Friday, November 22, 2019

at present

How did I used to write five blog posts per week? Inspiration is tough and I get caught in trap A, of "have I already shared enough of that on Instagram?" or trap B, "who cares?" I was ready to be amazing this week, but I won the Dear Evan Hansen ticket lottery for Tuesday, needed to go to the gym Wednesday night, and then took Bauer to the vet and went to the gym again Thursday. No excuse, really, but going to the show messed with my plans.

I do like to steal from my friends' ideas so Bre's At Present is today's inspiration. We both have October birthdays but are different signs which if you know us, makes perfect sense. I'm not super into astrology, but trust me here.

So I turned 35 last month. It feels bigger than 34 since I am now firmly mid-30s and as close to my 20s as to my 40s. I also try to stop myself and think that aging is a privilege many don't get so while I am thinking about wrinkles and retirement savings, I do understand that I am fortunate to be able to do so. For some reason, it's a little easier when your spouse is a solid 3.5 years older than you are. I mean, I don't look at him and think he is old, which must mean I'm not old.

At Present, goals are working for me and motivating me to go to the gym and write blog posts and that's something.

At Present, I think more about what I need, what I can say no to, and think more on the Why of things. Why do I feel this way, how come I think I need to do that, what would make me feel better in this moment?

At Present, I strongly believe in the power of medication and therapy, and therapy check-ins, even if you think things are all good.

At Present, I live in athleisure. Bless whoever made it a thing. If I have to get out of sweatpants, leggings, and cozy, oversized sweaters to do a thing...I may not do it.

At Present, I want to push myself just a little. I joined a volunteer group with strangers and it isn't that bad. I may want to foster a dog in the new year. Maybe I'll set a fitness goal? Probably not, but I'll at least keep watching Veronica Mars on the treadmill.

At Present, I still love the idea of my bullet journal but rarely use it like I should.

At Present, I think working from home is the greatest but also wonder what career opportunities are out there and what it would take to make me commute, wear real clothes, and interact with humans again.

At Present, I am listening to the new Coldplay and wondering when they will tour again as they are one of the few bands still on my must-see live concert list.

Looking forward, I hope 35 is a year of appreciating what I have, trying new things, keeping up with things that serve me, more books, and a renewed ability in expressing myself clearly and in a way that I feel is interesting.

Monday, November 18, 2019

wrong to right

I think there is something to be said for knowing that something is "wrong" with you and also knowing how to fix it.

After a not-so-wonderful work trip last week and a plane ride back in which every tiny annoyance that could have happened actually happened, I was in A MOOD Friday. I had a doctor's appointment that morning that I was actually looking forward to - I was going to use half a sick day and ease myself back into things. But, as I was about to leave, the office called me and said the doctor was sick. So, I needed to work a full day.

So I worked on things that made me the least crabby. It didn't help. I was supposed to go to dinner with Andrew and his friend who was in town visiting that night and realized around 3ish that I didn't have it in me to listen to guys talk about BBQ and be "on" anymore. It just sounded exhausting. I bowed out, took a nap, watched some TV, went to the gym, and ate mac and cheese for dinner. And then some frozen custard. It was super simple but just what I NEEDED.

The next day, I pretty much felt like myself! I spent the morning being pretty lazy and listing things on Poshmark and then I met Sarah for three hours at Dirt Cheap. Dirt Cheap is a store in the south that gets a ton of Target merchandise - clearance, returns, damaged boxes, etc. - and sells it for, well, dirt cheap. It's like a garage sale or thrift store of new stuff. You have to dig. We did, and had good finds (I always post my shopping finds on IG stories if that is your thing). And then we grabbed dinner. Sarah is just such a positive person, and last week when I knew my week sucked but that we were going to hang out on Saturday, I texted her that I was looking forward to seeing her. Like, I knew she was the kind of person whose energy I needed which sounds kind of hokey but some people help you feel your most snarky and some people make you feel your happiest and she is definitely the latter. Which is ironic because she gave me a sweater that says "Don't" on it inspired by David on Schitt's Creek. It is SO soft and I wore it to buy a bottle of wine that night and I feel like people stayed out of my way.

