Friday Faves Edition 67

Friday Faves Edition 67

Friday Faves.

Say what?!

Here on a Friday…and with faves?

It can’t be!

Edition 67.

It’s true!

Recently, you’ve noticed that I’ve been doing more “what’s up lately” posts. That was because I didn’t necessarily have any faves to share, just some conversations that invited you to take a peek into my life.

While I don’t have tons of “faves” this week, I do have a few to share.

Eggplant Parmesan.

I hadn’t made any meals for a while that took effort required prep. This week I decided to make eggplant parmesan.

I had a recipe that my father-in-law gave me ages ago.

The recipe technically originated with my husband’s college roommate who was an Italian guy from New York.

I was extremely pleased with the tasty outcome.

Sadly, I woke up in the night in pain around the diaphragm region of my digestive system. It wasn’t the type of pain that any medicine I know can fix, so I just suffered through. Possible suspects are mozzarella cheese or eggplant (nightshade). I don’t think it was the parmesan cheese or the tomatoes because I eat those more often. Then again, maybe it wasn’t either because I ate some leftovers at lunch and think I was fine.

I will be making it again. However, if I have a repeat scenario, then I will truly need to determine if one of those foods need to be removed from my diet.

Do you eat eggplant? If so, what’s your favorite dish that includes it?

Mama’s Birthday.

If you missed it on Instagram, my mother’s birthday was Wednesday. Last year, I wrote about the genealogy portion of our first trip to Scotland . The year before that I wrote her a poem. This year I shared this photo of us at the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye in Scotland along with how much she teaches me about personal growth. It also reminded me that I still have so many photos and tales to share from our UK journey.

Photography.

I’ve been working a little more on editing my photos, but still haven’t fully settled back into my routines. I would like to make more forward progress on learning Lightroom and need to move it to “priority” status.

Grammarly.

I told you in my last “what’s up lately” post that I’d been working on Pinterest and old posts. Well, I finally decided to get Grammarly. I know some of you are thinking “hallelujah!” Actually, as I’m going through old posts (and I still have tons to go), there aren’t that many errors, but there are definitely some that slipped passed me.

It’s a massive pet peeve of mine when they slip past me too. I catch most errors in books that I read and wonder how a bestseller made it through the editor with an error. Now I know. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I publicly and sincerely apologize to all those editors I’ve judged in my mind.

Blog Traffic.

I’m also cleaning up some of the SEO because when I started this blog I had no knowledge about the inner working of the internet. I only knew how to spill my thoughts through my fingertips onto a keyboard. I’ve learned a lot since then, but I still don’t get that much traffic. Some days I’m okay with that. Other days I wonder if it’s me. Some days I think I don’t have a clue about marketing. Other days I think it’s because I don’t self-host.

Do you self-host? Do you have a way that you market your blog?

Reading Challenge.

While I was going through some old posts I came across the one about reading challenge that I did.

In it, I shared a 2018 reading challenge that I was going to participate in. To be honest, I kind of forgot about it. I have done lots of reading since then, it’s just that most didn’t qualify for the topics. I’ve decided to renew my efforts and finish it out before the end of the year.

In case you’ve forgotten about the challenge, here it is along with my reading so far.

The Details.

  • A classic you’ve been meaning to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • A book recommended by someone with great taste The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 
  • A book in translation –The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • A book nominated for an award in 2018 – The Power by Naomi Alderman (after The Alchemist)
  • A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection
  • A book you can read in a dayThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • A book that’s more than 500 pages – Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés Ph.D.
  • A book by a favorite author
  • A book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller
  • A banned bookThe Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • A memoir, biography, or work of creative nonfiction The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion other than your own.  – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (next up)

I’m currently finishing Women Who Run With the Wolves which was recommended to me. Have you read it?

The Alchemist has been on my list for quite some time. I stumbled across Paulo Coelho once while looking for quotes. I almost bought a book of his poetry while at Shakespeare and Company in Paris.

Have you read anything good lately?

Exercise.

As I mentioned before, I’m settling back into my Pilates classes. Somebody mentioned to me that they needed to take something like that to relax (or something similar with the implication of it being mellow). And it probably is compared to the workouts they do.

However, I don’t find anything mellow about the class.

It is not cardio and so perhaps that is what lends to the perceived “mellow”.

