Everything is Great

The creativity bug has been on vacation these last few weeks… Most of my posts have been lists or recaps or link-ups. All those things are great, but I usually try to throw in an opinion piece or heartfelt rant here and there. I’ve just been so tired. We’re both healthy and safe and happy, so I feel terrible complaining, but I really am exhausted right now.

You know how some people get tired and sad during the last half of winter but suddenly perk up in the spring with all the sunshine and rain and blooming flowers? Yeah- I’m the opposite. I hate this season and it totally drains me. Plus, Thunderstorms + Lylee = Audrey on the couch all night with a trembling dog and maybe 3 or 4 interrupted hours of sleep.

It’s also our gateway into the “crazy season” with the business. And tax season. (Sweet Mother of Pearl, don’t get me started on the taxes we owe this year *sob*) Anyway… stress levels are HIGH and there’s very little separation of personal and professional and canine stress at the moment.

So that’s what’s going on with me right now. Ha.

But in other random news…

Lylee went to the doggie spa (read: groomers) for the first time and had her nails professionally dremeled. It was taxing on both of us, but she was happy at the end and her nails looked good. So that’s a win.

We host an Easter meal at our house for K’s side of the family so I’m gearing up for that. People are always eager to bring sides so it’s never too much stress on me πŸ˜‰ This year I’m going to make a mashed potato casserole, carrot bread, and decorated eggs! We’re either going to have brisket or a pork shoulder… I hate ham so the perk of hosting Easter is eliminating it from the menu πŸ˜€

Our 4 year anniversary is on the 27th of this month. K planned last year’s outing so it’s my turn this year. (I don’t know when we started taking turns…?) Any ideas for me?

And with that I’m off to try meditation (or a bottle glass of wine) and hopefully enjoy the weekend with family and friends and church πŸ™‚

What are your weekend/Easter plans?

Things I Really Love Right Now

I was going to write a serious post today. I started one about the controversy surrounding the Beauty and the Beast outrage. I thought about screaming ranting about the idiotic administration running our country. But I just can’t. If you’ve been around these parts long enough then you know that I have 0% issue with people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. You also know I loathe the people inhabiting the White House. So let’s talk about something that isn’t going to make me pull my hair out.

I’m going to link up with Kristen & Gretch for some “currently” updates and some favorite things that I want you to know about πŸ™‚

Reading… The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. Atonement (Ian McEwan) is also on the docket. Last two books for Erin’s Challenge!

Watching… the series finale for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I tried to drag the series out as long as I could. I’m sad it’s over but pleased with how it ended. Now I’m trying to convince K to watch Firefly with me. (I’ve seen it, he hasn’t.)

Looking Forward To… my mom’s birthday celebration. Her b-day was Tuesday but I’m surprising her with an outing on Saturday. I can’t say much here because she reads this blog πŸ˜‰

Planning… a fall vacation. We were going to go to Disney, but I couldn’t get K excited about it. He’s never been and wants to see it for the first time with a big family group or with a kid in the picture. Fine. Whatever. I was bitter about it at first, but now I’m looking forward to spending some time at Universal Studios (#DisneyForever) and on a cruise. We compromised.

Loving… my new job with K’s company. I feel so relaxed and fulfilled working for a company that I love and working alongside people that I really enjoy and working in an industry that’s had my heart for +8 years.

(Here’s what I was up to at this exact time last year!)

Now let’s talk about my recent favorites.
(I’m going to style this like Rebecca Jo’s Friday Favorites post.)

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Favorite Reads

I’m going to recommend two authors instead of books.

I’ve gone on and on about The Lunar Chronicles, so it makes sense that I recommend Marissa Meyer to those who love a little fantasy and adventure and retelling. Her newest standalone novel, Heartless, quickly became a favorite for me, too. (I’ll talk about it on Tuesday!)

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The second author that I’ve really enjoyed so far is Ashley Weaver. She writes a 1930s mystery series that centers around Amory Ames and her playboy husband Milo. They’re not thrillers, but they have an air of suspense and romance and betrayal. Plus they’re set in historical England- which is my fav.

