Friday Faves Edition 62

Friday.

I can’t believe that it’s already Friday!

Not only that, it’s the last Friday in April!

Friday Faves.

Most of my week has been checking off boxes…but they have made me feel productive so they also qualify for my Friday Faves.

Over the weekend, I became more deliberate in my efforts to get my photos backed up to an external hard drive. I need the space on my laptop and I needed to feel comfortable about deleting the photos stored on my camera.

I still quite a way to go, but I made substantial headway.

Humor.

They say that laughter is the best medicine.

I was trying to film a story for Instagram and Miss Sunshine kept waiting until I’d start recording and then ask me random questions.

It has quite hilarious.

Finally, I told her that I was going to post the one where she’d deepened her voice and said something random. She quickly deleted that one from my phone.

Then, I thought perhaps she’d head to the kitchen to eat her food, but she still photobombed me. I could see her from the corner of my eye, but thought I’d be able to maintain my composure.

I didn’t.

This one did get posted to my Instagram story. Followed by my original intent of asking people what they found the hardest to give up on a vegan diet.

Vegan.

I have been following a mostly vegan diet for almost 3 weeks. We did make a conscious decision to eat vegetarian on Sunday because we needed to have a family meeting about summer plans.

Finding a restaurant that everyone likes is hard enough. We opted for Mellow Mushroom, which is a pizza place. The hubby and I got their Veg Out pizza and it was sooo good.

I am aware that Mellow Mushroom offers vegan cheese. However, I haven’t tried vegan cheese before and I notoriously choose items when dining out that turn out to be repulsive. Just ask my family about that time in Paris when the pasta dish I ordered came with a raw egg cracked on top. I ate around it and then waited to finish what was left on the other 4 plates!

I do plan to eat all types of food when I travel to the UK in two weeks. Given the fact that it may indeed bother my stomach, there will be days here and there leading up to it where I will add in things I’ve cut out to see if they bother my digestive system.

If you’re curious about the picture of the vegan lunch I made one day, it’s: Toasted Flax Ezekiel Bread, Roasted Garlic Hummus, Cucumber, Tomato, Shredded Carrots, Alfalfa Sprouts, and a bit of Red Onion.

The hubby finds that eating vegan agrees very well with him. I still haven’t found the proper ratios (or maybe vitamins and minerals) for my body. I think it shifted my hormones and I had a few days recently where I wanted to take a nap (but didn’t) in the afternoon. Occasionally, I also feel what I call a hollowness (for lack of a better explanation). Not necessarily hungry, but sort of.

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles.

We’ll be using all of those when my mom and I travel to the UK.

Yep. You read that right.

My mom and I decided to rent a car for our day on the Isle of Lewis. There is public transportation, but with only having a day, the timetable left us fairly restricted. My mom is going to be the driver while I navigate. Eek!

I also booked the remainder of our trains, so there is only some to and from the airport in Inverness stuff left to deal with, but buses and taxis are both available.

Packing.

I think that I’m going to bring my tripod with me on this trip, which is another reason why my suitcase needs to be packed lightly. The tripod only weighs a little over five pounds, so it should be fine.

One of my thoughts behind packing leggings….which I haven’t shopped for yet…was minimizing space.

I learn a little more about packing each time I travel though and while I love to look cute in a city, I much more prefer staying dry…warm…packing lightly… than I care about making a fashion statement.

Challenge.

I made the announcement for my May Challenge. The fact that I will be traveling for a portion of it helped with the direction that it’ll take.

Accident Prone.

The response to my poll on my Instagram story was 100% Yes.

Not only did I drop something heavy on my big toe over the weekend, but I had a major mishap on Wednesday.

While talking on the phone with my about what sightseeing we should do in London, I proceeded to walk down the stairs from my office (need a visual of the stairs, they are in my Photowall review post).

You know where this is going don’t you?

I proceeded to slide down about three or four stairs. In trying to catch myself with my left hand, I wrenched my back and jammed my shoulder. I still landed on the tailbone and right sits bone. I’m sure I scared my mother as I yelled (maybe cursed a little) and then took deep breaths to pretend like I could breath out the hurt.

Most of the back and shoulder pain left the next day. However, there is monstrous purple bruise on my bottom that is still sore enough that I bypassed Pilates today because I can’t imagine doing  roll-ups and some other moves up on to it.

Team Photos.

Last year I was asked to take a photo of Miss Sunshine’s middle school soccer team. They have professional photos taken, but it’s usually still wintery and they wanted a warmer weather photo of the team to give as part of the coach’s gifts. I also took a photo of the girls’ cleats which I shared in this post.

This year, I was asked again to take a team photo and agreed.

I will tell you that these types of shoots make my anxiety climb…and climb. Yes, I am doing it as a favor, but I am still hoping to meet somebody’s expectations. I am a people pleaser by nature. I don’t like people to be disappointed in me. So the team shoot already makes me nervous. I photograph landscapes (some of which I shared on Tuesday and Thursday . Their eyes don’t blink. They rarely move unless the wind blows.

Lighting and angles of humans are not my strong points.

Individual Photos.

I had heard rumor that I was going to be asked to take individual photos. This made me feel even more pressured. I will reiterate that this is pressure I put on myself. The people I interact with I’ve known for years and are great.

I had around a 20 minute timeline to shoot a team photo and then take individuals of 24 girls. This meant there wasn’t time to check my work and see if the photos came out as I went along. I imported them this morning. It does appear that I have a group shot were all 24 girls and the coaches have their eyes open (the first thing I look for), but I’ll need to look at them more closely. Same with the individuals. In review I noticed two of the girls weren’t in line for individuals, but I know them and can take them later if they want them. Still I know the photos aren’t professional grade and looking back I wish I’d changed the f/stop, but time was short, I needed to get through them all, and I didn’t think about it.

