Friday, October 28, 2016

Recommended for October

I haven't pushed out a lot of these posts lately, mainly because I haven't been exploring that many new recipes, and I always want to leave you with someone tangible instead of just links to read in your spare time.  In lieu of new foods to try, I'll probably be sharing some songs I enjoy instead.  The main thing, though, is that I have been coming across a lot of interesting information, beautiful work, and exciting discoveries I've wanted to share.  Without further ado, here's another edition of Recommended!

^ First, this is a new song for me.  I have this on my Sky playlist where I keep my light and positive songs, and I love the whimsy in the melody and the sweet vocals.  Do you like it?

Did you know you're not supposed to refrigerate tomatoes and that orange juice isn't really that good for you?  Check out these new food facts.

Instagram has made a new, amazing change!

Speaking of social media, did you see that Vine is shutting down??

I had the pleasure of listening to this beautiful piece read aloud this morning on a podcast from The Liturgists (which I also recommend), and I encourage you to read it through when you have a chance. It's about the beauty, strength, and dignity of a woman's body throughout her life, in the context of a Christian environment, which, as many of us know, isn't always known for responding well to the feminine.  I shared further on a Facebook post, and I wanted to share here, too:

The idea of women being less has been a strange, unfortunate struggle I've been working through for many years. It's not constant for me, I'm not routinely put down due to my sex by any means, and many of the offenses I do receive are results of miscommunication, cultural, or personality differences. I consider my story to be moderate, but I know that my moderate story isn't the story of all women. There are many who have lived through overt and predatory assault and also subtle and insidious lies about their worth as women. There are many, many ways we as a culture, a society, And We As A Church need to change the story. I don't have all the answers, in fact, I'd really like to hear what you think about all this, but I do think this piece could be a starting point of changing our perspectives.

I follow Kimi Werner's aquatic adventures on Instagram, and last week she taught me that the chemicals in our sunscreens are harming ocean life!  Even though beach weather is on it's way out of the Northern Hemisphere, I wanted to pass along her recommendation of Avasol's sunscreens, which are good for you AND the planet.

This piece of encouragement

What a happy, amazing, and adorable story!

These thermal nails are amazing.  When I asked, the artist responded saying she "layered the colors and then used polish remover and a Qtip to take away" the layers.  I could never have that patience!

Having a healthy or unhealthy gut will affect your brain.  Our bodies can be so bizarre, and I guess it's time for me to start having yogurt for breakfast again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Minimalist rustic

I realized last week that if I could find a beautiful way to marry minimalism with a rustic aesthetic, I might find my perfect happy space.  I had no idea how to blend these two very different ideals, but some inspiration came to my inbox just today!  Check out these beautiful rooms on Bloglovin that combine both of my interior design goals (plants included).

If you know of any other places where I can find similar minimalism + rustic combos, let me know!  Maybe one day I'll be able to add some of my own pictures to the internet!

P.s. Would you say rustic minimalism?  Or does minimalist rustic make sense?
You might also be interested in this collage of minimalist planter ideas or this Atlanta treehouse available on Airbnb (now up to $350/night, though!).

Monday, September 5, 2016

The importance of reading

Why we need to read and how to get started

I've never thought about it much until recently, but reading makes a huge difference in a person.  In how they think, carry themselves, and engage with the world.  I've realized that it's almost easy to distinguish between people who read and people who don't without asking them explicitly.

My Personal Leadership professor, Dr. Myers, strongly encouraged us to read.  It's the easiest, most accessible way to expand yourself and challenge yourself.  Books are deep resources there for the taking, they're even free to borrow from the library.  Why not stretch and enrich yourself?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My favorite posts I've written

One of the challenges I had in my 101 challenge list was to keep a running collection of favorite blog posts I've written.  I'm not sure why I wanted to do this back when I wrote my challenge list, but I'm glad I did.  I had a fun time roving through my published posts, remember the stories I wrote, and reliving the passion when I had these great topics to write about.  It's been a good retrospective, and it's shown me a bit more of where I've been and of how I'd like to use my space in the future.

Here's my list of favorites, and I hope to add to this list later on!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Recommended from July (whith whisky chocolate chip cookies)

I've been keeping track of links to share like I used to, but for a while, I'll be running a big Recommended post each month instead of each week.  Hopefully three weeks absence will make the heart grow fonder when a new Recommended post rolls out!

via Bon Appétit

First, a recipe!  I highly recommend these chocolate chip cookies made with whiskey and rye.  A friend of mine made them, and they blew me away!  These are in my top 3 favorite cookies I've ever tasted, no lie.  I haven't made them myself yet, but I hope that when I do, they turn out just as good!

An amazing story of a man harnessing the seas in an entirely new way to provide for the future.

A funny bit for your weekend: Kittens vs Thugs

I love this idea for chore dates!  Maybe it's just my get-things-done nature, but I really do think this would be fun.

Great encouragements on being a Girl Boss collected by Joanna from Cup of Jo -- This quote is my favorites:
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” — Marissa Mayer

I love this series from Cup of Jo about parenting around the world.  You may have seen it, it's pretty popular, but it's always worth another look, in my opinion.

Tips on how to make your clothes last longer (and save $$).

Shut the front door.  There's an otter preserve in California where you can swim with otters!  Here's a video.  Time to move to the West Coast!

Did you know that King Tut's sword was made with the metal from a meteorite??

