Crows Feet

Tomorrow is our five year wedding anniversary. Last Monday, the 16th, marked 11 years since Kyle asked me out for ice cream for the very first time. I don’t know when I knew that Kyle was going to be mine forever, but it was some time between 2007 and 2013.

Within the last year I’ve noticed crows feet forming at the corner of K’s pretty green eyes. It’s also no secret that I have large patches of grey hair underneath this dye job. Aging can be scary or overwhelming or depressing but, personally, I love those familiar crows feet.

We started dating right after my 17th birthday. I knew then that it wasn’t just a fling; I wanted to grow old with Kyle. It amuses me that I’m seeing it happen before my very eyes. I love it. We’ve gone from sharing our favorite colors and picking what movies to see on the weekends to what house we should to buy and which life ins. policy we should pick. Kyle’s crows feet are a tangible sign that we’re aging together. It’s my new favorite feature on his face. (I like his nose, too. It’s perfect.)

We’re together all the time- I mean, we work together. Obviously we argue sometimes so please don’t paint too perfect of a picture of us 😉 That said, his goofy 31-year-old grin makes me so damn happy. I love it when I make him laugh. And when I see other couples I truly hope that they find the same happiness with their significant other. I feel lucky to share my life with Kyle.

So happy anniversary, babe. (You’re so smart, babe.) I hope to see your crows feet get deeper and my grey patches grow bigger. As long as I’m aging next to you I’ll never dread it.

If one gray hair shows, I’ll be fine / If my waistline grows, I’ll be fine / Even if time takes its toll / We’ll stay young for the rest of our lives…

The Rest of Our Life, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

“What Do You Do?”

I believe that we’re in control of what defines us. And while there are hundreds of things that define the person I am (dogs, coffee, books, Harry Potter…), my job is a pretty big one. I know that’s not the case for everyone. Some people work to live & some live to work & some fall in between. It takes all kinds of kinds. I feel fortunate that I love my job and I love making it a priority.

When I’m getting to know a blogger I always wonder are they married? Do they have pets? What books do they like to read? What job do they have outside of blogging? For me the answers are yes, two dogs, most books, and my official title is Director of Operations.

In 2012 my soon-to-be husband started a goods-based company out of my dad’s garage. With dedication and sacrifice he built the company into an international brand in its niche industry. As I’ve mentioned, at the start of 2017 I left my job and started with K’s company full time. Since then, the employee/friend that I was hired to replace has joined the team again, our job duties have been redistributed, and the company has grown even more.

My role, reassigned as recently as this month, requires me to wear many hats. I handle all the finances- income & expenses. I process orders, get them out to the warehouse, and track their progress from beginning to end. I schedule all the freight and packages that leave our dock and I relay their progress to our customers. I also keep track of lots of lists… I know every high school, drum corps., college, and independent drumline using our products. I believe we have product in every single state except North Dakota and Alaska. Someday… someday…

A few times throughout the year I get to travel (and do all that stuff ^ on the road- oof). We travel for two main reasons- state/regional trade shows OR music-based competitions. This past weekend we were on the road for a competition- the musical Superbowl for indoor percussion ensembles, known as WGI  Percussion World Championships. We are less sales-focused on weekends like that and more relationship-driven. We check in on customers already using our gear, cheer on their performances, and congratulate the folks that fall under our professional umbrella. It’s a really enjoyable event- especially when you like the people you’re with- but it’s early mornings, extremely late nights, lots of social interaction, and a TON of walking. I walked 28 miles from Tuesday to Sunday.

On trade show weeks it’s equal sales and relationship focus. We set up our booth, stand around and talk shop for 8 to 12 hours a day for three days, go out late to wine and dine friends, customers, and colleagues, and tear it all down and move products at the end. Equally exhausting. (Pretty much everything is exhausting, lol.)

When I was in high school I went to some of these events. I was starstruck by the world class competitors and giddy with excitement over free stickers and lanyards from the company promo booths. It’s very humbling and rewarding to work on the other side and see students get excited about the things I help to facilitate. I really, really love it. I think 15 year old Audrey would be impressed.

So that’s what I do. There is my consolidated job description. The stuff we make and sell are the carts and racks that hold synthesizers, mixer boards, cymbals, and drums.

Jason Porter Media

This job forces me to have knowledge on the always-changing world of music education as well as the competitive marching industry. I love that challenge. Additionally, I’m a rare female in an extremely male dominated pond and I find that to be a motivating challenge, too. (I’m always watching for shifts in this demographic and I get excited when I see more females on both the vendor and consumer sides.)

