Happy Thanksgiving!

I feel like we were so overdue for a holiday, ya know? Thanksgiving arrived just in time.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by friends or family or pets or strangers- whatever or whomever you have that make you feel loved and grateful.

I addition to all the normal stuff (husband, dogs, fam, etc.), I’m incredibly thankful for the blogging community that I find myself immersed in daily. From the random packages to the planned gift swaps, from my blogger pen pal group to the people I email with and befriend on Facebook… I’m just really grateful for you all ❤︎

If you find yourself here over the holiday/weekend, I hope you know that I’m glad you’ve stopped by. If you’re looking for something to read while you wait for the guests to arrive or the turkey to cook or the bloating to subside 😉 be sure to check out these posts:

Have a great Thanksgiving & weekend!

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To My Friends & Family

I am head-over-heels in love with this season. I enjoy dreary weather, I like the cold, and I live for the last three months of every year. I know there are plenty of people like me out there, but I also know there are not.

In addition to the daily chaos and hardships of life, the holidays add stress for people. Moms and dads feel pressure to make their homes magical for their kids. Bloggers see pictures of other bloggers’ decorated trees and hearths and homes. Instagram is filled with tightly wrapped presents and perfectly decorate cookies. I saw Bad Moms Christmas in theaters a few weeks ago and the premise- people (moms) are under a ton of stress to make the holidays perfect- is so true. Hell, people are under stress 365 days a year to make their lives (seem) perfect!

Right now I feel like a lot of my friends- real life and in the blog world- are fighting their way through tough ass seasons. Unfortunate health diagnoses or slow healing-injuries, parents pulling their hair out over rebellious toddlers or cranky babies, sick pets and struggling friendships or relationships and turmoil within the family… Everyone is going through something and it hurts my heart to see my loved ones plagued with these struggles.

I struggle with that fact that some people just aren’t happy. We only get one life to live and the idea of mucking our way through in a state of constant unhappiness makes me so upset. No one can be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but in general I want people to be joyful. I’m one of those people who feels like the weight of everyone’s happiness falls on my shoulders and, while I know that’s untrue and unhealthy, it affects me deeply when my friends are down and out.

I can’t control you or your life or the things that happen to you, but I do know that what you’re going through is a season and seasons pass. The Christmas season is a wonderful one for me, but it won’t stick around forever. The next season will be better or worse and have it’s own arsenal of curveballs, but it will arrive and I will deal with it and, eventually, it will pass. And with every season we learn something new.

So, my friends, don’t fret. This season will pass. Whether you wait it out or turn the page yourself, you will come out on the other side and things will be different. Perfect? No. But it’ll be different and you can look back (or not look back), and be grateful for where you are now. Love yourself and give yourself grace along the way. Practice kindness and accept help from others. I guarantee you are loved by someone (possibly me!) and that person is rooting for you- whether you know it or not.

If you’re reading this and you’re a close friend and you feel like you’re struggling, I hope you’ll reach out. I know the holidays can get dark and overwhelming but I promise I’m always free for a phone call or text exchange or mailed Christmas greeting. There’s always room around our holiday table and I definitely don’t mind a dinner date with a friend ❤︎

Try not to spend the holidays (or your life) faking a smile- find a way to crack a genuine one. You don’t have to have a perfect tree or a perfect home or a perfect Instagram. You’re loved just the way you are and you’re doing a great job. Life is difficult and you’re doing it- be proud of yourself.

Live Your Best Holiday Life Update

(or LYBHolidayL from here on out.)

Alexandra and Shea are hosting this wonderful, mindful, month-long challenge and I’m doing my best to slow down and participate. October was a hectic & rough month for me. I had fun, but it was at the expense of my patience and sanity. I’m determined to finish out the year in a better state mentally. Alex and Shea’s LYBHolidayL challenge has helped so much with that. Since we’re halfway through, I wanted to share an update!

November 1 – Make an effort to write down one thing you are grateful for every day or week

November 2 – Read this article about raising Thankful kids

November 3 – Do something to welcome the Thanksgiving season
I packed up the Halloween decor and brought out the fall and winter stuff (but nothing too Christmasy yet). We have some Thanksgiving-themed decorations so I’m letting those hog the spotlight for a while. 🙂

(also includes day 1 & 2 of gratitude!)

