The Calm Before the Weekend Storm (FAVORITES!)

I have 11 drafts sitting in a folder but none of them feel *right* for today. I’m in a reflective mood; calm and mellow and ready for the weekend. I typically get this way before a busy weekend. My introvert brain needs chill-time and since I won’t be getting any this weekend, I need to soak it in pre-weekend.

Tomorrow night I’m headed to an Indian’s baseball game with my cousin and some friends. Saturday I’m boating with friends. Sunday I have a softball game and then K and I are headed to a Jimmy Eat World concert in Cleveland in the evening. Someone reserve me a nap pod on Monday morning, please and thanks. Not to mention soon we’re headed to Texas for business. Lord, help me…

So today I’m going to share some blog posts that inspired me or amused me or made me think.

life_as_louise_favorites

  • Lindsay is starting a new series called Whiskey in a Teacup and I am here for it. In her first post she shared a very real and raw struggle that she’s dealt with for years. I love her bravery and honesty.
  • As the mom to a very anxious dog, I love it when other dog-moms share tips and tricks that work for them. Taylor wrote about dogs & fireworks in honor of the 4th and I really appreciated the advice.
  • Chelsea is one of my closest blog friends. I discovered her site when I first started LaL and I love keeping up with her. Chelsea is a writer, entrepreneur, wife, mother, badass, traveler, and NOW she’s a TEDxTalk speaker!
  • In the same breath, Aubrey is one of my very best friends IRL. She’s slightly insta-famous and extremely talented. She shared it a while ago, but I love her post about starting over and healing and reclaiming her life after a devastating break-up.
  • I will never have the need or opportunity to do it (never say never?), but Carolann’s post about flying Space A is fascinating! The process and the plane and everything about it is so new and unique to me!
  • Emma does a monthly travel link-up and this past one was on kindness while traveling. Her stories are so so sweet! I love it when a stranger makes my day (or trip)!
  • I think most of Blogworld knows about Chelsea and her uplifting blog. Hopefully you didn’t miss her recent post on falling in love with your own life. She’s wise and optimistic beyond her years πŸ™‚

I know this is a fairly lazy post on my behalf, but I genuinely love all the things these ladies created and put out on their blogs. I encourage you to spend your time there today ❀

Have a great weekend!

What I Read…

Apparently the reading bug bit me because I’ve been picking up and finishing books like crazy. And today I’m linking up with the fabulous Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books! to share them all with you!

(Happy 11th Birthday to my sweet little cousin Andria!)

I actually read these first two before the last SUYB link-up, but I was afraid I’d get burnt out in June and have nothing for today so I saved them. Plus, I had FIVE in May and that was crazy for me so I decided to hold off on more reviews. Who knew I’d end up with six this month.

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
A collection of historically amusing and literature-rich comics.
Sometimes it’s nice to break up the novels and nonfictions with a few humorous and witty comics. I loved the ones about the suffragettes and anything with the Tudors. Occasionally she’ll draw short comics purely based off book covers- those are pretty funny. The Austen sisters comics had me laughing out loud, too. Beaton is a well-studied historian with a feminist flair and a snarky sense of humor. I think we’d get along nicely.
Should you read it? If you like history and classic literature then you’d probably find this collection extremely amusing.

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
Ella’s life is the perfect rags-to-riches fairy tale. A prince, a castle, a kingdom with servants- what more could a girl want?
This was a fun, quick read about Cinders-Ella’s real story. A.k.a. the one where she’s a witty and brilliant girl who gets sucked into one enslavement after another. I liked the twist on this classic tale. I liked that Ella was smart and strong and resilient. I know I’d have enjoyed this book a lot more when I was younger, but it wasn’t a bad read as an adult.
Should you read it? Maybe. It’s a good empowerment fairy tale for young teens.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
A criminal twist on The Breakfast Club: Five students walk into detention, four walk out alive. Who done it? And why? What are these four students hiding?
I loved this book. The title and cover alone absolutely hooked me. I was ready to end up hating one or all the teenagers- none of them were perfect and they most definitely had secrets. Nothing was how it seemed, though, and McManus managed to weave in some diversity while shattering stereotypes and growing her characters into well-rounded and self-aware young adults. I knew my heart would break when someone was outed as a murderer. I had my guesses about what really happened in the detention classroom, but I didn’t guess everything and I was never 100% confident. I really enjoyed the suspense and twists and overall outcome. It took me no time at all to read this book and I was always itching to pick it back up!
Should you read it? Yep. I don’t usually read suspense, YA, or contemporary. And I loved it.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
A short speech about feminist from an award-winning author & Happy African feminist.
I was told by many folks in Blogworld that this was a must read. They were all completely and totally correct. It’s short and it will take you a half hour at most. It will make you questions why girls feel the need to be likable (and therefore diminish themselves and their “aggressive” behaviors in society & business). It will draw comparisons between masculinity and money for males. (I’d honestly never thoughts about that.) It will force you to notice the societal stigma surrounding unwed women (cats, spinster, failure) and unwed men (bachelor, hasn’t picked one yet). It’ll piss you off. A few weeks ago someone was talking with K and made a joke about me spending his money. Not OUR money- his money. K tried to counter and slip in there that I sign the checks, but it didn’t matter. WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS, friends.
Should you read it? You betcha.

