Friday Faves Edition 60

Friday.

It’s Friday! Did ya’ll miss me last Friday? I missed all of you!

That Thursday was full day of travel for us.

We arrived at the airport in Aruba early since we knew that U.S citizens go through customs at the airport in Aruba instead of when they land in the U.S.

Based on our time waiting in customs at the D.C. airport after our return from Europe last spring, I’d have to say this process was much quicker.

We also only took carry-ons (raise your hand if you audibly gasped). I’ll be sharing some things I learned about that in a future post. We had a direct flight down to Aruba, but had a short layover in Boston on the return. After landing in D.C., we made our way to our vehicle for the 3 1/2 hour drive home. We collapsed into bed around 1 a.m. Friday.

Friday Faves.

Of course I have so many Friday Faves to share.

Aruba.

We spent spring break in Aruba.

I did share some of our travels on my Instagram stories.

I’ve saved some of them to the Aruba recap on my Instagram highlights if you’re interested in seeing those.

Easter.

We arrived in Aruba on the day before Easter.

That day we had a leisurely day.

Easter Sunday, we had a snorkeling excursion booked.

Just prior to our vacation, I read this post on Becoming Minimalist. It talks about jumping while you can. It resonated with me because this year for me is about pushing comfort zones even more. It is about learning to dare greatly.

And so I knew that I would attempt new things.

Snorkeling.

I have snorkeled before. I did not enjoy it. I always felt like I was struggling for air (which makes me feel claustrophobic). I swim, but would not consider myself a “strong” swimmer. However, when we went over the Antilla wreck, which is in 50-60 feet of water (well out of my comfort zone from a depth perspective) I decided to go in the water. I didn’t dive below the surface..and I didn’t stay in as long as everyone else

…but I jumped.

The second snorkeling spot was 10-12 feet deep and was my favorite of the three. The water was so clear and the fish were stunning. Miss Sunshine captured a video of me at this location.

Rope Swing.

At our third snorkel stop, which was about 14 ft deep, you had the option of swinging from the rope swing into the water.

I didn’t think that I was going to attempt it.

But then I remembered about wanting to push myself…I remembered how I was so fearless when I was younger

…and I jumped.

(yes there is a video of that. no I won’t be sharing it)

I plan to do a longer post about our snorkeling trip in the future, but we absolutely loved it (minus the fact that I was the one person on the ship who got a bloody nose when jumping from the rope swing. (note to self: if you plan on holding your nose, take the nose ring out)

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Safari Tour.

If you saw Wednesday’s post where I shared some photos from Aruba, the one above will look familiar. This was from our safari tour. I’ll be sharing more about that in the future, but it was an awesome day out as well.

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Tube Ride.

Miss Sunshine had already convinced her dad and Big Mr. to go on a tube ride earlier in the week. We had loved our snorkeling tour so much that we had booked another one for the day before our departure. Unfortunately, they had some technical difficulties and had to cancel our trip. Miss Sunshine really wanted me to tube with her. I really didn’t want to tube

…but I decided to jump.

Even though I was petrified most of the time, I can say that I’m glad that I did it. The ride itself wasn’t scary…it was tons of fun. I was worried about flipping into the water (which had happened on their last tube ride).

We used to have a boat and a tube. I have a distinct memory of flying out of the tube and having the wind knocked out of me as I landed into the water.

I was in my early 30’s then…how much worse would it be at 40!

My secondary…yes secondary…fear was that a shark might be lurking below the surface. The last time I had fallen out of a tube was in Lake Placid (Florida) and my fear of alligators is stronger than that of sharks.

I held on for dear life on this tube ride. So tightly, that my biceps hurt for the next two days and I’m still sporting a friction burn on one of my knuckles.

…but I jumped (metaphorically).

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Memories.

While I absolutely loved the sunshine and the salt air, one of my favorite parts of the trip is that we made so many memories.

I cherish these moments with my children. Big Mr. heads off to college after this summer. Mr. D is only a year behind. Miss Sunshine is around a little longer, but I know that it too will pass quickly.

These are fleeting moments with all my children still living at home and I am searing them into my brain.

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Sunshine and Salt Air.

But I’m not gonna lie, the sunshine and salt air did make the memories a little sweeter.

These photos of my teens were taken at Baby Beach. I wish we’d have spent more time there, but it wasn’t in the cards that day.

 

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Instagram.

While this week has mostly been playing catch up on emails, reflecting on last month’s challenge, going to soccer games, taking care of household stuff, and finishing up some loose ends for my trip to London and Scotland next month, I did give myself a gift.

If you saw Tuesday’s post, then you already know that day was my 19th wedding anniversary.

Your Instagram bio is supposed to be important for people deciding whether or not they are interested in following you. I’ve always struggled with exactly what I’d like it to say. You only have so much space.

Not long ago, I took out the section that stated where I had lived to add the lines with #travel and #nature and the wannabe photographer and wordsmith. The hubby thought I should take out the word “wannabe”. While I did agree to some level, I also left it there to keep my fear of failure satisfied. If I said “wannabe”, I was acknowledging that I have a long way to go.

…but I also wasn’t giving myself credit for how far I’ve come.

Or giving my dreams the fair shot that they deserved.

So on my anniversary, I gifted myself with the removal of that word. In doing so, I felt that I gave myself permission to keep growing and granted my soul a belief in myself.

Do you have dreams that you want to pursue, but you let fear hold you back?

Music.

This week I’ve chose a song by Sleeping at Last. I love his music and had a hard time choosing which song. I chose this song because it reminds me of the commitment that I made when I chose to have children. Those commitments have been at the forefront of my thoughts this week.