Favorite Recent Purchases

Everyone has their favorite place to buy jeans. Mine is Old Navy. If you’re an ON gal check out these jeans! I have three of the same pair, all in different shades (medium wash, light wash and light pachuca). They are so comfy and flattering to my curvy hips!

Also on the recently purchased list: These pajamas from Marshalls (or TJ Maxx, I guess.) The same cross-cross shear pattern around the neck is also down the outside of each leg on the shorts. Perfect as the weather warms up!

…obviously this isn’t my body. Ha.

Favorite Lip Stuff

I’m not a beauty blogger, but I have three lipsticks/stains/things that I’ve been loving lately. Two are Burt’s Bees products (Pink Lagoon gloss lip crayon & Ruby Ripple moisturizing lipstick) and one’s from Wet N Wild (Lady and the Vamp balm stain). Last weekend I got three compliments on the balm stain!

Favorite Funnies

Have you tried any of this stuff? What’s something you’re loving lately?

What's New With You

Fly Me to the Moon (or don’t… please, don’t)

It’s painful for me to admit this, but some time in the last four years I developed mild flight anxiety. I have an overactive brain that tends to visualize everything that could go wrong (although, scientifically, the things I imagine probably can’t go wrong). I’m not going to go into it because I know that I’m being dramatic and I don’t want to put my false mental images of doom into your head, too.

But, you know, just let it be known that I have flight anxiety.

Here’s where I imagine all this anxiety stems from… In 2010 I totaled my car on some black ice and it took me 2 years to get comfortable behind the wheel again. In 2012 I flew to India and we hit turbulence that dropped the plane and nearly shook me from my seat. Traumatic events tend to shake me to my core and send my imaginative brain into overdrive.

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Two weeks ago K and I flew to San Antonio for a business trip. (Details about our trip are happening next week hopefully.) I have flown a few times since India, but the anxiety gets worse with each trip. I was seriously dreading these flights.

The self-talk that happened in my head during our time in the air was unreal. I channeled Chelsea and repeated to myself, “You can do hard things.” I prayed like a mad person. I turned my ear buds all the way up and tried desperately to lose myself in books. Every once in a while I panic-grasped K’s hand or thigh.

When the smallest hint of turbulence rocked the plane I told myself that the flight attendants were still standing and smiling and passing out drinks- it’d all be ok.

Before our last flight home I looked up the dangers of turbulence on my phone. (I knew this was a risk… sometimes ignorance really is bliss.) Turns out, turbulence is very rarely the cause of air troubles. It’s totally normal and does not bring planes down. That little bit of knowledge helped immensely on the last flight. (All our flights were smooth- my brain had the turbulent issues.)

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Of course, when I really boil it down, what the hell am I going to do if something were to happen on a plane? Like, really. What exactly are my options? I jokingly told K that if something goes wrong and we’re taking a nose dive to the ground, please punch me and knock me out. Neither one of us can figure out if I’m kidding about that still…

But back to the point… I survived our flights and, though I was mentally exhausted, I found ways to cope with the stress I was feeling and walk away confident and happy (to be on the ground ).

So how about some mediocre advice from an inexperienced* flyer…

  • Create a playlist and bring a book that will grab & keep your interest. Dave Matthews Band calms me down when driving in stressful situations so I loaded up my Amazon Prime playlist with some DMB for the flight.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Watch the flight attendants. Chances are they’re laughing and smiling and jovial, even when buckled up and bouncing along in the turbulence. Be friendly with them, too. They’re your biggest allies in the air, especially on longer flights.
  • Repeat to yourself, ‘I am brave. I am OK. I can do hard things.’ (You’d be surprised how effective this is. )
  • If praying is your thing have a laid back, honest conversation with God.
  • Research flight and turbulence. First I read this article, then I found this site: http://www.fearofflying.com/ . It actually has a ‘program’ to cure those with flight anxiety. I’d be lying if I said I’m not looking into it…
  • Some people drink alcohol or take relaxers. If that works for you, cool. I’m pretty sure I’d have just started crying uncontrollably if I’d been drinking. I needed my brain to be clear and strong for the trip.

