• February 22, 2017

    February Round Up

    Feature-Image-3

    I hate to say it, but this month really sucked, ya’ll.  Work has been incredibly stressful and after being out sick for a week, it became that much more stressful.  Right.  Plus, I was sick forever which is never fun.  Because of it, I had to miss out on plans with friends, a couples massage with my hubby for Valentines, book club, and I was still sick on his birthday too so he ended up having to cook for himself and was still sleeping in the guest room in hopes of self preservation.

    *sigh*

    I am trying to find the light, though, and focus on what good there has been this month.  Because of my illness, I was able to read a lot.  My books this month were Spook by Mary Roach, Bonk by Mary Roach, and I’ve started the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  Clearly, I really enjoy Mary Roach’s snarky, scientific writing.  She’s provocative, honest and real which I found so refreshing that I just kept looking for her books.  She does have a couple I still haven’t read, but by the end of the month I was ready for a change.  Outlander is spectacular.  I’ve seen the television show already and thoroughly enjoyed it – so far the book and show line up quite well with each other, but, of course, the book is better.  I am loving the insight and thoughtfulness that the book is able to provide, something television and film rarely really get right.

    I also spent a lot of time listening to music.  Not just any music, though, Broadway music.  Specifically, the soundtrack to Hamilton.  Clever, fun, informative, and relatable are not words I ever thought I’d attribute to anything about early American history… but Hamilton does it!  Someday, I will see the show.  Probably a mediocre band of performers from a local theater group, but I will see it.  And I will know every song by heart when I do.  Probably because it’s the only thing I’ve listened to all month.

    Before getting sick, hubster and I did make it to the movies to see Hidden Figures.  I loved everything about this movie – the characters, the set and costumes, the story, the significance of a story like this in times like this…  So. Good.  If you haven’t see this yet, go now!  Take your daughters, your sisters, your mom… any woman you can find (men, I suppose, should also see it.  It’s just so, so important for women to see right now).

    I have also discovered a new snack food that I am super obsessed with.  Harvest Snaps are surprisingly amazing.  I picked up a couple bags on a whim when I was grocery shopping and fell in love.  Or, in obsession.  They have the consistency of a Cheeto, but don’t have all the nasty artificial crap on them.  My favorite flavors are the tomato basil lentil beans and the lightly salted snap peas.  Mmm…. so yummy.  And if you try really hard, you can convince yourself they are healthy.   *grin*

    Finally, now that I am feeling better, hubster and I are working on making up for missing his birthday and Valentine’s Day!  We’ll be making fondue and eating cake all weekend long! It’s not quite the same, but at least there is cake!

    And there you have it!  February was hard but not wholly unpleasant.  Just remember to look for the good things even when you’re not feeling the good things.  <3

  • February 15, 2017

    UGH

    Feature-Image-2

    Well, it’s that time of year, I guess.  I’ve been sick with a really bad cold for a week now and I’ve gotta say… I’m so tired of this!  I am one of those people who resist illness pretty well, but once I do get sick, I get really sick.  So, yeah.  That’s where I’m at right now.

    I am fortunate, though, that the job I have offers paid sick time and I was able to stay home and let my body heal for a few days without sacrificing my paycheck and ability to cover costs at home.  I know not everyone has this option, so I’m trying to look on the bright side.

    Anyway, I hope to be back in full force next week – wish me luck!

  • January 25, 2017

    January Round Up

    OOoooh man.  This month isn’t over yet?  Really?  Still going for about one more week, eh?

    I’m pretty darn over it.

    First of all: the snow.  Good gracious God in heaven, the snow.  This January we’ve broken records with the snow.  Now, I am a mountain girl and totally ok with snow and all that…. But this city of mine ain’t really ready to deal with what Mother Nature is layin’ down!  I actually shoveled the street in front of my house a couple weeks ago.  Yes, you read that right, I shoveled the street.  Frankly, there were no other options besides staying home for all of January.  So. Yeah.

    You’d think with all that snow, I would have had lots of time to read lots of books.  Joke’s on you though, because I was shoveling all that snow in my street instead of reading.  For January, I was only able to just keep up with my book club requirements with A Day of Honey by Annia Ciazadlo and Gulp by Mary Roach.  I enjoyed A Day of Honey, but I really loved Gulp.  She is super provocative and sarcastic – it actually made me think about Jenny Lawson’s books a lot.  Can’t wait to see what the other ladies at book club think about it!