I hope that you have a soul filling weekend and smooth sailing throughout next week.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 58

Friday.

It’s Friday! I hope you all have had an amazing week so far!!

The weather threw off my routines, but that’s okay.

Sometimes our lives need a little shake up so we don’t get stuck in our comfort zones.

Friday Faves.

I’m doing my weekly round up of Friday Faves.

My agenda looks like a tornado struck it with things crossed out that didn’t get accomplished. However, I did manage to make notes about the things I did want to share!

Party.

First off, remember in last week’s faves when I gave you a sneak peek of the dress I planned to wear to the party on St. Patrick’s Day?

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The Dress.

If you follow my Instagram stories, then you’ve already gotten a glimpse of it. I put my favorite filter (Rio De Janeiro) because the sun was at its harshest when we left. The actual photo looks like I ran it through one of those pixellating filters because the glare off of my arm and leg is so intense.

Imagine my delight the next morning when I discovered that my mom had taken the original that I texted her and posted it on her Facebook (love you mom!).

It probably wasn’t that bad, but I am notoriously particular and usually unhappy with how I look in photos. Good thing I’m usually behind the camera.

However, since I love ya’ll so much… I am sharing two photos, that while I don’t love them, I find them acceptable for public viewing.

Close Up.

I thought the dress had a very retro classic vibe, so I tried to channel Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy Onassis with my pearl necklace and earrings.

Full Length.

The dress is a Ralph Lauren and I found it at Macy’s.

Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, and my dress was not green, I wore a jade ring. Originally, my “something borrowed” at my wedding, my mother-in-law gifted the ring to me a few years ago.

It was much chillier than I originally thought it would be so I brought along a white 3/4 sleeve Lily Pulitzer cardigan that I’ve owned forever. I draped it over my arm as we entered the party since I really expected to need it later in the evening.

We stopped at the bar to pick up a cocktail. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but the bartender was asking, so I went with a vodka cranberry. Can you guess where I’m going with this?

I told the hubby I’d like to put the cardigan down at the table before we mingled. Of course, we are passing people that I need to meet along the way to the table. Sure enough, the drink spilled on my cardigan. Not an EGADS! she spilled her drink. The cup just slightly shifted, dribbled over my hand, and onto my sweater.

I switched to vodka and pineapple juice after that.

We had a great evening. Lots of good conversations and food.

And the juice stain came out!

Soccer.

Miss Sunshine had a soccer game on Monday afternoon. They won the game and Miss Sunshine had an assist for their goal.

As a side note, I’m still very disappointed in how the Nikon is performing. When I return from Aruba, I will be getting a longer zoom lens for the Sony.

Aruba.

Speaking of Aruba…only one week! There wasn’t school on Wednesday due to snow. There was a 2 hour delay on Thursday due to snow.

It threw off my quiet time for posts, but I did manage to share some things I loved at the National Museum of Scotland, a Tree Series for Wordless Wednesday, and a Thursday Door post of St. Giles Cathedral.

Snow is forecast for Saturday.

I can’t wait to have my toes in the sand and not snow!

 

Instagram.

I’ve shared before that I have a love/hate with Instagram. I love most of the people. Not so much a fan of the follow/unfollow crowd, but I guess that’s their way of marketing. The algorithm changes really bothered me.

Interaction.

However, recently I’ve tried to separate myself from caring about my number of likes and growth and to just focus on interacting with those that Instagram decides that I want to see. That means I try to add more IG stories and also watch more of them.

Upskirting.

All that to say, I found myself watching @beaniegigi’s story.

Here’s a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know, but once you do know, you must speak”.

How many of you have heard of “upskirting”?

Probably a lot of you.

Defined.

If you haven’t, it’s the case of somebody taking a photo up a woman’s skirt (or dress) without her permission.

I admit that I live in a bubble and I don’t find myself in many places where this might happen (public transport, concerts…etc).

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the paparazzi shots of celebrities taken from this angle. I was always mortified that anyone thought it was acceptable, but it never occurred to me that it was a “thing” happening to every day women (and girls).

It happened to Gina Martin at a concert. You can read her story in this Unilad article.

Legality.

Did you know that there are places where upskirting is not illegal? It isn’t considered illegal because voyeurism apparently only applies to private places and since there’s underwear it’s not considered lewd.

Making Change.

Gina is working to have the law changed in England and Wales to make upskirting illegal. A cursory look to see if it was illegal in the United States brought me to this Time magazine article where I discovered that it is illegal in Virginia. However, at the time of the article in 2016, it was not illegal everywhere.

I applaud Gina for taking a stand against harassment.

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Challenge.

I am still steadily progressing on the March Challenge, which is part of my #thisis40 year of monthly challenges. I do know what I’ll be doing for my April Challenge. Look for the announcement on Monday.

Walking.

It never ceases to amaze me how little I truly must walk in a day. Getting in 10,000 steps requires an effort on my part. However, basing fitness on steps doesn’t take into consideration that I take Pilates 3x a week and that doesn’t require much walking, but it’s hard!

Planks.

I have officially made it 23 days on the plank challenge segment of the monthly challenge. That is a 3 minute 50 second plank.

Modifications.

On day 20, I did need to switch it up to make it through. Instead of keeping my legs at hip width, I widened them to distribute the weight differently. I did that for about 10 seconds a couple of times over the course of the plank. On the following days, I also have move from forearms to hands and back (though mostly on the forearm).

Opinion.

