Wednesday, January 25, 2017

chin up

Things that have helped me to hold my chin up this week...

On Being a Christian and a Feminist...And Belonging Nowhere from Sarah Bessey. This piece resonates so much with me right now.

"I feel like the Church is missing it – missing out on all the ways the very people whom they fear or exclude or deride or judge are often the very people with whom Jesus would be spending all of his time."

The movie Lion. I went with a friend to see it last Wednesday after our kids were in bed, and it was excellent. Such an amazing story of courage and determination. One of the best movies I've seen in quite some time.

Speaking of movies, the Oscar nominations! This is one of my favorite times of year! It was refreshing to open twitter and facebook this morning and see a plethora of stories and tweets about this.

Aziz's monologue on the opener of SNL this week. It was spot on. 

I've linked to Becca and her wise words more times than I can count, but this post is a must read. I love her heart and her thoughtful writing. 

"Time will always fly, I suppose, and it will provide brilliant moments of light and glitter, followed by mud puddles and cold drizzle. Whatever the next four years brings, we will hold fast to the beautiful pieces and always stand rooted for the causes of justice and hope, even when the ice melts and the glitter fades."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

links galore

Happy Tuesday! A few little gems I've seen or read or saved or pinned or bought in the last few weeks that I thought I'd share. 

Dying to find a reason to make these pimento cheese potato bites. Maybe for when I host bunco next month?

Y'all know I saw and loved Moana. This perspective from Annie Downs made me love it even more.

This is hanging in my kitchen, and I love it. I haven't had a calendar in years. Happy with the one I chose!

Local friends/readers, who wants a coffee date? I've only tried a handful of these.

OMG. The name alone [Million Dollar Spaghetti] makes me want to make this. Definitely trying this recipe soon.

M has become an excited new reader and she's trying to read and write whenever she gets a chance these days. Pulling out a lot of my teacher stash to help encourage this new love without making it feel like a chore. We're working on some sight words together and I've been looking for fun ideas to help her with them. Currently putting together this and this.

Rachel Hollis and The Chic Site are my favorite way to start the day. I love Rachel's daily emails and following her on snapchat. I love her positivity and her overall approach to life. 

I cut out all sweet treats for January, but I'm dying for a donut or these come February 1!

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016 Reads

Well, 2016 was a slow year of reading for me. I managed to read 7 books, which isn't terrible, but I always strive for 12 or more. And of those 7, I really only liked about half of them. I had a little baby for about half the year, and an exhausting mobile baby the other half of the year. We're gonna call that my excuse for being a bad reader this past year. The baby plus too much binge watching TV after my kids go to bed and then finding myself too sleepy to read. Here's to hoping for less TV and more pages in 2017! I have a big list of want to reads I'm going to list at the can follow more of my reading here on goodreads!

So here were last year's reads, in the order I read them. And for those who may wonder how I choose what to read next, it's almost always determined by what's come in from the library after I've reserved it.

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling
4/5 stars on Goodreads

Love Mindy's first book, this was a fun follow up. Not the best, but definitely an entertaining read. If you need something light after a heavy book, this is a great one to throw in. She can always make me laugh out loud.

4/5 stars on Goodreads

I have blogged, tweeted, snapped about my love for Sara Bareilles in the past, so it should come as no surprise that I read and loved her book. The book is a collection of eight essays that talk about the story behind eight of her songs, and through those stories, you learn more about her and where she has been in life. My favorite story was about the time she was on tour with Jennifer Nettles and they wrote a musical together called Lesbians. It's endearing and sad and happy and funny and just the perfect book to pick up if you've ever been a fan of Sara. This was probably my favorite read from the year. 

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
3/5 stars on Goodreads

 I don't like quitting a book, but I considered it a few times with this one because this book was DARK. And not in a twisty way that makes your jaw drop and takes turns you didn't expect. More in a too violent, too graphic, and too unbelievable way. I wouldn't recommend (even without all the dark stuff, I thought that story was kind of....dumb?), but if you do pick up, be warned that it will make it hard to sleep at night.

