Friday Faves Edition 53

Friday.

How many of you are happy that it’s Friday?!

I debated not posting today because I’ve had a rough week and I feel like I just said that last week.

However, truth is truth.

And here I am.

Friday Faves.

With all my ups and downs for the week, there are still things to share as Friday Faves.

Pilates.

I managed to make it to Pilates each day that it is offered at my gym (MWF). My body feels stronger every day and I feel like Pilates is really making a difference. I don’t have any photos to share, but I’m considering having someone in the family snap some over the weekend so I can share how far I’ve come in my strength journey. I feel like it’s quite far considering most of the Pilates I do is body weight only and on occasion with a 3 pound weight maximum.

Aruba is in six weeks and I plan to feel confident in my swimsuit!

Appliances.

Remember how I told you two weeks ago that my microwave died and how appliances hate me? Well my stove has decided that it’s not sure it wants to do its job either. Sometimes when you push the bake button, the timer comes on instead. Both appliances are exactly 10 years old. Coincidence? I think not. Older appliances ran and ran and ran. Today…not so much.

Since I want them to match and am not a fan of feeling pressured into buying a big ticket item that isn’t exactly what I want, I went to a big box store and picked up a cheap countertop microwave. I know what you’re thinking. Well that seems wasteful. Ahhh….but I thought this through. Big Mr. heads off to college in the fall and Mr. D is a year behind. The little microwave will still have usage in our family.

Natural Wellness.

I mentioned that one of the teens has been sick. It wasn’t the flu. Yay. But it still means that I’m trying to keep anyone else in the house from catching it. I went to the health store because my friends rave about Sambucas, which is an elderberry syrup. Do you know that most of the shelf was empty?! I actually made an elderberry “syrup” a while back. However, I’ve never made something that needs reduced. I estimated the reduction improperly so it’s more liquid than syrup.

I think I’m going to start adding it to my smoothies (if I can remember).

Protein Powder.

Another thing I needed to pick up was some protein powder. I am still doing the mostly vegetarian thing. I find that a protein smoothie satisfies me more than eggs. I’m deliberately not sharing the protein powder I’m using because I’m still trying to decide if I like it. My old protein powder was Organic Rice Protein Powder. I’ve mentioned before how I cannot have canned whipped cream. It causes a tickle in my throat and a cough. Some restaurant/fast food milkshakes cause that as well. I noticed that the rice protein powder was possibly doing that as well. I say “possibly” because I can’t rule out that is it isn’t a random ingredient in the Almond Milk. However, Miss Sunshine has the same issue and says it’s the protein powder (she uses almond milk in her cereal with no issue…I only use it in smoothies). I wanted to try Pea Protein, but what they had is a blend.

Stevia.

Not only is it a blend of many proteins, but it has stevia. Almost every powder I looked at has stevia (my old powder didn’t). I know people in the wellness world seem to love stevia. I do not. It overpowers every single drink in which it’s found. Occasionally, I want something other than water or unsweet iced tea and I’ll try a flavored drink. I don’t know why I do it, because any time stevia is on the label it makes my tastebuds and stomach cringe as I drink it.

The positive side to the powder is that I think I’m not having a reaction to it, but I’m not fully sure. I’ve started incorporating spinach into the smoothie for health reasons, but also to try to cut through the taste of stevia. If you know of any protein powder that doesn’t use stevia, let me know! FYI: I use vanilla. I might be willing to go plain, but while I like chocolate, I dislike it as a drink.

Valentine’s Day.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize that this week was Valentine’s Day. This is one holiday where I refuse to buy in to the heavy commercialization of it. Maybe I’m jaded. I did update my cover photo on Facebook to the photo above that I took one summer in Carolina Beach and changed my profile picture to the hubby and me. That was about it. We watched a movie at home. I talked about it in yesterday’s post.

Olympics.

We’ve also been watching some of the Olympics. We watched Shaun White win the Gold. I also like watching figure skating. I don’t understand curling and don’t know if I want to understand it. The skiing is usually quite amazing too, although I haven’t seen as much of that.

What is your favorite sport to watch in the Winter Olympics?

Photography.

Besides my normal daily stuff and some not so normal daily stuff, I worked on editing some of my photography. One of my favorite recent photography outings was capturing the fog. I shared a fog series in my Wordless Wednesday post.

I loved the way the colors looked in those photos. The juxtaposition of the grass and the fog. The elements (trees and fences) that I chose as the subject. I just felt like it worked together. Something I don’t always feel in a photo session.

These two photos are some more from that session. They are ones that I was still debating whether or not I captured them exactly as I had envisioned.

The tree trunk in the first photo has these white lines into the bark. These are massive trees so the differentiation was striking. In the second photo, I really wanted to capture looking through the fencepost without losing the fact that it was a fencepost you were looking along. I had some trouble getting the depth of field and focus area exactly how I wanted, but there is still something I find intriguing about the photo.

What is you opinion? Do you prefer one over the other?

Instagram.

As you know, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I struggle with separating the fact that my self worth or creative skills are not directly tied to how many people “like” a photo. I am rarely on Facebook or Twitter, even if I have things that automatically post there (Blog and Instagram posts).

Instagram was my first love because I love photography. The people were (and are) welcoming. Then with the algorithm change, my numbers dropped substantially and I began to question whether I wanted to spend time there. However, I do love the people that I’ve built relationships with on that platform.

And so I stay.

My Instagram feed will never feel fully curated no matter how hard I try. But recently I’ve decided to try to make it feel somewhat more cohesive by posting 3 photos (to keep with the grid) from the same area and those three photos will probably be edited in a similar way. I started with a set of fog shots and today will be day #3 of Amsterdam shots. The love locks photo above I decided on as my tribute to Valentine’s Day.

Do you like the Instagram platform? Any other social media platforms?