I am still forging ahead and hoping to nail the goal to completion. However, if I had it to do over again I would not have chosen this specific plank goal. I took on this goal because I will be wearing a bikini in Aruba. That’s the plain and simple fact. Judge if you will.

However, I feel like my abs get a much better workout from a Pilates routine. I can’t see my form during the course of the plank, but I don’t think I’m losing form. However, it’s my mid-back where I can feel the most change. Perhaps I’m losing the focus on maintaining those lower ab muscles while I’m just trying to push through to the end. I know Pilates breath work and incorporate that to get into those tiny muscles, but I feel the plank in my shoulders, back, and quads more than in the abs.

Puppy.

Yesterday was Maverick’s 1st birthday. He got a haircut last weekend and toys yesterday.

Ohhh…my baby is growing up!

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Long Exposure.

If you watched my IG stories on Wednesday, then you know that I had a crazy outing trying to capture some snow scenes. I’ve shared a few photos on Instagram and the one above will eventually be shared. I hadn’t worked with long exposure on the Sony yet. I only have one ND filter and it wasn’t really strong enough. However, I did manage to get a few shots that I was happy with (after sliding down the embankment of snow and dropping the tripod in the stream).

Music.

I heard this song on the way home from Pilates today and liked it. Nadia Ali is a Pakistani-American singer-songwriter. IRO is a Brooklyn based singer-songwriter. Sultan + Shepard is a Canadian electronic music duo that often do collaborations.

I hope you enjoy!

I’m off to finish prepping for Aruba. Oh…and for that snowstorm heading our way. I suspect my teens might want to eat and food flies off the shelves before a storm like an apocalyptic invasion is on its way.

Keep that smile shining.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 56

Friday.

Who’s excited that it’s Friday?! I think that I am, but the snowstorm heading our way is threatening to make for a cabin fever weekend…and dare I say…create issues next week.

Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t dump as much as the possible forecast! This girl has a hair appointment and her roots are looking CRA-ZY! I pushed out my appointment longer than normal because I have a work party to attend with the hubby on St. Patrick’s Day. Which reminds me…I haven’t found an outfit for that.

BUT…I’m getting ahead of myself.

Friday Faves.

I’m rounding up the Friday Faves for the week. I had a jam packed week with appointments for teens and dogs, but I still found some downtime and some lighthearted moments.

Star Trail.

In Edition 54 of Friday Faves, I shared that the hubby  and I hiked the Star Trail here in Roanoke. We had another sunny day over the weekend and decided to hike it again.

This time I brought along my camera. I’m still sifting through the photos to decide if I will make a separate post about it. While I find the trail to still be nice in the winter, I’m not sure that translates in my photographs. However, some of the smaller bushes were sprouting green that had not been there in the two weeks prior! I’m hoping this snowstorm doesn’t crush their spirits.

Protein Powder.

I mentioned before that I was looking for a new protein powder. I didn’t want rice protein because I felt like I was having a slight allergy to something in it. The blend that I picked up had stevia. I don’t like the taste of stevia.

The hubby and I went to Target for the exciting task of finding replacement shoelaces for his work shoes. Now. Now. Don’t be jealous of my glamorous life. I decided to pop over to the protein powder section to see if they had anything different. I perused the shelves and saw ones that I had seen elsewhere.

Then I looked to the top shelf and what should catch my… NO STEVIA… right on the front. It appears that they are using monk fruit extract in that “sweetener” place. I’ve only made two smoothies so far, but have had no reactions and no strange taste, so I may have found a keeper.

Fashion Magazine.

I told you that I found many moments of lightheartedness and humor, so that was what I chose to focus on over the ups and downs of the week. A bunch of people were posting these on Facebook, so I thought I’d play with it. I sat there and put about 10 photos through, mostly because I wanted to see if it ever change the makeup color. The lipstick…yes, the eyeshadow… no.

Now if only a makeup artist would come do my makeup every day.

I should add…for free…because that service isn’t in my budget.

Aruba.

I am still counting down the days to Aruba.

Three weeks!

When Miss Sunshine and I went shopping, she found a bathing suit at Hollister. She also found one she liked at Target, but they were out of her size. We decided to order it. Of course, I added some pieces for me! I had already rounded up the bottoms and so I ordered two tops. I mentioned that this line at Target, Sun & Shore, sells tops according to bra size. As is the case in almost all clothing, one of the tops didn’t run true to size so sadly it had to be returned.

But the one in the photo fits. I also have a standard J. Crew triangle top that I shared in this post last summer. I was hoping that I would have one top that used hooks instead of ties, but it is what it is.

I don’t always link things, but you can find the above top here. The bottoms can be found here.

If you were curious about the bathing suit in last week’s post, you can find that here. The bottoms are the same as above, just a different print.

 

Humor.

On Monday, I shared the lessons that I learned from the Reading Challenge.

Everyone had a lot of great comments.

This is the text exchange with the hubby on Tuesday. It’s hilarious to read in whole, but it was even funnier as it was happening. He had an early meeting that day, so he leaves as I’m stumbling for my first cup of coffee and the teens aren’t out of bed yet. This is the first I’ve heard from him other than a short phone exchange right before he gets to the office.

I’ve just sat down to check my emails when this text comes in. I know he’s just come out of his meeting, so I’m literally trying to wrap my mind around what he’s talking about. Notice the word “read” isn’t in there, so there’s not even that context clue. I’m wondering if this text is really for me. I’m sure the phone has changed the word, but I thought maybe he meant something else to a coworker or is having a text exchange with our sons.

Nope.

It’s for me.

And then it makes sense. So thank you Jonathan for that comment.