    There were a couple of new (well, new and new to me) shows I have been enjoying.  The first was A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix.  Can I just say that Neil Patrick Harris is a genius?  And that I love him?  It. Is. So. Good.  The second show I’ve been obsessing over is Jane the Virgin, which I never thought I’d say.  Actually, I never thought I’d watch it, let alone love it.  For those skeptics like I once was… just give it a try.  It’s way too complicated to really explain here, but it’s basically an Americanized telenovela with all the drama you’d expect, but also with lots of great humor to balance it out.  Please, just go watch a few episodes, ok?  Ok.

    This month we are also starting up a new D&D campaign, so I’ve been doing some character building.  I’ll be playing a gnome wizard named Moonie Mugglewump and I’m really excited about her!  Think, Luna from Harry Potter mixed with Kvothe from the Kingkiller Chronicles and a bit of Judy Hopps from Zootopia.  Fun, right?  First game is this weekend, so we’ll see how I get back in the swing of it all!

    Aaaand the last thing I have to share with you for January is that I’ve started a Bullet Journal.  I’ll do another more detailed post sometime about bullet journaling, but suffice it to say that I like the layout options and tracking method a lot so far.  I have been enjoying the creative aspects and also use it to help with mindfulness.  I am not a great artist, but there is hope, I think, for me yet!

    So, there you have it.  This was my… interesting… January (sans political issues/concerns/ fears/hopes/whatever because this should be a happy place for me and for anyone out there who is reading).  Here’s hoping that February will have better surprises in store!

  • December 28, 2016

    December Round Up

    feature-image

    Whelp, looks like I managed to miss most of December, huh?  *sigh*  My goal was to have a homemade Christmas, which we did… but I totally underestimated how much time that would consume!  So, here we are with the monthly round  up and I’ll try to touch on everything we enjoyed this past month!

    dining-room

    nativity

    As soon as Thanksgiving was over (ok, ok, ok… a little, teensy bit before it was really over) I pulled out all of my Christmas decorations and went to town on our house.  And since I felt like we needed a little extra cheer this year, I found a pencil tree to put in our entry way too!  So.  Two trees.  I threatened to put up a third, but lost the oomph to do it.  Ah, well, there’s always next year, eh?

    little-tree

    big-tree

    2015

    Then it was time to get started on my Homemade Christmas goal from my 30 before 30 list!

    ornaments-in-progress

    stitches

    The first craft I started was these beautiful Nordic inspired ornaments.  These became gifts for family and friends and were a lot of fun to make!  We also decorated our own home with them – we tried to stick to a red and white theme this year and they added something really special on the tree.

    cookies

    In addition to ornaments, we gave friends and family Christmas cookies.  I made so. many. cookies.  And I learned how to use a cookie press (I think I need one of my own now…) for Danish vanilla cookies.  Oh, and the bread!  I made eggnog bread  and monkey bread for Christmas morning!  I was in the kitchen a lot this December!  *nods*  So glad my folks took care of us for Christmas dinner!

    crafty-nativity

    Another craft project I worked on was this beautiful nativity.  I’ve always been frustrated that I can’t find a realistic nativity with Middle Eastern people – Jesus was not white, ya’ll!  Anyway, I loved the concept of the silhouettes, so that solved it all for me!  :)  Click here for full instructions and info on where to get the vinyl designs.  The last step is to spray the glass with Frosted Glass spray paint stuff… but it’s been so cold this December, I was afraid the temperatures would ruin the paint.  Next year, it’ll be frosty glass!

    socks

    Another favorite thing I did this month was the Secret Santa at work.  I always get too into it, but it’s really fun to spoil one of the amazing women I work with and let her know how much I appreciate her!  And I’ll admit, I kind of like being spoiled by someone else too!  Anyway, the most hilarious gift I received this year was socks with bandanna wearing corgi’s on them.  So silly – I really love them!  I think Ollie approves too…

    ollie

    I didn’t have a lot of time for things other than all the crazy Christmas shenanigans, so I didn’t really consume much media.  I did make it out to see Fantastic Beasts  and Where to Find Them early in the month and Rogue One the weekend it came out.  I also caught Hairspray Live on NBC and I read one book for book club – Yes Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson.  We stayed home a lot and watched old Christmas movies while I worked on crafts too, so that was fun.

    frosty

    And there you have it!  I’m pretty sure that’s all I’ve got for this month!  Sure felt busier than it looks like it was… but I learned my lesson!  I will start Christmas crafts way earlier next year!  I hope you enjoyed your holidays this year and felt the love of friends and family.  Best wishes for a safe and happy new year – see you in 2017!

