Here we are in the fourth volume of Weekend Reads! It’s quickly become one of my favorite blog topics because there is so much out there to learn! “You are, what you read…” as the saying goes, and I am a firm believer that if you really want to know what someone is all about, ask them what they read.Continue Reading
I think spring makes all of us have a new take on life. The winter comes to an end and our interest in life outside of our thick coats and bowls of soup begin to take sprout. We start to get outside, stretch our mental legs and begin to pick up new hobbies. One of mine, is finding new books to help stretch my view of the world. This month features a list of books that are helping me do just that! What are you reading this spring to help you grow?Continue Reading
Hello and thanks for stopping by! Today, I decided to begin a blog series called Weekend in Review where I tell you about what I did over the weekend and some of my new favorite finds. Feel free to share your thoughts and some of your new finds that I should learn about.
It’s a calm but cold Wednesday morning here in Ohio and I am currently sitting at my desk with a large mug of tea and a slumbering dog. Today, I’m multi-tasking both writing, reflecting and designing for clients. Usually at this point in the day I’ve already been to the gym and am still in workout clothes or a oversized sweatshirt. But today I’m so tired of the cold that I’m forcing myself into a t’shirt. I’m looking forward to 2018, hopefully buying a house, I’m going to be an aunt come May and a fair bit of traveling adventures. Before I get carried away I wanted to take some time to reflect.
Recently on a car ride home, my husband and I thought about ways in which we want to challenge ourselves more in the coming year. We both are youngest in our families and decisions have never been easy to make from things as trivial as where to eat dinner on a Saturday night to important things like where to buy a house. 2017 definitely pushed us to make some difficult decisions and for 2018 we both picked the word “Bold” as our challenge for the year.
I have the tendency to stay within the lines and never try to push myself beyond what I think I’m capable of. I let decisions often come to me instead of carving my own path. Like most people, I’m afraid of failure or disappointing people who I care about. Boldness is definitely a steep challenge for me this year, but its beginning with small steps like wearing short sleeves in the winter, making more challenging recipes for dinner, and not being afraid to put myself out there even when I am afraid to look stupid or fail. Yay for 2018! What are some of your goals for 2018?
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Its already November and the holiday ads have started popping up on social media and TV. If you are like me, the holidays usually come and go and I feel like I never fully enjoy them. Whether its too much going on with scheduling or work I don’t really invest in making the most of the holiday time. I never feel that I’ve had enough Christmas music, cookies, time with family, or decorations. So since last year I’ve been formulating a list of things that will help me make the most of the holidays.
Whether you’re on your own this Christmas or have a family, its important to take seriously the traditions you’ve created and to make the most of them when this time comes around. It’s easy to get lost in the gift shopping and party planning and forget to take time to actually enjoy the holidays. Here are 7 ways to make the most of the Holidays this year.
Write one thing you are thankful for each day leading up to Thanksgiving and post them somewhere you can read them each day.
Part of what makes the holidays something special is our attitudes. The position we put our hearts in leading up to the holidays is so important to having a pleasant holiday versus a stressful one. Living a life of gratitude throughout the year, not just around the holidays is crucial to our existence. What are you thankful for? What is it that makes you say “I am extremely blessed!”? There are so many reasons to be thankful and part of the holidays is celebrating those things and putting them on display.
Last year I wrote down each day what I was thankful for and kept them in the cupholder of my car. Each morning as I got in the car I would grab them, flip through them and say a prayer for thanksgiving for all the ways I have been blessed. As we head into thanksgiving, I hope you’ll think of all the ways you are blessed. If its someone you know who you are thankful for, send them a note saying so. I have found that life is to short to let the embarrassment of emotion get in the way of telling people how they have blessed you. If its something that you own that has blessed you- give or share it with someone you know so that they too can be blessed by it. Thanksgiving begins in the heart so reflect, mediate and share so that you can cultivate a more thankful and giving heart this holiday season.
Create a Christmas Playlist
A large part of the holidays is music and the perfect holiday party starts with the perfect holiday playlist. Here are a few of my favorite Christmas albums to add to your collection.
Set aside a day to have a baking fest
Growing up, we would spend a whole day baking our favorite recipes and decorating each cookie with colored frostings and designs. This holiday, invite some friends over and have a day of sharing recipes, watching christmas movies, and baking goodies together.