Reading.

My blind date with a book turned out to be great. If you missed that in Edition 51 of Friday Faves, the book was Random Harvest. I couldn’t put it down and have already finished it. Now I am halfway through The Great Gatsby, which puts me at a distinct advantage for my February Challenge. I’ve checked out The Color Purple and The Picture of Dorian Gray. We’ll see how far I make it!

Are you reading anything good right now?

Music.

I didn’t have as much time this week to look for “new to me” music to share, but this song came up on my recommended through YouTube and I really liked it. The band is named Banners and the singer is Michael Joseph Nelson, who is a musician out of Liverpool.

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and beautiful week.

Offer up a smile to a stranger. You never know who might need it.

Be the type of person who leaves a mark, not a scar. -Unknown

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 52

Friday Faves Edition 52

 

Friday.

Whether Friday comes fast or Friday comes slowly, it always manages to make its way here.

I’ll be honest, I’ve had a very mentally taxing week. I’m not convinced that Friday is going to reduce any of my mental drain, but it’s likely that my support system will be more readily available over the weekend.

A few bouts of insomnia did not help the matter. To give you a glimpse into the mind of a person who deals with anxiety…. one night this week, I awoke and began to think about a situation with which I was currently dealing…and after spinning that round…then my mind decided “hey, you’re awake. let’s think about that flight you have in Scotland. you know…the one where you have to be there by 6 am and it’s likely a 20 or 30 minute ride from your hotel. you’ll need to line up a taxi. you should probably have them come at 5, that way if anything goes wrong, you’ll still have time to try to find a remedy. it’s a small town, what if taxis don’t run at 5 am?…what will you do then, Amy? huh? can you fix THAT problem…can you?”

I have learned through my time of practicing meditation ways in which to counteract my mind running off on these anxiety inducing commentaries. In those times when I awaken at night, I go back to repeating a mantra that I learned during those initial 30 days: “I am as dynamic as my rest.” Sometimes my mind tries to wander off some more and when I find it doing that, I bring myself back to this mantra and eventually do fall back to sleep.

Friday Faves.

Even in the midst of stress, I’m still able to bring a roundup of Friday Faves. Because there are still moments of beauty in the chaos. You just have to be willing to look. This is where practicing gratitude  has definitely helped to change my perspectives.

 

(Pretoria, South Africa ) “My mom is like a person who always protects, advises, and provides, no matter what. She is the person to whom I can tell each and every one of my secrets, everything. I feel like there is nothing she wouldn’t do for us, and we could depend on her no matter what. “I want to thank my mom for raising me.. Thanks for everything that you do, for everything you give, and for always putting us first. My mom would never hold back; I know there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for us. I really feel like she deserves a thank you for that. “I remember a time when she helped me with my school, and I helped her with her business. It’s how we grew up: my mom always taught us to help. I remember when I was in high school, we couldn’t afford the school tuition. I was afraid that I would have to leave school, but she said, ‘Don’t worry Ali; we’ll make a plan.’ She did whatever she had to do. She got the money for the transport, the stationery, everything. I know she sold some things, and I know it was very hard for her business; but she sent me to school, and I got my diploma. That’s who my mom is. No matter how bad things look or how impossible they seem, she would never give up; she would always fight for us. So all I want to do is to help to take care of my family, to try to be like my mother and give as much as she did. Additional information  Owns a boutique where he designs and makes clothing. He is originally from Malawi, but came all the way to South Africa to get his business started. . . . #happiness  #love #digithanks #travelstagram #photography #StayQueeky #visualsoflife #beautiful #neverstopexploring #awesome #loveislove #happy #fun #trip #exploreeverything #real #photos  #wonderful #traveling #feelfreefeed #support #travelawesome #dream #theadventureproject #travel #truth #adventure #liveauthentic #feelfreefeed

A post shared by digithanks (@digithanks) on

Gratitude.

Speaking of gratitude, a fellow blogger, Sedi, reached out to me about checking out her Instagram page. She is the founder of DigiThanks, which is a gratitude project in which people share something or someone for which they express their gratitude. She also share quotes and scientific facts about gratitude. I think this a a wonderful project and wanted to share its existence with all of you. She has gratitude stories from more than forty countries. I think you’d enjoy checking them out. To place her Instagram on my blog, I could only choose one story. I’m a little biased towards somebody being grateful towards their mother seeing how I’m in the process of raising three teenagers and hopeful that someday they will see the reasoning behind my advice. But all the stories are wonderful.

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Bar Soap.

I haven’t actually tried these specific bars of soap, but I have moved over to bar soap. I shared my recycling journey  thus far. While I do enjoy that I’m putting out less bags into the regular trash can, I also noticed that my recycling bin is quite full each week. I began to pay attention to the amount of recyclable things where there were other choices that could just as easily be made.

One of those was soap. I have sensitive skin and have used body wash (I was told it was gentler on the skin, many, many years ago) and a loofah. Hmmm…plastic container….plastic washing thingie…OR I could use a bar of soap and recycle its cardboard container. So that’s a switch that I’ve made!

Do you have items that you’ve exchanged for something that has less impact on the environment?

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Houseplants.

If you’ve read my blog for sometime then you know that we’ve had a set of Peace Lilies for quite a while that were originally purchased because of their purported ability to clean the air. I have seen some arguments that assert that there is some myth to the way that it is circulated. Here is the NASA article. You can judge for yourself.

However, while I did choose plants that may clean indoor air pollution, I also added them because greenery and nature uplifts my spirits. I have been admiring photos of houses filled with plants because they make the room look so cozy. After starting my indoor plant journey, I read this article about how Amazon’s new office building is filled with 40,000 plants!

I should also note that most of you know that I don’t have a green thumb and kill all plants. My husband keeps the Peace Lilies alive and has agreed to care for any indoor plants I add to our home.