What ensued next was hilarity. Because then Julie over at Empty Nest Adventures comments on Jonathan’s comment that she had actually written about her recent adventure with Moby Dick. I pop over to check it out, and I’m dying in another round of laughter. If your curious, you can find her post here.

Filters.

If all of that was a little too juvenile of humor for you, I offer the space I go to when I’m in the mood for silliness. I don’t use Snapchat, but I do enjoy their filters. Sometimes, I save them and share them on my Instagram Stories.

Instagram.

Speaking of Instagram Stories, I’ve recently tried to become more active on them. Yesterday, I was in a chatty mood and was in front of the camera for a change. I think it was about releasing the inner tension that being vulnerable in yesterday’s post caused.

While I am very honest, I am also reserved about parts of my story. I know it was a longer than normal read (and I cut out parts because I knew it was so long), so thank you for taking the time to read it.

Photography.

On a lighter note, if you missed my Wordless Wednesday post, it’s sure to bring a smile…or a “wolf-ish” grin.

Challenge.

If you’re wondering how March’s 30 day challenge is going, I’ve managed to accomplish my goals each day so far. Today’s  plank will be 90 seconds! I’m still doing some pacing to get 10,000 steps on standard days. However, on the day of our hike, my fitbit called me an overachiever because I was well over. I’ll take the compliment because it’s an effort on the other days!

If you’ve been joining in on either part of the challenge, let me know how it’s going for you.

Music.

This week I tried to make a concentrated effort to find a “”new to me” song to share. The one recommended on YouTube struck my eye because it was from a soundtrack to a movie called 2:22. I hadn’t heard of the movie. Have you seen it?

Why it struck me was because 222 is meaningful to me. I know some people aren’t into numerology, or synchronicity, or whatever, but that number (as well as others) shows up quite a bit throughout my days.

It is also Big Mr.’s birthday. I was 22 when he was born on 2 – 22 – 2000, which was also a “Tue”sday. And on 2-22, in the year 2022, he will turn 22.

So, all that to say, the name struck my eye.

The song is by Vancouver Sleep Clinic who originates out of Brisbane, Australia.

 

I hope that you all have a beautiful weekend! Spread your bright-shining smile. It’s one of the most contagious things out there.

ee Cummings quote To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best, night and day, to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle which any human can fight; and never stop fighting.

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

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 44

Friday Faves – Edition 44

It’s Friday.

I can’t begin to tell you how relieved that I am that it is Friday. This has been an exhausting week. Mostly because I’ve spent most of it in that “bordering on sick” phase.

You know, the phase where you’re coughing, congested, and have general feelings of malaise, but since you aren’t bedridden, nobody actually thinks that you are sick.

Yeah…that’s been me.

Given this fact and that it’s a busy time of year, participating in this Gratitude Challenge has kept me in a mostly good mental space.

I mentioned in last week’s Friday Faves that the flurries of snow had begun, but weren’t expected to stick. As the evening wore on, the snowfall picked up.

The snow continued and began to stick to the ground.

First Snow.

We awoke to a blanket of snow. Not enough for sledding or snow angels, but enough to cover most of the dull brown. Miss Sunshine wanted to take Maverick for a walk on the Roanoke River Greenway. The hubby, Miss Sunshine, Maverick, and I loaded up in the Jeep and headed over there for a stroll. Maverick loved it and I got a chance to capture some of the beauty of the first snow. I shared some of those photos in Wednesday’s post.

 

 

Maverick the Goldendoodle.

By the next day most of the snow had melted. It was pretty while it lasted. I spent most of Sunday curled up on the couch. Even though I could feel the sickness coming, I went to Pilates on Monday. It was a real good workout… and good that I went. Today was my first time back in the gym this week.

Tuesday I had a hair appointment. I love when I come out of the salon with some fresh color and a nice blow dry. I try to avoid washing my hair as long as possible because I can NEVER get it to blow out as nice as my stylist can. I claim it’s because she can hold the hair dryer and brush at a different angle than I can for my own head, but I suspect the real reason is that I’m lazy. I have a lot of hair and it takes a LONG time to fully dry.

That night, the temperature starting dropping and flurries again. It was in the 20’s F and the wind chill made it feel about 10 or so degrees colder. We were concerned because Mr. D had to close at his job that night. Since he is a recent solo driver, we needed to monitor the roads to be sure they weren’t icing. Otherwise, we would have needed to make alternative plans for him to get home. The roads nearby ended up being fine.

However, Roanoke is a valley. On either end of the county are mountains, Bent Mountain and Catawba Mountain. The weather conditions on them are often much different than in the valley. Apparently they were because around 8 p.m. we got the message that school would be closed the next day. Normally we end up being jarred awake by a 5:30 a.m. call that school is cancelled, so I appreciated the early notice.

Since Wednesday was another freezing day and I was still feeling like junk, it was a lazy day. Miss Sunshine had her end of season soccer dinner that night and shortly before it ended I received a text from the hubby.

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Fire.

The neighbors fire had burnt our fence. This is only a small segment of the damage. When he had walked outside there were four fire trucks at their house. This was between properties so there wasn’t damage to homes. Thank Goodness! You can see that it did singe the ground into our yard. I’m thankful it wasn’t much worse. The trees lining our fence are evergreens planted long before we came. Had those caught on fire, I suspect the outcome would have been much different.