The one of Miss Sunshine is just a quick edit that I did for this post. I don’t know if it’s the final product.

Here’s to hoping the parents like them.

8th Grade Recognition.

At the final home game, the 8th grade girls are recognized before the game. Along the fence surrounding the fields, they attach a giant cardboard soccer ball that has the name and jersey number of each girl. During the ceremony, the eighth grade girls step forward from team and then each one is named and presented with a rose from their coaches.

This isn’t the final product of this photo either. I just don’t share too many faces of teens that aren’t mine.

Both of her brothers had the day off from work so they were able to come to her game. I think she’d have like to have scored a goal, but she had a clean assist and some nice shots on goal.

Summer Plans.

I mentioned in my post on Wednesday that I need to see some of my people. Miss Sunshine are in the early stages of planning an extended trip to Florida (mainly Naples) over the summer. I’ll let you know more about that as I begin to have more concrete plans.

I hope that you have a beautiful weekend and fabulous week ahead.

We have warm days ahead and I couldn’t be happier.

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light - Theodore Roethke

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 61

Friday.

Who’s happy that it’s Friday?!

Since there’s no rain in the weekend forecast, I sure am!

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Friday Faves.

I’m going to delve right in to my Friday Faves.

Vacation Clothes.

I have slightly less than three weeks before I head to the U.K. and am still missing a few clothing items I’d like…namely, black leggings.

Any suggestions on brands that don’t… bunch up around the knees…look like I’m wearing opaque stockings…aren’t made for the under 5’5″ crowd…and recognize that some women have leg muscles (this is why I love shorts so much..but, alas..I need to keep warm!)?

So I’ll be heading off to peruse some shops when I finish chatting with ya’ll.

Hiking.

Last Saturday the hubby and I took advantage of the one sunny, warm day (I was wearing a tank top and shorts! 2 days later I was back in a thigh-length down coat!)

I’ve been wanting to head over to the Peaks of Otter in Bedford and hike the Fallingwater Cascades trail. It has been one of my go-to hikes since hiking it for my 21st birthday (1998 if you don’t want to do the math). I’ll be doing a post on it once I finish post-processing my photos, but you can catch another glimpse of one of the shots here.

Outdoor Photography.

I didn’t come fully prepared for the photography.

It was intentional.

I hadn’t been to the falls in a while and knew that we’d return as we delve into spring. This was mostly about enjoying the sunshine and spending time with my husband. As such, I did not carry a tripod and (though not fully intentionally) didn’t bring along my ND filter.

I still wanted to see if I could capture the movement of the water. I used shutter priority for the setting and then adjusted to capture the least overexposed shot I could manage. I was able to edit it in a way that I was pleased with, but I will be returning with the tripod and filters once it warms up!!

Peaks of Otter Lodge.

When I hike out at the Peaks of Otter, I must dine at the Peaks of Otter Lodge.

We ate there for my 21st birthday. We always returned there when we’d come to Virginia for a visit. Its interior just has something like a classic nostalgia. It feels somewhat reminiscent of Dirty Dancing (which, FYI, the filming location of that movie is within driving distance and I’ve already requested it to the hubby as a spring expedition).

Vegan.

The hubby and I watched the documentary What the Health and he decided that he wanted to give vegan eating a try. We’d already been hearing quite a bit of its health benefits prior to watching the documentary.

As I mentioned when we did the vegetarian challenge, autoimmune disease, heart disease, and thyroid problems (which may be autoimmune as well) run in my family. I have already tested positive for autoimmune antibodies, but was negative to the specific autoimmune diseases they were testing for.

The hubby had his own reasons for wanting to attempt it. We are now finishing up week two. That’s not to say we’ve been perfect. On day one, we ate a croissant and then later realized…”oh wait, there’s butter in that”. We also ordered this vegetarian meal at the Lodge. We don’t know if it included butter because we didn’t ask.

However, we took the concept and for many of our dinners, we have been cooking up pans of veggies cooked in olive oil and garlic and serving it over pasta.

I don’t know if I’ll remain fully vegan. We are doing it for health, not necessarily ethical reasons. I am not sold on the idea of there being a problem with eating eggs, although the ones I feed my teens are free-range, pasture raised…whatever I can find that’s the closest to a chicken roaming in its natural habitat.

I also won’t be putting constraints on my eating habits when I travel to the U.K. One of the experiences I love about travel is trying new foods.

Peaks of Otter.

After our lunch, we strolled around Abbot Lake. Then we sat for a bit and admired the view. The Peaks of Otter are three mountain peaks overlooking the town of Bedford (you learn something new everyday…because I only have heard of two). I’ve always known about Sharp Top and Flat Top. The third is Harkening Hill.

The view here from Abbot Lake is of Sharp Top, whose highest point is 3,875 feet. Flat Top is actually the tallest of the three, rising to an elevation of 4,001 feet.

Alex and Ani.

I shared about snorkeling trip in yesterday’s post, but I didn’t get a chance to share my “souvenir” from Aruba. I love Alex and Ani bracelets. One of my friends has one from St. Maarten so when I saw the store in Aruba, I knew it was likely they would have some bracelets exclusive to the Island. There were a couple different options, but I prefer the rafellian finish to the shiny finish.

Soccer.

Due to some snow earlier in the season, Miss Sunshine had three soccer games in a row this week.

In one of those, she scored a goal!

Miss Sunshine and I spend a lot of car time together due to soccer and there are moments when I pause and realize how precious that time really is.

Books and TV and Movies.

I got sucked into some non-fiction books. I’m still perusing them to see if I want to invest fully into them, but I’m not abandoning the reading challenge that I’ve decided to do this year.

Are you reading any good books?