Corn Plant.

I wanted a plant in the living room that was taller than my Peace Lilies. We opted for a Mass Cane, also known as a Corn Plant.

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Majesty Palm.

Miss Sunshine liked the look of a palm (we are originally Floridians, you know) and wanted to add one to brighten up the corner of her bedroom. Winter isn’t the best time to find plants here in Virginia, but winter is also when I most need to see some green. We were looking for an Areca Palm, but this Majesty Palm was just as pretty.

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Pothos.

I wanted to add some plants to the raised counter between sides of my kitchen. We chose Pothos because it doesn’t require bright light. There are windows and doors in the kitchen, however, they aren’t beside this space. I loved the planter so much that I’ve gone back to purchase a second Pothos plant and the same rectangular planter. Those little clay pieces were made by each of my children in an art class over the years. They make me smile each time I look at them.

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Spider Plant.

When I started adding houseplants over the weekend, I really wanted a spider plant for Big Mr.’s room. I don’t know if it really helps with allergies as is credited to it, but I’m willing to try. Big Mr. has a room in the basement. In our last house, his room didn’t have carpet and I was relieved since it always retains so much dirtiness. However, this room has carpet and it was new carpet when we bought the house so we couldn’t justify replacing it.

The places where I went looking for Spider Plants did not have any. As luck would have it, after Miss Sunshine’s hair appointment this week, we popped in to Earth Fare to pick up some dinner. Lo, and behold, at the entrance were two enormous Spider Plants for sale. Miss Sunshine quickly claimed one for herself. I’m sorely tempted to keep this one for myself because I love its “extras” hanging down which remind me of the air plants that grow in Florida.

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Graduation.

Since I’m on the topic of Big Mr, one of the things that has been hanging over my head are finalizing the graduation announcements for Big Mr. I opted for the less classic version…because I don’t think anyone will really save those and it would be a waste of my money and time. We opted for ones that have photos which I knew my family would appreciate because they see my children less often now that we don’t live in Florida.

My teenagers rarely pose for photos. I mostly shoot landscapes and buildings, so most of my portrait photography doesn’t turn out how I’d like. I was planning to take some photos of Big Mr. for the announcements. However, they never turned out or he was busy and so I kept putting off finalizing the announcements. Originally, my shoot for the announcements would have shown off his beautiful green eyes, but in the end I used a set of photos I had taken on a day when he had asked me for a mini-session.

The announcements were set up for 4×6 landscape-style photos, and the other three photos were taken in that way. This one I had to crop. It looks great on the announcement, but I do love the entire photo. It was such a relief to finally check that box off of my to-do list.

Humor.

Instead of song this week, I’m offering a bit of humor. I could use some humor. How about you?

How many of you watched the Super Bowl? I would show you my favorite Super Bowl commercial (it was the Tide ad with David Harbour from Stranger Things that starts out making you think it’s an Old Spice ad…I love the Old Spice ads), but I think Bad Lip Reading will make you laugh even harder.

If you missed a mini tour of my current city, you can find that here. This week, I also shared the lessons I learned during my month of being a vegetarian and some photos that I let speak for themselves.

I hope that you all have a stress free weekend and many days of happiness in the coming week.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

Friday Faves Edition 51

Friday Faves Edition 51

Friday.

I’m not sure how many different ways there are to say, “Hooray, it’s Friday!”. However, I keep trying.

This week, I used google translate to give me a little help. If google got it wrong, comment the correction.

  • Hurra, es Viernes (Spanish)
  • Hurra, es ist Freitag (German)
  • Hourra, c’est Vendredi (French)
  • Hoera, het is Vrijdag (Dutch)
  • Hooray, o le aso Laititi (Samoan)
  • Hooray, tĂĄ sĂ© DĂ© hAoine (Irish)
  • Evviva, Ă© VenerdĂŹ (Italian)
  • Hooray, is e Dihaoine a th ‘ann (Scottish Gaelic)

Friday Faves. Edition 51.

I can’t believe that this is edition 51 of Friday Faves. That’s so close to an entire year of coming here a recapping my faves of the week.

So let’s get to it!

Family Date.

Since my sons are 16 and almost 18, they are rarely home. Between work and friends, they like to be on the go. The hubby and I realized that we were seeing less and less of them and yet are moving closer and closer to the day that they fly the nest (one is a Junior and the other is a Senior in high school). We decided the best way to remedy the situation was to implement a family date.

A family date will now happen at least twice a month. We all like to go out to eat, so that became the best choice for us. I know that meals around the family dinner table are promoted for this quality time. It’s not like we don’t ever have those. We just find that when we eat out, the teens are less distracted by wanting to move on from the table. Also everybody becomes fully involved in the conversations. Plus, I don’t have to cook and the diversity of the palates of five people can be easily satisfied.

This past Saturday was our first “official” family date. While we left it open for the boys to bring along their girlfriends, it ended up with just the five of us. We decided on Mellow Mushroom. Mellow Mushroom is a pizza chain found mostly along the East Coast of the United States. We dined at one in Asheville, NC many years ago. It was big news when they opened here in Roanoke in October of 2016. I hadn’t been to this location before because Miss Sunshine is not a pizza fan. However, she did go here with a friend and said their pizza was good. The teens all got pizza. The hubby and I got veggie calzones. They were much larger that I anticipated, so I ended up eating the other half for dinner.

All in all it was “first date” success.

 

Fog.

Sunday, the fog rolled in. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture some photos. I’m still processing and editing them, but I did get one up on Instagram.

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Early Mornings.

Monday, I shared about my recycling journey so far. It was a major house cleaning day. One of my least favorite jobs to do. Weekdays are always filled with way too many early mornings.

Superlatives.