It sounds backward- and maybe this just helps me- but looking out the window helped me relax. The beauty and the stillness of the sky/clouds/ground below was helpful.

(* truthfully, I’ve been flying my entire life… I started when I was a toddler and I’ve been around the world… so, you know, I’m kind of experienced… just inexperienced with this newfound anxiety)

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It’s weird… I’m not afraid of heights. I’m not afraid of death. I’m not afraid of travel. I just hated the feeling of the plane dropping out from beneath me like it did on the India trip.

It’s funny, but I suddenly understand Lylee’s irrational fear of thunderstorms.

So let’s open the floor for outside advice πŸ™‚ Do you get shaky on flights? How do you entertain yourself on a plane?

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Comparing Apples to Orange to Instagram

I don’t discuss my full time job here very often (ever? ) but I work for an appraisal company. A large part of my day is spent comparing commercial properties to one another (or comparing markets or construction quality or amenities…). All day long I make comparisons- it’s second nature now.

In valuing property, comparisons are necessary. That’s 100% the opposite when it comes to valuing our lives- comparing ourselves to one another is so dangerous and toxic. I think all bloggers tackle this problem in a post at some point, but just recently I witnessed individual friends get down on themselves after making comparisons. That led to a self-evaluation where I realized that I tend to put pressure on myself, my marriage, my relationships, and even my dogs after comparing myself/us/them to someone else.

We all do it. I have mommy friends that compare themselves to other moms (or compare their child’s development to other children). I have friends in the dating pool that compare themselves to other people who are dating or recently engaged. I have married friends that ask K and IΒ  about our relationship and then compare us to their life. I’m sure that parents of adult-children compare their lives to other older parents (i.e. how often their kids come around, whether or not they’re grandparents, how close they are to retirement). There’s no age restriction on comparing- we all do it.

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I enjoy social media, but we know those perfect snapshot moments don’t help. Engagements, pregnancy announcements, new houses- they makes us wonder if we’re where we should be in life. Tropical vacations, perfectly cooked dinners, beautifully lit trees and steaming cups of tea- we wonder how others manage to have it all and what we should be doing differently to achieve it, too.

A few days ago I talked a friend off a proverbial ledge. She’d had a great day and was feeling good, but then she looked around and started second guessing what was happening to her in comparison to others. We both came to the conclusion that these ‘harmless’ comparisons were making her dangerously unhappy. It’s ok to want what we want and it’s ok to look to others as examples, but we can’t idolize other relationships or careers or lives. First of all, we’re all different and things never work out the same way for one as they do another. Secondly, we don’t actually know how glamorous (or tragic) someone’s life is. And, regardless, it doesn’t matter- you have your life and there’s no Freaky Friday fortune cookie that going to swap it with another person.

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I am happy with who I am and the life I live and the place I’m at- but I still fall victim to comparison more often than I’d like to admit. I glance across the aisle and see how someone else is doing on their wife test or employee test or friend test. I try to put myself on a grading scale. How am I doing as a daughter? friend? dog owner? Well clearly not as good as so-and-so… just look at those Instagram pictures!

It sucks. And we all do it. And we need to remind one another (gently) to stop. So here’s your reminder today.

Your house is cozy and comfy, even with the cat hair tucked in the corner of the steps. Your tree is just the right size and sparkle for you. People love you for the person you are- they’re not comparing you to anyone so why are you?

Pass the message along and remind someone else that we don’t live in a venn diagram. Pat yourself on the back and then pat someone else’s back. Go after the things you want, not the things you think you’re supposed to want. The people around you are very happy with who you are- you should be, tooΒ  πŸ™‚

You do you, boo.