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
β˜…β˜…β˜…/5Β 
With dreams of opening her own restaurant in California, Eddy is on her way west to make it a reality. When tragedy leaves her stranded and weak in the desert she must rely on the kindness of strangers, including the handsome Rhine Fontaine, to help her get back on her feet.
Ho hum… trying my luck with another romance novel. This one was entertaining enough. I think I found it for free through the Book Bub emails & there were a handful of grammatical errors, but I can get past that. Eddy is the daughter of freed slaves and Rhine IS a freed slave passing as a white man (his father was the plantation owner). The divide and attitude between White Republicans and Black Republicans in the town of Virginia City was a big part of the story. I mostly enjoyed the flirting between Eddy and Rhine but the whole ending seemed kind of rushed. I also think a few things that the characters did might not have gone over so well in real life. But it’s a story so take it for what it’s worth.
Also, there are A LOT of romance novels entitled “Forbidden.” Lol
Should you read it? Probably not unless old west romances are your *thing*.

A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5
A collection of fifteen short historical fiction stories featuring badass girls through America’s decades.
I don’t read a lot of short stories. I don’t dislike them, they just don’t usually cross my path. I liked the option of putting down the book and feeling complete after only reading 20 pages or so. As far as these stories go, I really really really loved them. They’ve all stuck with me in some way or another. Stories about bank robbers and protesters and pirates and more. Some girls lived to the end and some didn’t. Some girls pretended to be boys and some were incredibly feminine. It was a wonderful mix. One of my favorite authors, Marissa Meyer, contributed a story to the mix. The stories occurred between 1710 and 1968 and were all historical fiction, some even a bit fantasy. My favorite ones wereΒ Los Destinos,Β Pearls,Β Gold in the Roots of the Grass,Β The Color of the Sky,Β Pulse of the Panthers, andΒ The Whole World is Watching. I tried to whittle that list down. I couldn’t.
Should you read it? YES.

Erin’s 9.0 Book Challenge started this month, too.

|5 points| Freebie: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
|10 points| Starts with the letter N: Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
|10 points| Has a mostly orange color: A Tyranny of Petticoats by various authors
|15 points| A book with an unlikable character: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| From 100 books PBS calls “The Great American Read”HP & the Prisoner of Azkaban (illustrated version) by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| Related to water in the title: On A Cold Dark Sea by Elizabeth Blackwell
|25 points| Owned/TBR the longest (GoodReads): The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
|30 points| An emotion word in the title: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
|30 points| Each word in the title begins with the same letter: After Alice by Gregory Maguire
|35 points| A book featuring a character who shares your profession or similar one (i.e. does the same kind of thing as you do day to day): The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Kicking things off with 10 points.

What did you read this month? Do you tend to read more in the summer or winter? I thought I was a winter reader but these past two months have been great!

Thanks for hosting, Steph & Jana!

Link up with us, friends!

Life According to Steph

Currently…

For Kristen‘s link-up I’m reverting back to a good ol’ fashioned “currently” post.

Reading… all the books for Erin’s 9.0 Book Challenge! I’m currently working on The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and the Prisoner of Azkaban!

Listening to… You Must Remember This podcast. I know I’ve mentioned it once this week already, but Lindsay got me hooked! I’ve listened to all the Charles Manson’s Hollywood episodes as well as the ones about Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. I’ve also been listening to the new albums from Dave Matthews and Ben Rector!

Watching… The Bachelorette. My friends and I text-party watch and I look forward to it every week. We’re usually snarky about the guys and supportive of Becca so I don’t feel the least bit bad about my not-so-guilty pleasure. Anyone else watching this season? Let’s discuss πŸ™‚

Pouting about… Lebron James heading west. Sigh. I’m not mad at him and I still hate basketball, but it’s a bummer he’s not ours anymore.

Celebrating… this week’s intermission. America has her faults (many of which are occurring right now) but yesterday was her birthday and everyone almost everyone deserves a celebration. I’m grateful for the day off and I’m grateful to live in a country where we have the freedom to do the right thing, help others, and vote in people who will actually put the needs of humans first.