  • November 30, 2016

    November Round Up

    pie-final

    Ok, ya’ll, I am not gonna lie.  I am sooo tired right now!  November is kicking my tush this year with the stuff and the friends and the other stuff and everything.  Ugh!  I suppose it’s really a good thing that I’m tired, though, because it means that I’ve been busy.  I’ve spent time with friends and family.  I’ve gone out and stayed in and started some fun projects!  So, despite my tiredness (and lame-o lack of pictures), I want to share my November with you!

    The month started out very stressful and mentally/emotionally exhausting with the elections and news and everything that went with it.  I was convinced that the world was going to end no matter who won and who would be there to pick it all up and put it back together again?  *sigh*  I certainly don’t feel good about what happened and I am not in any way comfortable going forward… but I think I’ve moved from depression into the acceptance part of the grief stages.  It’s a wary and tired and sad acceptance and in no way means that I accept the bad and terrible things that will come from this decision… but it’s a place where I can at least stop thinking about it for a little while and feel ok.

    To distract myself from the pain and fear, I read a lot this month.  And I read a lot about amazing, powerhouse women (weather they would agree with me on that assertion or not, I don’t know).  The first book was  I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.  That woman… dang.  Talk about an inspiring message that taught me that even little girls can make a difference in the face of terror.  No matter how insignificant you think you might be, Malala teaches us that you can be so much more.  Oh, God, how appropriate.  The second book was Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.  Aside from the rich and famous aspects of her life, I actually found that I identify a lot with Shonda.  Introverted, unsure, and just brave enough to try to do better, Shonda spoke right to my dorky little heart.  And the last book I read in November was Buffering by Hannah Hart.  I had no idea how deep her hurts and struggles ran.  She talks in her YouTube videos from time to time about not being accepted by her super religious father, but there is so much more.  Ugh.  And yet, Hannah is giving and cheerful.  She has moved past her past and intentionally works to make the world a better place.  Seeing a theme here yet?  *grin*

    Let’s move on now to some more powerhouse women that I spent time with this month.  Hubby and I went to see Moana in theaters on Thanksgiving day.  It was so good!  Such a beautiful message of self discovery and following your passions!  I wish I’d had more role models like her when I was a little girl!  Not only was the story great, but the animation and art were gorgeous too!  Love, love, love!  And my TV pick for the month was Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.  I loved the show when I watched it start to end in my early 20′s and I loved the revisiting of all the characters now!  I know it wasn’t a perfect telling, but I really liked to see where everyone ended up, even in their imperfections.  Grief can do that, you know?  Throw you off track until you feel like you’re drifting and struggling to find your way back… so. good.

    Moving on to more traditional things now, we’ve entered the holiday season of 2016.  Thanksgiving was sort of uneventful for my family.  Hubby and I went to see Moana and ate tacos on Thanksgiving day.  We went over the weekend for a slightly more traditional meal with my parents which was very nice.  Nobody talked about politics (not once!) and it was actually quite relaxing.  Yay!  And in the midst of all of this, I also started decorating for Christmas and started several Christmas crafts.  I love Christmas and my darling hubby indulges me by helping put up decor and letting me take over the house with craft supplies.  It’s wonderful.  I can’t say too much, though, because I want to devote more time and focus to it in some posts next month (so stay tuned!).

    And now, I fear, this wall of text will drive you all away!  Please don’t go!  Or, at least, don’t be afraid to come back!  Hopefully I will be able to share more pictures and such next time.

    Happy Holidays!

  • November 2, 2016

    October Round Up

    feature-image

     

    Happy November, ya’ll!  October went a little nuts and I got totally behind on my blogs!  I do want to share my round up for October, though, so here we go!

     

    soup

    My hubby has struggled with a deviated septum his whole life which makes it hard for him to breathe properly, especially when he’s trying to sleep.  So, this fall we decided it was time to get it taken care of and he went in for surgery.  Everything went great and he’s said that he feels so much better now!  He’s able to sleep so much better than before!  To help him heal, I made homemade chicken soup and it was ah-maz-ing!

     

    hawaii

    After the surgery was done and we knew everything was good, I confirmed my girls trip to Hawaii.  A friend of mine was planning to attend a conference for her work and I talked her into letting me tag along.  The trip went splendidly and you can bet there will be tons of pictures and more detail up next week!  *grin*

     

    books

    I also read a lot this month – fall always gets me into the mindset of study,  books, and cuddling up with blankets and tea.  This month I read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and Stir by Jessica Fetcher.  If you haven’t read Jennys blog or books, you really should consider giving it a try.  She’s quirky and fun but she also talks about deep, important issues like parenthood and mental illness.  I also enjoyed The Girl on the Train which is a thriller/suspense novel.  I really liked the mystery of it and trying to figure out what was happening along with the main character.  Stir is a memoir for my book club about a woman whose recovery from illness was aided hugely by her love of cooking and food.  I haven’t quite finished yet, but so far it’s been really wonderful!

