CELEBRATING: Kevin asked me to be his girlfriend in September eight years ago, so we’re celebrating all of our adventures since then. He even surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers!
WATCHING: Lately, I’ve been watching YouTube videos more than anything else. I tend to listen to or watch crafty videos while I’m working on my own projects, so some of my current favorites are Cori at The Reset Girl, Ali Brown, Courtney at Little Raven Ink, and Adele at Inkie Quill. There are also a couple of new music videos I’ve watched recently: P!NK and Taylor Swift.
WELCOMING: It feels like the weather in mid-Missouri has really cooled down, so we’ve been welcoming the nice fall-like weather with more outdoor activities. Bring on the PSL, leaves, layered clothes, and football games.
PREPARING: College football and tailgating generally takes up a lot of our falls (in the best way possible) and this year we are adding some basketball to the mix starting in November. We’re preparing and hoping for a great sports season here!
PHOTOGRAPHING: Labor day weekend really helped me get back behind my camera. Each year over Labor Day weekend, I shoot our family golf tournament and then I also brought my camera along to a church picnic that we attended. I always notice that the more I use my camera, the more I want to continue using it.
Today I’m joining Anne, at In Residence, for a ‘Currently’ linkup that she hosts on the first Wednesday of every month. Be sure to pop over and see what everyone else is up to!
September is here and it’s bringing all of my favorite things – football games, nicer weather, and all of the pumpkin flavored things. For the first time this year, August actually felt the length it was meant to be. We had a lot going on including multiple weekends out of town, so it will be nice to stick around town this month. Mizzou’s plays three weekends in a row at home during September, so we are looking forward to all of the excitement that brings. Kevin has been to every home game but one in the past seven years and I’ve been to almost as many, if that gives you any idea of how seriously we take our Tigers.
August was full of being absolutely spoiled my my family and friends. I’m coming at you from a new computer and have some fancy headphones to match, thanks to my thoughtful hubby. Speaking of, we went on our first photoshoot together, which was a total blast. I’m looking forward to a lot more dates like this in the future and I’ll definitely get around to sharing some more photos soon.
On the Blog In August:
August Goals Recap:
Celebrate turning 26 – Turning 26 was so much easier for me than turning 25 was. I was spoiled rotten and celebrated myself by making my annual birthday cheesecake.
Schedule a hair cut with a new stylist – This was a fiasco and I ended up getting my haircut by the same stylist I’ve been going to for the past two years. It turned out just fine, but maybe I’ll get to try someone new in the future.
Read Artist’s Way and complete challenges – Done and still keeping up with morning pages on a regular basis. I’m glad to be putting some of these practices into my life.
- Send two cards using the INK app – Dang, I really wish I would have done this. I’m adding it again for September.
8 Hours of sleep each night – Since I was being intentional this month, I did a LOT better on this than I normally do.
Low FODMAP foods – I mentioned last month that my doctor suggested the low FOD MAP diet for me. I did a lot better eating this way but I’m trying to do even better in September.
Journal – Straight up knocked it out of the park.
Workouts – I’m proud of what I did but am looking to ramp that up with more walks and outdoor runs in September.
Oils – Done and done!
- Celebrate 8 (!!!) years with Kevin
- Take photos at my family’s annual golf tournament
- Get my passport – I’ve been meaning to update this since we got married, but haven’t gotten around to it. This needs to happen this month.
- Schedule another photo shoot with Kevin
- Send some thank you and encouragement cards – Hand written cards are my favorites but like I mentioned above, I didn’t quite get to the INK ones from last month so I want to incorporate a couple of those as well.
- Move my body + Quiet Time + Essential Oils
My goal for the year was 15 books, but based on the way I’m powering through them this year, I’m going to have to up that for 2018. I’m sharing more about what I’m reading because it’s one of my favorite posts on other blogs. I’ve found the best way to keep my nose in a book is to join group book clubs at work, they sure are keeping me busy.