Buy a holiday outfit
Reflect on Advent by doing an Advent reading or calendar
A good way to get excited about an event is to count down to it. Do an advent calendar this holiday season by making your own. Get excited about being creative or purchase one if you like me have very little time. On a more serious note, doing an advent reading each year is a great way to focus on what the holidays truly mean. Here are two websites that I found have great resources for the advent season.
Decorate your bedroom for the Holidays
One of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit is to invest in holiday bedding. Each Christmas I pull out my holiday sheets and twinkle lights and decorate my bedroom specially for the Christmas season. It may seem silly, I know, but you will be amazed how turning your bedroom into a Christmas cove away from the rest of the holiday decor around the home adds extra spirit and helps wake you up with joyful thoughts! This is my bedding is from Potterybarn and this year they have more great seasonal bedding
Make finding the perfect Christmas tree into an event
My sisters, my dad, and I used to go and pick our Christmas tree out each year at a local tree farm. Running through each lane of trees, finding each trees best parts and greatest defects was one of our favorite things to do. The past two years I’ve sadly gone to Home Depot to retrieve my tree and I can safely say it is not the same experience. This year I am taking the time to drive to a farm, pick out the perfect tree, and drink lots of lots of cocoa while bundled in my layers of clothing.
A new series I am starting this month is sharing with you all what I’ve been reading and listening to. To be honest, I’m not an avid reader. I love books but sometimes there are so many other things I would love to be doing and sitting still is not one of my strong suits. In many failed attempts at forcing myself to sit down and read, I’m creating this series as a not-so-subtle last ditch effort to keep me pinned to the books. Hopefully you’ll find some fun things to read and learn along the way.
My first book in this series of blog posts is- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.
“That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.” – Paul Kalanithi
I know what your thinking- Why such a heavy book to start off? I guess its been on my mind of late. This book was suggested by a co-worker who thought I would enjoy this book and she was right! When Breath Becomes Air is a story about a neurosurgeon diagnosed with lung cancer who comes face to face with the hardest question of life- What makes life worth living? A thought provoking, inspiring book to read but make sure you have a box of tissues near by.
Along the same lines as When Breath Becomes Air, I have a much shorter portrait of loss in the words by Brenda Miller. The Shape of Emptiness is a flash non fiction piece about loss and emptiness in each our lives through the piece her student shared in class. A beautiful quick read to mull over a glass of wine or cup of tea.
“But for now, when he finishes reading, he gathers our hands and gives them back to us one by one. We take them from him carefully, so we can carry our emptiness into the day. We compare them, showing off the shapes of our grasping. Curled like prayers. Like anger. Like love.” – Brenda Miller
I don’t know about you, but October is one of those times of year where I always get back into music. Throughout college making playlists was pretty much my second major and finding new music is one of my favorite things to do. But I never expected adult life to hit as hard as it has. I never have the time to listen to music especially since my full time job is talking on the phone. But this weekend I had sometime to get back into one of the things I’ve neglected for some time… THERE IS SO MUCH GOOD MUSIC OUT THERE!!
Never forget the things you love and take the time to make them a priority or you’ll get old and cranky…
Enjoy some of my old favorites and some of my new finds 🙂
Its safe to say, my favorite part of the day is unwinding after a busy day. After all the house work is done, the dinner is made and cleaned up, and emails responded to, is the time I value most. I never considered myself a busy person and most of the time I feel like I have a pretty relaxed life. But when looking back over schedules, I realize how time seems to escape me each week. Routine for me, is a foreign concept… I am not a routine kind of girl, but one thing is routine for me and that is my night time routine. And while it is not scientifically proven to elongate life or lower blood pressure, here are some tips from my routine that will hopefully help you refocus for the day ahead.
- Hydrate: It seems silly to say, “hydrate” like your about to run a marathon, but sleeping might as well be. When you sleep is your body resets it self in a way and drinking water helps in that process. If your like me, you drink less water throughout the work day so when I get home I drink herbal tea and have a glass of ice water (with ice cubes) sitting next to me. Another tip: don’t have alcohol with dinner, drink water instead. Staying hydrated will help your skin stay bright and help you sleep better (which is overall more relaxing).