Coming off the high of this past weekend, I was inspired to share a little about my real-life job. Don’t feel obligated to do the same, but if you want to I’d love to hear what you do during the work day! Or, if you feel kind of meh about letting a job define you, tell me about something you love to do 🙂 Or ask me a question about something I do!

Our Ohio Bucket List

One Saturday afternoon K and I were watching our weekend staple- Aerial America- and we came across the episode featuring Ohio. We were excited to recognize almost all the landmarks, but it got us thinking about the place we’ve never been in this great state. I suggested an Ohio bucket list for us to work on over the course of our lives (because let’s be real- we’ll probably live here forever) and K agreed! A while back I shared some Midwest weekending ideas so you’ll see them show up here, too.

(I want to note that K and I have different definitions of “fun” so we probably won’t go to all these places together. He doesn’t like amusements parks or caves like I do so some of these will be explored with friends or family!)

Alright, here is our list of must-visit Ohio landmarks, museums, festivals, and tourist traps!

American Sign Museum (Cincinnati, OH)

Ashtabula County Bridges drive in the corvette

Belamere Suites Hotel [stay]

Brandywine Falls in the fall

Cedar Point

The Cleveland Arcade/Hyatt [stay]

Cleveland Cavaliers at the Q

Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field

Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Cleveland Orchestra outside at Blossom Music Center

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

COSI

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Franklin Park Conservatory

German Village (Columbus)

Gervasi Vineyard [stay]

Great Serpent Mound (Adams County)

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Hocking Hills State Park

Hot Air Balloon Festival (Jackson Twp. or Marysville)

Kings Island

Lakeside

Marblehead Lighthouse

Melt [eat]

Mohican Treehouses

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Ohio Caverns (West Liberty)

Ohio State Reformatory

Pine Tree Barn [eat]

Play: Cle

Put-in-Bay

Ravenwood Castle [stay]

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Stockport Mill Inn [stay]

Sweet Carrot (Columbus) [eat]

Taste of Belgium (Cincinnati) [eat]

Toledo Museum of Art

Troy Strawberry Festival

West Side Market (Cleveland)

The Wilds [stay]

Zoar Village (near Bolivar, OH)

(And Surrounding Areas…)

Fallingwater (PA)

Mammoth National Park (KY)

Mackinac Island (MI)

National Corvette Museum (KY)

If you pop over to the new OHIO tab on the blog you can see which ones we’ve already been to! I opted to leave this list unmarked in case you wanted to snag it for your next Buckeye State adventure! I have a feeling that we will alter and add to this list as cool things cross our radar. Also, when we have kids I imagine our list was expand. 🙂

Tell me, have you ever been to these places? Where would you go first??

A Wild Thursday Night & Canceled Plans

Hello. It’s me. I’m back from the crypt.

I was so swamped with work last week that I completely forgot to write and/or schedule a post on Thursday. K was home sick Monday and Tuesday so when I failed to post anything on Thursday his mom reached out and asked if I was feeling ok. Turns out she’s psychic because later that night I started throwing up and spiked a fever. UGH.

Over the weekend we were supposed to go to Bristol, TN with my parents, my uncle and my cousin. Since I was still sick Friday night we had to cancel on them. If you’ve been around for a while you might know that the Bristol NASCAR race is my favorite weekend. Devastated and pitiful are good descriptions for my mood this weekend.

So today’s post was supposed to be “Thoughts I Have While Attending a NASCAR Race” (similar to my ob/gyn post) but obviously I have nothing to report. I ended up not leaving my house from 4 pm Thursday until 1 pm on Sunday. I don’t know the last time I hibernated like that. I also don’t know the last time I threw up that much. (K lost 12 lbs. when he was sick. I LOST NOTHING.) But I am feeling much better and just in time for our work-related trip later this week. The dogs were also pretty pleased to be crate-less for +3 days.

Anyway… today’s post is just hi-hello-it’s me kind of thing. I’m really excited about this Thursday’s post, though. So despite my dull update today you should come back for that one, lol.

Until then, I’ll do my best to catch up on the blog posts I missed while I was sick. And stay caught up with everything going on while I’m on the road. (Understandably, my blog reading slacks when I get super busy with work. #sorrynotsorry)

Ok. Enough whining about being sick and canceled weekend plans. Tell me what you did last weekend!

What I Read…

Woot woot! It’s book day!! April is the final month for Erin’s 8.0 Book Challenge, too.

I’m linking up with my favorite book gurus (Steph & Jana) for Show Us Your Books!