Although I don’t watch a lot of TV, I decided to join in on watching American Idol. While we were in Aruba, a series called The Crossing started after Idol. I admit…I’m hooked. Last night, the hubby and I watched the movie The Mountain Between Us. Have you seen it? I knew as soon as she asked him what type of doctor he was that he was going to say “neurosurgeon”. I even said it out loud before he did.

If you know my older backstories, then you know that we’ve had an incident dealing with neurosurgeons. While it can still be found in the search box, I don’t link to the post any longer because the story is only partially mine and has now become one of those moments that you can pinpoint as defining, but that you don’t often go back and rehash.

However, after having conversations with three different neurosurgeons and then later reading (because I love knowledge and was trying to learn everything about the brain) Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by Katrina Firlik (who, at the time, was one of only 200 or so female neurosurgeons), I knew that was the personality that they were attempting to portray.

Have you seen any good movies lately?

I hope you have a sunny weekend and many reasons to smile throughout the week.

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 59

Friday.

It’s Friday!

I don’t know what that means for all of you, but for me it means we’ve officially entered into Spring Break vacation mode.

Which for Friday, means cleaning, squaring things away, and packing…and then driving up to D.C. so we can catch an early flight tomorrow morning to Aruba!!

Friday Faves.

But I didn’t want to head out on the road without sharing some of my Friday Faves.

The week has mostly been about taking care of things before we head out on vacation. I did make the announcement for my April Challenge and I edited some photos from our last snow to share for Wordless Wednesday. I also dug into the archives to share my photos of the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh for Thursday Doors.

I will have a few posts scheduled for next week, but I will likely be slow in responding to comments. Thank you for bearing with my slow replies this week as I prepped for the trip.

Just know that I love hearing from you all!

I will not be back with Edition 60 of Friday Faves until April 13th. Which just means, more to share!

 

Instagram.

My most recent series on Instagram was a trio of some beach sunsets that I have loved. I thought it was appropriate since I am about to head out on a beach vacation.

I knew the type of quote that I was seeking to go with the photo and when I found the one above, I knew that it conveyed my feeling about the photo.

If you are on Instagram, I will be trying to share many of the sights in Aruba through my Instagram Stories.

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Sunglasses.

This was from one of my Instastories. Miss Sunshine needed some sunglasses to wear in Aruba, and since I’m obsessed with sunglasses, I got a new pair as well.

I think my old pair (my go to ones) got mad, because the next day, the frame cracked and the lens fell out.

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Mother-In-Law.

My mother-in-law is watching our puppy, Maverick, while we are away. I tease her that she loves dogs more than humans. I took him over to her house yesterday. Her birthday is April 1st, which falls on Easter Sunday this year. She was teasing me because we won’t be here for her birthday. I teased back, telling her that we’d be snorkeling that day and I’d think of her.

It was her idea to offer up some “duck lips”. Unlike me, she doesn’t share her age…but she looks amazing. I think she should shout it from the rooftops, but until she relents, I’ll maintain her wishes.

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Soccer.

After my trip to my mother-in-laws, I was off to Miss Sunshine’s soccer game. After all this time, I still struggle with “position names”. Her middle school coach has a formation in which she calls herself midfield, but in other formations I think it’d be called a left forward. I just know that she’s up top, left side (she’s left footed), but she does run more of the field than a forward might.

She’s had some assists and some shots on goal during this middle school season, but yesterday, she scored her first goal. It was beautiful! I’m biased, but it was still a beauty. Mostly because I love watching her turn on her speed. She was behind…then she was passing…and then she insanely in front of them…the goalie was coming forward thinking they might get it…I knew if she took the shot that it would go in…I stood up in the stands….she shot…she scored…I screamed.

I didn’t think to turn on the phone to record it. She did ask because she wanted to see how fast she was.

However, that, my friends, is being in the now.

I did record something to share with ya’ll though. It’s a time lapse from this morning’s plank challenge. Be kind. My talenti gelato YouTube has 2500 views (which in itself is just crazy to me) and 25 thumbs down. Really? Thumbs down. That just seems mean. This is one reason why I rarely add to YouTube.

Plank Challenge.

I made it!! 5 minutes!!

I really thought I’d be coming to you all this morning saying that I had to throw in the towel on the final day. That I couldn’t even attempt any of it. Sometime in the middle of the night, while have a strange post apocalyptic dream about checking floors of a hotel (I’m pretty sure the floor number scenes in the elevator were my clues), my right shoulder starting killing me. I woke up to the fact that it was indeed killing me. I adjusted its position. By this morning it hurt a little less, I took some Advil, and decided to attempt it.

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Victory.

And I was victorious.

Music.

I may have shared this song in the past, but this was the final song that I listened to for day 30 of the plank challenge. Most songs are not 5 minutes long. You can hear it in the actual video of the challenge, but it had to come out when I sped it up.

Mountains of Men is a band out of Stockholm, Sweden that describes themselves as Alternative folk rock and stuff.

 

For those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope that it is a glorious day. If you don’t, I hope that you have a glorious Sunday.

I hope that you have an amazing week ahead.

Remember that you are always stronger than you think.

In body.  In mind. In spirit.

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

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 57

Friday.

It’s Friday!!

Can I get a woohoo?!

Friday Faves.

I’m just going to jump right in with my Friday Faves.

My week has felt somewhat discombobulated because of the weather. Winter said “hey, did you forget about me?” and showed back up.

In last week’s Friday Faves, I mentioned that the snow was rolling our way. It did roll our way, just at a slower than expected pace.

Dress Shopping.

I have a work party to attend with the hubby this Saturday. I needed something to wear so last Saturday I brought him along to help me pick out a dress.

Clothing Peeves.

Dress shopping and I don’t get along real well. Even though my bust and waist measurements correspond in a ratio that is standard, dress makers don’t seem to think that is the case. Because of this, the hubby sat in the chair outside the dressing room, I came out to show him the dress and then sent him on an errand to grab the next size up because the chest compression created an unacceptable sight. He dutifully obliged and the next size up would look like a paper sack.

