Add It To My (Super Random) List

By skipping Mondays I lose my opportunity to recap my weekend. If you were curious, I had a good one 🙂 Fun fact: I spent every weekend in February out of town. First Cleveland, then San Antonio, then Columbus, and then Cleveland again last weekend. Some trips for business, some for pleasure. This weekend Kayla and I visited Aubrey and her fiance Alyssa because Aubs is recovering from surgery and we went up to celebrate her transformation and keep her company. (You can follow her story/creep on her here. She’s #InstaFamous)

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In an attempt to stay hip and trendy I’m trying to keep track of the fun link-ups that go on in the blog world. I managed to jot down the schedule for the Add It To My List link-up with Lauren and Bre, so here we are.

Firstly, these three products were recommended by other bloggers:

I’m easily influence by others… I went out and bought this stuff immediately because I was in the market for some quality polish and comfy shoes for work. (The polish remover is cruelty-free & I needed that toiletry in c.f. form.) All three have my seal of approval!

Bamboo bedding…
Two years ago my grandparents gifted K and I some bamboo bedding. GUYS- we fell in love with it immediately. They’d bought it from Marshalls, so obviously I’ve never come across it again. Then last week this idiot (me) remembered Amazon exists and I have a Prime account. So I ordered some sheets. (How many pairs of sheets do you have for your bed? We have two. I always have to be on my laundry A-game, especially when I peel the sheets right before vacation and make the bed for the dogsitter, then come home and remember that now both sheets are dirty and I’m too exhausted to do laundry.)
I digress. Bamboo sheets are the softest and most comfy sheets ever. Go get some.

On to another random thing…

Go make this recipe:

One-Pan Veggies & Sausage

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I made this last week and it was a hit (with all two of us). It’s crazy simple- the “hardest” part was chopping all the veggies. We had rice with it. (I also made Brussels sprouts separately because they looked so good at the store and K doesn’t like them so I couldn’t mix them in. But then he ate some so…. that was a minor victory in my kitchen.)

(I’m pretty sure I took this recipe and another one (this!) from Nadine’s Pinterest!)

. . .

This fall K and I are planning to visit Disney. I’ve been there a handful of time, but I’ve never planned the trip. (I was a child and/or a band student on prior trips.) Kyle has never been to the happiest place on Earth, so I’m hoping to show him a good time. I’m looking for tips, tricks, and advice right now. I know how to “do” Disney, but any reminders or travel tidbits would be helpful. 🙂

Enjoy these last two days of February!

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The Galentine’s Blogger Exchange

Happy Thursday, my friends.

The link-up for this post (with the beautifully talented Mattie & Olya) is scheduled for tomorrow, but by now we’re all aware that I switched my posting-days to only include Tuesday and Thursday. (Jury’s still out on how I’m liking that… )

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To begin, I sent a package to Miss Maryrose in New York. (It shipped out a little late, but it should’ve arrive by last Friday. Plenty of time but my apologies, nonetheless!)

In return, last week I was greeted at the door by two packages- one in the shape of a book (😄!!!) and one from Uncommon Goods. Once I ripped gently cut them open I discovered that my gift-er was Ashley from Bits & Pieces of Me.

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Ashley sent me Yes Please by Amy Poehler as well as this little note:

I love that this book was on your wish list, because it’s been on mine as well! I hope you enjoy it! -Ashley

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She also sent me a beer + food pairing dish towel (from Uncommon Goods) that’s been on my wish list for quite a while. The colors (which are a little skewed from my filtered picture below) look great with our kitchen!

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. . .

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Thank you so much, Ashley!! And thanks to Mattie & Olya for hosting ❤︎

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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 🙂 Do you get shaky on flights? How do you entertain yourself on a plane?

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Happy Not-Valentine’s Day

FYI, Last week I took a semi-planned hiatus from the blog because I’ve been feeling directionless and angry and trite. K and I were in Texas for business, too, so I just took the week off. (I still read posts when I could. )

On Tuesday I talked about books and skipped over the Valentine’s Day obligations, so today I want to backtrack. I don’t know how you feel about Valentine’s Day, but I’m OK with having a random day in February to remind me to show some love. (In 2015 I shared the love with all sorts of people.)