On Sunday, between Bauer and Andrew forgetting his wallet and coming back home thirty minutes after leaving, I was up at 7:30 and decided to do things! This never happens. I spent about an hour in a brand new HEB, dropped off a meal at my friend's house who just had a baby, did some straightening in the house, and then ventured to the mall right at noon (when it opens on Sundays in Texas) to buy two get two free on Bath and Body Works candles and do some Christmas shopping. I can't believe there is only one more weekend before malls get fully unbearable and all shopping has to be done online. I went to my regular 4pm yoga class and almost lost it on two women who wanted to have a whispered conversation and all the people who come in late - especially 15 minutes after it starts. Who does that? This is a very quiet, chill class so people setting up is so distracting. Peak first world problems, for sure, but it happens every week. I came home and made roasted veggie grain bowls (a recipe I pinned after Kristen talked about it forever ago) for lunches this week and set up my bujo and talked to Andrew and his friend about their day.

Since I love when Steph does this, breakfasts for the week are Veggies Made Great apple cinnamon muffins, Kind bars, oatmeal, or a smoothie. Lunches are the aforementioned grain bowls, Thai salad, or leftovers. Andrew and his friend ate a lot of BBQ and bought/were given more than they could eat (including a ton of osso bucco?!?) so dinners are osso bucco with green beans and couscous, chili with leftover brisket, veggie quesadillas, and my attempt at chicken tikka masala in the crockpot with rice and peas (I just bought some sauce and I'm gonna throw it in with the chicken and then put some peas in at the end to defrost - not sure how this will work but seems easy?).

I am 99% sure I am going to add Monday and Tuesday to my time off request for next week so that means a week of work and then a week off and Christmas craziness is upon us. Let's go.

Friday, November 15, 2019


Well, I thought I scheduled a post for yesterday (Thursday) but apparently I had an idea for it and never wrote it, so I kind of failed on my goal. But! I shouldn't let that impact trying to post something for the remaining days.

I was in NYC for work like I mentioned and I think I have said it before, but I do not <heart> NY. Maybe it's because my office is in the financial district and there isn't much to do, or maybe it's because I have never visited on my own and with the means to fully enjoy myself. It could be a lot of reasons. But, the travel time, work time spent in a conference room having lots of conversations, team "fun," and the general disruption to my schedule has me extra crabby upon coming home. Especially because every minor annoyance that could happen to me on my way home happened. Like, none of it was major but it was all the things. I'm tired and in a funk and already warned my poor husband that the likelihood of me joining him and his friends for dinner tonight is slim to none. I think being "on" the past three days has me wanting to curl up on my couch even more than normal.

Some good things from the week:
1) No one in the middle seat on a long flight
2) Cold weather
3) Cheez Whiz fries. We were at a dive bar that prided itself on its Philly Cheesesteaks and my boss felt about those the same way I feel about the Texas Brisket tacos served with 1000 Island Dressing I saw on another menu, so someone ordered fries instead. I never eat Cheez Whiz so this was a weird treat and for whatever reason, hit the spot. And of course I couldn't stop thinking "Whatever, I'm getting cheese fries."
4) I asked one of my friends for a bluetooth shower speaker for my birthday and she got me this one and it's awesome. Since losing our dog, my podcast time has decreased since I did so much listening while walking him, so this gives me another way to listen. Or just listen to music. It is super unnecessary but I really like it.

Surely there are more but I'm hungry and that is all I can think about. More gratitude to come next week, I'm sure.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


I still keep a bullet journal, and I try to keep quick notes of what I am reading/watching/listening to. Here are some highlights in the latter two categories since I talked about books yesterday.