If Only.

In an ideal world, I would plan ahead and have a seamstress who could customize the dress to fit perfectly. However, we were a week out from the party. I thought I might find a green dress since the party is being held on St. Patrick’s Day. But, ultimately, I found 2 dresses (neither with green) that fit without tugging or sagging and opted for the periwinkle one that is pictured.

I’m only offering a sneak peek because I’m hoping to have somebody snap some pics before the party and share those next week.

 

Fitness.

On Sunday, it was still too cold for me to take my exercise outdoors. I popped over to the gym and did a 30 minute walk/run on the treadmill. I know for a fact that all my steps aren’t getting tracked because my Fitbit is a little too big, but I keep going until it hits that 10,000 mark. I like to use Snapchat filters for many of my Instagram stories.

Snow.

The snow finally rolled in during the wee hours of Monday morning. The school had already called off. It wasn’t near as much as they expected us to get and by the afternoon was starting a slow melt.

Birthdays.

Monday was also my brother’s birthday. He is my only sibling and is still down in Florida. I wrote about his birth a few years ago. You can find that post here

Delays.

That still meant there would be icy areas so Tuesday was a 2 hour delay for the teens. We had the boys park their cars in such a way that the hubby could get to work since he didn’t get to sleep in like the rest of us.

He left for work…and we slept.

Ice.

The photo was taken while it was still snowing on Monday, but there was still some snow on the cars on Tuesday. Big Mr. needed to go by the bank before school so he cleaned off the remaining snow and proceeded to attempt to leave. However, the snow that had melted the day before and then drained into the shadows under the car had turned to ice and his car slid partially across the driveway. It did not careen off the side which is a hill covered in trees, but it would be impossible to get my Jeep past if we couldn’t get it moved.

Problem Solver.

Luckily, the hubby had picked up some salt to be prepared for the snowmageddon we were supposedly getting. I was out frantically spreading salt to get his car moved and then spreading more salt around Mr. D’s car so that he’d be able to get to school. We got it all cleared out before it was time for me to drive Miss Sunshine to school. If Big Mr. hadn’t needed to leave an hour early, everyone would have been late!

University.

Big Mr. has been accepted to both of the Universities to which he applied. We aren’t making the announcement yet because he hasn’t formally accepted, but he’s pretty confident about where he is heading!

Back on Track.

I even managed to put together the post about hiking the star trail. Even better, I made it to my hair appointment that afternoon. The roots are all gone!

Maid.

I was going to say that I wondered where Wednesday went…and then I remembered. The hubby was having a colleague come by our house on Thursday to ride to a meeting. There was a possibility they might come inside. I’m a Virgo…I’m a perfectionist… I cleaned all day…and in the end, they didn’t come inside.

But hey, at least all remnants of dog hair have been removed, the laundry is semi-caught up, and I’ve meticulously cleaned the half bath on the main floor!

No wonder for Wordless Wednesday I was dreaming of having my toes in the sand.

Pi Day.

And I did have some warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top in celebration of Pi Day.

Soccer.

Middle School soccer season has started. The first two games had been cancelled due to snow, so yesterday was Miss Sunshine’s first game.

Photography

I still haven’t bought a zoom lens for my Sony, so I took my old Nikon. I don’t know if I’ve just become spoiled, but I was unhappy with many of the pictures. Also, strangely, even though I shoot on the sports setting so that the shutter speed is quick enough, many photos were not in focus. I don’t remember this happening when I’ve used this camera in the past.

Talking.

It was nice to catch up with some of the ladies that I know from soccer. Many of my days involve little verbal interaction with anyone other than the hubby and teens.

Season Opener.

Their first game was an away game. It was cold and windy, but they won!

Miss Sunshine had a few shots on goal. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the photos. I think this second one is funny because they are closing ranks on her. Not too worry though, just outside of the shot is her teammate who she crosses to.

Blue Ridge Parkway.

To get to this specific away game, taking the Blue Ridge Parkway is more relaxing than driving through the city. However, the sign said it was closed. Once at the game, I learned that it was only if you were heading in the opposite direction. I opted to drive home down the Blue Ridge Parkway. I decided to record part of the drive to put on my Instagram story.

Deer.

Amazingly, I captured a deer running across the road in front of me. I came to a stop because there is almost never one deer. Sure enough, one turned around and ran back to where he came from. I felt bad…the two friends or family members getting separated. I hope the other one waited.

It’ll still be on my story until about 6:00 EST tonight. I may end up adding it to the highlights of my Instagram story though.

Challenge.

How’s that March Challenge coming along? I’m still hanging in there! I accomplished it last night, but I have some rotator cuff issues and can feel my right shoulder beginning to cry.

I am doing forearm planks, but I may end up shifting back and forth between hands and forearms over the course of some coming days. That doesn’t take any pressure off of my shoulder, but movement helps with perseverance.

I feel like there is a fine line that I will be walking. I leave for Aruba in two weeks and am not willing to tear up my shoulder before I go. Right now, I am still fine, but I will be monitoring it closely.

Thursday Doors.

After taking off last week to post about International Women’s Day, I was back with some more Thursday Door this week. These from Hôtel de Ville (the city hall) in Paris.

St. Patrick’s Day.

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? If so, what do you do to celebrate?

As mentioned, we have a party to attend. There is a festival and parade downtown, but I don’t know yet if we will head down there for it.

Sometimes I go back and tweak older posts since I understand a little more about SEO now (very little more). The most recent on that I tweaked was my Are You Irish? post where I talked about my DNA testing. I’ve also learned a little more about photography since then and changed the original photoquote that I had in the post to a background that I liked better. The words are the same and you’ll find that photoquote at the end of today’s post.