Even though the firemen were confident that the fire was fully out, I admit that my sleep that night was restless. Thoughts of “it only takes one ember to set an entire forest on fire” tried to replay in my brain. I was thankful that the side of the property that the fire happened on was the one that my bedroom faces. It helped give me peace that all of the children’s rooms are much farther away. Still when I would awake in the night, I would glance over toward the blinds to be sure I didn’t see an orange blaze. And yes, I have real issues with anxiety. Given the circumstances, I could actually see and feel the benefits of my meditation practice and the gratitude challenge. I was able to be calm and be thankful in those moments.

Interestingly, the next day’s gratitude prompt was “challenges”. I was like “I’ve got this one covered!”

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Instagram.

Every year, there is website where you can find out your best nine instagram photos for the year. I’m a curious type, so I always check it out. These were my top nine. You all are getting the first view. I’ll be sharing it on Instagram this evening. I’m not surprised that it’s all sunsets. I also think that the results are completely skewed. The changes to Instagram’s algorithms made me virtually invisible on the platform. I think these photos had close to 400 likes, a few had over that. That was already beginning to be lower than the year before. However, after the change, my number dropped to around 150. And not to discredit the sunsets because I loved them when I took them… and still do…but I’ve learned a lot since I took them…like how to make sure the horizon is level (in the beginning, that was hit or miss).

Some days I want to give up on Instagram altogether, but then I remember that I love photography so I keep putting my stuff out there and keep getting inspiration from all the other things on there that I see.

I’m slowly getting ready for the holiday, so that is what I’m off to do for the remainder of the day and into the weekend.

I mentioned that Maverick loved the snow. His favorite part was to eat the snow. I didn’t think I had a video of it, but as I was scrolling through my phone today, I found that Miss Sunshine had indeed captured it on my phone. I put together a silly little YouTube video of him for all of you to see.

Once again, YouTube has recommended an awesome video for the week. This is Vasilis Vasiliou. He is playing the Carol of the Bells on a handpan. It was beautiful to listen to him play. Once fact that he shared in his description which was new information to me was that this was not originally a Christmas Song. The composition is based on a Ukranian folk chant, “Shchedryk”.

According to the information I found at ThoughtCo., the music was composed in 1916. The English lyrics were written to accompany the melody in 1936. While the lyrics are copyrighted, the composition is not.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful instrumental version.

As you go into the weekend and next week, I wish you beautiful days filled with many kindnesses and smiling faces.

Rumi quote "Don't you know yet? It is your light that lights the world.

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves edition 43

Friday Faves – Edition 43

Friday Faves.

This week has felt productive. I can’t put my finger on the why, but I feel like I am on a path forward… not standing still, or worse, moving backward.

As I move toward the end of the year…and closer to the 2 year mark of this blog, I am reviewing the posts that people are interested in reading and those that fall into the “perhaps not so much”. I’m reflecting on how I see things moving forward. I signed up for a trial of Tailwind because I keep reading about how Pinterest is so many people’s source of traffic. I’ve still yet to see that prove valid even though I actually have quite a few monthly viewers to my Pinterest page. So I’m guessing there are things on my part that I should be tweaking and learning. That’s what I’ve been doing in my downtime.

Not that I have much of that!

On Tuesday, I shared that over the weekend we traveled to a Christmas Tree Farm to choose our tree this year.

Christmas Tree

We tend to keep our tree in its natural state and enhance it with some lights and our collection of ornaments. The bottom is intentionally bare this year because we weren’t sure how Maverick (our 65 pound Goldendoodle puppy) would react. So far, he has made no attempts to touch it. I was surprised as he eats every stick and tree branch that he can in the yard. I assume it’s because he knows that he can’t touch the peace lilies that sit beside the fireplace, and therefore realizes a tree inside is a no-no to touch.

Many of our ornaments have deep sentimental meaning to us. Some are handmade, some adorned with photos of my three children who are now teenagers, one on the cusp of adulthood.

I am slowly capturing photos of those ornaments that I hold dear to share in a future post.

This ornament holds no special endearment. What used to be a set of six bulbs has dwindled down to two, the others meeting their demise on tile or wooden floors. The bulb is covered in glitter, yet opaque. I always hang it in front of a light so that its color can shine through. I loved the snowflake design even though I kept a home in Florida for the first fourteen years of home ownership.

Now, we are expecting snow tonight. In fact, there are flurries outside as we speak. I watched Maverick’s eyes grow large when he saw it coming down.I feel a sense of newfound wonder as I watch someone ( a dog in this case) see something for the first time.

I still recall the first time that I saw snow as a person grown enough to remember. I was 21 and in the mountains of Georgia. I looked out the window and was pretty sure it was snow. But if I were incorrect, then I would be disappointed. So instead, I said to the hubby… “look, it’s raining ice”. He told me that it was indeed snow and I was so excited! Perhaps he had a moment of newfound wonder through my eyes?

I have been consistent with my December Challenge. I have shared a moment of gratitude from the prompt each day on my Instagram Story. I am also taking photos with my Sony Alpha that fall under the prompt, as well as journaling each evening about more moments of gratitude based on the prompt.

I’ll probable compile a synopsis of my month of gratitude in my review of how the challenge went.

Today is day 8, and the prompt is self-love.

I had to spend some time with this one. I have had plenty of struggles over the years learning to be at peace with and love myself.

 

When I was younger, I wanted to be petite. I wondered why I looked like the Jolly Green Giant next to my mother or had shoulders as broad as a linebacker (I’m exaggerating of course, but I thought that as a teen). These big hands that fit into no warm gloves and feet that would make a sasquatch proud. These are the thoughts I fought. We often want what we aren’t.