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Things I Love Right Now

Very rarely am I what people call “trendy.” The black flats that I wear to work almost every day were purchased at the beginning of my college career. The insides are now peeling out and I’m one sharp stone away from a hole in the sole. None of my clothes are designer and I only carry a cross-body purse to hold my wallet and my chapstick. I’m just warning you that A) nothing on this list is new-new and B) nothing here will cost you more that $20.

Also, this isn’t a wishlist. These are tried and true things that I use/listen to/watch/have and love.

MAKE-UP | NYX Solf Matte Lip Cream
I should probably give a shout out to Lindsay for turning me on to this product. Smooth, buttery lip matte that dries immediately and stays put for hours. I own five different shades as of right now.

TELEVISION | The Good Place + Speechless + American Housewife
Apparently I’m all about the comedies this season. These fluctuate between comical and laugh-out-loud humor. I’ve also been trying to keep up with This Is Us and Bull, but sometimes life is heavy enough and I just need a comedy. (I typically watch these on Hulu.)

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First The Good Place retweeted me, then “Janet” herself! ❀︎

NETFLIX | Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
BIG shout out to Kristen for this recommendation. And shame on me for waiting so long to get HOOKED. I’ve just finished season 1 and I am so obsessed. I’m also swooning over Detective Jack Robinson- I love his chemistry with Phryne!

BOOKS | The Lunar Chronicles
I know I’ve been pushing these books for a while now, but it takes me a long time to get through a series. I’m just about to start the final book (and it’s over 800 pages… *gulp*) so I’ll shut up about these soon.

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MUSIC | Christmas Music
My favorite artists/albums right now are Pentatonix, Charlie Brown, and anything “jazzy” (Bing, Frank, etc.).

CLOTHES | No Boundaries Leggings from Wal-Mart
My coworker told me about these/gifted me a pair and now I’m obsessed. They’re as soft as LuLaRoe, they’re warm & colorful, and they’re only $6. Uh- yes please. (The holiday ones appear to be sold out online…)

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HOME | Ello Travel Mug
I am SO in love with this mug. The outside stays cool while the drink inside stays hot for hours. It’s the best travel mug I’ve ever used. The cork bottom keeps it from sweating all over you desk and it’s dishwasher safe. I might be Christmas-gifting a few of these!

*Enjoy whatever days off you may have this week, American friends!*
Happy Thanksgiving!
Hug your friends &  family extra tight, be kind to retail workers, and be safe on the roads! ❀︎

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Sweating in Style

A few weeks ago I admitted that K and I were doing this weird thing where we workout. Oddly enough, we’re still doing it. (I’m honestly shocked. I’ve lost 0 lbs so the motivation is nonexistent… but I’m still plugging away.)

Since we’ve been at it for roughly four weeks I am obviously an expert and fanatic. To put it in perspective, I can officially run (walk-jog) a 20-minute-mile. Hold your applause. (I’m being 100% sarcastic. Except for the 20-minute-mile. That’s real.)

Anyway… I’m a big fan of finding cute racerbacks and workout clothes to lounge around and clean workout in. Recently I won a FB contest at my local yoga studio and snagged this awesome top, so obviously I’m now searching the internet for more cool gear.

(I also bought this t-shirt a few weeks ago and I LOVE IT.)

T O P S

If I’m going to be sweating and huffing and puffing then I’m going to wear whatever my childish heart desires. This obviously includes Harry Potter, Disney, and animal tops.

human | human | human | etsy | etsy | etsy | nascar | passivejuicemotel
human | human | human | etsy | etsy | etsy | nascar | passivejuicemotel

P A N T S

Right now I have three pairs of athletic shorts and one pair of athletic leggings. When I keep up with laundry, this is plenty. When I don’t, I end up in smelly shorts.Β  The Carrie Underwood leggings are a little above my price range (the first pair), but I’ve had my eye on those double-layer Target shorts for a while now…

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dicks | old navy | target | target

O T H E R + S T U F F

In addition to apparel I’ve found there is way more fitness yoga stuff to lust over. I already have a mat but I love this elephant one… a girl can dream. I’m also in need of a mat bag because mine broke and I think these wraps look super comfy and great for hot yoga!