★★★★★ – All time favorite, there aren’t many of these in the world.
★★★★☆ – Loved this book, held my attention and made me want to keep reading.
★★★☆☆ – Good book, I liked it.
★★☆☆☆ – It was fine, definitely won’t be recommending it to my friends.
★☆☆☆☆ – I finished it, but it wasn’t that great.
☆☆☆☆☆ – Didn’t bother finishing it. There are too many books on the shelf to finish one that isn’t grabbing my attention.
The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2) + Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)
by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym J.K. Rowling)
Fiction – Mystery | ★★★★☆
I read the first book in the series after I found out that this novel was written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and was hoping to get my fill from the first one in the series. Unfortunately, it’s very different from the HP series, but fortunately, it was a really great read. It’s been about 3 years or so since I read the first in the series, but that didn’t affect the reading of these books, which I appreciated. Similar to the first, these two feature private detective Cormoran Stike and his assistant Robin Ellacott who spend both books searching for pieces of the puzzle that hopefully lead to solving the mystery.
You might like this if: your a J.K. Rowling fan and enjoyed the first book in the series.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
by Greg McKeown
Non-Fiction – Self Help | ★★★★☆
I grabbed this book up after seeing so many of my Good Reads friends rate it highly and while I don’t disagree with their rating, it could have been about 100 pages shorter and still covered all major points. I think my main takeaways included not being afraid to be unavailable, choosing priorities that get you where you want to end up, and allowing things the time they need to be completed. Overall a good read, especially for someone like me who tends to overplan and set high expectations for myself.
You might like this if: you want to learn how to be more productive while doing less.
Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race and Getting Free From the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us
by Benjamin Watson
Nonfiction | ★★★★★
Benjamin Watson is a tight end for the New Orlean Saints and on the day after the grand jury decision was announced that there was no probable cause to indict officer Darren Wilson of the shooting of Michael Brown, Benjamin wrote a heart felt facebook post which quickly went viral. This book is his expanded thoughts on each of the topics he touched on in the post. Not only was this a thought provoking read for me, a group of us at work got to get together to talk about about it. I think everyone would benefit from reading this book.
Favorite Quote: “The solution to the problem of race in America will be found only by ordinary people, “good” people, looking inside themselves, being honest about the assumptions and biases that have formed, and beginning to change what’s in their hearts.”
You might like this if: you’re hoping to understand a clearer picture of the ongoing race issues in America.
Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live on Purpose.
by Lara Casey
Nonfiction – Self Help/Christian | ★★★★☆
I just love Lara and have been following her blog for quite some time. I began using her PowerSheets this year and found this book to be a great companion to that. She talks a lot about letting go of the “do it all” mentality in order to move forward on purpose. It’s thought provoking and includes sections to stop and think about implementing the things she talks about in your own life. Not really a leisurely read, but so worth it.
You might like this if: you like goal setting or feel like you are constantly striving for perfection.
All the Words are Yours: Haiku on Love
by Tyler Knott Gregson
Poetry | ★☆☆☆☆
I picked this book up because I saw another book by this author at Anthropology and figured it had to be good. I was wrong, this is one of those pretty books that looks nice on a book shelf but takes two seconds to read. I actually feel pretty bad giving it this low of a rating, because he probably put lots of emotion into these poems but there’s just too much lovey dovey and bad photos for me to rate it any better.
This sums it up nicely.
You might like this if: you’re a writer and want to get inspiration or want short bits of lovey poems.
Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace
Nonfiction – Business/Leadership | ★★★★☆
This book has been recommended to me multiple times since I became a leader at work, so I just knew it had to be on my reading list this year. From the get-go, this book kept me more interested than maybe any other nonfiction book has. I was so interested to hear about starting a company from the ground up and hearing about how big name people like Steve Jobs have made an impact not on the world but on the people who worked with him as well. I think what I related to this in particular was how leadership style and creativity go hand in hand. There were times I felt myself nodding along and there were times I scribbled down lots of notes. All I have to say is that I love books like these because they help make me a better leader.