3/5 stars on Goodreads

I really do like a lot about Jen Hatmaker. I do. And I did like this book, but I didn't love it the same way some friends did. I felt like there were a few essays where she just tried a little too hard to make me laugh and I didn't. And then reading the book as a whole took me weeks because I felt like I was just reading a well written a mommy blog, and each essay didn't say that much different from the essay before it. I did like the book, but I wish I had read it in small chunks while reading another book. 

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
3/5 stars on Goodreads

I can never turn down an Emily Giffin book. And I don't know why, because I haven't really loved the last few books she's put out, but like always, I reserve it at the library and finish it quickly because I can't seem to put down her books. While I did like this more than her last book, I didn't love it. The two main characters were both unlikable, and I think that made it hard for me to really connect to the book.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty 
2/5 stars on Goodreads

Are you guys tired of my "blah" reviews yet? I wasn't a good year of reading. Maybe that was why I didn't read much...I kept choosing bad books? Anyhow, I feel like most of Moriarty's fans felt like I did after reading this book. I feel like I kept waiting for something BIG to happen, and finally after so much build up, the "big thing" happened and I was left thinking, "that's it?" I still love Moriarty's writing and her storytelling, but this story was just not her best.

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
3/5 stars on Goodreads

A friend passed this on to me, and I'm glad she did! I wouldn't rank it up there as one of my all time favorites, but it was a good read to end the year. It was a story about a boy who goes missing in the park with his mom, and the whole book you're questioning where he went and what happened to him.  It has some twists and turns, and while parts are a little predictable, it was an enjoyable fast read for me.  

And there you have it!

My whopping seven books. I really do hope to do better in 2017! I'm already half way through my first book (The Mothers), and I have so many other books I am determined to squeeze in. The Sound of Gravel, Homegoing, Present over Perfect, and Before the Fall are at the top of my list.

What was your favorite read of 2016? What's at the top of your list for 2017?

Past book reviews:

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Trader Joe's Tuesday

I don't think this will be a weekly post on the blog, but if you have been following me on here (or any social media platform) for any amount of time, it's no secret that I'm a frequent shopper of Trader Joe's. Our family has some stand by meals that we cook regularly from there, and I hope to share those on here from time to time. 

And oddly enough, for my first ever post in this series, I'm actually NOT going to blog about food. Instead...CARDS!

After shopping in TJ's for nearly 6 years, I bought my first greeting card from here this past fall. And when I stopped to pick it up, I was suddenly amazed by the beautiful designs and pretty paper and for just $0.99 a card! This is a STEAL people!

I always have a stash of birthday and congratulations cards ready to go in our home, and this is my new go to source for them. They're so pretty, some are quite witty, they are dirt cheap, and best of all, I don't have to go out of my way to buy them since I'm at Trader Joe's a few times a month. 

If you haven't ever taken a moment to browse their cards section, do it next time you're there. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hello 2017...healthy goals and habits

Happy 2017! We rang in the New Year pretty quietly in our home since we left M back in Virginia for an extra couple days to hang with my parents. T went to bed before 8pm, and J and I stayed up late finishing Westworld (I have so many thoughts!) and then we watched ten minutes of ABC before the ball dropped, which was just enough time to see Mariah Carey's epic disaster of a performance. A very fitting way to say goodbye to a long year.

No big resolutions over here for the year, but I am trying to challenge myself monthly in different ways. I found this awesome daily habit tracker which is exactly what I needed to help me not only keep myself accountable but also to be able to look back at the month and see how I've done at working towards my goals. You can download the printable for free here!

For January I've got four goals for each day...

1. No sweets (definitely my hardest, but also why it needs to be a goal right now!)
2. No alcohol
3. Read for at least 30 minutes a day (the hardest part for me is staying awake for a full 30 minutes to read at night!)
4. Drink 75+ oz of water a day

So....we'll see how it goes, but I'm excited to see how this paper and pencil approach works for me. I'll report back next month with how it worked for me.