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This year K gets all my attention. I met Kyle almost twelve years ago.

❤︎ In all that time he has never made me feel like I couldn’t do something, ability-wise or permission-wise. He doesn’t doubt me.

❤︎ We will celebrate four years of marriage in April. Two years ago some stupid drama knocked me off my horse and made me breakdown mentally. K picked me back up and made sure I knew he was on my side no matter what. It sounds silly, but I didn’t realize his loyalty to me until that moment. He’d pick me first for dodgeball. He’s the co-captain of my Quidditch team. I’d be his “one choice” as far as deserted island companions go.

❤︎ I have always said that I don’t need K and he doesn’t need me. But I will openly admit that my life would suck so much without him. He’s my favorite human. I feel my best when I stand next to him.

❤︎ My husband loves dogs as much as I do. That’s not a learned characteristic. He is a bleeding-heart dog lover and that is my favorite quality in a person. (A direct quote from him on Tuesday: “Dogs aren’t a hobby. They’re a lifestyle.” Lol.)

❤︎ I have been angry and feisty and prayerful these last few weeks. I am an unapologetic feminist and sometimes that means angry rants at the dinner table and frustrated fact-sharing in the car wash queue. And K has endured it all with an occasional mumbled, “Yep” or head nod. I’m politically vocal and he’s reserved, but we’re both unapologetic.

And just for fun…

Who’s older? Kyle.
Who was interested first? My guess is me…
More sarcastic? Neither one of us are sarcastic.
Who makes the biggest mess? K.
What are your middle names? Louise & Geoffrey
Do you have any children together? Ly & Enzo. One was even adopted out of wedlock! *gasp*
Did you go to the same school? Yes, at different times.
Who is the most sensitive? Me.
Where do you eat out most as a couple? JNG. Hands down.
Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Jamaica, I think.
Who does the cooking? Me.
Who is more social? K.
Who is the neat freak? I’m not necessarily a neat freak, but I like things to be where they’re supposed to be.
Who is the most stubborn? He says me. I disagree.
Who wakes up earlier? K.
Who drives when you are together? Mostly him, but I do on occasion.
Who eats more sweets? K.

I got through all of that without saying I love Kyle, but I do. We’ve been busy this month with the business and dogs and travel, but I’m never too busy to say I love my husband, even and especially on an average day like February 16th.

Happy Late Valentine’s Day ❤︎

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What I Read… vol. 2

Happy Valentine’s Day ❤︎ What better way to celebrate than loving on the books in my life?

Last time I mentioned that I’d be linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books this year and, therefore, labeling these posts a little differently than 2016’s monthly round-up.

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The way I rate the books and how I summarize them is still the same.

Book Rating

Below I’ll include a brief summary, why I picked up the book, and what I thought. Then I give my oh-so-valuable opinion on whether or not you should read it and why. Images link to their GoodReads page (let’s be friends!). Let’s begin.

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis || ★★★★/5 the-magicians-nephew
Summary: The first book in The Chronicles of Narnia, this classic follows Digory and Polly as they discover new and old worlds, as well as the creatures that live there. | Why I Read It: I read this story a long time ago, but I’m working my way through TCofN and this book is the first. Plus it met a requirement for Erin’s Challenge. | What I Thought: I read another book in this series last year and found this one to be equally enjoyable. I love that this book is the “Genesis” of Narnia. I know not everyone likes it or cares about it, but I enjoy the religious undertones in these books. These books are short and full of storytelling, and I’ll be tackling the remaining five in the series, even though I know I’ve read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe before. It’s a smart, entertaining set of books to revisit.
You Should Read It Because… you enjoy children’s lit. or you’re a fan of C.S. Lewis or you’re in need of a quick yet meaningful fantasy series.