Favorite Quote: “I believe the best managers acknowledge and make room for what they do not know—not just because humility is a virtue but because until one adopts that mindset, the most striking breakthroughs cannot occur. I believe that managers must loosen the controls, not tighten them. They must accept risk; they must trust the people they work with and strive to clear the path for them; and always, they must pay attention to and engage with anything that creates fear. Moreover, successful leaders embrace the reality that their models may be wrong or incomplete. Only when we admit what we don’t know can we ever hope to learn it.”
You might like this if: you’re a leader or like learning about business in general.
Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want
by Maria Goff
Nonfiction – Christian | ★★★☆☆
I still don’t know what to think of this book. I’ve read a couple books in the last year or so that have been heavily marketed towards women that are faith based but aren’t necessarily a bible study and, in general, I just haven’t had great experiences. I read this with a group at work and I was one of the few women who don’t have children. Although it prompted great discussion about craving the things in life that matter, it’s was very clear to me that I wasn’t the target audience of this book. I found it particularly hard to connect with her examples and often felt indifferent to her woes. Her husband, Bob Goff, who wrote Love Does, is a missionary lawyer who does mission in other countries so Maria talks a lot about her experiences doing mission in her home and community. Overall, not awful, just not for me.
You might like this if: you want a quick read that will encourage you right where you’re at.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
by Alfred Lansing
Nonfiction – History/Leadership | ☆☆☆☆☆
This year, I joined a leadership team at work and we were given a list of books to pick from that we would meet to discuss on a monthly basis. This was not my choice, but it won the majority so we went with it. It was encouraged as a leadership related book and while I’d love to say that it really opened my eyes to something, it really didn’t and I ended up not finishing it. Thank goodness for the internet and summaries that have gotten me through the discussions.
You might like this if: you’re really into history and LOTS of details about ice floes/ships.
What books are you loving right now? Let me know in the comments so I can give more five star reviews!
I found this fun little quiz that a couple blog friends
have shared and I thought it would be the perfect thing to do on my birthday. This originally stemmed from Vogue’s 73 questions game that they were doing with celebrities
- What are you most excited about these days? Weekends, sunshiny mornings, and getting out my DSLR.
- Favorite holiday? Christmas without a doubt!
- Favorite season? Fall. Wearing layers and cheering on my tigers makes for the best time of the year.
- Recent hobby? Reading, bible journaling, a workout schedule and the blog are all keeping me busy these days.
- If you could switch lives with someone for a day, who would it be? Chloe, my dog. Napping all day and then having your head scratched literally sounds like the dream.
- If you could have coffee with someone from the past, who would it be? C.S Lewis.
- What’s the best thing that happened this year? I particularly LOVE having all of my family together, so I’d say that but I also love hosting people in our home.
- What’s the best way to decompress? Going for a walk with Chloe or taking a nap on the couch with the sun shining in the front windows.
- What’s the weirdest word in the English language? Perfect…as in to make something better. WHY IS THIS SPELLED THE SAME AS PERFECT. Or am I wrong? I can’t even explain it to the internet so that’s how you know you’re losing.
- If you had one superpower, what would it be? Teleporting – so I could travel around the world anytime I want or just get to the back door faster when Chloe wants to be let outside.
- Who do you miss most? My family in St. Louis.
- Who was the last person to text you? Kevin
- Who are three people, alive or dead, that you would have dinner with? Haha, my group would be so random: Wayne Gretzky, Miranda Lambert and Ann Voskamp…wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall for that one?!
- Last book you read? I’m currently reading Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley, it’s a sequel to Gone with the Wind and I’m enjoying it so far.