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
★★★★★/5
In his old age, a grandpa looks back with fondness and regret over his relationships with his son and grandson. 
This entire story destroyed me. I read it in on sitting one a quiet Saturday afternoon. Thank goodness K wasn’t home because I bawled like a baby for the last half. I think that if you’ve ever seen someone close to you slowly (or quickly) age and fade from the person they used to be, this book will move you. This was my first Backman book and I enjoyed his writing and storytelling. I’m definitely going to check out some of his more popular books next.
Should you read it? Yes. But brace yourself.

The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch
★★★/5 
In 1659 Bavaria ostracized hangman Jakob Kuisl is tasked with torturing a friend accused of witchcraft and murder… unless he can prove her innocence. With help from his daughter and her suitor, the town’s physician’s son, can Jakob stop the madness before it escalates? 
This was a long book that felt even longer. (I really rate it 2.5 starts but I round up.) I half wonder if the translation made it drag on so terribly…? Sometimes the plot was repeated, similar to a TV show recaping what had happened before the commercial break. I’m not sure… something just made it feel slow and labored. The story itself was great! I loved the setting and the mystery and murders sent chills down my spine. Don’t even get me started on the devil character. ~eek~ I think the title and cover look a little playful, but be warned there are some torture details and most of the murder victims are orphan kids. Definitely not a light and fluffy tale. I know there are four or five more books in this series but I don’t think I’ll be reading on.
Should you read it? No. You can skip this one.

*I think both of these books were written in a different language. Lol


Now for an update on the book challenge… (It ends April 30th at 11:59pm.)

|5 points| Freebie: The Murder on the Links (Christie)
|10 points| Starts with the letter L: Last Christmas in Paris (Gaynor)
|10 points| Has a (mostly) red cover: Girl Waits With Gun (Stewart)
|15 points| A character’s name in the title: HP & the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
|20 points| From this list: Three Dark Crowns (Blake)
|20 points| “House” or “home” in the title: The House of New Beginnings (Diamond)
|25 points| Author’s first & last name begins w/ the same letter: Renegades (Meyer, M)
|30 points| Originally published in a different language: The Hangman’s Daughter (Potzsch)
|30 points| Most of the action takes place on a form of transportation: Dead Wake (Larson)
|35 points| A character suffers from a debilitating illness: Finding Audrey (Kinsella)

Up to 125 points.

Honestly, I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t be finishing Erin’s challenge this time. When I first started doing her book challenges I was barely reading two books a year. I typically average two or three books a month now so I’m not the least bit upset about not completing the challenges 🙂 I’ll get the next one, though. For some reason I left the +400 page books for the end. Even if I don’t get them done before April’s end, I plan to finish Dead Wake and Renegades.

So that’s all I’ve got. Tell me what you read this month!

Life According to Steph

Coffee Break- Love & Hate Edition

Hello, beautifuls. I’m linking up with Kristen today for our coffee date. To spice things up I’m giving it a love/hate theme, although hate might be a strong word.

Before I begin, Happy Birthday (yesterday) to my Momma!

If we were getting drinks I’d have a cup of very strong coffee- with quite a bit of cream. No sugar, thanks.

First I’d ask if you got any of the storms that swept the Midwest on Tuesday night. If you saw my IG stories then you already know I was up half the night with a quaking dog. I’m very grateful that we didn’t have to hide in the basement from tornadoes or sit in the dark with no power, but I’ll still whine about my lack of sleep and the nonexistent cable and internet. And poor Lylee shaves years off her life when she worries and pants and shakes like that. Sigh. I spent the whole night on the couch with the scaredy-bear. HATE.

I’d ask what you’re watching lately. I’d 100% recommend The Good Place and Superstore. TGP just finished its second season and Superstore is still in its 2nd so you can absolutely binge & catch up. K and I are watching The Office on Netflix. We just finished up season 4. I want to check out Champions and Splitting Up Together, too. LOVE.

If we were drinking coffee I’d ask how you’re sleeping at night. We tried melatonin but it completely screwed with us, especially in the mornings. Right now I’m taking an anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxer at night for my back and I’ve been getting a.m.a.z.i.n.g. sleep… but I know it’s short lived since I can’t be on muscle relaxers forever. Lol. HATE.

As we were refilling and warming our drinks I’d ask if you saw Stephanie’s Clutter List?? After work I’m so unmotivated to do anything but spring cleaning is definitely on my mind right now. LOVE.