One of the things that I didn’t share last week was that Miss Sunshine had been nominated for an 8th grade yearbook superlative. If you aren’t familiar with superlatives, they are usually “best smile”, “most likely to succeed”, etc. and the nominees were high school Seniors. At some point, they found their way to middle school yearbooks, where 8th graders are nominated since they are the BMOC.

I don’t know all the superlatives chosen, but there were some I hadn’t heard of. Miss Sunshine was nominated for one of those. “Most likely to become a female activist.” She wasn’t sure what it meant since all of her friends were saying it meant she was most likely to become a feminist. I knew that wasn’t the case, but we looked up the definition of an activist, which is “a person who campaigns to bring about political of social change”. So, yes, a feminist is an activist, but not all activists are feminists (which should have been particularly obvious since superlatives have a male counterpart.

I have spoken in the past about conversations Miss Sunshine and I have had surrounding feminism. I believe that women are and should be treated as equal, but I don’t think that any agenda is furthered by the bashing of males. It doesn’t accomplish anything other than spewing hatred while claiming tolerance. I find this to be the case in many social conversations, which is why I mostly avoid them.

Trains.

Anyway! Miss Sunshine won the nomination. My heart is quite proud. I think it’s an excellent superlative. Hopefully she does change the world. She had to be taken in to school early on Tuesday for photos (which didn’t happen, but that’s a different story). On my way home, I got held up by the train crossing. I’m never first in line, so I took the opportunity to grab a picture.

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Riverdance.

Wednesday, the hubby and I had tickets to see Riverdance. I was so excited!! We saw it live when we were dating. I got all dressed up (a rarity), put on makeup (even rarer), and even put on fake eyelashes (for the first time). The lighting wasn’t good, but we still snapped a few selfies.

No photos were allowed during the performance. There were those who chose to ignore it. The lights from their phones was rude, but I can’t say that I’m surprised. There are those who will answer a phone in the library and carry on a full conversation. I’m talking about people of all ages…even some old enough to be my grandparents.  I’m still questioning when this became acceptable.

But I digress. If you can see the show, you definitely should. My hands hurt the next day from clapping so much. It was phenomenal!! I can’t rave about it enough!!

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Classic Novel.

Speaking of libraries…I have started on my February Challenge. I’m about 1/4 of the way through my first classic novel, Pride and Prejudice. I’m really enjoying it. It still seems strange to me the formal way that people spoke to each other. Even amongst girlfriends. I wonder if they really spoke that way or if that was only in writing. I suspect the former.

We went to the library last night and once again they are having “Blind Date with a Book”. I love surprises and couldn’t pass it up. I chose this one because it said “heartwarming classic”. That meant that it should qualify for my challenge. The book ended up being Random Harvest by James Hilton. I had not heard of it before and looked it up. Apparently, it was made into a film not too long after it was written. That film is considered a classic. I suppose that makes the book a classic as well. It will be my next read.

Microwave.

My microwave died. Appliances hate me. Don’t believe me? Read some of my older posts. They definitely hate me. End of Story.

Pilates.

I went to Pilates today. I don’t do Pilates on a Reformer. It is at my gym and is considered mat pilates. We sometimes use a small or large ball, light weights, therabands, and/or rings. Each instructor has a different style. What are the odds that after reading this article, questioning the benefit of burpees, that a day or two later I’d be doing them for the first time in a Pilates class? I will say that there was an option of stepping back with one leg a time to a plank and then walking it in and standing. The exercise wasn’t done nearly as fast as in some higher intensity classes. I appreciated the harder workout because “beach season” is coming. I just thought the coincidence was strange.

Music.

Also when I went to the gym, I heard a familiar song playing on the speakers. It was because I shared the song (by Tom Walker) in Edition 38 of Friday Faves. Today’s song is by Mondo Cozmo. The singer is from Philadelphia and is now based in L.A.

I hope you have an amazing week.

See the light in other and treat them as if that's all you see -Dr Wayne Dyer

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 50

Friday Faves Edition 50

Friday.

I hope that you all have had an amazing week so far! My teenagers finally went back to school this week. Hallelujah! We have finally made it to Friday and I’m sharing some of my faves for the week.

Friday Faves.

First off, I just want to say “thanks so much!” for showing up each week to read my Friday Faves. As my blog has evolved, I find that I have more things that I want to share (i.e. travels, 30 day challenges, photography) over the course of the week and Friday is the main day where I’m able to update you all with what’s happening in my daily life.

Essential Oils.

In December, I mentioned that the hubby had purchased some essential oils for my diffuser as one of my Christmas gifts. I read many of the daily articles at mindbodygreen.com and had read this article which shared how tea tree oil and eucalyptus have been clinically shown to kill the airborne flu virus. It also states that lemongrass and cinnamon bark work at battling the bacteria in the air (and yes, I did peruse the medical articles that they used to state this).

I don’t often get sick, but I also like to take precautions to prevent it. According to the EPA, most Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, where pollutants can be 2-5 times higher than outdoors. I try to spend time a lot of time outdoors, but winter and I don’t really get along. For that reason, I’ve been focusing on cleaning up our indoor air. I had already seen some diffuser blends that included lemongrass and was planning to add it to my collection. I went ahead and picked up tea tree oil (which is supposed to be great for acne…luckily, I don’t have that issue) as well.

Are you a fan of essential oils?

Crafts.

I’ve shared before that I am not a crafty person. However, I really, really want to be a person who crafts. In fact, I mentioned in this post that I had bought a wooden dowel and some rope and was going to try my hand at macramĂ©. That was over a month ago and the dowel and rope still sits on the kitchen counter! Occasionally, some teenager will pick up the dowel and swing it around while I frantically tell them to put it down before they knock a glass off of the counter or break a window.

But just this week, I was at the library (making plans for my February Challenge) and saw a book on macramé on the new release shelf. I took it as a sign to get moving on this craft project. Have you ever crafted with rope?