I was certain that I must have Scandinavian DNA. If you’ve read about my results from Ancestry.com then you know that my results were only 5% Scandinavian. I’m still not convinced that my 79% Great Britain and 10% Ireland/Scotland/Wales isn’t rooted in Scandinavian ancestry. Have you ever read Celtic mythology? The Tuatha Dé Danann (and similar in the Mabinogion) were gods who came in ships from the sky (clouds) and were fair-skinned with red or blonde hair. I’ve read an account that supposed that just as Troy was found to be an actual place, perhaps the Tuatha Dé Danann were Vikings who sailed through the mist on their ships.  However, I do believe in magic and they could have been magic as well. Maybe that’s why I find a strong desire to visit the standing stones in Scotland. Hmmm?

But back to self love.

I grew babies in my womb. Babies that have grown and grown. Babies that have my shoulders, hands, and feet and it has helped me to love my own more. But the journey towards self-love is a continual process.

Meditation has definitely worked in helping me draw deeper into that space. But also yoga and pilates. They have shown me that my body is strong. That my body is capable of doing so much more than I thought it could. I realize my form could be better in the photo (that’s what happens on a 10 second timer), but I can actually do side plank crunches (yes, at some point I have to do them from my elbow because my shoulders can only handle so much work in a session). That is something that I never dreamed I’d be doing.

I grow to love myself more each day.

My other fave of the week is that my L.L. Bean boots FINALLY came in! The first pair I ordered were too small and so I had to send them back to be exchanged. My sasquatch feet range between a 9-10 in a woman’s shoe, mostly being 9.5. Bean boots are known for running large and it said that if you were a 1/2 size to size down 1 to 2 sizes depending on whether or not you planned to wear thick socks. I do not plan to wear thick socks because I own a pair of Sorel and a pair of Eddie Bauer snow boots that I wear to be able to capture photos like the one below:

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I just wanted a cute waterproof boot to wear instead of always needing to opt for my tall Hunter boots.

Anyways, I ordered an 8 because I could fit my feet in Miss Sunshine’s size 7. But nope! I needed a 9. Keep that in mind if you do ever order a pair. I love that they include a card that lets you know who hand stitched your boots.

This week as I hunted “new to me” songs on Youtube, I came across this Swedish Indie Band, Mountains of the Moon. I hope you enjoy their sound. I did!

I hope that you have a beautiful weekend.

I’m off to watch the snow as it flurries down outside my window. I think I’ll make a cup of tea and settle in with some Middlemarch.

I hope that you catch a glimpse of the world through new eyes.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

 

 

Friday Faves Edition 27

Friday Faves – Edition 27

Happy Friday Everybody!

I hope that you’ve had an amazing week so far.

Mine has been pretty packed.  We are on the countdown until school begins. Next Wednesday is the day.

We did our big purge over the weekend. And while we definitely made massive headway (think… I can see the floor of the garage and the storage room), I’m still hoping to make another push.

On Monday, I decided to Google myself because every now and then I like to be sure that everything out there associated with my name is legitimate.

I discovered that one of my Instagram pics was on one of the University of Glasgow’s pages. It rotates through various Instagram pics so it took a bit for me to discover which one. It was definitely an uplifting moment as I’ve been feeling ambivalent about that social media platform. The algorithms are not in my favor and I have no interest in paying a company to get me noticed.

In fact, I’ve spent more time away from social media in the past few weeks because I was devoting a lot of time there and not seeing any growth. That is time away from focusing on my family…and if they are my main priority, then I am not honoring my priorities.

Everyone had their annual checkups this week.

The fun part for me is getting an official measure on my teens, not just my marks on the wall (I do use a level though!).

Big Mr. is 6’5 1/2″.

Mr. D is 6′.

Miss Sunshine is 5’4 1/2″.

They don’t see how tall I am, so I’m just gonna keeping on claiming my 5’8″ [I may have shrunk a little from giant babies compressing my spine, but I’m saying I’ve lengthened it back out with yoga and pilates ;)].

Maverick started puppy training classes this week. He’s a little afraid of other dogs, so I was prepared for it to be overwhelming. However, he just sprawled out and almost took a nap while the instructor talked.

The first class is pretty easy. We worked on sit. He already had this down so he happily received treats from Miss Sunshine for demonstrating what he knows!

He’s pretty well potty trained. Or he has us trained. We take him out often, but I don’t feel like he really lets us know when he wants out, which has led to some accidents. Numerous people have told me about getting potty bells, so this week I did that.

You hang them from the door and each time you take the dog out, you ring them. I put his paw on it to ring them. The idea is that he will learn that the door opens when he rings the bell. I have heard that some dogs will do this just to go outside, even if they don’t need to use the bathroom. We have a fenced yard, so as long as he gets the idea of ringing the bells, I don’t care if it’s just to go out and play.

Yesterday was Mr. D.’s birthday.

16!

We always let the birthday child pick dinner. I used to make their request. Now we go out. He decided on Kabuki. It’s a Japanese Steak House. The kind where they cook the food in front of you and toss shrimp in the air for you to catch in your mouth. They also make a volcano out of onions and light it on fire. I shared a little of our experience on my Instagram story.

It made for a very fun evening!

Stepping up my photo game has been on my to-do list for some time.

Honestly, I’ve been super frustrated because I could not figure out how in the world to change the aperture on my Sony Alpha 7II.

I got the camera so close to heading to Scotland that I knew I would shoot auto while there. I’m sure this caused limitations, but the quality was superior to my beginner Nikon, so I took the Sony.

I’ve watched some YouTube tutorials, but never found one that addressed changing the aperture. Depth of field is one of the things that I like to play with the most, so it was crucial for me to figure out. Otherwise, I just wasn’t going to enjoy the camera.