Eating… lots of grilled stuff and summer foods. Watermelon, corn, steak, hotdogs and burgers, ice cream.

Drinking… wine. My in-laws have been working on opening a wine company for the last year and a half, and they’re finally up and running! Our house may or may not be stocked with the best wine around right now… πŸ˜‰

Working on… getting all the left over garage sale stuff packed up and shipped off to charities. We had a pretty successful sale but dang it was hot outside all weekend!

Playing… softball! I joined a co-ed team that plays every Sunday afternoon. I played for eight years nearly 15 years ago, so this is slightly out of my comfort zone. I really like it, though!

Planning… a fall vacation. I’m not sure what or where yet, but I presented a 2 week out west trip to K and he shot me down. (I knew he would.) Now that I’ve softened the travel-blow with an extravagant idea, it’ll be much easier to talk him into a 5-7 day stretch of relaxation. πŸ˜‰

Praying for… so many. Families who have been separated, the safe journey of refugees escaping violence and persecution, my sweet friend Rebecca Jo and her family, the health and well-being of family members and pets, neglected dogs who suffer when the heat index bursts.
**Definitely doing something additional about these things, too.

Recovering from… pleurisy. Two weeks ago I went to the ER with some chest pain, thinking it was just a stubborn gas bubble in my abdomen. Turns out it was/is pleurisy left over from untreated bronchitis. I’m much better now but the pain and immobility was a nuisance.

Relaxing… with my new video game! I found Mario Kart onΒ https://wikibuy.com/ for a great price and finally pulled the trigger. It’s the only video game K will play and I’m really proud that I held off on getting it until I could find it for a low price!

Wishing for… colder weather (sue me), a long vacation, peace on Earth, and a pina colada.

Thanks for hosting What’s New With You?, Kristen!

*Thank you so much, Wikibuy, for reaching out!

The Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collaboration | The 1960s

Welcome to the Sixties, friends. This is an era that gives me total anxiety. For being the birth of the whole “peace & love” movement, it’s an incredibly violent decade. War and anti-war riots, violent sexual diseases and rampant drug use, Helter Skelter, the JFK assassination, etc. That’s A LOT to take in a 10 year span. Plus the violence associated with (and mostly against) the Civil Rights Movement, second-wave feminism, and the Gay Rights Movement.

There is NO part of me that wishes I was alive and active in the 60s. Flower child, I am not.

On the first Tuesday of the month, February through November, we’re highlighting books & films from/about specific eras that we recommend! (Television shows, too, sometimes!) There’s no commitment or link-up during those months on your end, but in December we’ll host a recap/link-up for the entire year!

While I adamantly dislike the 60s, I admit there are some amazing books and movies set in this decade. (Check out Alexandra‘s recs, too… And wish her a happy birthday!!)

B O O K S

Lots of YA and middle school literature here. But also some of the best books ever.

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg) was first read to me in 3rd grade and I think I’ve read it half a dozen times since then. It’s cute and it’s set in a museum and it’s the perfect introverted kid’s (adult’s?) fantasy of running away and living in a museum πŸ™‚

One of my favorite books ever is The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster). It’s witty and adorable and chocked full of puns. I love it. It’s a good lesson about how life is only as dull as you perceive it.

I’d be remiss to go through the 60s without mentioning The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton). It blows my mind that this story was written by a 16 year old high school girl. I mean, pretty much all of US had to read it in hs, right?? So incredible. Stay gold, guys. Stay gold…

M O V I E S

One night, probably during a thunderstorm, I was laying on the couch with the dogs and happened upon The Night of the Iguana on TCM. It’s a strange, strange movie, full of vice and madness (originally a play by Tennessee Williams) but it stuck with me.

(1962) My family loves the movie Secondhand Lions. It’s a heartwarming classic and if you haven’t seen it, I URGE you to watch it. (Also, if you’re anything like me and you worry about the treatment of animals in film, here is the AH rating for the film. The lion, pig, and dogs were treat 100% humanely. Spoilers in that link, just FYI.)

(1962) I love the X-Men movie franchise and X-Men: First Class is my favorite film. It reveals a lot about some of the mutants’ pasts, it has most of my favorite characters, and it has all my favorite X-Men actors (although I wish we saw more of Jackman- there’s only a short scene).

(1964) One of K’s favorite movies EVER is That Thing You Do. Probably because the main character is a charismatic drummer and the whole thing is a little goofy. Plus it has Tom Hanks and Liv Tyler.