Dreams.

Okay, so I don’t often share my dreams publicly. Sometimes they are a little cray, cray. I usually always tell them to my husband because I need to verbalize them to try to read the clues. Is this something I’m processing? Is this old baggage? Etc… I realize some people don’t put a lot of stock into dreams. Which is probably another reason why I don’t share them.

Journaling dreams.

If a dream really strikes me as strange, I will journal it. Usually it’s in snippets, like it’s seen above. I don’t try to write neatly…I may go back and add more things I want to remember about it… My notes aren’t censored or edited (I realize “liver” isn’t the proper term, it was just the best way to add a small notation). I’m only actually sharing the photo of the writing because it’s still hard to fully explain the strangeness of the dream. This dream was on the late evening of 1/9/18 or early 1/10/18. I can tell because there’s some notes around it about my Two Years of Blogging post.

Written below in my journal is another dream that I had the same night. One of the reasons that they struck me as needing journaled is because my notes end with hearing a man say my name and me waking up (like, for real, waking up). Then I heard the bells ring (that the dog uses to let us know he needs out) and yet he was in a dog crate. I lay there awake with the irrational part of me thinking somebody was in my house and the rational part of me thinking no it’s probably between 2 and 4 in the morning and if somebody were in the house, the dog would be barking.

Processing dreams.

So back to the strangeness of the dream. The princess in the country, I did not know. Her sister asked me to help with the bird. The princess was getting married and she loved this pet bird of hers.. There is some other strangeness about when I tried to put the bird into its cage…thoughts I had… whatever. The dream shifted to me being in a space to watch the procession of the Prince’s wedding. I can tell you that was Prince Harry. I know why I had that part of the dream. It’s 99.99% likely that my mother and I will be flying into London (please share recommendations of what we should see!) when we take our trip in May (in fact, I’m booking our trip after I finish this post).

You may be asking yourself why this strange.

More to the dream.

Yesterday, as I was looking at places we want to tour in London and about the wedding (I will be there near the wedding, but not actually the day of) and discovered that Princess Eugenie has recently become engaged. No, she and the Prince aren’t having a double wedding, but they are planning to be married at the same location as each other. And in the dream, I knew that the person other than the Prince wasn’t at exactly the same ranking (she’s farther down the line for the crown) and it seemed as though it were a cousin. The part that my husband found strange is that while looking around google maps for where we think we want to stay in London, I stumbled upon a road that appears to be near Buckingham Palace called Birdcage Walk.

So that was my crazy experience yesterday! It’s okay if you don’t see the oddity of it. I’m entitled to my strangeness. I still haven’t quite figured out if there’s any relevancy between the two. Just keeping the intricacies and originalities of all parts of me as real as I can 😉

Do you pay attention to your dreams?

Shopping.

On a much lighter note, I went shopping this week. It happened to be a melancholy day for me. I did feel much lighter after meditation and writing this post. I went to Target looking for some things I needed to clean my hardwood floors. I got sidetracked by the fact that they had bathing suits in stock. Since I’ll be spending spring break in Aruba, I need some swimsuits. Not too long ago, Target introduced a line of bathing suits that sell the tops by bra size. This works out much better for me. However, in the past, they’ve been sold out of my size by the time I think about buying bathing suits (which is never in January). This time, I found plenty.

Clothes.

I don’t usually take photos in the dressing room (that’s not 100% true, but it’s usually only to send them to the hubby for a second opinion).  While there are some bathing suit snaps, they aren’t being shared. Nope. I snapped the pic above because I loved the sweatshirt. It’s saying was so perfect. human ‱ kind be both. The shirt was a little too wide and made me appear to have no waist. They didn’t have a size down so I took the picture to look for it online. I’m a little concerned that a smaller size may have shorter sleeves. I have a love/hate relationship with long-sleeved clothes.

Is there an article of clothing that you have a love/hate relationship with?

Theater.

One of my super exciting pieces of news is that the hubby and I are going to see Riverdance next week. We saw it live when we were dating and now are going to the 20th Anniversary World Tour!

And that’s the week so far.

Music.

This week’s song is by a band, Frenship, that I shared a few weeks back. I don’t normally choose a song which has been viewed by so many.  Usually, I’m looking for under the radar music. However, after sharing that song, I stumbled upon this one. Not only do I like the song, the real reason I’m sharing is that I found the dance in the video absolutely moving. If you aren’t a fan of contemporary dance, then you may not get as swept away in emotion as I did, but it’s lovely nonetheless.

I hope that you all have an amazing weekend and wonderful upcoming week.

I’m off to book some travel plans and I’ll be sure to share all about them next week!

If you are always trying to be normal, nobody will know how amazing you can be. -Maya Angelou

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 49

Friday Faves Edition 49

Friday.

I hope that you all have had a beautiful week. I also hope that you have had more sunshine than me (unless, of course, you don’t love sunshine…and then I hope you’ve had whatever weather lifts your spirits). This was a long week to Friday. The teens haven’t been to school for the ENTIRE week. As I mentioned in Monday’s post, and you probably already know, it was a holiday in the United States. Tuesday had already been scheduled as a day off for students and a day of work for teachers to finish up end of the quarter grades.

The little snow symbol kept coming and disappearing on my weather app. Would it come? Would it pass?

The snow came….

Its last minute decision to actually show up meant that the phone call to close school came in the early morning. 5:21 a.m. on my phone, to be exact. Since it wasn’t planning to melt and the roads would be icy…no school on Thursday. I was hoping for a 2 hr delay for today. But nope! Cancelled again!

The teens being home means that most things take me longer because things are more chaotic in general. Music playing, people talking, food to be made, wet clothes to dry, snow and salt and mud to clean (from boots and dogs, mostly).

