Book Review x 6

My heart is happy when I am all consumed by a great book.

Traveling for ten months automatically disconnects you from time sucking activities like television and reconnects you with exploring, whether it be a city, literature, or history. We have attempted to maintain our detachment from TV (aided by our lack of cable) and our attachment to reading and exploring by allowing ourselves full nights dedicated to playtime at the park with the girls, long walks, and time spent cuddled up in a mound of blankets engrossed in our current books. Last night was one of those nights (I finished this and immediately started this). Here are some of my latest reads that had me reflecting on the past, future and my morals, while others were the perfect lighthearted escape from life. Have you read anything great lately? I am in dire need of some great book recommendations!!

20140423-145343.jpg The New American Road Trip Mixtape: Post breakup, Brendan hits the open road searching for healing and the meaning of life. Recommended to me by Justin, this book made me want to pack everything back up again and hit the road searching for the greater purpose of my life. A great book to get you thinking about your heart’s deeper desires and the purpose and destination of the road you are traveling on.

Orange is the New Black: Piper’s past catches up to her and lands her fifteen months in jail where she shares her attempts at navigating her new world behind bars. An easy, quick read that made me want to stay on this side of that barbed wire fence.

The Husband’s Secret: Imagine stumbling upon a letter written to you by your husband in the case of his death confessing his deepest, darkest secret that will change everything in everyone’s lives. That’s what happens to Cecelia while her husband is still alive…I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I’m a sucker for books featuring chapters from multiple character perspectives, each giving you a little more detail into the past, present, and future. You will not regret picking up this book as it is incredibly well written, keeps you engaged, and makes you reflect on how you would handle similar situations. Read it NOW.

Unbroken: A World War II Story: This story has sat on my Kindle since it gained popularity but for some unknown reason I never chose to start it, however, once I finally did, I was hooked. The unfathomable story of survival Louis Zamperini endured during World War II was heartwrenching, unbelievable, and powerful. Although I wish I wouldn’t have read this during my five flights to/from Nashville, I’m so glad I finally sat down to learn this story of such an incredible man.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette: Bernadette, a wife and mother, suddenly disappears and her daughter, Bee, is determined to find out just where she went. Lighthearted, witty, and page turning.

Cartwheel: Based off the Amanda Knox trial, I was hoping this book would throw some curveballs and perhaps even end with the reader knowing for sure what happened, but in the end it was just like the real-life trial: no answers, lots of acquittals. At best I grudged through it, just trying to finish, hoping for something, anything. Definitely not one I would recommend.

March Highlights + April Goals

dontsucceed

Where does the time seriously go? No. Seriously. It is April people. Reflecting on my monthly goals has not been as uplifting as I first envisioned, but I am determined that will all change this month. I absolutely refuse to put any of these goals on May’s goal list so consider all the eleven goals below done and this will be me come April 30th otherwise I’m just giving up and going shopping and you’ll find me drowned in a pile of new clothes (not the worst way to go). What is on your April to-dosies list? Who wants to help keep each other accountable?

successApril Goals:
1. Send in my teaching application for the State of Washington and study for the West-E
2. Clean out my closet and organize jewelry, sunglasses, and handbags
3. Attend hot yoga at least three times (redo from Feb AND March – getting ridiculous) (1/3)
4. Finish Australia and New Zealand and update 2014 scrapbook pages
5. Bake a second recipe from this book (first one here)
6. Get sweaty at least three times a week (San Fran trip in 50 days) (11/12)
7. Participate in #100DaysHappy Instagram project (0/30) follow along here
8. Invest in a cute pair of non-running tennis shoes (would love suggestions)
9. Send one just because care package (#38 from this list)
10. Blog post at least twelve times this month (10/12)
11. Record all birthdays and anniversaries for the month of April and May

20140331-234758.jpgMarch Highlights:
1. With my mama at the Grand Ole Opry for our family vacation in Nashville
2. You have a puppy in a bar? You better believe it! Love how dog friendly Seattle is
3. Traveling to new places is always amazing, but being home is always sweeter
4. The epitome of cool I long to be
5. Family race day in Nashville for St. Patrick’s Day (did I mention my bro won?)
6. I have a weak spot for pretty things on sale
7. This wolf lecture from National Geographic changed my outlook on wolves forever
8. A cinnamon roll the size of my head is my fave
9. Can’t stop thinking about this mint wallet on a chain from here

Feelin’ the Blues

roadSometimes you’ve traveled so far in the wrong direction you can’t find your way.
Sometimes the confusion clouds any ability to think straight nonetheless creatively.
Sometimes the darkness just consumes your life.