*dates indicate setting, not release

B O N U S

Last week Lindsay mentioned the You Must Remember When podcast on her blog. I am not a podcast listener- at all. But I got curious and tuned in to the one about Lauren Bacall. Dang. I am 100% hooked. Episodes 44-55 detail the Charles Manson insanity- which happened in the 60s. It’s nuts & perfect for history lovers. I might’ve consumed +8 hours of Manson Family-related history this past weekend…

I will definitely be mentioning this podcast in future RSFB posts, too. I listen to it on Spotify.

Back when it was on TV in 2015, I loved The Astronaut Wives’ Club (abc). The stories and acting and history drew me right in! It’s based on the true book by Lilly Koppel, which I plan to read soon!

I still can’t figure out why Pan Am was canceled… It has SO many big names and I loved the stories! Admittedly, I haven’t seen the last few episodes in the series but I plan to. This show starred Christina Ricci, Margot Robbie, and Michael Mosley to name a few.

On the shelf…

I’ve tried many time to read The Help but it’s always a DNF. I haven’t given up yet, though.

When these film trailers were released I wanted to see them, but then life got busy. I’m still hoping to watch The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Big Eyes, and definitely Hidden Figures someday!

The mini-series called The Kennedys caught my attention when it was first released and I remember watching the first episode, but then I got distracted. I’d like to go back and watch the whole thing soon!


Alright, that’s it from me today πŸ™‚ You’ll find more 1960s books, movies, and TV shows over in Alexandra‘s corner of the internet!!

The 1970s saw political scandal, the rise of feminism, and environmentalism and anti-war protests. It was a weird time for the United States and the world. We’ll be sharing our favorite movies, books, and television shows that encapsulate the strange and groovy 70s. Β 

Did you miss our previous decades-themed posts? Find them here: 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950

How To: Host a Garage Sale

I live in a small Midwest town where garage sales are still a pretty big staple of summer. My mom used to host them, I’ve hosted them, and street corners are decorated with neon SALE signs in every part of town all summer long. Is that typical across the country? (I’m honestly not sure…)

Anyway, tomorrow and Saturday I’m having a garage sale in conjunction with the neighborhood garage sale. (Our new house is in a development and I’m so excited to participate in the neighborhood sale!)

I won’t lie… I really like garage sales. I enjoy pricing things, arranging things, and selling things to others (a.k.a. checking them off my list). I’ve even been known to tell people to “just take it.” I’m 100% committed to getting rid of stuff. Since I’ve done this a few times, I figured I’d offer some friendly and totally unsolicited advice to anyone thinking about hosting their own yard/garage sale!

  1. Certain items draw people in. People like furniture, gently used kids’ toys and clothes, and jewelry. Once they’re in your driveway they browse through the adult clothes, kitchenware, and other miscellaneous things you have. People like winter coats, too!
  2. Keep your prices low. I might be guilty of under-pricing things, but they sell so I don’t care. And don’t be afraid to drop prices mid-sale.
  3. Friday is typically a better sale days than Saturday. Drop your prices overnight. Don’t be afraid to haggle on Friday (but maybe take someone’s best offer on Saturday). In my experience, Fridays are great and profitable while Saturdays are more of a freebie.
  4. Have refreshments! I’m not necessarily talking about a kid-run, bee-swarmed lemonade stand. Some cold $1 bottles of water will draw people your direction.
  5. Pay attention to when other around you are having sales. If you can get in on a neighborhood on that’s even better! People flock to multiple sales. Also, if people show up early and want to buy stuff before you’re 100% ready, let them πŸ˜‰
  6. Advertise in the newspaper/on Facebook/in the classified. Mention the *good* stuff you’re selling (see advice #1).
  7. Don’t burn yourself out. Only go from 8am to 2 or 3pm. After that it’s not worth it. Also, if you have friends or family who want in on the sale you can take shifts!
  8. Speaking of which, share your garage with friends/family. I don’t have kids but my bff does and she’s bringing their old toys to our sale this weekend to draw people in. My mom is also contributing items. You can use different colored stickers to keep track of how much money each person makes, then divide it all at the end.

Honestly, there are no solid rules to garage sale-ing, but these tips have worked for me. I don’t like cluttered tables or mismatched items so I tend to stage and categorize. I think it’s proven successful in most cases. I usually mark the sizes on clothing, too. That way people aren’t tearing through my piles πŸ˜‰

Just a reminder:

  • obtain a garage sale permit (even if your neighborhood is having a sale)
  • check with people before you stick a sign in their yard (advertising your sale)
  • have change ready for people paying with large bills

I know some people find garage sales to be stressful and way too much work. I am not that person. Haha. Have you ever had a garage sale? Do you enjoy them?