Music.

I wanted to pick a “new to me” song by an Irish singer. Rosie Carney is originally from Hampshire, UK, but moved to Ireland when she was 10. She shares her story on her website about her struggles with mental health in an attempt to help break the stigma associated with it. I applaud that and have chosen to share her music this week (plus…her voice is very lovely).

I hope that you all have beautiful weekend and awesome week ahead.

Smile and say hello to a stranger. It mind be the only kind word they’ve heard all day.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

Friday Faves - Edition 40

Friday Faves – Edition 40

Friday.

Today is Edition 40 of my Friday Faves. I feel like I should have a celebration or something. Edition 40 during my year of being 40. Seems special… right?!

Anyway, just know that I’m doing a happy dance to mark my excitement.

I know that might make it seems like my faves this week will be something phenomenal. But, no… it was just a week.

In fact, I have no idea how this day came so fast. Each day I had to remind myself which day of the week it was because I was certain it was really the one before.

When I shared my faves in last Friday’s post, I told you that Miss Sunshine and I were heading down to Greensboro, North Carolina for her final fall soccer tournament. In true teenager fashion, 10 minutes before we were going to head out the door, she discovered that her undershirt (because it was going to super cold!) was at the bottom of her soccer bag and smelled. We ran it through a quick wash and then got it mostly dry and hung it in the car for the drive down. We weren’t really on a timeline. It just gets dark and 5:30 pm and I prefer to travel to parts unknown in the daylight. 3/4 of the drive in daylight wasn’t horrid because the directions were pretty easy.

After checking in to the hotel, Miss Sunshine and I went to eat at Logan’s Roadhouse. I don’t know if you have these where you are, but it’s a chain. There are barrels of peanuts around and pails of them on your table. The shells are thrown to the ground.

This place would be a horror to anyone with a peanut allergy. Luckily, we don’t have that problem. We had a nice steak dinner while Miss Sunshine regaled me with ideas for an invention she must think up as part of an essay to apply to a specialized high school around these parts.

Her first game the next morning was delayed due to the earlier games needing to start later… because there was FROST on the ground. That game was tie. The later game they won 11-0. They needed to keep it a shut out from a point system, but as the score climbed, the players were moved around to positions they don’t often play in order to not humiliate the other team. Sunday was an 8 am game. Ugghhh… This meant that I got up at 5:45 am. I don’t even do that during the week. We watched the sun rise over the highway on the drive to the fields. They won that game 8-0. This meant they would head into the championship against the team that they had tied the previous day.

And they came out the victors!

They won the game 1-0. I’m not going to delve in too deep about the poor sportsmanship shown by the other team during the game. I will say that in the 7 years that Miss Sunshine has played soccer, I have never seen a player stand there at kick at another player’s ankles while they are waiting for a throw-in. Which happened right in front of the sideline. You get injured in soccer. I get that. Miss Sunshine had a nasty bruise on her inner lower leg. I have no problem with that. It’s the unfortunate mishap when two people are both going for the ball. I do have issue with the dirty, sometimes dangerous moves that were happening. The center ref did not have control of the field and we’re lucky none of the girls were seriously injured. And in true poor sportsmanship fashion, the other team did not even attend the medaling ceremony to collect their medals.

But enough about that!

Here’s how I entertain myself while I try to stay warm in the car during her warm-ups.

Aren’t Snapchat filters so much fun! I felt just like a sleepy bear needing to hibernate for the winter. But I did get to pull out that cashmere scarf that I bought in Scotland! FYI- if you haven’t been around the blog long enough to have read about my trip to Scotland, the scarf was Made in Scotland. You have to see those words on the tag to know that it was actually made there. I’m glad somebody gave me the heads up about that before I traveled there.

So…speaking of filters.

Miss Sunshine had a presentation to do in Spanish today. It required photos of the family. This is the one I chose of me. The hubby took this shot while we were at lunch at Mabry Mill. The lighting was harsh and showed how badly my face needed some lotion or some makeup (and maybe 20 years taken off). I did let her take in a selfie of the hubby and me that wasn’t edited, but this wasn’t going up on a Powerpoint in front of the class without some editing.

I don’t often talk about my editing because each photo is different. Some are edited, some are not. Some a little, some a lot. I don’t have Lightroom yet.  That’s next on my list, but my laptop is almost out of space so I need to migrate my photo library to an external hard drive and I get scared about losing my photos in the process

I thought that just for fun I’d tell you how I edited this photo of me.

First of all, here are the settings for the Sony Alpha 7 II:  ISO 250 | 28 mm | f/4.5.

It was shot on Aperture Priority. I was the one who chose the depth of field. I’m a fan of shallow depth.

Right now I just have the Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 mm OSS lens. I want to add a 50 mm f/1.8 so that I can have an even shallower depth. The issue is that the Sony lens costs 3x more than a Nikon or Canon one. You can buy adapter rings for those lenses to fit…so it’s just a matter or deciding which route to go.

But back to the editing.

I edited this photo in the Snapseed App on my phone. Sometimes I also use the VSCO app or A Color Story app for certain things, but I predominately use Snapseed.

Miss Sunshine needed to get this into her Powerpoint, so I needed to edit quickly. I’ve never used the “looks” part of Snapseed, but I checked out Smooth. It made me look fake. I did not want that (heck, I left all those forehead wrinkles that show up when I raise my eyebrows. Ok… they sort of stay there even when my eyebrows are in a normal position. 36 years in the Florida sun with fair skin will do that. Add four more years of dry, cold Virginia winters…and…yeah). The portrait “look” was a more realistic filter so that was what I used. Under Curves, I added U01. I liked how it added a tone reminiscent of an 80’s film photograph. Then it was time to tune the image and make it a little more unique than just laying filters on it. Here’s what I chose: brightness +4, contrast +2, saturation +7, ambiance +5. I actually start from the bottom of this list and work my way up, adjusting to my preference. Sometimes I may work with highlights and lowlights after that, but not always.