November 4 – Make pumpkin waffles for breakfast/brunch/breakfast for dinner
Kyle doesn’t like pumpkin flavor so he got french toast.

November 5 – Shop your closet and try to come up with a couple of new outfits from old pieces
I’ve seen other bloggers try this. It was fun to take the time to put these together!

November 6 – Give back this month: decide as a family how to “give back” to your community
It’s not much, but this year when Christmas shopping I will say “yes” any time a cashier asks if I want to round up my change or donate a dollar to xyz organization. Also, our holiday cards came from paper culture and they plant a tree for every order 🙂

November 7 – Schedule in 30 minutes to curl up with a good book
This was great timing. We left on the 8th for a business trip so I needed the reminder to just STOP and relax for a bit with a book.

November 8 – Take a Break: Get your Hygge on
I bought both the Hygge book AND this activity book a while ago. I worked on some puzzles during our drive to Indy since I couldn’t do anything in our home while on the road.

November 9 – Let go of one thing you feel obligated to do, attend, or complete this month.
There’s a Christmas tree festival in my town that happens every year during this week. I try to go every year and I feel like I missed a crucial party of preparing for Xmas when I forget about it or don’t have time to go. This year I’m just saying the heck with it 🙂 I don’t want to go so I’m not gonna.

November 10 – Treat yourself to a new, yummy-smelling candle
I had to postpone this one until we were home, but I finally lit my new Spiced Apple Toddy candle from B&BW!

November 11 – Clean out your fridge & get it holiday food influx ready!
I actually did this one early! Before we left I cleaned out the fridge for the house/dog sitter!

November 12 – Give someone an unexpected gift
We came home from Indy with extra stickers and lanyards so I took them to my grandma’s house and gave my cousins some of our new merchandise.

November 13 – For today, clear your to-do list of all the non-fun things unless they are absolutely essential!
Since we spent 5 days on the road with customers and clients we decided to nix the alarm clocks this morning. I consider waking up to an alarm to be very un-fun.

November 14 – Start making a holiday gift list
Already started the list AND the shopping 🙂

November 15 – Get started on an Advent calendar, or a similar project for another holiday celebration!
Stephanie shared some AWESOME advent calendars… so I think I might need one of those. I’m also brainstorming some other cute Advent or Christmas countdown activities!


At the end of November I’ll share a final post 🙂 Until then, I invite you to join in (even just for a day or two) and slow down this holiday season!

What I Read… vol. 11

I participate in Erin’s Book Challenges & when I first started doing it I was barely making time to read for pleasure. In high school I devoured books, but then college happened and I felt guilty reading anything that wasn’t for a class. My habit of pleasure reading went into hibernation. Thanks to Erin, I’ve been slowly but surely reading more and more over the last few years. I’m no 12-books-a-month kind of reader, but hitting 3 in a month makes me feel good. All that to say, I didn’t finish the challenge this time around, but I’m enjoying books and reading for pleasure and I don’t mind that I gave up on the challenge. I plan to complete her challenge in its entirety soon, but moving houses and summertime stress just didn’t allow for that this time. Thank you for being an amazing, wonderful, gracious host, Erin!!

Also, happy birthday to my dad!

What_I_Read_blog

And now I’m linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!! (Happy Anniversary last month, ladies! Sorry I forgot to say anything!)

On to the books. My rockin’ husband bought me a Kindle for my birthday so you’ll hopefully see some NetGalley books around these parts! For now, it was a pretty slow reading month.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie | ★★★/5 
Summary: When the wealthy Emily Inglethorp is murdered in her own bed, surrounded by family and staff, Hercule Poirot is on the case to solve who dun it. | Why I Read It: I’ve found that I really enjoy Christie’s writing and I plan to make my way through the Hercule Poirot series. | What I Thought: While Hastings drove me right up a tree (he was such a naive, over confident, horny creep IMO), I loved Poirot. He was an absurd little character, but the mystery made sense to me once it was all explained. And I never even came close to guessing the outcome.
You should read it because… you enjoy a classic mystery with a twisty twist and quirky characters. No thriller mystery here.

DNF: West with the Night by Beryl Markham
I might come back to this book someday, but I wasn’t feel it from the time I picked it up. Good stories, but not a pace I enjoyed (for now).