Schitt's Creek: Everything you have heard is true. I watched the first ep on a flight a long time ago and didn't love it so I gave up. Andrew suggested it, so I tried it again and wondered what was wrong with me. It is hilarious. The first season is a little uneven but then the second starts and you fall in love with each character. It's funny and never cliche and memorable. I heard Simply the Best in a store the other day and grinned like an idiot. I suggest it to everyone.

The Boys: Bre told me the premise of this show and I thought it sounded interesting even though I don't speak superhero. But it is its own superhero world and in this world, everyone knows about superheroes and they are highly marketed and tightly controlled. There is corruption and nothing is what it seems like. It's only eight episodes and it's on Amazon Prime. It's dark, sometimes funny, and consistently entertaining. The finale made me ask so many questions and I need season two...

Conan in Ghana: If you haven't watched any of the Conan [O'Brien] Without Borders specials, you need to do that. I love Conan and all of the specials are so good. He is so kind and inquisitive about different cultures and always makes himself the butt of the jokes or makes sure the people are in on whatever he is laughing at. Countries are always painted in a good light, but if there is a serious issue to address - like confronting the slave trade in Ghana - he doesn't avoid it. The Ghana ep came out last week and was really good. A lot of the older ones are on Netflix.

Listening To:

Office Ladies: You've likely heard of this podcast. It's hosted by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey who are real life BFFs and were also on The Office. I was a regular OfficeTally reader back in the day and I watched a lot of DVD extras so I know a lot of what they share, but not all of it. The podcast is... fine. I don't feel like the hosts are comfortable with the format. They repeat one another a lot, are trying to find a schtick, and talk over each other and their guests. I feel like it could get good but so far, it's just... fine.

EW's Binge (the Schitt's Creek season): Apparently the hosts of this podcast binge a thing and then talk about it. They did five episodes on Schitt's Creek (one for each season that has aired so far) that are fun to listen to if you watched the show. I laughed at some of the tidbits shared and when they reminded me of funny things, like Moira and David trying to cook enchiladas. Highly recommend if you like the show.

Amazon Prime Music: I was shamed by my friends for still having Pandora and I admit, some of my stations are a bit repetitive. I use Spotify on my work computer but never on mobile because I only have the free version and I don't even know if I can. So I listen to a lot of Prime Music. I mean they have all the Avett Brothers music and Lover by Taylor Swift and pretty much all the John Mayer I need. I'd love to find some better mixes or different artists on there, but hey, when I know exactly what I want to hear, especially if I am close enough to tell my Echo to play it, it's pretty perfect. Any suggestions on what to listen to or how to make it better, though?

Also on the list: Succession, The Good Place (though I am a bit behind!), Mr. Mercedes, Slow Burn Season 3 (about Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.), and still making my way through Veronica Mars...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

memorable books from 2019 (so far)

So since I haven't been blogging, I haven't been showing you my books. But, I do make an effort to post each book I read in IG stories with the rating I gave it and a quick thought as to why. It helps me remember what I've read. I would make life easy and just talk about what I have read in October and November, but instead I want to share some thoughts I had on books this year.

Linking up with Steph and Jana, of course.

The Girl He Used to Know - No idea how this ended up on my TBR but it was cute and easy. Went between the past and the present, his POV and hers. Felt a little like a TJR but didn't quite capture life the way she does. Then, about 80% through the book, instead of showing the month and year the chapter took place in, like the whole book had done, the chapter started with September 10, 2001. And I was like oh crap, this is taking a 9/11 turn. The story needed some action to tie it all up, but I still don't feel comfortable with 9/11 as a fictional backdrop. I mean I can read WWII books. Maybe because it's my lifetime? I don't know. What do you think? (I did give the book four stars because I liked most of it... but I am still thinking of the 9/11 aspect.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill - I really liked this. Maybe it was the right book at the right time but she was awkward and anxious and there was a cat! It is one of my few, if only, five star books this year. I always worry about giving a book five stars. Like is it too much praise? And in hindsight, I wonder if it really deserved it. Whatever, my books, my rules.