The adorable frustrations that come with being a baby panda zoo keeper

Hope you have a great weekend!  See you again in August!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Little Ways to Make a Big Difference

Little ways to make a big difference :: blog post
With the summer heat bringing in a little bit of the doldrums, I wanted to drum up some ideas for small ways to stir some goodness into your life or the lives of those around you.  I also would love to hear what you think should be added to the list.  Please comment below!

  • Write good reviews for good places or tell someone about where to eat the best local ribs.  Read some inspiration here.
  • Use the candles, lotions, and fancy cookies or coffee you've been saving for a special occasion.  Make today special!
  • Instead of taking your phone to the bathroom (I'm not the only one, right?) keep a book you've been trying to finish on the bathroom counter.
  • Look at the ingredients in your processed foods and cut out anything with trans fat.  There are lots of ways to eat healthy, but trans fat is a pretty easy place to start.  (Also, avoid drinking your calories.)
  • Pay it forward at the coffee shop.  Maybe use the drive through if you're nervous.
  • Use the stationery you have laying around and write a letter to someone you've been wanting to get back in touch with.
  • Actually floss.  Turns out is does amazing work at disrupting the bacteria making its home between your teeth.
  • Refrain from angry or emotionally charged electronic conversations.  Some conversations are best held in person (or not at all, depending on the situation).
  • Take an hour or two to help a friend move.  Many hands make light work, and they will appreciate it a ton!
  • Eat less tuna and salmon (and maybe meat in general) to help reduce, even just a little bit, the environmental impact your food has on our planet.
  • When you appreciate someone, tell them.  Give more compliments.  Even to strangers.
  • Bring flowers with you when visiting a friend, just for the heck of it.
  • Send pictures of yourself to your mom.
  • If you think of something you should do, if you can get the task done in 5 minutes, do it right then.
  • Wear your prettiest underwear, just for you.
  • Practice wanting less and consuming less and try to send less to our landfills.
  • Comment on the blog posts you read.  Let the author know you're there.  :)
  • Take time to spend on loving and enjoying yourself.
What would you add?  What things make you happy that you think we should try?  What small things have you seen make a difference for you or others?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The importance of self care

The importance of self card :: blog post

"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others."
~ Bené Brown

This spring, I went through an incredibly stressful time, and I wanted to share a little about what I've learned in case it has the chance to speak to you, too.

This was a deep, emotional stress that shook many foundations  I've built my life upon, and it tore through my soul and actually my body, as well.  During the worst week of this tempest, my stomach felt sick, and my face broke out with the worst zits I've had since high school.  Thankfully, I was already in the process of seeking help through counseling, but this was a time when the cruciality of self-care was brought to the very front of my mind.  It wasn't the breakout on my face that caught my attention, but it was my counselor and friends telling me to do nice things for myself when I began to realize that I could do more to care for my soul, and that I should do more.  While I am blessed to have many people around me to love me, none of them has the same responsibility I have to myself.

It's very easy, I think especially for those of us who were taught that selfishness is wrong, to believe that it's not good or right to place so much emphasis on ourselves.  Take a moment to think, though, about what happens when you aren't cared for and when your needs become neglected.  What about when that happens over and over?  Is that transformation for the better?  While there is so much good that has come to this world through selflessness, your needs matter, too.

Now think of what the transformation would look like if you were given the time, care, and love you do need.  If you had boundaries around the part of life to you that matter the most.  If instead of harboring frustration and stress when you agree to handle something for a friend, you told them no.  Saying yes to one thing (peace of mind, for example) means saying no to something else (that extra project at work), and especially when you're first getting started in standing up for yourself, it will not feel fun.  But as Bene Brown has said, "Choose discomfort over resentment."  You are worth fighting for, your needs are worth defending, and and trust me, it's worth it.

Recognizing, respecting, and caring for your needs is all self care is.  These needs can be as basic as sleep, good food, and safety or more complex like emotional and mental health.  Routine self care, for me, includes firmly defending my bedtime, saying no to things I'm invited to but don't want to attend, keeping at least one evening a week to myself and whatever I want to do, and making sure I have sexy times with my husband and cuddle times with my dog on the regular.  I'd also like to add consistent exercise to the list at some point; I've been lax about taking care of that part of me.

When I need to go hard core with my self care (like during this spring), this involves as much time outdoors as I can manage.  Visiting parks and walking my dog help me clear my mind and bring goodness back into my life when I've gone off the deep end.

I want to tell some of my story so that it might reflect some light onto yours.  I believe everyone needs self care, and it's important to recognize what that looks for you.  You are different from me, and what settles your heart will be unique to your heart.  Parts of my husband's version of self care are solitude, video games, and reading.  What might help bring you calm?

I want to give a few more suggestions that might help job some ideas for how to care for yourself. 

The Quiet Place Project is an amazingly therapeutic online space where you can express anything on your mind and watch it fall into the starry sky.  I've visited this website twice, and I'm always amazed at how freeing it is to speak into this anonymous void. is a meditation app that can take you to a peaceful place in seconds.

Here are some lovely ideas for how to use self care to combat anxiety from Me & Orla.  (I love this list.)

I highly recommend reading this post about self care in the context of motherhood.  The author does a  great job of describing different situations and examples of where self care is absent and what the outcomes are.

Whether you're in a stressful place right now or if you currently have everything together, I encourage you and challenge you to some up with at least 3 things you can do to start tending to your soul regularly.  Build these habits now, because I promise you'll need them later.