 

Start of Summer: Goals Check-In

If you’ll recall, I combined my spring and summer goals and bucket list items into one post. I don’t like these warm seasons but having some fun stuff to look forward to helps me keep a good attitude. (Full disclosure: I did NOT have a good attitude about the +90 degree days in June.)

So anyway, since Thursday was the first day of summer, I figured a check-in was smart.

  • Go to a major or minor league baseball game
    I haven’t done this yet BUT it’s physically on the calendar for July!
  • Visit the farmers market at least twice
  • Go on anniversary trip to Gettysburg
  • Go to country summer concert with friends
  • Go to summer concert with K (Jimmy Eat World)
    Also already on the calendar for July!
  • Finish cleaning stuff out of M&D’s basement
    Making progress!
  • Finish purging unnecessary stuff
    It will be sold at the garage sale or donated by the end of the week!
  • Have a garage sale at new house!
    Happening this coming weekend!
  • Go to the outdoor rootbeer stand (Fundays)
  • Go swimming!
  • Go to Trumpet in the Land (outdoor play)
  • Follow 5 new blogs
  • Set up home office
  • Set up basement workout space
  • Scrapbook & finish year 3
  • Summer vacation?
  • Paint the bedroom
  • MAKE SOME DAMN ICE CREAM

I’m actually doing better than I thought I was. Yay for putting things on the list that I already had scheduled. Hahaha. Let’s bring me down a notch and revisit the goals for 2018 that I set…

Drink 64 oz. of water a day.
NOPE. I’m aiming for 32 oz. right now. Although on the day of Pride & the outdoor concert I drank over 96 ounces of water!

Read 50 books in 2018. And complete one of Erin’s Challenges.
I’m working on it… I’ve read 17 books and Erin’s next challenge start in July.

Start exercising.
Hahahahahahahaha. Nah.

Keep up with meal planning.
This has mostly been a bust. We haven’t gone out to dinner much, but dinners are either thrown together, tossed on the grill, or ordered off a takeout menu. Summer threw me off.

Practice kindness, patience, grace, and peace.
I actually think I’ve made some progress with this goal. I’ve taken steps to controlling my emotions. I’m trying to be a better, more supportive, loving friend. Obviously there’s always room for improvement. I know I’m never done improving.

Not doing so great with the yearlong goals. Lol

I’ve got one more season to knock these out so fingers crossed! I’m not sure if the painting, scrapbooking, or workout space are going to happen… but I’ll try πŸ˜‰

Being OK With Being Enough

Lately I’ve been struggling with self-worth. I’ve noticed moments of jealousy, comparison, anger, judgement, and frustration pop up. I know- even in those moments- that my reactions are a result of being unhappy with myself, but I have been struggling with silencing the negative voices and curing my insecurities at their root.

I can feel the spiral as it’s happening, which is incredibly frustrating because isn’t the biggest “cure” of anxiety or wild emotions the ability to be aware of your triggers and emotions as they happen? I am fully aware of them- sometimes I even say aloud, “Audrey, what is wrong with you? Chill! Why are you feeling this way?!” But they’re still there.

I’ve been advised to invest in the awareness route. I tend to shut down emotionally or dive head first into distraction when things become overwhelming. I know that’s not right or healthy, but it’s a comfortable band aid. I’m going to give the awareness approach a shot next month, though. We’ll be flying to Dallas and I plan to NOT distract myself into oblivion and, instead, embrace every moment of the flight. (WISH ME LUCK. WOOF.)

But it’s tough to apply this practice when it comes to emotions. I am OVER THE DAMN MOON for my friends and their accomplishments. I’m even happy for acquaintances and strangers who have good things happen for them. But every once in a while, usually when I’m overwhelmed with 15 other things, I feel envy or judgement creep into my happy heart and turn it bitter. It’s frustrating.

I want to be skinnier, good at my job, more charismatic. I want to write a book and grow my own vegetables and travel with friends. I want to kick my flying fear to the curb and cure my lifelong acne and enjoy coconut milk. And honestly, no one is standing in my way. But Bitter Betty is a sneaky b*tch.

I am a STRONG girls support girls & empowered women empower women advocate but I am a human, too. I can be a catty, mean person in my head and to myself at times. I’m always looking for a way to fix that.

All that to say, if you’re riding any certain struggle bus today we can share a seat. No one is perfect. You vent to me and I’ll vent to you, and together we can figure out ways to be kinder, gentler, graceful humans in this world of comparison.

*I know things are tough right now. Speak up, donate, and love your neighbor fiercely.