The lack of recent blog posts is the result of my mind being constantly consumed by uncertainty – of the future, of the reason, of the end goal. To say I am finding myself and my desired purpose in life is an understatement. Traveling for eight months where I enjoyed every. single. moment. with my best friend laughing, learning, and exploring knocked my sense of reality on its ass. Is life really about working year round for those five precious days of vacation? Is life about working for ‘the man’ to make money for the pure purpose of buying things that I realistically don’t need and will never give me the fulfillment that a chance encounter with a stranger does? Is life about buying that house with the picket fence and having kids to fulfill the coveted American dream or is it about creating my own definition of a dream? What am I meant to do and be? The unanswered questions of our future haunt me daily. But at the end of the day these puzzling thoughts are the most difficult thing I struggle with and I am beyond grateful, appreciative, and joyous of the amazing life I live. We must focus on the positives and just live each day the fullest. Here’s to hoping a change of scenery and seasons will help me see, think, and feel more clearly. Thank you for your continued support and for reading my blog – it means the absolute world to me.

behappy

February Highlights + March Goals

With the Olympics this past month, I felt glued to the television every night just for the pure sake of watching, completely uninterested in the majority of the events shown on one of our three channels. And every single night and the following morning I would wake up frustrated that I had wasted hours doing nothing when in fact I had a list a mile long of things I wanted to learn and accomplish, but didn’t. The main thing I am learning from the creation and reflection of these monthly goals is that time honestly just gets away from you. Each day seems exhaustively long while the months ironically fly by unexpectedly so this month I am vowing to stop giving into my “exhaustion” and the gravitational pull of our television and instead make the extra effort to read, learn, laugh, exercise, play, and record and make memories. Who’s with me?!

TimeFliesMarch Goals:
1. Get fingerprinted by the Seattle Police Department
2. Complete and send in my teaching application for the State of Washington (waiting on CPS)
3. Attend hot yoga at least three times (redo from February) (0/3)
4. Finish Australia, New Zealand, and recent 2014 scrapbook pages
5. Send one just because care package
6. Finalize plans for our San Francisco trip (suggestions please!!)
7. Research a new dog sitter for the girls
8. Sign up for a continuing education class
9. Blog post at least twelve times this month (5/12)
10. Record all birthdays and anniversaries for the month of March

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February Highlights:
1. As soon as DietBet was won, this happened: TopPot donuts in bed. Totally earned.
2. If you haven’t heard, our new hometown team won the Superbowl!
3. Fun at the new neighborhood coffee shop
4. My new plant courtesy of J I hope to not kill this month
5. Our first and last snowshoe adventure with the girls
6. Relived to not need these for at least another two years
7. Impromptu date night of beers, barbecue, and shuffleboard (p.s. I won)
8. Reliving our college dinner days of Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice
9. James Town Revival concert at The Crocodile – and yes, I touched the keyboarder’s rat-tail

January Highlights + February Goals

As promised, I am holding myself accountable for creating monthly resolutions by sharing them with my lovely readers because we all know that once something is blogged it just HAS to happen, there is absolutely no going back on it. 🙂 Looking back on my January goals, I’m pretty proud of my progress. I completed 8 out of 10 resolutions with my inconsistent blogging being the biggest disappointment and snowshoeing being the most exciting. How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions? What are your goals for this coming month? So without further ado here are my February resolutions followed by our January highlights:

  1. Finish the entire fifth and sixth seasons of Gossip Girl
  2. Send in my dad’s vintage Ray-Bans to get refurbished
  3. Read a biography or memoir (read Orange is the New Black)
  4. Find a new church and go!!!
  5. Attend hot yoga at least three times this month (0/3 – whoops)
  6. Complete all pages for our Australia scrapbook
  7. Schedule and attend dentist and eye doctor appointments
  8. Blog at least three times a week or twelve times this month (retry from January) (12/12)
  9. Car maintenance: oil changed, new windshield wipers, organize the trunk, vacuum the inside, and wash the outside.
  10. Continue to record all birthdays and anniversaries of friends and family.

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  1. The twelfth man takes over the city of Seattle
  2. Snowshoe selfie on Snow Lake Trail
  3. Educating ourselves with an avalanche awareness course at REI
  4. Crazy sale finds at H&M ($3 blazer, $2 turtleneck, $3.50 purse)
  5. Date night with my love to see Frozen at our neighborhood theatre
  6. Jumping on the local Seahawks bandwagon #GOHAWKS
  7. Fabric swatches for a simple DIY project
  8. Lunch for the past month (recipe here)
  9. Gorgeous views on our hike as the sun poked through the trees and reflected off the glistening snow