But Polly added, “But we are not quite as bad as that world, are we, Aslan?”
“Not yet, Daughter of Eve,” he said. “not yet. But you are growing more like it. It is not certain that some wicked one of your race will not find out a secret as evil as the Deplorable Word and use it to destroy all living things. And soon, very soon, before you are an old man and an old woman, great nations in your world will be ruled by tyrants which care no more for joy and justice and mercy than the Empress Jadis. Let your world beware. That is the warning…” -The Magician’s Nephew

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber || ★★/5 dashing-through-the-snow
Summary: After missing their opportunity to fly to Seattle for the holidays, strangers Ashley and Dash end up sharing a rental car and making the trek north from San Francisco just before Christmas. Things prove to be a little difficult when the unlikely duo face a non-negotiable deadline, a surprise furry companion, and a mix-up with the law. | Why I Read It: I wanted a fun, festive read to kick off Erin’s Challenge. (below) | What I Thought: Holy cheeseball, Batman. This book annoyed me. Ashley annoyed me. Dash annoyed me. The law enforcement annoyed me. BLEH. I felt like the flirty conversation wasn’t realistic. I didn’t like the cat and mouse crap with the law. I just wanted there to be some action and it fell flat. *shrug*
You Should Read It Because… you’re in the mood for holiday fluff. Or you like this author? I don’t know. I won’t be picking this one up again. I don’t think this is my genre…

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin || ★★★★/5 the-westing-game
Summary: 16 “heirs and heiresses” are brought together to solve the mystery that is Sam Westing. The players include a bookie, a birdwatcher, and a bomber… but could one be a murderer, too?? | Why I Read It: I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time. I popped into the bookstore before our trip to San Antonio (as I always do before a trip ) and saw it on sale… so I bought it and tossed it in my carry-on. | What I Thought: Whew… I’m glad I tackled this book in a single day because there were SO many characters. I’ve tried to start this book a few times in my youth and I always ended up putting it down and forgetting about it. Not this time! I started figuring out the clues and mystery around page 100, but there were still enough twists to keep me entertained. I loved how the stories weaved together and the friendships developed. To be honest, there were 4 or 5 holes or unanswered questions. I wanted connects to happen where there weren’t any. I gave it four stars because of that untapped potential.
You Should Read It Because… you like the movie Clue. This is a good book for Nancy-Drew-loving pre-teens and teens (and adults)!

. . .

An update on Erin’s 6.0 Challenge:

| 5 points | Freebie: Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber
| 10 points | Starts with the letter “W”: Winter by Marissa Meyer
| 10 points | Six words in the title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
| 15 points | Has a (mostly) green cover: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
| 20 points | A homonym in the title: The One by Kiera Cass
| 20 points | By your favorite author: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
| 25 points | Set in the city/town/state/territory/county/province where you live: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
| 30 points | A “Rory Gilmore” book: Atonement by Ian McEwan
| 30 points | From a genre that you’ve never read/rarely read (*thriller*): The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
| 35 points | With time travel: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Ending this post at a total of 40 points out of 200. I have about 250 pages left of Winter. I thought I’d have it done by now, but I needed a break so I picked up The Westing Game. Oh well. It’ll be done by the next one of these 😉

What did you read last month? Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia?

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Friday er, Thursday Favorites

One of the worst parts of this Tu/Th schedule is the loss of Friday alliteration with “favorites” posts. *sigh* I’ll get over it.

Actually, I’m going to start tying this into the ‘Add It To My List’ link-up that happened on Tuesday. I’m late to the party this month, but that’s ok.

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Before I move on to other bloggers’ posts, here are some things across the internet that struck my fancy.

Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Flavored Coffee
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K brought this to my attention and my mouth hasn’t stopped watering. I don’t typically crave whiskey in the morning, but sign me up for this! The description sounds so good! (*It’s non-alcoholic, Mom. Calm down. )

The National Parks Going Rogue

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I made a Facebook status about not believe every headline you read, but I am consciously choosing to believe this. And I love it.

If you haven’t heard, our fearful leader put a temporary gag order on a few agencies. Maybe you hate his “reasoning” (*raises hand*), maybe you agree with it. Either way, this was the response.