    Despite all the busy-ness of last month, we did still manage to see a couple of movies.  The first was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  I really liked Tim Burton’s take on the story and its overall darkness.  Some things were, of course, left out from the book… but it was so good it wasn’t too hard to find forgiveness for Tim.  We also saw The Girl on the Train which was pretty good.  I preferred the book and felt that there was just a lot more suspense and intrigue than the movie.  My husband did not read the book, though, and said that he was able to follow it just fine and liked the movie well enough.  One thing I do want to understand is why they would change the setting from London to New York?  It made me unexplainably sad.

    Lastly, Halloween!  Because of the crazy, busy, expensive, and exhausting way this month went… I didn’t get to do my decorations as planned.  This makes me really sad because now I’ve failed my 30 before 30.  Hopefully next year we can get our stuff together and carry out my plan.  We did enjoy the fall colors, candy and baked goods, and pumpkin everything in October and that helped a little.  We watched some classic scary movies and drank lots of hot tea.  Now, we’re in November and I am realizing just how much I have to do before Christmas… how did we ever get this far into 2016?!

  • June 29, 2016

    Hello Again

    Final-Feature-Image

    Hello, it’s me.  Hello, can you hear me?  Hello from the other side; from the outside.

    How are you?

    It’s been a while.  What I thought would be a short break from everything turned into a much longer break.  I’m not apologizing for that, just acknowledging the facts.  Pressures from work and travel combined with feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, and despair made it impossible for me to write over this past month.  Sometimes life is too much.  Sometimes I need to hide and cry and grieve and try to accept my pathetic little life.  And that takes time.

    Now, I’m trying to come back.  I’m trying to write and take pictures and be happy again.  Because I can’t stay in that lonely place forever.  I can’t allow myself to think that nobody cares about me forever.  At some point I have to acknowledge that there are some who do.  There really are some good and beautiful things in the world.

    I’m still not in a place of feeling good or happy or fulfilled.  I probably never will be in that place.  Not for long, anyway.  The world isn’t often a good or happy place and it’s impossible not to focus on that sometimes; especially with so much hate and loss over the past few weeks.  I’m trying, though, to find meaning in what I have in my little corner of this world.

    I’m trying to do what I love because I love it.  This little blog is for me, not readers – nobody reads this anyway – so it has to be for me.  Sometimes I forget that, though, and get down that I’m not successful with my writing, that I’m too afraid to advertise it or tell people about it.  I start feeling pathetic and sure that there’s no point, even if it sometimes makes me happy.

    So, if you’re reading this, thank you.  I hope this little moment of honesty doesn’t put you off.  Or make you sad too.  I hope you can look and what I’ve done before and hope with me that I’ll get back to it again.  That it’s not all pointless.  I hope you have love and peace in your life and are able to do something to share that love and peace with someone else today.  I hope you take the time to lift someone up today because you never, never know what people are going through in their heart of hearts.  You never know where people are in their journey, so I hope you respond to all you meet with patience and grace.

  • April 27, 2016

    Remember How We Talked About This?

    Feature-Image

    So… remember a couple weeks ago when we talked about self care?  Well… I’m taking this week off to practice what I preach.  I just can’t seem to get ahead of things and I need a chance to breathe right now.  Don’t worry, I have plans for next week’s post, so I just need to put it all together now!  :)

    Now, go do something fun, ok?

    Tea

    P.S. This tea?  In the pictures?  It’s ah-maz-ing!  Seriously, chocolate tea?!  Best. thing. ever.

  • April 13, 2016

    Treat Yo’Self!

    Feature-Image

    Ugggh… you guys… I am so tired!  The past six weeks or so have really taken the life out of me!  So much so that I am even struggling to write this at all.  Between Dad’s surgery, family obligations, house projects, financial burdens, typical work stressors, and extra special work stressors on top of it all… I’m beat.

    During this stressful time, I’ve been thinking a lot about self care and how I can get better at it.  I brought it up with my mom and was surprised to find that she wasn’t particularly familiar with the term “self care.”  I guess it’s such a talked about concept in the mental health field that I forget not everyone learns what it means to take care of themselves and why it’s essential to successful living!