Behold the Dreamers - I feel that a lot of people think "Mexican" when they hear the word "immigrant." Maybe it's just because I live in Texas. This is a story about a family of immigrants from Africa and trying to do the right thing and the complications of the US immigration system. I listened to it and that made me really get into the story. And then, a few weeks ago, I had a Lyft driver in Kansas City ask me if I had heard of his home country of Togo in Africa and I was able to say yes, and I told him about this book.

One Day in December - Kind of a ridiculous, this would never happen in real life romance but there is a little bit of Christmas spirit in it. I remember wishing I was reading it closer to the holidays. So, now I can tell you about it and maybe it will add a little bit of holiday spirit to your TBR.

Just a few books that I had a few things to say about. Interested to see what others are reading to get some ideas to finish out the year with. I think Andrew and I are going to drive to visit family at Christmas, so I would love to find an audiobook we would both enjoy...

Monday, November 11, 2019

a fall weekend

I wanted to write a good, old fashioned, weekend recap because sometimes, it's nice to have a slice of life to look back on.

On Friday, Andrew and I were both super hungry really early so I put on real clothes and felt cute and we went to have dinner at Candente, a Mexican restaurant run by a BBQ place. We sat at the bar because Happy Hour and had good margaritas and really, really good meat. Like, the fajita steak was fantastic. Then we came home and watched The Boys which I will probably say more about in a Currently post...

One of my friends loves birthdays - yours and hers - so she insisted we get together and do a thing for my birthday. I chose breakfast, so we had mimosas and food and caught up and then decided to go to the TJ Maxx in the parking lot. I have to go to NYC for work this week. Last time I was there in cold weather (February), it snowed and my very cute Loft booties were NOT up to the task of keeping me safe and warm on icy sidewalks. I had been looking for some affordable boots with traction and warmth. I was busy admiring some $50 Lucky leather booties that I DID NOT need (and I left behind!) when my friend showed me some Duck boots and I was like oh, those are cute... but they were a half size to a size smaller than my regular size and my friend said "They are J. Crew and $20, you are gonna shove your foot in!" Luckily no shoving was required and they fit and they were a total steal since the same boots in a new pattern are $200. I love that they aren't TOO much for Houston weather - I could wear them on a cold, wet day and not look too out of place.

I made a quick trip to a favorite thrift store on my way home (I got a $4 leather purse which you can see on my IG stories) and then Andrew and I both napped and then went to Target to look at Christmas decor and grabbed some groceries and then we finished The Boys.

Sunday, Bauer woke me up early and then I went back to bed until Andrew came home with warm donuts and kolaches. I did a few things around the house and then went back to Target for things I needed for our houseguest this week/to look at clearance and then to try to take advantage of really good sales at Kohl's and Michael's. I found garland I had been looking for on super sale, called that a win, and was tired of shopping. I went for a walk since the weather was amazing and then went to my favorite yoga class. Came home and had caramelized onion soup with bacon and blue cheese that Andrew made and it was wonderful. Then did more house stuff, got my bujo set up for the week, and started thinking about packing for my trip. I leave Tuesday, Andrew's friend arrives to stay with us on Thursday, I get home late Thursday night, and they are in and out doing BBQ things all next weekend, so we are ships passing this week. That's just the way it goes sometimes.

Friday, November 8, 2019

TGIF (a different acronym)

Brene Brown used to send out a weekly email with a TGIF theme. She stopped, but I am totally ripping that off.

Trusting that one day, it will be okay. We had to make the hard decision to put our sweet dog Duncan down this week. I still find myself looking for him or thinking that I haven't fed him, things like that. It's hard to say that I have one pet, a cat. I know time heals things like this, but that hasn't made this week any easier.