Since I didn’t make it a priority, it took some time to finally find a website that explained how you change the aperture on the Sony Alpha 7II. With the switch on AEL, you depress the AEL button and then rotate the knob above and to the right of the C3 button. There may be another way to change it, but I’m over the moon ecstatic about discovering how to change the aperture.

Speaking of the moon….

How many of you found glasses to watch the Solar Eclipse on Monday?

Unfortunately, not me.

I decided on a parody song this week. Somebody shared it on Facebook and I found it really funny. I figure after a week like this, we could all use a moment of lightheartedness.

Growth is a part of life.

I hope to never stop having an insatiable curiosity and desire to grow. And I hope you don’t either.

Have a peaceful and relaxing weekend!

Miss Sunshine has her opening soccer tournament this weekend, so I will be cheering her on from the sidelines!

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves - Edition 23

Friday Faves – Edition 23

 

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This week has been a strange week for me. But here we are at Friday! And I definitely have some faves to share today!

Big Mr was invited to go to Myrtle Beach with a friend (luuuckyyyy) and left on Saturday. He’ll finally return home sometime tomorrow. Mr. D is helping his dad rebuild the entry. And of course, as it is with most home projects, under the surface were more problems (I think there’s some kind of correlation to life in this truth). Anyways, its a big project, but they are making steady progress. Miss Sunshine has had a social-filled week.

On Monday and Tuesday, I was the decluttering queen. Purging left and right… mostly papers! I finished up the laundry (which is usually a never-ending cycle, so I was pleased as it would set Wednesday up quite nicely). I thought people might like to eat so I did a little grocery shopping.

Have you ever been at the store and something jump out and say you need to eat this? No, not chocolate! Something you think is a little strange that you’re craving and something you’ve had about twice in your life.

Well maybe you haven’t, but I did.

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And it was radishes! Radishes! I thought they might be tasty on my salad. I almost didn’t get them, but I have a tendency to listen to my body. And if it said radishes, it must want some nutrient found in them.

I looked up their benefits and found that they contain folate, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, and of course, fiber.

I’ve been adding them to my salads and they’ve been very tasty. I did not expect to like them because they can be hot. These happened to be pretty mild. What about you? Do you like radishes?

I’ve spent some time trying to learn the different controls on my Sony Alpha this week. I’m still having an issue figuring out how to change the aperture, so I will be digging into the operating manual. I was very used to my Nikon’s controls, so I was a little frustrated by not being able to have this camera do what I wanted.

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Since my children weren’t around, Maverick got to be my test subject. However, sitting still when outdoors isn’t his strong point! But, oh my goodness! That face!

Speaking of faces…

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Miss Sunshine mentioned facial masks. And it got me thinking… while not perfect, I am conscientious about her toxic load.

I remembered that I had won this skincare set by TruSelf Organics on an Instagram giveaway (and ya’ll, I never win anything!) It came in right before my trip to Europe and then life was busy so I haven’t had a chance to test it out.  I’m excited to try it because it says that its made with organic ingredients and has no parabens, no sulfates, no bad stuff. Perfect for my preferences for Miss Sunshine! And while I’m at it… me too.

Also, their products are cruelty-free and according to the FAQs, with the exception of their raw honey lip gloss, they are vegan-friendly.

Plus their mission is about #selflove. And I know that I could stand to learn a little about that!

I shared on yesterday’s post that I took Wednesday off.

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I blew bubbles on the back porch every time I took the dog outside.

I stayed away from social media.

And the biggest reason that I stepped away from that space for the day was because I was beginning to base my self-worth on whether or not people liked me enough. It takes work to build something out of nothing. I get that. I have no problem with working hard. But the follow/unfollow game made me feel like I was a pawn in somebody’s game.  The up and down numbers, the need for constant usage to hope to be seen in the algorithm, basing the quality of my photography on whether I garnered enough likes… it made me feel like I was in high school again, hoping to be popular (for the record, I was not. I’ve even given serious thought to throwing out my yearbooks during my decluttering because of the negative memories they dredge up. But there were good times and good friends as well, so for now, they still remain on the shelf).

I needed to step back and assess whether I was still finding joy in social media.

I did post yesterday, but I will be conscientious in the future of what I’m allowing to have power over my thoughts. Positive thoughts lead to a positive life. Numerous studies show that what we tell ourselves about ourselves is what we come to believe.

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My mother posted this photo of me in Glasgow on her Facebook page. And while I wanted to pick it apart because I am hypercritical of myself… I’m sharing it because of what she said:

Of all the photo’s I took in Scotland this is my personal favorite. It reminds me of “Audrey Hepburn” in a classic photo.

And so I decided to see myself through her eyes. 

And I felt beautiful.

Our words can have such an much impact on somebody’s life.

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I decided to start collecting images or words to create a vision or dream board. Granted, I only have Yoga Journal magazines available right now, but the image on the left was the first that I tore out. That night, mere hours later, I kid you not, I walked into my room and the magazine on my nightstand was open to the page of the ad in the middle. I think the Universe is trying to tell me something. The only other photo I have so far is the long exposure shot of a rushing stream. It was a soothing photo. The article with it was quite interesting as well. It talked about how we shouldn’t meditate in complete silence because silence increases our instincts of listening for danger.

I wonder what photos I’ll end up adding.

Have you ever created a vision or dream board? Did you notice a pattern?