A few weeks ago K was gone on business and I took myself shopping. Both Lindsay and Steph have mentioned ON on their blogs and I treated myself to some new dresses and shirts. Everything was on sale and it’s all SO comfy!! I think it’s all on sale still! I got:

yellow off the shoulder | red stripe swing | black stripe swing

Before we finished our drinks I’d ask you if your library offers Hoopla. I just discovered this resource and it’s amazing! I can instantly borrow & download movies and music and ebooks from my library. How I only just discovered this platform, I don’t know. It’s definitely been helpful when it comes to materials for The Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collab. 😉 LOVE

Before we parted ways I’d ask about your Easter weekend! (If you don’t celebrate Easter then I’d ask what fun things you did over the weekend!) We always have church and lunch with my family plus an egg hunt and kite flying. Then K’s family comes to our house for dinner and we head to his grandparents’ for dessert and another egg hunt. My weekend had lots of cleaning, cooking, and family.

That was a lot of ground to cover! Did I miss anything? Fill me in on what’s new with you before we abandon our mugs and get back to adulting ❤︎

What's New With You

The Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collaboration | The 1930s

We’re back! (And if you couldn’t find Alexandra’s 1920s post from last month you can find it here! She had a scheduling glitch.) This month we’re checking out the 1930s- not a great time for the US of A… Between the stock market crash at the end of the 20s leading to the Great Depression and the dust bowl wreaking havoc on land and crops in the west, the US was struggling. Meanwhile, across the big pond, Germany saw the growth of the Nazi party, China was traumatized by multiple floods, and Spain found itself in a civil war.

Yeah… not a great time for planet Earth.

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!

Despite the incredibly depressing events of the 1930s, some of my favorites stories come from this era.

B O O K S

(1932) A few years ago I fell in love with Amory Ames. The first book in the series, Murder at the Brightwell (Ashley Weaver), is a mix of British elite, classic mystery, and a tiny bit of romance. Since that seaside scandal, Weaver has penned three more stories with a fifth due out Sept. 4th. I love getting lost in Amory’s (and her playboy husband Milo’s) adventures.

(1933) I’d wager that 75% of us (at least) had to read To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) in high school. I did, but it’s been a while. I remember this book being the perfect marriage of childhood innocence and adult conflict. I won’t lie- I decided not to read Go Set A Watchman when it was released because of the controversy surrounding Lee’s consent. To Kill a Mockingbird is the only Scout, Jem, and Atticus I know.

(Late 1930s) I expressed interest in Agatha Christie to a classical book-loving colleague a while back and she recommended I start with And Then There Were None. It was the perfect 1930s Clue-like mystery! Christie’s writing is timeless- the language was easy to digest and the plot flowed along seamlessly. Keep in mind, the original title and titular poem that this book was based around isn’t P/C by today’s standard, but the major contention points have been altered and the story sucks you right in. I love that the story was serialized in newspaper format when it was first released.

The 1930s are a fun setting for mysteries 😉

M O V I E S

It’s been SO LONG since I’ve seen Fried Green Tomatoes. It is one of my mom’s favorite movies and the song “Goodbye Earl” by the Dixie Chicks always reminds me of it. I need to rewatch this one soon.

(1935) Is The Green Mile a popular movie? I referenced it once to a friend and she told me she’d never seen it. It’s a sad one but it’s so good. But I hate the one part and I HATE Sam Rockwell’s character. But I love John Coffey. This film conflicts me.

(1937) I feel foolish for putting this on here, but Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? is one of my dad’s all time favorite movies. It’s so silly but it has George Clooney so…. I suffer through it when he puts it on for the millionth time.

*dates indicate setting, not release

B O N U S !

I don’t have any 1930s tv shows or musicals to recommend. Do you?

On the shelf…

In 2015 BBC released the 3 episode mini-series And Then There Were None (based on the book I just mentioned)! I definitely want to check this out- especially because the cast includes Aidan Turner and Sam Neill.

I started the movie The Sting just last night but I didn’t finish it in time for this post. I’ll have it done for our final December recap. You should watch it, too, because Paul Newman and Robert Redford are very easy on the eyes.

I was reading an article about all the period dramas on Netflix (which of course I’ll share with you) and I saw the British drama Dancing on the Edge. I think it looks interesting!

We try not to repeat our recommendations so be sure to check out Alexandra’s blog now!

Big bands and WWII await us in May when we cross into the 1940s. Possibly one of the most romantic eras, I love this decade for its big band music and sharp fashion. Plus we start to see women hold down the fort and demand some credit!

Did you miss our first two decades?
Check out my recs from the 1910s and the 1920s!