Grateful for messages and cookie deliveries from friends and family, leftover Halloween candy, a cold front, taking a midday walk to vote on Tuesday, lunch dates with friends, and Queer Eye.

Inspired by oh gosh this one is hard. Maybe I can't steal this. Let's say I was inspired by Brene Brown to write a post in this format.

Fun. My work team likes to send the blinking white guy meme to each other, and also the "this is fine" house on fire dog. I love that someone has made the dog into a stuffed animal. If you need a Christmas gift for your friend who can't get off twitter, this is a solid rec.

I have a lot of post writing this weekend because I am in NYC Tuesday - Thursday of next week with likely no free time! Expect an update on my screen time limits and honestly, I'm not sure what else. Week one of my goal is complete!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

what's new?

But really, what is new with me? I feel like October was a blur of travel and plans.

Part of what I do for work is interview people, and there are a lot of surveys involved over where you are willing to travel. I always say I will go to Atlanta since my sister-in-law and her adorable children live there and I would love a free trip... and in October, I actually got to go. The girls were nearly one and not quite two and-a-half at the time and they are SO fun. And funny. But also exhausting, I had a day off between my work commitment and it was great to just spend a day in their routine. I'm SO excited to experience Christmas with them this year!

I also had a week of working at a conference here in Houston which was fun (real people! Human interaction!) but man, traffic and real clothes suck. I have no idea how I will ever work in an office again.

Ohhh Bre and I also went to see Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach. I just enjoy them and their dynamic so much. The event was during an Astros game and we didn't think we would stay the whole time, but the event and programming were SO well done that neither of us wanted to leave. It's called Together Live and if you hear of it going to your city, you should check it out.

I also had an impromptu work trip come up to Kansas City. I was able to catch up with our old friends, David and Mandy, and meet their two sons. David and Andrew were friends in high school and they were in each other's weddings. They have also come to visit us a few times, and I know Mandy through the wonder of the internet, so anyway, it was great to be close enough to grab dinner. Also my work event was super stressful and a real test for me but it was mostly fine, so that gives me a nice boost for the next challenge coming my way. When I travel, I always make it a point to visit local coffee shops and PT's Coffee and Made in KC Cafe were both delightful and made me want to sit and work there all day.

My birthday fell on a Thursday this year, and after not being able to take it off due to work things for the past two years, I decided to make a plan-free, four-day weekend out of it. I've been on a huge thrifting kick lately, so I did a lot of that and took myself to one of my favorite coffee shops for a honey latte. The weather was beautiful over the weekend, so Andrew and I checked out an outdoor craft market and I bought myself a dainty L necklace that reminds me of one my grandparents gave me as a kid. We also went to Rosalie, a new restaurant, for dinner, and it was really cool inside and the food was good. And then I had bujo brunch and my favorite yoga class. Overall, a nice way to spend four days.

Things I want to remember:
- How exhausting and fun The Little Gym classes can be
- Psyching myself up to face a professional challenge
- A cool, fall-like birthday weekend
- The feeling of connecting with people who work for the same org I do - I always get so much from it
- The excitement in Houston when the Astros went to the World Series for the second time in three years (totally fine forgetting we lost, though...)

So, that was October 2019. Linking up with Kristen for What's New With You...

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

three things

I was feeling uninspired today and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I stole this idea and these topics from Steph.

Songs that make me think of high school
- No Such Thing by John Mayer
- Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5
- Carmina Burana. It's classical music that we played for marching band my sophomore year, but it's common enough to be in commercials and things.