And there you have it!

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I picked up a new journal this week. Not because I needed one, but because I thought it was pretty. Sometimes you just need pretty. I haven’t decided what I want to fill its lines with. Will it be a story? Will it be lists? Will it be thoughts?

Big Mr. applied to his first college and is working on a few other applications. Mr. D becomes a solo driver tomorrow. Each of those things makes me realize how close we are moving to them flying from the nest.

As I think about the leaves that are now falling from the trees, I recognize a new season approaching.

Both in the weather and in my life.


The song I chose this week is by the Australian, Xavier Rudd.

I made the executive decision this week to push my 5k goal into the spring. The cold and I don’t get along and I want to enjoy my first race.

This presents a training issue. I gave up my yoga classes to run…and I miss them. I don’t want to give up my Pilates classes either, so I’ll have to rethink my schedule.

As I sat today, in day 48 of meditation, I realized that I often make my life more complex than it needs to be.

I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend. It’ll be my first without a soccer game, but Miss Sunshine has to finish up a project for Science so I’ll likely be around the house. Sounds like a good time for some book reading. I need to make some headway on Middlemarch.

In any given moment we have two option: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety. - Abraham Maslow

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves – Edition 35

Friday.

For many people this symbolizes the end of the work week. A time to spend relaxing over the weekend.

For me, it’s symbolizes the end of my large spaces of quiet time. The weekend is often a time spent cheering from the sidelines of Miss Sunshine’s soccer games. A time spent driving to said soccer games. Finding those moments to make sure that I am connecting with my sons while they are out filling their weekends socializing with their friends. Taking time to sit and talk with the hubby without a timeline.

Last Friday, Miss Sunshine and I went to Richmond for a soccer tournament. That night we met a friend and went to Dave and Buster’s (kind of like Chuck E. Cheese for the older crowd…better food…and beverages). It was a lot of fun. I even remembered to ask for “no straw” for my water and when the waitress brought out my Strawberry and Watermelon Margarita, she brought it sans straw. Score!

Richmond has a zillion ways to get to an end location. I thought I had specified the way that I wanted the GPS to go…. I hadn’t. It decided the shortest way was a toll road that I’d never been on so the other mom was putting the address into her GPS as well just so we could make sure that we weren’t heading to some random place. It was fine. We got back to the hotel. I was proud of my merging skills…and relieved that at 10:00 at night, the roads were surprisingly empty. I do love these days of map apps talking me through my turns!

Saturday’s games were actually in the afternoon, so we had a relaxing morning.  Miss Sunshine even joined me in a 10 minute meditation session. They won both of their games for that day. We had a team dinner that evening, rounded out by Miss Sunshine’s favorite….

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Chocolate Ice Cream.

Her final game was at 10:00 am on Sunday. Quite often, the set up of games depends on how many teams are playing. Miss Sunshine is a U15 and there were six U15 teams at this tournament. Three teams are separated into Bracket A and three into Bracket B. Saturday’s games determine when you will play on Sunday. Unlike many of the tournaments that she plays in, this tournament did not do a semi-final (where #1 of Bracket A plays #2 of Bracket B, and reverse) and then have a a championship game. This tournament, the #1 of each bracket immediately played each other. This meant that we knew the girls would medal.

The question was…1st place or 2nd.

And they won the Championship!

After our long drive home, I relaxed and did my meditation. I decided to sign up for the meditation challenge that I mentioned in last week’s post. That started on Monday. I’ve been very pleased with it so far. It’s also crazy to me that I have meditated for 13 days straight.

The hubby had Monday off, so we had a semi-lazy day and went to lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Tuesday I had a doctor’s appointment, so my week was still out of sync at that point. Ahh…Wednesday, I finally made it to Pilates! And Thursday, I finally it back to the treadmill for my run. I was worried that the time off might have been detrimental, but I ran 3.13 of the 3.2 miles without stopping.  That’s the farthest I’ve run without needing to walk for a minute in between spaces of distance. Keep your fingers crossed that I can do it again on my next run!

Journals

I have had some ideas for a novel rolling around in my mind for the longest time. Fear that my words won’t be good enough always makes me just not pursue. After reading Big Magic, I’ve finally committed to at least trying to put my words to paper. Each day I sit down with that black journal and sometimes the words spill from my mind and through my fingertips onto the paper and other times I sit down and they roll round and round in my head, but refuse to be coaxed onto the paper. I have come to a space of peace with that process. If it wants to be written, then eventually it will.

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I’ve also had some luck on a semi-mystery for which I was once seeking answers. In watching the DVD’s of my grandmother, it made me interested in once again trying to look up a person that she mentions. My grandmother, Reva (technically Violet Reva, but she always went by Reva), was named after the midwife at her birth, Reva Boan. I also knew that she was a Native American.

When I first joined Ancestry.com, I tried looking up her name. I’m pretty sure I spelled it Bowen…and had no luck.  This time I tried a search where I estimated how old she may have been and looked in Superior, Arizona (which is where my grandmother was born). This time it brought up a 1930 census of a Reva Boan married to a Butler Boan. Making it even more likely that I had found the correct person was the fact that Butler was listed as  a machinist at a copper mine. My great-grandfather, William Everett Van Hoose, was also a machinist at a copper mine at that time. A little more digging and I found the Dawes Census Card for Anna Reva Tyler, born October 11, 1905. She was 1/2 Choctaw. She died in 1975, having remarried and become Reva Silverman. I could discover no children.