Friday Faves

 

 

Friday Faves.

But I definitely found time to embrace some things to share for my Friday Faves.

On Monday, the hubby and I went out to lunch at the Green Goat Restaurant, here in Roanoke. I checked out their menu ahead of time since this is my month of going vegetarian. I remembered having had (and liking) the eggplant fries and a Crankpin wrap (lightly breaded portabella mushrooms constitute the “meaty” portion of the wrap), so I knew I would choose that again.

The restaurant is located beside the Greenway, which lends itself to eating outdoors when the weather is warmer. The hubby has actually joined in this challenge so he got their 3 cheese veggie sandwich and we split our dishes. With no room for dessert, we called it a success, left to brave the frigid cold…all the way to the Jeep….and then to settle into the warmth of the house.

Tuesday, I put together the post about the Paul Villinski exhibition at the Taubman Museum of Art. As mentioned above, everything took twice as long due to teens being home. I also started editing my photos for Wednesday’s Photowall post, since I had put my canvas print together over the weekend.

I’m so glad that I put that “ahead of time” work into Wednesday’s post because a good snow requires some time out playing in it.

Snow.

The snow wasn’t that deep, but it was enough for Miss Sunshine and I to go to a nearby hill and take down the snow tube. I shared a video of me flying down the hill on my Instagram story. It’s still in the highlights if you are interested in watching.

Well… then she took me over to the next hill. She tells me that you have to slow yourself down a little toward the end to keep from flying into the ditch. It isn’t a deep ditch…maybe a couple feet. I didn’t record this ride because my phone got covered in snow on the last one and I didn’t want to damage it.

I start down…about halfway down I start trying to dig in my feet. The thing about tubes is they spin. I see Miss Sunshine at the top of the hill…. I’m not stopping…. I yell… “Mis-s S-u-n-s-h-iiii-N-E” (only I use her real name, which slightly shorter, but you get the gist). Oh no, I feel myself flying up over the rise…I know what’s coming… My life is flashing before my eyes (a bit melodramatic?! Yeah, my husband accuses me of that too). I land on my back. The wind should be knocked out of me. I lay there assessing. My wrists hurt. I must have caught myself with them. My left shoulder hurts. I turn my head to the left and see grass poking out of the snow. Ahh… a mound that was higher is what my shoulder landed on. The base of my skull hurts…the last to land.

Miss Sunshine yells down “Are you OK?” She isn’t 100% sure I’m conscious (it really wasn’t that bad of a landing, I just didn’t get up immediately because I’m 40 and things hurt a little more when they are crashed upon….plus… I may have being a little melodramatic because she had sent me spiraling toward my death). She asks me to head to the next hill. I decline, but say that I will go get my camera to take some photos and watch her do the final hills.

Photos.

I’m still sifting through my handful of snow photos, but I thought I’d share a few of them. On our walk back home, I was fiddling with something and dropped my glove. I liked how it landed to appear as if there was someone clawing their way out from beneath the snow.

Filter.

The next two photos are to share how much a filter can change a photo. The photo above I took to capture the fact that the sun just could not break through the clouds. Miss Sunshine was wearing ski goggles and commented on how amazing the sun looked trying to peek through the haze. Then she took her goggles off and realized it did not look exactly the same. She handed me her goggles to check out what she saw.

Through the Ski Goggles.

Looking through the ski goggles definitely created a different image. Her goggles are small so the distortions at the edges were the only way to actually capture the scene and see the difference a filter makes.

I know that I’m always most amazed by the sky when my sunglasses have amber tinted lenses.

Have you ever noticed the color difference in the sky between sunglasses or not? Or the different colored lenses of sunglasses?

Exercise.

You’ll notice that I didn’t mention anything about the gym. I’ve been trapped! Cabin fever! I shoveled the snow from our entire driveway. I have three teens who could have done it. Two of which are strapping young men, who stand over 6′. I needed to do it. I could feel my anxiety rising and it helped burn through some of it. Then today, I got to go to Pilates! My first time in the gym all week. I will probably hurt tomorrow.

Travel.

In yesterday’s post on our hotel stay in Edinburgh, I mentioned that one of the major things I’d been working on was travel plans. While my mother and I are still working out the plans for a trip together, it is looking like it’s firming up to be a return trip to Scotland.

However, we did firm up spring break! Just like that gloved hand saying “get me outta here”…. we decided we wanted a warm weather vacation.

So we’re going to Aruba!!!

Even though I was born and raised in Florida, I have no recollection of crystal clear water. I grew up on the Gulf Coast, where the water appears. blue-gray. Once, I traveled to Key Largo and snorkeled in the canal behind the house, but don’t remember much about the water beyond that. Finally, I lived on the East Coast of Florida and only recall one day out on the boat where you could see down into the depths, but never at the shoreline. To say that I am excited is an understatement.

I will be bringing lots of sunscreen because not only did I come out of the womb pale, my legs have been hidden from sunlight since there was even a glimpse of winter on the horizon.

Any tips for a Caribbean vacation?

Music.

Of course, you have to already know what song I have picked. As soon as we decided on our travel plans, it popped into my head and the singing has been going on ever since.

Aruba, Jamaica… Ooh, I wanna take ya…

Bermuda, Bahama, c’mon pretty mama…

I actually saw the Beach Boys in concert when we lived in Florida and had annual passes to the theme parks.

We are continuing to thaw out and should see warm weather this weekend! I hope that you find a moment that warms your heart in the coming week.

Even if your body wants to rebel, I hope you get out there and find the freedom of adventure that you had as a child. You might find yourself landing in a ditch, but it’ll be exhilarating until then. 😉

Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young. - J.K. Rowling | Albus Dumbledore

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 48

Friday Faves Edition 48

 

Friday Faves.