- Book you plan on reading? Everything by Elisabeth Elliot
- Book you read because everyone else in the world was reading it? The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
- A book from your childhood that positively shaped you? The Harry Potter series
- Favorite tv show that’s currently on tv? I’m currently watching the Great British Bake Off and (slowly) Jane the Virgin
- Favorite ice cream? Plain vanilla
- What makes you smile the most? Serving my friends, plants, photography.
- First pet? Brownie the teddy bear hamster.
- Worst subject in school? English, I always got the worst grades in that class. Is it ironic that I have a blog and love reading?
- Favorite game? Pandemic
- Coolest thing in the world? The ability to talk to and meet friends all over the world online.
- Cutest thing in the world? Puppies, especially mine.
- Favorite thing in the world? My camera or my new Mac *heart eyes*
- One talent you wish you had? Singing, i’m terrible.
- One thing you still have from your childhood? A wooden radio flyer wagon…and by have, I mean that it’s at my parent’s house.
- What’s your patronus? A lab puppy – loves people and is a complete busy body
- Last song you listened to on your phone? Redeeming Love by The Crossing Music
- Favorite song lyrics? I’m not really into music lyrics, so I’m going to say our first dance song, Everything by Michael Buble or Clean by Natalie Grant
- What song would you probably be caught dancing alone to? Kinks Shirt by Matt Nathanson
- If you could work the runway, what song would it be? I could never make this work, but probably something by Taylor Swift
- Best gift you’ve ever been given? There are a lot of things that rank high on the list starting with our wedding and anytime I’ve been given the gift of travel.
- Fashion icon? I literally know zero people who are famous for fashion…sooo…
- What did you wear to your prom? A white dress and apparently the tallest heels I could find.
- Who was your date to your prom? My hubby.
- Favorite movie of all time? Forrest Gump
- Favorite movie of the last five years? Inside Out
- Movie that made you cry? The only movie I’ve ever cried at was My Dog Skip (which I’m sure would be followed by A Dog’s Purpose, but I’m steering clear of that one).
- Movie that made you laugh the hardest? Caddyshack
- If you could make a documentary, what would it be about? Nature photography maybe?
- Favorite TV show? Quantum Leap is always a classic. Can’t think of any show I’ve watched more episodes of, that’s for sure.
- If you could make a cameo in any TV show what would it be? Fixer Upper
- Best plot twist of all time? I realized that this isn’t a plot, but Snape’s character in Harry Potter surprised me the most.
- Twitter or Instagram? INSTAGRAM. Hands down.
- Who should everyone be following right now? Ali Brown (@alibrownie) her journals are swoon-worthy and I’m always a fan of Elise Cripe(@elisejoy).
- Favorite food? Steak and potatoes.
- Favorite dessert? Cheesecake – of basically any variety.
- Favorite band? Bethel Music.
- Favorite solo artist? Taylor Swift and I don’t care what anyone has to say about it. Also Harry Styles new album has been at the top of my list lately.
- If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be? Tim McGraw
- What would be the title of your autobiography? Love Bailey Jean. Expect to see more of that around these parts soon!
- Favorite sound? the ocean
- Least favorite sound? chewing.
- Favorite animal? We’ve already established dogs being my favorite, but after that, cheetahs.
- First celebrity crush? Tom Welling because Smallville = love.
- Current celebrity crush? Meh. *shruggs*
- What is your kryptonite? Instagram.
- Guilty pleasure? Chickfila and libraries/bookstores.
- Most proud moment? Graduating from Mizzou and buying a home
- Biggest weakness?
- Skill still unmastered? Diffusing my hair…it never looks the same twice.
- What is the definition of misery? Not being able to sleep when you’re tired and camping, although I’ve never done it.
- Biggest learning experience? Seasons of waiting…they are hands down the most trying.
- What is your idea of a perfect date? Dinner at a location I don’t have to choose (ask Kevin, I’m indecisive as can be) and something creative like painting or pottery or a photo walk.