- Wash your face: I typically take my make up off right when I get home. The first step to healthy skin is always washing your face and removing your make up after a long day helps you relax. For my skin routine, I use Mary Kay TimeWise 3 in 1 facial cleanser. I love it because it gets the job done without drying your face out.
- Moisturize: Clean, hydrated skin is the best way to kickstart relaxation. For my daily moisturizer I use, Clinique Moisture Surge , but for the evening, their overnight mask is literally my favorite product. Its odorless, creamy, and gets my skin perfect for the morning. For added goodness, I also use their All About Eyes moisturizer for drying lids and baggy eyes.
- Hair: Taking care of your hair is an important step to feeling relaxed. Before you throw it up in a messy bun to end your evening (what i do). Take some time to brush it 50-100 times and get all the knots out. It seems like a waste of time, but brushing your hair helps clean you scalp and increases blood flow. Not to mention, it helps condition and strengthen your hair and ultimately prevent hair loss.
- My final tip is Reading: Find a good book. My mom has always said that reading keeps her sane. There is nothing more relaxing then escaping your world for a time to enter the world of another and experience their life. Currently, my go to reading is the January issue of Architectural Digest and James Herriot’s, All Creatures Great and Small (a must read for animal lovers). Whatever your favorite genre might be, cut out sometime to read. It will enrich your life.
Hello again! Long time, no post… Let’s be honest, 2016 was a tough year. But, for many of us, the tough times are often the most informative. I’ve spent this last week reflecting over this past year-the ups, the downs, and the in between times and each year I try to summarize it by one word. Sometimes its a good word and sometimes a bad word, but either way it helps me formulate some goals for the coming year.
This year my word is: limitation
1.a limiting rule or circumstance; a restriction.“severe limitations on water use”
2.LAWa legally specified period beyond which an action may be defeated or a property right is not to continue.
A weird word to pick I know, but bare with me…
2016, more than any other year, has taught me about limits. You see, most of the time our limitations are viewed as something keeping us from accomplishing a goal or stopping us from going further in a certain areas. A good example is running. Fun fact: I am SUPER slow… In Middle school my track coach made me run a 400 meter dash…and I failed….miserably…. every. single. time. No matter how hard a train I will never be a Usain Bolt and thats just something I have to live with. My running is a limitation, especially if I ever have to out run that scary person in the scenario every girl has nightmares about.
For me, limitations have always been a sore point. I’m a prideful person and admitting a limitation isn’t something I’m good at. I’ve often let the fear of failing because of my limitations keep me from trying things. Im afraid of what people will think of me if I end up not being able to perform. What if they stop liking me? What if they can do it, but I can’t? I’ve always been worried about those pesky limitations.
This year, something changed in me, almost like turning the light switch on in a dark room. What if our limitations are actually our allies. When my husband and I got married, he gave me a camera for a wedding present along with a 55 mm lens. I love it and continue to use it now. Its a great lens too, but it presents problems when I want to take wide angle shots or photograph in my tiny house. At first, this frustrated me… I can’t take photos of what I want! Why does it have to be so hard to photograph what I want?! But over time, I began to see the lens as a challenge. How good could I get at taking stills, close up shots, and details? It began to excite me, challenge me and push me to see the limitation of no zoom as an asset to my learning. And over time I learned more and more. I’ll never be a Henri Cartier-Bresson or a Dorothea Lange with the camera but with each shot I continue to learn more and continue to grow.
If I had always viewed my lens as a set back rather than a challenge I never would have kept trying. An easy lesson, but a hard one for someone as stubborn as me. Maybe you’ve already learned this or are born with an innate sense of challenging ones self, but for me limitations is a scary word. But I think for 2017, I want to challenge all of us to nail down some limitations we have and try to see how those limitations might help make us better. Maybe its a stinky job, a lack of experience or connections. Whatever it is, try to make 2017 the year you rethink your limitations and begin to use them to propel you into the next great idea or project. Don’t let another year go by where your letting your limitations be a bad word.
Ultimately, my limitations have made me put greater faith in a limitless God; trusting that He knows best in all things and has made me perfect for what He wants me to accomplish. It is for His glory we have been given everything! So, I guess that means even our limitations too… Maybe in our limitations He is challenging us to look to Him in all things and trust that He who began a good work in us will continue it to completion.
Happy 2017 and God bless!