And other departments/agencies have followed suit. 😏

Think Dirty – an app

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All credit must be given to Stephanie for this one. She mentioned it in last week’s Three on Thursday. Guys… I’m obsessed with this (free) app. I have searched/scanned all my make-up products as well as my Ulta wishlist. I’ve made a new goal to own products that rank 5 and below on the “dangerous” list. If you’re concerned about what goes into your food and cleaning supplies and make-up then you need this app for make-up/face care.

. . .

Check out some posts from sweet friends (& a celebrity) across the internet who have spoken directly to my heart and soul these last few weeks.

And there you have it. TBH, there were a ton of fantastic posts in January in Blogland. If you have any favorites (or maybe you wrote one that I missed!) feel free to leave the link in a comment!

Linking up with Lauren and Bre for Add It To My List.

Have a Happy Friday / weekend!! ❤︎

signatureEat, Drink, and Be Lauren

Confessions Plus Some…

Of course now that I’m not posting on Wednesdays I decide to link-up with Kathy & Nadine for Confessions. Oh well…

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. . .

I confess that I thought about apologizing for all the political-heavy content or references made this past week or so. But I’m not sorry. And I won’t stop talking politics or sharing what I believe is right. I do NOT support a useless wall. I do NOT support barring/banning people from our country. I will NOT use the term “alien.” People are people. I do NOT support racism or sexism or xenophobia or homophobia. They’re not liberal buzzwords- they’re dangerous ideologies that divide us. I do NOT support thrown together, half-ass, ego-boosting executive orders that hurt and endanger far more people than they help. Jesus taught me to love others as I am loved. So I will. The very best part about this country is that I am allowed to disagree and voice that disagreement. And if / when that right is stripped from me I will still voice my resistance. I do not have to agree with anyone. #RESIST

If you need to stop following my blog that’s ok. But I’m not going to change my tune here in this space.

Moving on…

. . .

I am a terrible hugger. My nearly-life-long friend Aubrey is engaged to a wonderful woman named Alyssa. Last time I saw them we all hugged goodbye and I realized just how terrible I am. Mainly because Alyssa is the best hugger I’ve ever come across. It’s like a warm, strong wrap of friendship. It’s like when someone makes eye contact with you in a conversation and you feel like they’re really listening… except it’s a hug. I’m terrible. I’m the girl that won’t make eye contact and hangs out on the floor with the cat in the corner. My hugs are floppy and short and meaningless. I’m sorry to all my hug-receivers…

. . .

One night I was lying awake in bed, waiting for sleep to come, and I started panicking because for a split second I thought the world was in black and white… The TV was off and I was facing the wall with only the dark wood trim, white blinds, and light colored wall in my line of sight. And I was super tired. Ha… So the lack of color made me panic. I actually thought the world was in black and white.

. . .

I went Christmas shopping for the mutts and told myself they needed nothing, only something small each- maybe spend $20 total. Yeah… right… I spent +$50 on two new nylabones, a toy, and ample treats. In my defense, I thought everything was on sale. (Turns out it wasn’t…. so instead of walking away I just bought it all anyway. UGH.) And then all our family members gifted them Christmas presents so our house is overrun with toys and treats twofold. (I love that we have family who spoil our babies!! )

. . .

I changed jobs and my paydays got all switched around and my system (for paying bills/the mortgage) is totally wrecked. I’m a creature of habit and I’ve been doing the same thing for three and a half years. I am so, so thrown off.

. . .

I can’t wake up in the mornings. It was a 2017 resolution & it’s something I want to do, but I just sleep through alarms until K bumps me and says, “You should probably get up.” And then my morning is rushed and terrible.

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. . .

At times my mouth would make a sailor blush (sorry, family ), but my new job is making it worse. I work with five dudes in a warehouse environment. Filters don’t exist here.

. . .

Somewhat contrary to my previous confession, I think I’m too nice sometimes. Like when I’m calling about overdue invoices (at work) or lost packages (at home). I’m always like, “No problem. It’s ok. Thanks so much for fixing that.” Like, I’m legit pissed before I make the call but then I don’t have it in me to scold someone. Even when they probably deserve it, lol.

. . .

And there ya have it… Some fresh confessions, hot off the press.

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