I’m rounding up my Friday Faves for the week. On Saturday, I had a nice visit with my mother-in-law, along with my niece and her babies. For me, the week has been spent mostly behind the scenes, BUT the hubby and I did brave the frigid cold to head to Downtown Roanoke on Sunday. Our destination was the Taubman Museum of Art, so we did get to spend most of our time reveling in warmth.

Megan Whitmarsh.

Even though I will be doing future posts on our visit to the Taubman, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at just two of the artists whose work I enjoyed. The first gallery that we came upon included works by Megan Whitmarsh. According to the write-up, she is an American Contemporary Artist based in Los Angeles. She uses her childhood memories from the 70’s and 80’s in her creations.

Being a child of late 70’s and the 80’s, I think this is what drew me to this installation. The entire piece is titled Your Thoughts are Forming the World. In it she creates the “impression” of a 1970’s female artist’s working studio. I have included only a small fragment of the piece for today. The segment I have shared reminds me of the large gold chains worn by Mr. T., Run DMC, and probably a plethora of others whose names I am not digging deep enough into my mental recesses to find. If you are a product of the 70’s and 80’s, you know what I mean.

I also loved that she has it say “ALL IS POSSIBLE.” It’s such an uplifting and motivating statement.

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Paul Villinski.

The gallery that was probably my favorite was the one containing works by Paul Villinski. This installation was located on the entrance area of the gallery. Look for a future post where we walk around the gallery.

The write-up lists Paul Villinski as American, Born 1960. This specific piece is titled Prescience. It is made of found aluminum cans, wire, and soot. The dozens of butterflies become a whole, large swallowtail.  According to the artist, this work is a nod to a higher presence among us “…the many become the one”.

Look closely at present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming. -Alice Walker

Behind the Scenes.

I mentioned that most of my week has been behind the scenes. I don’t really know if that’s the best term, but I’ve been busily laying groundwork for things I want to accomplish in 2018. If you recall from last week’s Friday Faves, school had been cancelled for my teens. WELL… freezing rain kept the schools closed until this Wednesday! That meant my behind the scenes groundwork moved at a snail’s pace. They also have Monday and Tuesday of the upcoming week off from school.

Blogiversary

However, I did manage to find time to acknowledge the two year mark of this blog. Yay! Blogiversary! The comments that you all left were enough to warm a girl’s heart and fill up her love tank. I truly thank you for all of the sweet words that were left on that post. And I want to thank you all again for following along and coming beside me on this journey.

Layout.

If you are wondering about any of the behind the scenes things I’ve been tackling, I can share a few. I’ve tweaked a little of the writing layout on the blog, hoping that it flows a little better. I’m still debating a change to my theme because I want the front page to be excerpts so that you don’t have to scroll through an entire post to get to the next and I’d like to have my categories in the header. I like to take my time pondering a process, so it’s likely this will be a slow migration if I go down that path.

Photography

I also have over 15,000 photos and think that I should (and have started) start deleting the blurry ones and organizing the rest before it becomes 50,000. As a note of excitement on my part, I finally added Lightroom! That was very recent, so I haven’t played with it much. I plan to schedule in watching YouTube tutorials to work my way through its learning curve. That’s another behind the scenes thing that I’ve been working on….time management.

Maverick.

Occasionally, Maverick stops for long enough for me to snag his picture. He’s been naughty lately. Finally, after having torn up my prior calendar, eating a number of toilet paper rolls, demolishing a tape measure, and damaging (but not decommissioning) a fireplace remote, it has been decided that he must again sleep in a crate. He is not unhappy about his crate, which makes that easier. Not only was he ruining things, but we became concerned about his safety. And yes, we’ve tried picking everything up, but he always finds a random, stray thing.

During the day, he’s an angel…mostly.

Twitter.

I don’t really understand Twitter. I’m not sure that I’m willing to put in the time to learn. Mostly my posts just get automatically tweeted, but I did put out this post on Wednesday.

Anybody else with me on that one?!

 

Music.

The song I found this week is by the American electropop duo Frenship. I hope that you enjoy it!

I hope that you have an amazing weekend and a wonderful week to come!

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 47

Friday Faves Edition 47

 

Friday Faves. Edition 47.

Another Friday and the first one of the new year! On Wednesday, I shared some of the lessons that I learned during the Gratitude Challenge. I found it so helpful to take the time to focus each day on what I was grateful for. I am reminded of how grateful I am for those of you who come by each week to check out my Friday Faves.

I hope that you all have had an amazing beginning to 2018.

Cold Weather.

My teenagers did not go back to school until the 3rd…and school was cancelled today due to this cold weather with dangerously low temperatures.

If you’ve been watching news of the United States, then you might be aware of the bomb cyclone over the East Coast. I have relatives in central and upper Florida that got snow! Snow in Florida!! I lived in South Florida for my first 36 years of life and never saw more than frost (our pipes froze in the winter of 1988. This is seared into my memory because I had chicken pox and my mom had to heat water on the stove).

I do realize that some places have school when it is much colder, but I think each city makes its judgement on the norm for their locale. Having children walk to bus stops and wait in coldness without owning clothing in preparation for that kind of temperature increases a danger of hypothermia. While my teens are lucky enough to have me available to get them where they need to go, not every family has that luxury.

Needless to say, I haven’t returned to a normal routine.

But I do have some faves to share this Friday!

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Bath Bombs.

One of the gifts that I got for Miss Sunshine was a set of bath bombs. She had been asking for some every time we saw them.

A few weeks ago,I mentioned in my Friday Faves that I am trying to move toward greener, cleaner living. In fact, that’s something I’m steadily making strides in and is its own future post. I’ve always been pretty particular about what products Miss Sunshine uses. Believe it or not, her skin is more sensitive than mine. While I’ve always checked to be sure her soaps are paraben free, I haven’t read most of the ingredients much closer. In looking at bath bombs, I was appalled by the amount containing artificial dye. I’m not a huge fan of ingesting dyes (my kids rarely drank colorful drinks) and I don’t think soaking it in with you skin being your largest organ makes too much sense either.

