's so true. 
Should you read it? YES.
Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

Plot: "For Mike Muñoz, a young Chicano living in Washington State, life has been a whole lot of waiting for something to happen. Not too many years out of high school and still doing menial work - and just fired from his latest gig as a lawn boy on a landscaping crew - he knows that he's got to be the one to shake things up if he's ever going to change his life. But how?

In this funny, angry, touching, and ultimately deeply inspiring novel, best-selling author Jonathan Evison takes the reader into the heart and mind of a young man on a journey to discover himself, a search to find the secret to achieving the American dream of happiness and prosperity. That's the birthright for all Americans, isn't it? If so, then what is Mike Muñoz's problem? Though he tries time and again to get his foot on the first rung of that ladder to success, he can't seem to get a break. But then things start to change for Mike, and after a raucous, jarring, and challenging trip, he finds he can finally see the future and his place in it. And it's looking really good.
Lawn Boy is an important, entertaining, and completely winning novel about social class distinctions, about overcoming cultural discrimination, and about standing up for oneself."

Favorite quote: “Friends,” Andrew says, the candlelight hitting his braces just so. “It’s true, we all rage. We all hate. We all fail. But . . .” And here, he raises a finger, pausing for dramatic effect, something he learned at his Toastmasters group. “That rage and contempt, that disappointment, that’s what makes us yearn so hard. Those deficits, they make us reach, they stretch us. They make us fight back when it matters.” 

My thoughts: This is a tough one. Sometimes when books cover important topics, I feel weird saying I didn't love them. This is one of those. It covered important topics, pulled at my heart, but as a book, I didn't love it. It jumped around too much for my taste and was reallllly slow in a lot of places. 

Should you read it? Meh. Not sad I read it, but also didn't love it. 
All We Can Do is Wait by Richard Lawson

Plot: "In the hours after a bridge collapse rocks their city, a group of Boston teenagers meet in the waiting room of Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Siblings Jason and Alexa have already experienced enough grief for a lifetime, so in this moment of confusion and despair, Alexa hopes that she can look to her brother for support. But a secret Jason has been keeping from his sister threatens to tear the siblings apart...right when they need each other most. 
Scott is waiting to hear about his girlfriend, Aimee, who was on a bus with her theater group when the bridge went down. Their relationship has been rocky, but Scott knows that if he can just see Aimee one more time, if she can just make it through this ordeal and he can tell her he loves her, everything will be all right. 
And then there's Skyler, whose sister Kate - the sister who is more like a mother, the sister who is basically Skyler's everything - was crossing the bridge when it collapsed. As the minutes tick by without a word from the hospital staff, Skyler is left to wonder how she can possibly move through life without the one person who makes her feel strong when she's at her weakest. 
In his riveting, achingly beautiful debut, Richard Lawson guides listeners through an emotional and life-changing night as these teens are forced to face the reality of their pasts...and the prospect of very different futures."

My thoughts: It was a solid, angsty YA book (which I just crave every now and then, ya know?). A beautiful story with entirely too many characters and too much backstory on all eighty three of those main characters. I think it'd be a great movie, but trying to keep up with everything through the book was too distracting.

Should you read it? I'd pass. 

What did you read in November?!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

My Favorite Things I Discovered in November.

My favorite coffee maker. || This isn't a new discovery, but the price is. This coffee pot has been used daily (sometimes several times a day) for SEVEN YEARS. It was time to get a new one, and I was so happy to see that 1) They still make it! And 2) It's dropped from the $230 price tag it was seven years ago to under $100. If you're in the market for a new coffee maker, I love this one.

This beanie with a SPACE FOR YOUR BUN. WHAT. || I loooove beanie season. I also have a strong love affair with messy buns. This is the best of both worlds and it's so. stinking. cute. Also, I've worn it with my hair down, and the hole in the top of it isn't noticeable at all. 

This brie recipe. || This was technically an October discovery, but it's worth putting here. My girl Kait told me about this recipe (I trust everything she says, but especially when it comes to food). I made it for Halloween and it was such a hit that my best friends then all made it for their Thanksgivings and loved it! If you want something that's easy but also impressive for a holiday party, this is a winner.

Spanx leggings. || After wanting to try these forever and then removing them from my cart because of the price, I finally caved and had a "treat yo'self" moment and OH MY GOODNESS, they're worth every penny. If you wear leggings at all, you need these. They look fancy (I would totally wear them to work), they feel like butter, and they're fitted and suck everything in/smooth everything over without feeling uncomfortably tight. 10/10 would recommend. 

What new things did you discover this month?!
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Monday, November 26, 2018

What November is Teaching Me.

Good morning! How was Thanksgiving? Black Friday? The weekend? I hope you got to spend it doing exactly whatever the heck you wanted to do. I got to spend it with my family and it was so much fun. 

This month is drawing to a close (howwwww?) so as always, I'm looking at what I learned this month. Just gonna level with you here - this month was a doozy. So much so that I kinda wanted to skip the whole "what I learned this month" post for November, not because I didn't want to write it, but because I didn't necessarily want to look back on the month yet. But hey, that's part of being alive, right? Learning and growing and stretching and becoming better for it. 

SO. November. Here are the cliff notes: 

There are times to push through and there are times to pull back and rest. || I am of the *hustle* mentality. Work hard, get it done, stay up late and get up early if you have to, hard work pays off, yada yada. HOWEVER. While there are times when that is admirable and often necessary, there are definitely times to pull back and rest. 

There were quite a few days this month where I did the bare minimum. Dishes stayed in the sink, laundry stayed in the hamper, emails went unanswered, and you know what? Everyone survived. 

Sometimes the thing you need to do to heal and refresh and take care of yourself is nothing.  

That good can come out of just about anything. || I am very sad about a lot of November's events. I am very amazed at the good things I've seen come out of the bad things. Those two feelings can exist at the same time. 

That any day you are lucky enough to wake up is a perfect day for a fresh start. || Fall off the healthy eating wagon and feeling like crap? Guess what! You can start over today. Feel like a loser because you basically just set every goal you've had for yourself on fire and walked away? Good news - you can start working on them today. Been a giant jerk and need to reevaluate the way you treat people? Awesome, you can do that today! 

You don't need a new month or a new year or a Facebook group or anything to start. If you woke up on a day, it's a good day for a fresh start. 

That you do not have to explain your choices to anyone. || If you have chosen something that is best for you, congratulations and I'm proud of you. And I just want to remind you that you are not obligated to explain those choices to a single soul. Having a rough day and need to let your kid watch TV the whole dang day long? Cool! You don't need to justify that. Spent all your spending money on takeout this month because you don't wanna cook? You do you, my friend. Need to delete social media for a minute? Want to post seventeen pictures a day? Want to skip buying Christmas presents this year? Want to celebrate to the fullest and spend all your money on gifts? 

Whatever you want do or need to do, DO it. And don't worry about explaining it to anyone else. 

What is November teaching you?
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