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gaiam | amazon | amazon

I’m a spoiled girl and I don’t need any of this… but I have a feeling I will definitely own those shorts and quite a few of those tank tops soon… (And for the record, none of these links are affiliated.)

See anything you like? Where do you buy your fitness apparel and accessories?

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Trying to Be Nice

Let’s get real today. There are women in this world who we’d all “love to hate.” Of course, in all actuality, we have no reason to dislike these women- they’re kind, beautiful, honest, friendly, and- in some cases- God-loving. On top of that they’re usually ridiculously creative and they always have the perfect messy bun. Their coffee is always warm and abundant and in a cute little mug that reads, “Stressed, Blessed, and Coffee Obsessed.” Their children are adorable and polite. Their rescue dogs are the perfect blend of Australian shepherd and husky, and their husbands bring them gorgeous white flowers on a random Tuesday to display on their Pottery Barn desk.

You have someone in mind right now, don’t you… Maybe it’s Joanna Gaines. Maybe it’s another blogger. Maybe it’s someone you know in real life. Regardless, it’s a woman who always seems to have it totally put together. And even when she doesn’t, there’s a beautiful smile on her face and she’s asking you what’s going on in your life and how can she help.

So often I wish I was that woman. I wish that I could look at my mantel and just know that a copper bucket with an old wooden spoon and two small succulents would fit perfectly. I wish that I could apply my make-up at 5am and still look like a put-together adult by 3pm. I wish that I was quick to offer grace and mercy to others, instead of the sarcasm and judgement that tend to fly from my lips.

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I’m not trying to get down on myself today… I have quite a few qualities that I’m proud of. They could all use some perfecting, but I like to think that goes for everyone. It just seems like these “perfect” women never slip.

I know that’s not true, but when they do slip they don’t bring anyone down with them. They’re not vengeful. They’re not nasty. They’re not hurtful. Those are three things that I know I can be and have been in the past. Those are the traits I’d like to weed out. As of late, I’m consciously trying to delete the words “jealous” and “hate” from my vocabulary. Do I wish I was participating in the trip/experience/etc. that you are? Yes. But more than that I am genuinely happy that you are getting to have that vacation. Instead of saying, “I’m so jealous of you” I’m trying to say, “I’m so happy for you!” And I’m really meaning it.

Personally, my faith plays a role in this change, too. In the past I’ve never uttered or typed the words, “I’ll pray for you.” But I’ve said it a lot lately- and then I really have prayed for those people. I told K a few weeks ago that I often pray for him. You don’t have to be religious to be nice; it just tends to go hand-in-hand for me.

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I don’t believe that I will ever master effortless beach waves. My dogs are a weird mix of under-bite boxer and scrawny whippet. (Which I wouldn’t change for the world.) I hope that my future kids will be polite, but I don’t think they’ll ever sport a top knot or keep a cardigan on for more than a minute. (It’s too hard to climb trees in a sweater.) I’ve been drinking coffee for +3 years and I still can’t figure out how to keep it warm.

But that’s ok. These things don’t bother me; I don’t feel a need to change them.

I’d like to be nicer, though. I’d like to extend understanding and grace to those who deserve it- and more importantly, those I would have formerly felt don’t deserve it. People won’t stop being rude and nasty, but I can change my reaction. I can stop that cycle of anger and judgement. I can say “thank you” to the waitress who made us wait 20 minutes to order our drinks. I can smile politely at the scowling woman in Wal-Mart who’s shooting daggers from her eyes at me for no reason. I can refrain from gossip. I bet Joanna Gaines doesn’t gossip.

I’m not in the business of comparing myself to others- really, I’m not. But when I see traits in other people that make them shine brighter (inside and out), I tend to gravitate toward that behavior or outlook or lifestyle. It’s my path to self-improvement.

Then again, if anyone has the secret to perfect hair and well-behaved dogs I’m open to that, too… Just saying.

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