For me, Pilates has transformed my entire body. Am I where I want to be? No. But I’m a heck of a lot stronger than I’ve ever been. And when I’m doing arm work, with my little three pound weights focusing on form and quality of movement, in front of the mirror, I am in awe of the muscle definition that wasn’t there just two years ago.

And it feels nice to be in awe and admire something about my body because I constantly fight with my own body image issues.

I do need to add in more cardio. I stopped running when I got busy…and I don’t love running. Sorry to all you runners out there, but I just don’t. However, I do like hiking. The rain appears to be finally leaving (at least for now) so I’m hoping to get out and hike over the weekend. We have also discussed going kayaking on the lake. Or taking the paddleboard if the water isn’t too cold.

What is your favorite form of exercise?

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Husband’s Birthday.

No matter what we end up doing over the weekend, I’m sure it’ll be fun because I’ll be spending time with my husband.

September is a big month for birthdays in our family and today is his.

Last year I shared a post about Houseboats of Amsterdam  as his gift. He’s still trying to convince me to live on a boat at some point. Most recently it was a sailboat! We’ve owned a small sailboat before, but we didn’t go far offshore. I told him that we should probably take a sailing cruise first to make sure I don’t get seasick!

How about you? Do you like boating? Sailing? Cruises?

How do you plan to spend your weekend?

I hope it’s filled with lots of laughter and fresh air.

And even though I’ve shared this quote recently, in light of my upcoming reading of Coelho, I share it again.

Plus, I absolutely love its message.

Sometimes I get confused on this journey and try to be what I think everyone thinks I should be, but there is great freedom in becoming who you were always meant to be.

Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything. Maybe it's about un-becoming everything that isn't really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. -Paulo Coelho

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

What's Up Lately episode 004

What’s Up Lately Episode 004

What’s Up Lately.

Episode 004.

I can’t believe it’s already Monday morning!

I got out of bed at dark thirty (technically, dark fifteen). Miss Sunshine takes her math and engineering electives at a different school. They are on block scheduling, so every other day I must drive her to her high school where she catches a bus to other high school. That high school starts an hour earlier than the standard high schools.

Did I mention that I am not a morning person? So I’m definitely not an even earlier morning person.

Fall.

I have noticed that the sun is rising later each morning. Now on those days, we leave while it is still dark. Anyone else live where they are beginning to notice that happening?

Saturday was the first official day of fall.

Yay for crisper weather and lovely autumn colors.

Boo for shorter days.

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Rain.

Last time we talked about what’s up lately, I was expecting rain.

The rains came.

And came.

And came.

School was canceled last Monday due to possible flash flooding from Hurricane Florence. The hurricane shifted farther westward so we did not get as much rain as we originally anticipated.

It’s been a very wet season in Southwest Virginia. This summer has reminded me of living in Florida, without the perks of a beach.

Travel.

Big Mr. (my oldest) was planning a trip back to Virginia from Florida. He had to wait until the storm fully passed. He began his drive on Wednesday. The GPS routed him away from the roads that were closed, but he did say that you could see water covering and flowing across side roads.

It will be quite some time before the Carolinas fully recover.

Migraines.

If you happened to see my Instagram stories, then you already know that I spent Wednesday and Thursday dealing with migraines.

My migraines are the type that begins with an aura.

Or that is how its officially described.

To me, it’s like a kaleidoscope or that haze that gas fumes create swirling in my peripheral vision. Over the course of 20 minutes, it will make its way across more of my visual field. If possible, I prefer to sit with my eyes closed during the process because otherwise, my eyes will try really hard to focus and will lead to a leftover feeling of eye strain.

I’m lucky in that at the first hint of visual disturbance, I can take ibuprofen and stave off most of the pain that would occur afterward. While I do have a feeling of heaviness or brain fog afterward, I don’t have to go into a dark room and lay down. However, each of those days I had two instances of the visual disturbances, leading to a feeling of low-grade nausea.

I don’t know my triggers. I definitely think anxiety plays a part, but I don’t think it works alone. It’s quite possible that it is affected by something in the air. Yesterday, I felt some pain in my ear (usually a sign for me of allergy issues) and this morning can feel a sinus pressure.

Pinterest and Posts.