Then, yesterday, I was thinking about how I hadn’t told my mom that I had found her and my phone rings and it’s my mother. During the conversation she needed to run inside an office and call me back. When she went to call me back, her screen was on the number to call my grandmother (if you’re new to the blog, my grandmother passed away in November of 2013). I decided perhaps I should dig a little deeper. It turns out that she became an artist. One snippet indicated she may have once had a painting hanging in the Smithsonian. I do not know if that was factual. From what little I can find, she was perhaps well known in the Phoenix area from the 1940’s through at least the 1960’s. In this age of the internet, you’d think I could find at least one of her paintings to be able to see it. So far I haven’t had any luck. I know that she was very active in the Arizona Artist’s Guild, so I may reach out to them. As a side note, if you’ve ever heard of the artist, Reva Boan aka Reva Boan Silverman aka Reva Silverman, let me know.

The music I’ve been listening to while I run is a 90’s music channel…. so I’m throwing it back this week.

So that was my week….

How was yours?

No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away. -Terry Pratchett

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 32

Friday Faves – Edition 32

It’s Friday!

Time for a weekly round-up of some of my faves from the week.

In last Friday’s post, I mentioned finding the scene settings on my Sony Alpha 7 II.

Miss Sunshine had a game the next day, so I was able to put it to use.

 

I do love being able to freeze action shots. When I scroll through a series, it’s like looking at a flip book. Each picture a slight movement forward, capturing the essence of the play. There was a series that I loved of Miss Sunshine where she’s chasing down a ball. She starts the series of shots well behind the other player chasing down the ball. Over the course of 6 or 8 photos, you can see her catch-up and pass the defender, steadily putting space between them. Unfortunately, the goalie gets to ball, but I love being able to watch her turn on her speed.

I chose this shot to share because I like how Miss Sunshine (in the white) and the other player are frozen in this fight for possession of the ball.

Also, look at the background! Sometimes when I’m pining for my hometown Floridian roots, I forget that Virginia is a gorgeous place.

Of course nature does whatever she wants, but today is the first day of autumn. Some of the higher elevations are beginning to see color changes. As we progress into the season, that mountain will begin to be filled with yellow and reds, a spectacle of color.

Miss Sunshine has to be early to the fields for warm-ups. This leaves me time to wander around with my camera before games. I haven’t been on many outings recently and my nearby views had left me uninspired. I was beginning to wonder where my photographic passion had hidden itself. Wondering if my eye for the beauty in the simplicity had went on hiatus.

But I found it again that day. I have some photos that I’m still processing, but wanted to share this series where I was working with aperture (how much I wanted in focus).

The series was taken with my Sony Alpha 7 II with the Sony FE 3.8-5.6/28-70mm lens. This is the only lens I have at this time. I’m hoping to add a 50 mm/1.8 and a longer zoom, but am still working through which brand I want. The Sony lenses are pricier than other options and there are adaptors that make using other brands possible.

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/14

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/3.5

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/22


Which do you prefer?

I took these shots handheld, so the differences between f/14 and f/22 may have been more pronounced had I used a tripod.  However, the water and the log are more in focus on the f/22.

On Sunday, we decided to have an outing down at the Greenway. Roanoke has a great Greenway, quite a bit of which runs along the Roanoke River. Miss Sunshine likes to take Maverick to play because she wants him to have a love for water.

Speaking of Maverick….

 

 

He finished Beginner dog training!

This is the first dog that we’ve ever taken for training. Our original goal was for the socialization. He was frightened by other dogs when we first brought him home. By the end of this 6 weeks, he was wanting to be friends with them all. He was in love with a little maltese named April. Every week he was so excited to get to go visit her.

Oh… and he learned sit, leave it, loose leash walking, shake, come when called…amongst some other things.

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Most of my week was filled with what I do…. mom-ing.

Miss Sunshine has soccer practice twice a week, physical therapy twice a week, games… Big Mister had a consultation with the oral surgeon for wisdom teeth removal… I fed people…I washed their clothes…I signed my name on school papers…I handed out money from the bank of mom…

And somewhere in there, I found time to get to Pilates, to train myself to run, edit some photos, and write some words.

Some weeks I wonder where all the hours went. This was one of those weeks.

Is it just me, or do you ever have weeks like that?


 

I’ve been enjoying the recommendations in music from YouTube. I’ve found bands or artists that I might not otherwise have discovered. That’s the case for my song choice this week. Tom Walker’s hometown is Manchester, U.K.  I did google him and discovered that he’s actually about to tour the United States.  He’s going to be on tour with The Script. He’ll be in Charlotte, NC, which would have been a doable journey…if I wasn’t still raising children. Unfortunately, it’s on a weeknight and late enough that it would require an overnight. Oh well, maybe hearing him live should be an excuse for a future trip back to the U.K.

Hmmm…

 

I hope that you all are enjoying this first day of Autumn and that your weekend is filled color.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves – Edition 31

Friday.

This week has been a blur. If you read my post on Monday then you know that my family in Naples was affected by Hurricane Irma, but that they are all safe.

I don’t spend much time on my personal Facebook page. When I do visit it, I usually catch up on people’s lives in a stalker-ish type of way.  I don’t always have anything to add, so my comments are infrequent and I rarely fill in the “what’s on your mind?” box to add to my page. That has been completely different this week. I have been the relayer of updates on my family to the rest of the extended family. I have shared information about local resources so that those who do have internet are able to know where to find them. I have checked updates of others to be sure they made it through the storm safely.

I have heard from friends who had to take turns holding the door so that the wind did not blow it in. I have cousins and friends who have waited 3-4 hours in line for gas. I have seen photos of the devastation. Photos from Naples…streets I have walked on. Photos from Immokalee … the town I graduated high school from. Photos of lives ripped apart.

Yet, I have also been privy to hear of the kindnesses and compassions that have taken place in the wake of devastation.


 

I mentioned that I did not attend Miss Sunshine’s game last Sunday. However, I did attend her game in Lynchburg that Saturday.

