30 June 2013

Summer Reading Swap

How is it June 30?! For crying out loud. Time needs to slow it down.

But I digress....

Earlier this month my friend Micah hosted a Summer Reading Swap.

I had a heck of a lot of fun picking out the book I sent to Angie, which was a well loved copy of Pretty Little Mistakes (I actually love this book so much I sent a copy to Micah as well). Because really, who didn't love choose your own adventure novels as a kid?

In return I received two books from Kacie--Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and My Summer of Southern Discomfort by Stephanie Gayle.

I've actually already read Sharp Objects, but am really looking forward to reading My Summer of Southern Discomfort. It looks like a good summertime read.

Thanks again to Micah for hosting this swap! It's been a lot of fun.
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Sunday Confessions: The Fitness Edition

Gym Rat: I am really, really enjoying my time at the gym. I've even started to look at that hour as an appointment I can't miss. It's done wonders for my stress levels and for the first time in a long time I've been sleeping like a rock. It has even eased some of being annoyed that I still can't run.

Dressed for Success: I bought a bunch of new workout gear this week, to include a pair of compression carpri pants. They were on sale for $10. It couldn't pass them up! But of course on the same day I was going to wear them to work out, someone make a joke about someone else who was wearing something similar and I totally lost all confidence in wearing my own.

Compartmentalized: It's kind of a bummer that so many bloggers (myself included) feel the need to compartmentalize their lives in multiple blogs. I've especially found this to be true when it comes to those who fall into the "I love myself just the way I am!" category, which is the biggest bummer of all. Just because someone talks about what they eat doesn't meant they are on a diet. Just like someone talking about working out doesn't mean they are automatically trying to lose weight. We need to broaden the spectrum, not narrow it.

Routines: As much as I am diggin' my time at the gym, I am finding myself getting a little bored with the elliptical, so much so I'm starting to look at other things I can do. Any suggestions would be fantastic!

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29 June 2013

Crochet Along: Beach Bag

I have to confess, this was probably my favorite crochet along project thus far thanks to a pretty healthy obsession with bags.

But this bag, I didn't keep for myself. I sent it to my friend Micah along with a couple other items for her to use this summer on her upcoming staycation adventures and/or time at the pool.

I used Lily Sugar 'N Cream cotton yarn in turquoise and white. I unfortunately don't know how much I of it I used of each as I had enough left over bits from other projects for this one. I also had to modify the pattern a bit (like I generally do) thanks to using a larger hook than the pattern suggested and didn't follow the directions at all when it came to the handle. I love the way the bag turned out though. This is definitely a pattern/bag I am going to make again!

Did you link up this month for Alicia's Crochet Along project
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24 June 2013

Music Monday: Blurred Line

Let's all take a few moments this Monday morning to appreciate all that is Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams.

And for the record, Pharrell can liberate me any time he wants. *swoon*
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23 June 2013

Sunday Confessions

Did ya'll know I wrote something that was published (semi-recently).....in a book! Well, I did and I'm all kinds of proud of it. I was going to dedicate an entire post to it but why the time I was done with the (handwritten) draft it was 6 pages long. Whoops!

My obsession with bags really really needs to come to an end. But it seems like I see a bag and my brain decides that we "must have ALL the bags!". Like the one below. *sigh* It's lovely.
Olive Tree Textiles on Etsy
I have a notebook full of half written blog posts and ideas that I'm afraid to post. And I don't like that feeling one bit.

I've also brought out my characters books---it's a notebook where I keep all my ideas for characters I might some day write about. Each character gets at least a page, sometimes more, written about them: name (obviously), personality quirks, random bits of info, some even have a mini-story to tell. I sometimes think that notebook is my favorite part about writing. Getting to know new characters before breathing them into real life.

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21 June 2013

Life Lately

Wow......where in the world has June gone?! I can't believe it is already the 21st. Sheesh.

Things have been really, really busy around here lately which is a gift and a curse. But that's how things tend to go right? It's all or nothin'.

Early this week I attended a fund raiser concert for a local theatre that is going under some major renovations. The concert was put on by John Reilly & Friends. In case you're doing the same thing I did and wondering "Who the heck is John Reilly?" just as a C. between his first and last names.

It ended up being a really fun night. He and his band play traditional American roots music. If you have the chance, you should definitely check them out.

Sorry about the crummy iPhone pictures. I don't know what I was thinking when I decided against taking my camera with me.

My hip is still acting up which means I'm turning into kind of a regular at the gym. I know. I know. It's only been two weeks since I started going back but it seems like forever.

For all the bitching about it though, it has been nice being reunited with the elliptical. It's been nice getting in a good hard workout and not limp out because my hip is freaking out. So that's a plus.

I am still casually making my way through The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and by casually I mean I'm only on page 50. I will have it finished by the end of the month though so I can link up with the Feminist Book Club. That is a promise!

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17 June 2013

Music Monday: Dave Barnes

This is generally how the conversation goes when the song God Gave Me You comes on the radio and I am with friends.....

Me: Oh, I really love this song.

Friends: What?! But you don't like country music. And you like Blake Shelton?

Me: I don't. But this is a great song.

Friends: Ha! You do like country.

Me: No. I just really love Dave Barnes.

At which time a look of confusion sets it or they roll their eyes at me.

And hey! Looky there. A photo of me and Dave Barnes from when he toured with Bonnie Raitt in 2008. This was the second photo of us from the evening--the first he kind of messed up when he proclaimed to everyone within hearing distance that I smelled "really good".
Me and Dave Barnes Pt. 2
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14 June 2013

Hooking: Crochet Crazy

It seems to be feast of famine around these parts when it comes to crochet projects.