    Self care is pretty much just what it sounds like: taking care of one’s own mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellbeing.  This includes managing stress and finding balance with the different facets of one’s life.  Most importantly, self care is a continual process, not a onetime thing!  You have continually take time to find your peace and feed your soul.

    “But that sounds so selfish!  Who has time to get away from work?  The kids?  The house?  The husband?  If I don’t pour my heart and soul into everyone and everything around me, I’m a bad mom/wife/woman!”

    Feet

    I hear you, my dears, and I understand where that feeling comes from!  It’s not always easy to remember that you have value all on your own, is it?  It’s easy to martyr yourself and feel that that is what makes you a good person.  The best way I know to explain that this viewpoint is so flawed is to ask you to remember the last time you got on an airplane and the speech they give before takeoff.  If you need to put on an oxygen mask, they tell you to do yours first and then help others.  That’s not selfish!  You are completely useless to help others if you’re passed out!  The same is true of regular life stuff!

    Have you ever noticed getting grumpy with your coworkers when you slept poorly?  Or snapped at your significant other when dinner is late and you’re a little hangry?  Ever yelled at the kids after a long day at work when all you want to do is draw a bath and drink a glass of wine?  That’s why self care matters!  If you don’t do it, not only do you suffer, but so does everyone else around you!

    So, then, what do you do about it?  Consider what you naturally do to reduce stress and feel good.  From there, you can expand your positive self care strategies and incorporate these things more naturally into your life.  Once something becomes a habit, you won’t have to work as hard to do it on a regular basis.  Discuss your thoughts with your family or friends so they can help you stay on track and to help them understand any changes your self care plan will make in  how  you interact with them.

    Here’s a short list of things to help you get started.  Please add to it and mold it to fit your own, personal needs!

    • Be self aware – know your limits and make a plan to help you stick to what you can handle – it’s okay to say “no” once in a while.
    • Develop a support system – talk to family, friends, people online, and seek out professional help if needed
    • Take care of your body: exercise, eat right, sleep enough
    • Take care of your mind: take time off, read, do something relaxing, practice mindfulness
    • Take care of your spirit: laugh, meditate, attend religious services, spend time in nature or visit a spa

    When in doubt, be like a corgi!  Play outside with your favorite person, drink lots of water, and SMILE!

    Happy-Face

  • March 30, 2016

    Dad’s Surgery

    Feature-Image

    Despite the beauty of spring and freshness of everything in March, this month has been extremely hard for me.  My Dad had back surgery in mid-March and was confined to his bed for 3 days and the hospital for about a week.  Fortunately, everything went pretty well and he’s made great progress in his healing.  But, for that time before and just after the surgery, we were all exhausted.  Daily trips to the hospital were taxing not just because of the change in routine and so on, but because of the emotional toll.

    My Dad is the strongest, most manly man I know.  He’s a big, tough cowboy who fixes everything and never shows weakness (until you get him talking about his girls or his pets).  He hunts and fishes and camps.  He wrangles and brands cows.  He fixes cars and spent his life working a tough blue collar job despite his college education.  A former Boy Scout, he always knows how to tie the right knots and prepare for whatever may come.  As a child, he awed me with his physical strength and I was pretty sure he could never falter of fail.  He was my hero – still is, in a lot of ways.

    So, now, to see him in such pain and so reliant on others for their strength… it’s hard.  He suddenly seemed small to me – shrunken from his former strength.  I suddenly had to face his mortality and what that means for me.  And for my mom.  It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do and I had no idea it would hit me so suddenly.

    Through all of it, though, he has kept his humor.  In the hospital, he joked and flirted with the nurses.  He had late night talks with one of the male nurses about hunting and camping in the area – getting ideas and making plans for this fall.  He was already planning his next adventure from his hospital bed!  I think this speaks enormously of his character.  My Dad doesn’t do the whole sitting around doing nothing thing.  He always has a project or plan going.  He may have slowed in his old(er) age, but he’ll never stop.  If he ever does, that’s when I will know he’s in trouble.  If he ever can’t joke around or find something to work on…

    But that is not today!  That is not now.  Someday, maybe… but not any time soon.  I admire his strength and his trying to stay positive.  He wasn’t really raised that way, this attitude is all his doing.  And it’s amazing how much he has to give even when he’s feeling his worst.

    I hope I can be so strong and so positive when I ever have trials to persevere.  I hope I can make people who are there to care for me laugh and get excited about their passions.  I hope I have half his strength.