Things I like to give
- Book recommendations
- Personalized gifts (not just picking off an Amazon list)
- A different way to approach a problem

Things I like to receive
- Specific compliments
- Baked goods
- Clear instructions if you want me to do something

Things I hate that many people like
- Pumpkin spice
- Hugs from people I don't know well
- Shrimp

Clothes I find uncomfortable
- Anything suede
- Ballet flats. I used to wear them all the time but now they feel too restrictive
- Strapless bras

Things I love seeing other people post
- Cat pictures (or videos)
- Relatable memes
- Snippets of daily life

Now pick a category and tell me three things about you.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

things that are worth buying

I don't want to be all about consumption, but there are things in life that you have to buy, so if I can share what has made my life easier or better in some way, I feel like I should. I'm trying to be conscious of my consumption, both in terms of having too much STUFF and in terms of environmental impact, but there are always things I think I want or need so I want to share them.

Reusable Make-Up Remover Pads - I used to use cotton with my micellar water but after seeing people talk about these resuable rounds, I decided to get some. These are larger than cotton rounds, SUPER soft on one side (and like a washcloth on the other), and come with a zippered bag to wash them in. I have a little canister on my bathroom cabinet to hold them and then I wash them with towels. They do stain from mascara but I know they're clean so <shrug>. But, they can't be used with dryer sheets, sooo...

Wool Dryer Balls - Honestly, I was mostly tired of finding dryer sheets EVERYWHERE. Tossed on my nightstand or the coffee table when I was folding laundry, somehow on the floor in the closet, stuck to blankets... so I kind of wanted them and then I ordered the make-up remover pads and NEEDED them and now I'm glad I have them. I add a few drops of essential oil to them if I want sheets to smell good and I don't really notice a difference between using these and dryer sheets.

Charisma Plush Blanket (from Costco) - It was time for a new mattress and we went from a Queen to a King. Of course we had to buy everything new and that included a new cozy blanket for winter months. This one was $12.99 at Costco (now on clearance for $11.97) and it is THE softest thing. Seriously, Bauer is obsessed with it - he will lay on our bed ALL DAY when it is on - and we love it too. You can't beat the price. It is a little fuzzy, but I don't mind. I also found it maintains its softness best when I dry it on low.

Scunci Ponytail Holders - I LOVE these. I bought a pack a year ago and then gifted them to friends who loved them, too. I did break a few, and they do stretch, so I just bought a second back. But, I think a year's worth of use out of a $4 pack of ponytail holders when I wear my hair up nearly daily is a great deal. These hold tightly, come out easily when you want them to, and don't crease.

An Unstuffy Laptop bag (good for a man or woman!) - Last Christmas, I challenged myself with finding a bag for Andrew's podcast stuff that was durable, not a backpack, not a briefcase, and not a full-on messenger bag with a flap. He didn't ask for one, per se, but I knew he would use it. I got him this one and he really likes it. It looks nice and professional enough if it needs to be, but isn't weird to bring into a BBQ place. And it has a ton of pockets and fits a lot of stuff. Thought I would share this one since men are hard to shop for - maybe it will help you.

More to come... surely I have bought more things that I want to share...

Monday, November 4, 2019

between now and 2020...

I want to...

- learn how to french braid my own hair
- practice handlettering at least once per week
- go to the gym 19 times (10x per month and I already went once in November)
- Post a blog post each weekday in November, even if it's a quick one, for NaBloPoMo2019
- figure out how to apply eyeliner
- reduce social media scrolling. My friend Michelle has been analyzing her own use here and after seeing her post, I set a limit on my own social time to an hour and 20 minutes per day. Let's not discuss where it was...
- do more things with my newfound free time, like the items on this list, or just keeping a neater house
- write down daily gratitude (thanks Bre for the push)
- do a facemask once a week
- close the rings on my Apple watch more days than not. Still trying to find a "happy place"with those, so send ideas if you've got them on how you set goals that are a stretch but possible.

Blogging isn't counting as social media and I am trying really hard not to cheat and scroll my regular sites on a computer or my kindle. When I hear people don't use instagram or twitter, I always ask what they do with their time. I guess I am going to try to find out.

And posting five times per week... who am I and what is this? What do you miss reading about in blogs? I don't even know if I can answer that for myself...