Erin’s Challenge ended Oct. 31st at 11:59pm…

|5 points| Freebie: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
|10 points| Starts w/ “B”: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
|10 points| Yellow cover: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
|15 points| An animal on the cover: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| Published in 2017: The Essence of Malice by Ashley Weaver
|20 points| Compass/cardinal direction in title: West With the Night by Beryl Markham
|25 points| A most commonly banned book in America: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
|30 points| About mental illness: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
|30 points| Non-human main character: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
|35 points| A Disney movie /book/ based on a Disney movie: The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart

I ended with 135 points. I can’t wait for the winter challenge!

What did you read this month?

Life According to Steph

Amazoning

I’ve posted about my Amazon purchases before, but it seems like they always appear a week or so after Christmas. I wanted to share my pre-Christmas purchases this time. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up after the holidays 😉 Thank you Rebecca Jo for the post inspiration!

Lately I’ve bought…

Desert Essence Whitening Plus Toothpaste & Mouthwash Bundle

I’m always on the hunt for c.f. tooth-care that can stand up to my coffee and tea addiction. I have a tough time getting K on board with some of my stuff but we both really like this! We’ve already seen results and I think that the tea tree oil is super effective.

American Crafts Pink Paislee Spellcast 36 Sheet 6×6 Paper Pad

Alexandra turned me on to this company. Unfortunately, I was paying attention to the price- not the size- when I ordered this. That doesn’t matter though. It’s gorgeous paper with fun prints- I’ll definitely use it all up in my scrapbooks!

SimpleHouseware Heavy-Duty 3 Bag Laundry Sorter Rolling Cart- bronze

The new laundry room in our house is pretty damn tiny. I love doing laundry but I love having space to do laundry. I’m adjusting to the new normal (which includes a laundry chute!!) and this little contraption helps SO MUCH. I seriously love it. I funnel the chute laundry into these three bins (white, black/dark, color) and then the bags lift OFF of the cart and I can dump them in the washer. Love it 🙂

Marvel Comics X-Men Logo Men’s Charcoal Grey T-Shirt and Wolverine Men’s Crew Socks 2 Pair Pack

We were in a wedding and the guys had to pick a superhero for their outfits. I picked Wolverine for Kyle 🙂 This shirt is SO soft. Even if he never wears it again (I think he will), I’ll totally wear it around the house. K also loves quirky socks so he’s a fan of these.

AOMEI Wedding A Line Tulle Tutu Jupe Knee Length Prom Party Skirt Black

I wanted a tulle skirt for my Halloween outfit. This one fit well and had a zipper and elastic waist with a cute bow. Perfect!

I also sent along some “needed items” to a dog rescue in Texas after the hurricane and I made a gift basket for a bridal shower with these items ordered from Amazon:

water bowl | donut | nylabone | treats | blanket

In other news…

I got one, two, three pairs of shoes from Target. Also this Halloween sweatshirt.

We ordered these bookshelves from Overstock.

We got 2 of these chairs from Big Lots.

And we got this large mirror from Lowes!

What online store has been sucking your wallet dry lately?

Waitress in Cleveland

My talented, vivacious, beautiful friend Aubrey offered me two tickets to see Waitress at Playhouse Square in Cleveland last month, so I invited my mom along and we made a night of it! (We had less than 24 hours notice so it was a whirlwind!)

Knowing how Cleveland gets on a Friday night, Mom and I arrived in the city roughly 2 hours before showtime. (Fortunately the Cavs were out of town!) We parked across from the theater and decided to find some noms before the show. Rookie mistakes: Reservations are a must in Cleveland on a Friday night in the theater district. Lol

Fortunately, after putting our names on a waiting list and flashing our puppy-dog eyes, we snagged a table at Cowell & Hubbard, an upscale eatery a block down from the show. Our sever was only three days into his job and so nervous but so so good! He explained all the specials to us and obliged our weird orders and time restraints.

Mom and I each got an appetizer. She ordered Foie Gras (BLEH) and I got chicken spring rolls. Our second course was a cup of tomato bisque for me and Brussels sprouts salad for Mom.