- An experience when you felt the most nervous? Anytime I have to be the center of attention. I was particularly nervous to walk down the aisle at our wedding because I knew everyone was going to be staring at me and I thought I kept picturing myself falling on my face. Thank God my Dad would have never let that happen.
- At what age were you the happiest? I’d say every year is full of ups and downs, but 25 was particularly awesome.
- What’s one vice you wish you could give up? naps. I’ll never give them up though.
- If you could teach a college course, what would it be called? iPhone Photography and selfies 101
- If you could star in any movie remake, what would it be? Harry Potter.
- If you were an Olympic athlete, what would your event be? Ice hockey, no question.
- If you could offer your 13-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Don’t take life so seriously. I’m still trying to teach myself this one.
In all of the posts that I’ve shared about our house, I have never shared the best part: we live next to our best friends. In all honesty, it’s just as epic as it sounds and I’m dreading the day that we don’t live 15 steps from front door to front door.
Earlier this year when we were talking about all things outdoor landscaping and gardening, their empty raised beds came up. I jokingly mentioned using them if they weren’t, and next thing I knew, we were huddled over their kitchen table with a ruler and a plan.
We went to a garden store within a couple days and got lots of veggies and flowers – tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños, zucchini, basil, mint, and lots of marigolds. We did a lot of research on companion plants ahead of time and we read that Marigolds are really helpful to have around vegetables to prevent bugs and other pests.
We got lucky that the beds were already filled with some pretty amazing soil and each spent time tilling one of the beds. We didn’t get to plant right away because we had a torrential down-pouring for a week straight. All of the plants we purchased, aside from the zucchini and half the marigolds, were “starters” or baby plants, so we keep those under an awning to prevent them from getting washed away in the rain. In the meantime, I did a little black-hole style pinterest browsing about garden journals and of course had to make one of my own.
When it was finally time to plant, we quickly learned that we either 1) needed more marigolds or 2) needed to invest some time in shooing the animals away. Within the first week or so, we lost a couple tomato plants and felt very weary about the zucchini seeds, which landed us back at the store. We decided then to expand our garden to another area of their backyard. This allowed us some extra room, which was a good call in retrospect.
I’ve only ever grown vegetables in pots, and even then, they didn’t ever turn out very good. During my last attempt, the landlord at my old duplex sprayed something inside of the pots around the plants. I wasn’t sure what it was and when I asked, he had already thrown the the packaging away, so I was afraid to eat or offer the veggies to anyone. During that summer, the plants never got very tall or wide and stopped producing veggies early in the season.
Because of that failed attempt, I think I was even more excited when we started to see new growth and flowers, because I knew vegetables would eventually follow. From the beginning, we agreed that I was going to water on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and then she was going to check on them and water as needed on the other days.
Probably my favorite part of the whole experience was when she was telling her sister how much joy she was finding in garden, only to learn that she loved playing in the garden when she was a little girl. I don’t remember gardening growing up, but I’m the same way, I can’t deny how much I love being out there (as long as I have bug spray on) so much that even pulling weeds doesn’t phase me. I’d much prefer that to getting ready for work every other morning.
I’ve shared by heart on producing fruit here once before, but I couldn’t help but include something similar in my journal. The whole process from tiny little seeds to food that I get to use to nourish my body is such a good reminder of our growth as Christians and the importance of being pruned and watered regularly to continue to bear fruit.
It’s been about four months since we started our garden and yesterday was our biggest harvest yet. Based on the number of green tomatoes and almost ripe peppers, I have a feeling it won’t be our biggest by the time the season is over. I can already tell that growing veggies is something I really want to continue to do. There is so much to learn and perfect that I don’t think this will stop being challenging and exciting. I got to have a lot of fun conversations with co-workers (some who convinced us to try pollinating our zucchinis by hand) and giving veggies away just tends to make people happy.
I’m off to start planning next years garden – what are your favorite things to grow?