Between the migraines and a variety of mentally tasking other things happening in surrounding life, photo editing was not on the table for the week.

Instead, I worked on creating new boards on my Pinterest page. I was pinning travel to one board and it was becoming rather large. I’m slowly breaking it down into regions of the world. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ll be able to find the itineraries and ideas that I’m looking for more readily.

I’m also looking through some of my older posts (mostly travel posts) to see if there are changes that I’d like to make to them that makes more reader-friendly. Part of the growth process in my writing is that I’ve developed an understanding of how I like a post flow as I read it and am trying to implement that into my own work.

Creating photoquotes is a process that I really enjoy. While I often include them at the end of my posts, you may have noticed that on Tuesday I shared one as a standalone post. I’m considering making this a regular thing since this creative endeavour brings me happiness.

Soccer.

Miss Sunshine is still busy with soccer.

She had a home game on Saturday morning.

Her team maintained its undefeated record.

More Rain.

Her away game on Sunday was canceled due to more rain across the region.

We were under flash flood warnings Saturday evening. The creek that runs across our property is dry unless it rains or as the snow melts in the winter.

It was rushing so heavily through that on this upper end, it was overflowing the banks a little.

Full Moon.

Have you seen the moon getting brighter and brighter in the night sky?

Given that today is a full moon, I thought I’d leave you with this quote for the day.

There’s just something about it that I love.

I hope you have a beautiful Monday. I’ll be heading to Pilates shortly.

Tell me what’s up lately in your life. Hopefully lots of amazing things!

 

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Let your light shine!

Amy

What's Up Lately Episode 003

What’s Up Lately Episode 003

What’s Up Lately.

Episode 003.

I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning waiting for the storms to roll in.

I hope that you’re having a lovely Sunday.

This past week has found me returning to some moments of self-care.

Pilates.

If you’ll recall from my last update, I was on the final push for decluttering and some deep cleaning. Since it includes scrubbing baseboards and mopping wood floors amongst other things, I ended up not going to my Pilates classes.

This week, not only did I attend Pilates, but after each class, I spent some time in the steam room. Over the summer, on the days that I was able to make it to Pilates, I was always in such a rush that I needed to leave directly after class. Taking the time to go to the steam room made me feel like I was finally making some time for myself.

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Hair.

It was also time for my six-week refresher on my cut and color.

I used to go sooo long between hair appointments because I felt guilty about taking time for myself and the cost involved in having my hair highlighted.

Around the first quarter of this year, I started booking my next appointment while I was there getting my hair done. This made all the difference. Now I show up every 6 weeks. I catch up with my hairdresser and leave there feeling beautiful.

Falafel.

We are still trying to eat closer to vegetarian. I was telling my husband about this wrap that I had in London where the main ingredient was falafel. Also, over the summer, I met a friend at a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant in Naples and had falafel. Then Joey was talking about falafel, so we looked it up and found that the same Mediterranean restaurant was in Roanoke.

It’s called Zoe’s Kitchen. We went to dinner there and had the Mediterranean Trio bowl with falafel. I knew that it would become my husband’s new favorite style of food to eat.

I was right.

I may try to recreate these “bowls” at home.

Have you tried falafel? Do you have any good Mediterranean recipes to share?

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Sunrise and Birthdays.

Wednesday was my birthday.

I wrote a post about turning 41. If you missed it, you can find it here.

It’s amazing how much difference a year can make. Last year, my family had just ridden out Hurricane Irma. I detailed the experience from my end in this post. At the time, I wasn’t sure if my mother would have any cell service to be able to get through for her traditional singing of “happy birthday” to me. She did end up finding a sliver of a signal and was able to sing to me.

This year, no storm was looming across Florida and she called to sing to me. She followed up with a gorgeous shot of the sunrise that was seen on her way to work.

 

 

German and Birthdays.

Big Mr. has decided that he would eventually like to visit Germany. In preparation for that, he has started to study German every day. He is using the DuoLingo app that I used during my month of working on Spanish.

He did call me to wish me a happy birthday. Then he followed up with a text in German. While I suspected what it might say given that it was my birthday, I do not know German. I ran it through Google translate.

Isn’t Google translate amazing?!

Birthday Dinner.