To be totally honest, nothing really impressed me (except the service). My soup was ok but not spectacular and my chicken spring rolls weren’t the best I’d ever had. But then we ordered dessert…

Oh em gee. My caramel apple cheesecake was awesome. Mom got the peanut butter and jelly creme brulee and it was killer. Seriously… a ridiculously good note to end on.

After dinner we hightailed it to the box office to retrieve out tix and find our seats. After a quick hug and “hello” to Aubrey and her fiancee Alyssa we found our seats and settled in.

I loved this musical. There were a handful of story lines that I didn’t agree with, but I think that’s what made the story so beautiful and relateable and real. All the characters were flawed but the best ones exuded so much kindness. And the music? Sara Bareilles is a composing goddess. If this musical comes to a theater near you, I recommend you go 🙂

Thank you to my mom for going with me last minute! (And for reserving judgement when I cried like a toddler for the last 20 minutes of the show.) And THANK YOU to Aubrey for the tickets!!

The best part might have been Sara Bareilles coming out at the final curtain. I just really love her. It made me cry even harder.
When spontaneous nights are this incredible it lifts your soul.

Currently…

Hello, November 🍂

My blog has been very surface level lately so I wanted to link-up with Kristen and Gretch today to go a little deeper with a currently/What’s New With You? post.

Right now I’m R E A D I N G so many books simultaneously. K got me a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday last month and I went a little crazy on NetGalley… Physical-book-wise, I’m finishing up The Moon-Spinners and Circling the Sun. I just finished Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Style. On Kindle I dove into Fairest of All. (K got me Kindle Unlimited and I found it on there.) After I finish some of those I’ll crack into my NetGalley reads! I didn’t end up finishing Erin’s book challenge but that’s ok.

We’re done moving and the old house is officially turned over to the new owners, but I’m still S T R E S S I N G – O U T – O V E R the settling part of new homeownership. I completely broke down to K a few weeks ago and told him that our constant chaos in the house is killing me on the inside and making my anxiety a raging beast. I feel like a failure in my home which makes me feel like a failure in all aspects of life (as a wife, as an employee, as a daughter, as a fall-lover, as a dog momma). I know that’s silly and unhealthy, but I crave balance and order. I promise I’m trying to slow down and focus and relax this month.

I’m also P R E P A R I N G for the holidays (i.e. Christmas gifts, Christmas decorations). I think getting some of that stuff done will reset my brain and give me peace.

The kitchen is finally in order so we will be E A T I N G some yummy home-cooked meals soon. FINALLY, guys. I think one of the worst parts of moving was all the takeout and fast food and sodium-filled dinners during the process. UGH. The last few nights we’ve been snacking on the dips we had at the party (spinach & artichoke, taco, etc.).

We moved all our furniture into the new house and don’t plan to change anything, but we’ve definitely had to add. We are B U Y I N G allll the things right now. Lol. We just got new bookshelves and reading chairs for my library area, I got a new hamper for my itty-bitty laundry room, and we’re currently trying to decide on some end tables and a coffee table… Home tour soon. Promise.

My brain is overwhelmed like an accountant in April, but I am very T H A N K F U L – F O R all our friends and family. Between helping us move, letting me vent on the phone/through text, and celebrating with us at birthday and Halloween parties, I just can’t get over the love and support we’ve been given. Thanks, everyone 🖤 I love going into the holiday season feeling so loved.

We have a business trip in Indianapolis coming up, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t P L A N N I N G a potential winter trip for K and myself. I’ve only mentioned it to him, but I feel like I need to mentally and physically get away for a long weekend. We’ll see if it happens. I’d settle for a girls’ trip instead, but my bff is laid up after knee surgery. We’ll see…

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been R A G I N G – A B O U T the state of our country. The current administration, the Hollywood assault stories, the preference of policy and politics over people. It’s embarrassing and heartbreaking.

Let’s end on a good note, yes?

I am P A R T I C I P A T I N G – I N Alexandra and Shea‘s Live Your Best (Holiday) Life or LYBHolidayL in November. I’m pretty excited about it, actually. Taking the time to be grateful and intentional without spending hundred of dollars 🙂

(I don’t care if Halloween is over.) L A U G H I N G – A B O U T :

This is us trying to get the dogs to adjust to the new neighborhood. LOL

So what’s new with you?

What's New With You