My song this week, I stumbled across some weeks ago. I’ve been waiting until the time I felt was the moment to share it. I looked up the inspiration behind the lyrics and found it’s about the human instinct of fear and conformity rather than risk. This version has people talking about “what it means to be human”. It speaks to my soul every time I watch it. I hope it speaks to yours as well.

As you go into the weekend, I hope that you’ll take a moment to have your eyes meet those of a stranger. An entire conversation of kindness and compassion can be had in just that moment.

Everyone wants to know they have worth.

Show them that they do.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh my! We've Grown...

Oh My! We’ve Grown…

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No.

I don’t mean that I’ve grown from all the sweets and cocktails that I had while at the beach.

Actually… paired with all the lounging that I did, I might have.

I’m still playing catch up on emails…so thanks for bearing with my slow responses!

But the truth is…

I’ve been keeping a little secret.

Mostly because I’m a “don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched” kinda gal.

But our family has grown.

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Meet Maverick.

The goldendoodle who moved into his new home with us on July 1st.

The girlie chose his name, and named him after the Maverick’s surf break in California.

She is a big lover of surfing.

 

And a lover of dogs.

She had already been asking to add to our family prior to loss of our yorkiepoo, Kiwi. And she had it in mind that we should add a larger dog. We had lost our Golden Retriever, Nikki, to cancer in 2015. So she did lots of homework on dog breeds and had her heart set on a Goldendoodle. While they aren’t technically hypoallergenic, they do have a tendency to shed a little less than a Golden Retriever. All that fur shedding was a nemesis of mine that I didn’t want to reintroduce into my home. Plus, one of my children does have allergies that flare when visiting the homes of friends who have cats and/or dogs.

I was not on the addition of a dog bandwagon. They require me planning trips, outings, etc.. around them even more so than my teenagers require. But I knew when we suddenly lost Kiwi that the girlie would not want to be dogless all the way until college (she’s heading into 8th grade in the fall).

So I conceded to the fact that we would be adding to our family. I received pictures of every one she found while I was in Scotland.

But the original plan was to add to the family in August. That way I would commit to being home and she would still be out of school and able to deal with middle of the night awakenings and bathroom needs.

You know what they say about the best laid plans…

Here was the dog we’d been looking for and we didn’t have to drive six hours to bring him home.

And yes, he does have his own Instagram, maintained by the girlie.

During quite a bit of my lounging on the beach, I practiced mindfulness.

I focused on my breathing while the waves crashed and the sea breeze fluttered across my face.

I breathed deeply and slowly.

I practiced staying in that moment.

I practiced calming myself. Reducing my tendencies toward stress and anxiety.

I prepared for the moment that we would bring another living creature into our home.

And now I put that mindfulness into practice.

When he tries to get into things he shouldn’t

Or chew on something not allowed.

Or during those moments when I find myself back to the sleepless nights of early motherhood.

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But he’s worth it!

Life is a journey to be experience, not a problem to be solved. -Winnie the Pooh

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 20

Friday Faves – Edition 20

Today is our last full day at the beach.

Friday, you’ve come too soon.

Some of my faves this week are things that I’ve brought from home to make my stay at the beach a little simpler and safer.

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SPF and I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to my face.

I have family members who have had skin cancers removed from their face and I grew up in Southern Florida, so I am especially conscience of the dangers of not protecting my skin.

As a fair-skinned girl, I need to wear it daily.

Really, we all need to wear it daily.

But then I end up rubbing it in my eye… and the burning and watering makes me curse its existence.

Until I stumbled upon this Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with an SPF of 47 and Sunboost ATB. I have not experienced any burning near my eyes. I don’t think this is waterproof, but my face isn’t often underwater at the beach.

Another perk is that I love the smell of it! I’m very particular about how something on my face smells (for example: I can’t wear any product that smells like roses. I have a past life theory on that one…). The main ingredients are argan oil, jojoba oil, and green tea, which I find to smell amazing.

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I have a tendency to forget about my lips needing protection from the sun as well. Sometimes, I just rub the Josie Maran moisturizer across them as well. But with the need for reapplication due to eating and drinking, I try to carry a lip balm with SPF as well.

This time I’ve brought a few different flavors of Softlips, which has an SPF of 20.

Watermelon is a fun, summertime flavor.

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While at the beach, I like to keep my routines short and sweet.

Ok… who are we kidding?! I ALWAYS like to keep my routines short and sweet.

I like this Bliss triple oxygen instant energizing cleansing foam.  It cleans my face and removes my makeup and I get the added benefit of oxygen and Vitamin C. Of course, the fact that it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin gives it a thumbs up from me.

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As much as I enjoy watching the surfers in my family, I rarely surf. But I love to boogie board. Last year, two of our boogie boards finally finished their 8 or 9 year run and had to be retired. We knew that we would replace them on our next trip to the beach, so we bought a BZ and a Morey boogie board from a surf shop here in Carolina Beach.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you know that I had to have my ritual donut from Britt’s Donut Shop. Also, I’ve been trying to share regularly on my Instagram Stories.

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Thursday nights in Carolina Beach brings music and fireworks to the boardwalk. I shared some of those on my story last night. I even went Live to share some of the music (going live was really scary and out of my comfort zone!).

It is a lively and fun atmosphere down on the boardwalk. 

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To close out the night, my middle son and I went to Squigley’s for some ice cream. He opted for Fudge Tracks, while I went for Nutty Coconut.

If you have any idea about the ups and downs of raising teenagers, then you completely understand why this moment was so special to me.

And lastly my song choice..

Life should be about spreading love. 🙂

I hope that you have an amazing weekend filled with light and positivity!

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King Jr.

Let your light shine!

Amy