I'm either not working on anything at all or I have a list so long it requires it's own checklist to make sure I make enough parts.

The last couple of weeks, I've moved from making things that are totally practical (bags, hats, flower pot coozies etc.) to making things that are just plain fun! Most of what I have been making are toys for friends and family, which I have to admit are a bit hard to say good-bye to.

The one item I have made recently though that will not be moving along to a new home is my gnome. I adore this guy and have a feeling he will be keeping his place on my mantel for quite a long time!

What projects have you been working on?

The patters I used for these projects can be found here:
Unicorn & Zebra: Madison Craft Nook
Monkey: The Bean Patch
Elephant: Jam Made Studio

The pattern for the gnome is one that I wrote myself. I'll hopefully have a post up with the pattern for him soon!
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13 June 2013

Spoken Word: How to Be Alone

Every so often, the weight of being single gets to be pretty heavy.

Friends talking about a "couples only weekend" or "couples only dinner". Telling me they'd include me but they wouldn't want me "to feel awkward". Knowing that I'm coming home to an empty house and making, once again, dinner for one. Or wanting to see a movie or a concert and not having someone to go with me gets to be a little sad.

Generally though, it's not that big of a deal. I've grown pretty secure in my independence and don't fret too much about going to things solo.

But when it does get to be a little more than I can handle, I tend to turn to this video created by Tanya Davis and Amanda Dorfman for Tanya's poem How to Be Alone. It's four and a half minutes of affirmations that being single really isn't as bad as I think it is.

"Dance like no one is watching
Because they are probably not.
And if they are
Assume it is with best and human intentions
The way bodies move genuinely to beats is after all
Gorgeous and affecting"

How To Be Along by Tanya Davis

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12 June 2013

Wanna Be Gym Rat

I really don't like having to go to the gym to work out.

It just seems like such a chore to have to pack a bag, drive to the gym, get ready for your workout, do your thing and then drive back home. I did it for a number of years and while it definitely held me accountable and it afforded the ability to watch a lot of Judge Judy, it also sucked up a whole lot of free time.

But today, that is exactly what I am doing.

One of the perks of where I work is that we have access to the onsite fitness center (i.e. a free gym membership). I know. I know. What am I complaining about? It's just that I want to be outside! I want to feel the wind in my face. The fresh air in my lungs.

But no more complaining. Since I am not allowed to run, my bike still isn't fixed and I've yet to go out and buy a bathing suit suitable for actual swimming, it is off the gym I go. And it will be lovely.

In honor of heading back to the gym, I'm linking up wit Ari over at The Pace of it All for one of my favorite kinds of posts: What's In Your (Gym) Bag.  I don't know why they are my favorites, one might say it's just from being generally snoopy but I always think they are fun.

My gym bag and its contents are pretty dull, but here it is in all its glory!

This is pretty standard for what I wear while working out whether it be at home doing yoga, while I'm out for a run or a now and now for the gym.

The only thing in this bag that I am loyal to in terms of brand are my shoes. I LOVE the barefoot line from Merrell and have three different styles of shoe that I rotate depending on the activity and the terrain. But my barefoot pace gloves are always my "go to" shoes. I absolutely love them.

I'm not one who is big on extras but there are three that I always have with me, two of which are not pictured: I always, ALWAYS have a water bottle with me and it's generally one of three Camelbak bottles that I have my favorite of which is pictured above. You will always find me in a baseball cap (not pictured but it's a super sweet orange Detroit Tigers cap so hunters can see me when I'm out in the woods) to keep the sun out of my eyes and to attempt to hide the fact that I turn into a giant lobster when I work out. And lastly, my iPhone which I have by my side at all times with my jams preloaded and ready to go.

And the bag that holds it all together, made by yours truly. I had originally made this bag to carry around all my crochet projects, but when it came time to needing a bag for my gym gear, this was the perfect size. Plus, I can throw it into the wash with the rest of my stuff if when it starts to get funky.

What's in your bag? Do you have any items you can't live without when you go to the gym?
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11 June 2013

My "New" Happy Place

Have I ever told you guys that my parents are total rock stars?

Not in the Steven Tyler/Joe Perry kind of way.

But in the they are two of the best and most awesome people I know kind of way.

For the last few weeks, they have been over to my house a lot to help me whip my backyard and gardens into shape. Seriously--I wouldn't have been able to do half of what we did without them.

Saturday when I came home from work, they surprised me by leaving this sweet table and chair set for me on my back deck. When I called my mom to thank her for it, she said it was to help "spruce things up a bit".

 The addition to my outdoor space has done than just "spruce things up". It has quickly turned my back deck into my new outdoor happy place. Sadie and I have been enjoying our mornings and evenings out on the deck daily.

In the mornings it's been a great way to start the day with a bagel and my tea.

And in the evenings, I've been sitting out there with dinner and my journal......writing (gasp!).

The view from my back deck--I just love that barn.

Sadie likes to keep any eye on the backyard happenings, making sure the neighborhood cats aren't harassing the family of bunnies who live behind our garage. 

Where is your happy place? 
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10 June 2013

Shes Got Legs

Hey you guys........guess what!

Today, I'm over on one of my favorite blogs The Militant Baker talking about this one thing I really love about my body. It's a pretty fantastic series that Jes has going and it was pretty awesome to be a part of it.

And that post was the inspiration for todays installment of Music Monday.

And it gave me an excuse to ditch my least favorite article of clothing.....pants.

If you have a moment, pop over to say 'Hi' to Jes and be prepared to falling in love with her awesomeness. 
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Thanks for reading!

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