Bath Bombs.jpg

Beauty by Earth.

After scouring Amazon, I found these Beauty by Earth bath bombs. I like that they listed all of their ingredients. In fact, the information says their product line is gluten-free, non-GMO, and mostly vegan. The company was formed by two families looking for safe, natural products to use and are made in the USA.

As you can see, Miss Sunshine already put one of them to use.

Also, I’ve linked the product for your information only. I’m not an Amazon Affiliate.

Columbia gloves

Columbia Gloves.

I can’t find gloves to fit my hands…like, ever. The hubby tries every year to purchase some for me and they NEVER fit. Finally…as I head into my 5th Virginia winter…he has found success. Let me just start by saying, gloves are apparently like all clothing. There isn’t any consistency to sizing. It’s just trial and error. I have very long fingers and can’t stand a glove that doesn’t come down all the way. I’m also guessing I have a wide span. I want to be able to move my opposable thumb and not feel constricted in the palm. These Columbia gloves actually fit! And in case you’re wondering…I took an Extra Large in Women’s.

Marmot gloves

Marmot Gloves.

Now I’ve been able to find some thinner gloves that fit, but the biggest struggle has been a set of thick gloves. In the past, I’ve taken to layering thin gloves. This still didn’t help enough with the cold weather. The ones the hubby got me did not fit this year either… BUT…we went to the sporting goods store to try them all on and I found success. Not perfect success because the palm is a little big, but enough success to claim victory! These Marmot gloves were hanging in the men’s section and are an XL, so I’m guessing they may run a little small. While I do have big hands, both of my teenage sons have hands larger than mine.

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Pecksniff candle.

I popped into TJMaxx the other day and while I was checking out, I was looking through the items lining the checkout line. A candle with a “Made In England” tag on the lid caught my eye. When I saw that it was Pecksniff, I suspected that it would smell wonderful. The hotel we stayed at in Edinburgh carried Pecksniff toiletries in the bathroom. I fell in love with the Calm hand and body moisturizer, so much so that I absconded with my mother’s and aunts and brought them home to use and savor each time I apply it. The Pecksniff candle scent is bamboo & vetiver, so it doesn’t smell like the calm lotion, but it still smells wonderful.

 

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Bath Bomb Relaxing Collection.

You didn’t think that when I bought bath bombs for Miss Sunshine that I wouldn’t buy any for myself did you?!  For myself, I purchased the Bath Bomb Relaxing Collection,which was a 2 pc set instead of 6. The size of the bath bombs in this set are about the size of a tennis ball and the 6 pc set is only slightly smaller. This set came with Keep Calm and No Stress vanhazelnutty.

Since January 1st was a full moon (a supermoon even!), I decided to take a full moon ritual bath. I don’t know why I always feel like I need a justifiable reason to soak in the tub, but I do. Moving beyond that need is part of my self-care growth process, but I’m not there yet. I’ve read about water rituals on full moons. I didn’t really follow any. I just lit the candles around my tub (including my Pecksniff candle), put on some music, dropped in the Keep Calm bath bomb, and then thought about what I wanted to release from last year and what I wanted to carry into next year.

Earth Fare Almond Butter.jpg

Clean Eating.

Part of what I’m carrying into this year is trying eat better. I don’t know if the term clean eating is the best term, but I do want to eat less processed foods. I am on day 5 of the January Challenge of eating vegetarian. Originally, I planned to cut out dairy and gluten for the first two weeks as well. My husband laughs at me because he says that I always try to take everything as far as I can. As it turned out, I didn’t eat any eggs either, thereby, being effectively vegan so far. However, I’m finally catching up with a girlfriend tomorrow over breakfast. Since the ultimate challenge is vegetarian, I will be focusing on enjoying my time with my friend more than being concerned about eggs, dairy, and gluten.

We recently got an Earth Fare grocery store. The grocery store only carries foods that fit their food philosophy. This philosophy involves the banning of certain ingredients from their shelves. I found fresh ground Almond Butter when I visited Earth Fare. I love that there aren’t all types of preservatives and almond butter is one of my daily sources of protein.

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Kate Spade Agenda.

One of pitfalls of owning a puppy is that they like to eat your stuff. As cute as Maverick is, in this department, he is no exception. I left my little pocket calendar on the coffee table and found it strewn throughout the house the next morning. I’d been wanting a larger desk-sized agenda so I can keep track of my daily schedule (instead of just calendar appointments) as well. I needed to replace it rather quickly so I popped over to TJMaxx to see what they had.The first agenda that my eyes fell upon was this Kate Spade Agenda. The agenda had the setup I was looking for. I will point out that the downfall to spiral bound things is that it creates some awkwardness for us left-handed people. However, I’ve been living in a predominately right-handed world for 40 years, so I’m quite adept at being adaptable.

While I didn’t include the front cover, it has a silhouette of a woman looking through the telescope at the stars. I’ve always found the stars to be fascinating. I used to lay out upon the grass and star up into the night sky, pondering the enormity and mystery of it all.

I thought that the drawing summed up where I see my journey for 2018.

Growing beyond my boundaries.

Finding who I have always been.


Native – Oceans

The song choice this week came up on my recommended YouTube videos. I am from the ocean, so the words drew me in. I tried to find a background to share about the musician. He shares the links to his other media channels on the video. If his hashtags on his Instagram are any indication, then he is Swiss, but don’t quote me on that.

I hope that you all have a glorious weekend and that the week ahead brings you many moments of joy.

 

Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you should have always been. - David Bowie

Let your light shine!

Amy