Originally, I thought I’d be sitting near the fields and reading a book while Miss Sunshine had soccer practice. However, the rain had left the fields saturated and practice was canceled. We decided to set reservations at this fancy Brazilian restaurant that overlooks part of town.

I’ve only had a martini once…a chocolate one at that…and I don’t think I liked it much. My husband had one (years ago…before I knew him) and didn’t think he liked it that much.

However, this restaurant felt like stepping back in time and we decided that it called for trying a martini. I opted for one that was called “sunburned” and he went for a classic. Mine was okay but definitely strong. I tasted his…and omg…it tasted like straight gin. We decided it was a fun to drink out of the fancy glass, but we probably won’t be ordering another one anytime soon.

Ancestry DNA.

Recently Ancestry.com had a sale on their DNA kits. We asked our teens if they’d like to take the test just for curiosity’s sake. They all did. Miss Sunshine’s came back last weekend and the boys came back on Thursday. Ancestry has an update where they refined the ethnicity due to more reference samples. Miss Sunshine just got in under the update and so we are able to see both estimates. Even though they arrived the same day, the boys were processed after hers and I can’t see what the estimate would have been under the old testing.

The results were not that surprising, but I have a variety of thoughts regarding the outcomes. Be on the lookout for a future post on that.

Photography.

I also found my way back to one of my loves this week.

Photography.

I began working on editing my photos once again. You may have seen some of them on Instagram.

This one is of Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence.

Our family normally vacations at Carolina Beach, which is just outside of Wilmington. North Carolina has obviously taken the brunt of the hurricane.

I spent part of this week gathering supplies for the arrival of Hurricane Florence. At one point, it was estimated that Roanoke could receive 10-20″ of rain. Our grounds are already completely saturated from prior rains.

The estimate has gone down as the storm has pushed westward. However, they are still expecting some flooding due to the rise of rivers and possible mudslides on the mountains.

I hope that you are not in the path of the storm and that the sun is shining brightly wherever you are.

 

Let your light shine!

Amy

Thoughts on turning the page...to 41.

Thoughts on turning the page…To 41

 

Birthday.

That’s right!

It’s my birthday!

I’m singin’ and dancin’ that out ya’ll!

Thoughts on being 40.

I had an amazing year of being 40.

I grew by leaps and bounds.

Pressing comfort zones both physically and mentally.

It really felt like a coming into my own.

Background.

If you are new to my journey. I’m the mother of an 18-year-old, a 17-year-old, and a soon to be 15-year-old. When I chose to become a stay-at-home mom at the birth of my oldest, I gave myself fully to that role. That is not to say I didn’t feel like a failure a million times along the way or that I didn’t make a million mistakes along the way.

Cause Lord knows that I sure did.

It just means that I didn’t take the time to discover who I was outside of that role. I guess some people might say that I lost myself. I don’t really see it that way. I made choices. And my choices were of fully immersed service to others (I am heavily Virgo, so no real surprise there. If you are interested in astrology, I can tell you that I’m also strongly Leo and Libra…so again, no surprise to my personality traits).

However, I saw the horizon looming where my teenagers would spread their wings and journey away from that daily need of me being involved in their lives. It began to be time to think about the next phase of my journey. What would that look like? What were my interests?

…and so I started this blog.

As a way to discover my interests. As a way to journal the journey. All the while trying to remember to also enjoy the now. To find that beauty that resides amongst the chaos.

Discovery.

I found photography. I found travel. I found yoga…and pilates. I found concern for the environment.

I found beauty in my strength.

But I also found beauty in my weakness.

I am a human. Just one among multiple billions. I am the same. And yet I am unique.

On Turning 41.

I chose the photo of me taken during my yoga challenge on day 18.

It represents so much of who I became over the course of turning 40.

Travel.

I am on the rooftop of Princes Street Suites (remember the views that I shared from there in this post?) in Edinburgh Scotland. This was my second visit to Scotland and only 13 months after my very first overseas trip (to Amsterdam and Paris).

Yoga and Pilates.

Boat pose, or navasana, requires core strength. It is also executed in my Pilates class when coming out of the rollover. Finding a fitness regime that I enjoy has been amazing for my health. Now I feel stronger than I have ever felt in the past.

Self Confidence.

Originally, I didn’t want to take this photo. Usually, the rooftop is rather quiet. However, this night there was a large group. “Creating a scene” makes me feel uncomfortable. But, my mother, ever the extrovert that she is, convinced me to get up there and “strike my pose” anyways. There was a time in my life when no matter how much my soul cried to just go ahead and do it, I would have still declined. So while it did take a little prodding, I was also listening to my instincts which really wanted this sunset as the backdrop for one of my favorite poses.

Here’s to 41.

While some people will say that it’s all downhill after 40 (and yes, I have heard this), I say it’s only just begun.

So here’s to 41…

Let’s see what the future holds!

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Let your light shine!

Amy

What's Up Lately Episode 002

What’s Up Lately – Episode 002

 

What’s Up Lately?

Episode 002.

Since I’m mostly popping in with updates, it doesn’t feel right to call them “Friday Faves” and also they may not always fall on a Friday.

Today, however, it does.

And since I need different titles…

Episode 002.

Secretly I’m hoping that Episode 007 will have something really exciting to share. Because with a name like that, it has to be intriguing.

Right?!

Life has been a whirlwind and this will only be a quick update.

 

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Court.

On Friday, Mr. D and I had an appointment at the courthouse.

In Virginia, there is a licensing ceremony in order to receive your official driver’s license if you are under a certain age. I’m not really a fan of the process. He’s been able to “officially” drive since he was 16 and 3 months.

That was 9 months ago.

You get a postcard telling you when you have the ceremony.

That came 8 months after he started driving on his own.

I understand that the purpose is to tell you all about how it is a privilege to be able to drive. And I don’t really hate the process for that. I just don’t like the fact that in order to be to the courthouse on time for the ceremony, he had to leave school an hour early….during his AP Calculus class….to sit in a courtroom for an hour and hear about statistics and rules (such as curfews and passenger limits) that he already knows. Plus I had to sit there..my second time hearing the same thing…and I have one more to go.

I don’t like courthouses.

Like some people don’t like walking in hospitals (which, by the way, I love) I don’t like being in a courthouse.

Maybe I was tried unfairly in a past life. Who knows? But I had to rush home and get ready to head out for the weekend.

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Labor Day Weekend and Soccer.

As most of you know, Miss Sunshine plays travel soccer in the fall. This means that there is a tournament around most major U.S. holidays.

This past weekend was no different.

It was nice that we only had to drive to Greensboro, NC. That is only two hours away. A few of our tournaments are closer to a four-hour drive.

Miss Sunshine and I headed down on Friday night. She had an early (ish) game and we wanted to be able to come back to the hotel between games.

There ended up being a lightning storm so severe that the second game had to be canceled. Luckily, we hadn’t left the hotel yet. Some people we know were at the fields and it took them an hour to get out of the parking lot!

The photo is from our room on the 12th floor. There are mountains above even the ones that you can make out through the haze. That’s how dense the fog was during the storm!

They had to do a point system to keep the tournament on schedule. That meant her team was in first for their group going into the semi-finals. They won and advanced to the championship game.

That game ended in a tie and they moved to PK’s. Her team has an amazing goalie (and players who can make a shot) and they ended up winning the championship.

Flowers! For Me?

My girlfriend sent me a text on Wednesday asking if I was home because she wanted to drop something by.

It was flowers!! It really made my day. Little did she know that I had some things going on that day which felt quite stressful.

They definitely lifted my spirits.

How can you not smile when you have sunflowers smiling their cheerful faces at you?!

Birthdays.

I’ve talked about my dad’s youngest sister extensively on the blog. She’s only 5 days older than me, which means that we were practically like sisters growing up.

Today is her birthday!!

Which also means… it’s only 5…more…days…until mine!

Decluttering.

I’m doing what I always do as I head into my birthday season.

Decluttering.

That’s mostly why I’ve been MIA. I have set myself a deadline on the new moon on Sunday.

New moons are a time for beginnings.

I am clearing away the old to make room for the new.

And right in line with my list-making Virgo ways, I have a schedule to keep with this timeline.

Today I mop the wood floors and declutter the paper mountain that’s been collecting.

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Silly Selfie.

I’m not going to show my piles of work to do or the mountains of things I’ve purged, so instead, I leave you with another silly selfie from the archives.

I hope you have a great weekend and start some beginnings of your own.

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Let your light shine!

Amy