Normally, this is not a photo that I would share because the ball and hands aren’t in focus. I know that some people like that movement in their shots, but that would not have been my preference for this photo.  Even if I had frozen the shot in focus, I would have known that this is right at the throw by the fact that her foot is being dragged. [Handy hint if you don’t know soccer…futbol…both feet must stay on the ground during a thrown-in. This action gives you more oomph.]

I’m sharing the photo because I finally took the time to learn something new about my camera because I was frustrated by this shot. I am still working on learning how things work on manual and aperture priority modes, so when I can’t practice (such as for a game) I’ve been relying on Auto mode.

My Nikon had a handy-dandy action setting right on the top knob. On that setting, the shutter speed was always quick enough to freeze movement. On Auto mode, my Sony Alpha 7II, captured this photo at: ISO 100, f/11, 1/250… too slow of a shutter speed. I did know the Sony had a scene selection (the SCN setting on the top control knob), I just didn’t know how to change it.  Once on it, you press the menu button and under the camera tab you can find scene selection (mine was on page 7). Ta-da! Now I need some more action shots…good thing Miss Sunshine has a soccer game tomorrow.

 

I mentioned earlier in the week that I often pick up movies at the library. These were a couple that we recently watched.

Have you seen either of them? What did you think?

Wales is a place that my heart has always been drawn to and that I hope to get to visit, so I found the landscape scenes in King Arthur to be entrancing. As far as The Zookeeper’s Wife, I love movies based on true stories about people who did brave things.

Yay…me! In case you missed Tuesday’s postI turned the Big 4-0 on the 12th. We decided to have a family dinner at Outback and then came back home for cake.

I was sooooo stuffed, but it was all sooooo good.

My parents had already sent me presents in the mail which I saved to open on my actual birthday. I love this bracelet and they also sent a wine glass that says the same thing.

I like that…aged to perfection.

 

 

The last time I went home was Memorial Day. I flew in to meet my mom and aunt before we drove to Miami the next day to fly to Scotland. I spent most of my brief time in Naples visiting all my family, but I wanted to see the beach. All the beaches were packed, not a parking spot in sight, so my mom dropped me off at my favorite beach, Lowdermilk Park, and drove around while I breathed in the heavy scent of salt upon the air and snapped a couple of photos. Today, my hometown still weighs heavy on my heart. My parents are clearing debris and traveling into the city to assess damage to my Papa's home while he remains in a rehab facility…my brother will need to replace his roof…aunts and uncles have sustained some minor damage. But they are all safe and that is what matters. My heart goes out to those who no longer have a place to lay their head. I know the community is and will continue to come together…because that's what they do…that's who they are… #CollierStrong . . . .#visitflorida #roamtheplanet #roamflorida #pocket_beaches #ihavethisthingwithcolor #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #optoutside #theoutdoorfolk #theglobewanderer #fromwhereistand #wearetravelgirls #dametraveler #darlingescapes #passportready #letsgosomewhere #traveldiaries #travelstoke #liveauthentic #lifeofadventure #modernoutdoors #ladiesgoneglobal #natureaddict #naturehippys #visualsoflife #exploretocreate #sonyalpha #seekthesimplicity #floridastrong

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Stress has consumed much of my week. Sometimes I let it paralyze me, but I finally got back into the gym on Wednesday and once again started tackling my mile long to-do list.

I was in Florida for Hurricane Wilma. It feels strange to be away from my family as they move through this cleanup process after Hurricane Irma.

The song I chose this week is by the band Broods. They are out of New Zealand and I like their music. I chose this specific song because…my parents were the beginnings of the formation of this woman who is still discovering…still growing…still evolving.

I hope that you all have an amazing weekend.

Fall is on the march here in Southwest Virginia. Leaves are beginning to change. The sun’s not sure he wants to cooperate with cooler weather, but I still plan to get out and walk amongst the trees.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 29

Friday Faves -Edition 29

Here we are at Friday!

Before I get into my faves this week, I just wanted to take a moment to let those who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey know that you are in my thoughts and prayers

Having spent the first 36 years of my life in Florida, I am well aware of the devastation that a hurricane can cause.

Hurricane Wilma 2005 in Naples, FloridaI grew up in rural Collier County and remember the trees swaying deeply as Hurricane Andrew came in and devastated Homestead. I remember watching the news for the track on Hurricane Charley in 2004 and the moment when Jim Reif announced the not yet predicted slight movement to the East that would bring Charley barreling toward Punta Gorda. I would visit Punta Gorda some later and the remnants of destruction would still be visible. In 2012, I would be living a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, in Sewall’s Point, as Sandy made her way past us as a tropical storm. I would see the churning of an angry sea. I would watch as the river flowed beyond its bounds and up into our streets. I would nod my head in agreement that it was wise that school should be cancelled due to the danger of the school buses crossing the causeways in the high winds.

Damage from Hurricane Wilma in Naples, Florida

I would experience the slight effects of other storms, but I would live through Hurricane Wilma in 2005. In fact, it was just 11 months ago that I wrote this post about it, during which time I was concerned about my friends and family who were in the path of Hurricane Matthew.

But I have never experienced such personal devastation. And my heart aches for those that have. I shared in that prior post about this tree above and my opinion as to why it broke during the storm. If you look at the first photo, you will see that pine trees grow densely. They bend together in a storm. Their unity gives them strength. This pine tree stood alone. He took all of the brunt of the Hurricane force winds…alone. And he did not survive.

I hope that all of those affected by Hurricane Harvey continue to see growing bonds of unity.

Sorry, I have no good segway into my faves after that display of emotion…

So how about with some beer?

You all know from this post that I finished my 30 days of no alcohol. We decided to rent Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and I thought this would be a fun craft beer of choice to go along with the show. The movie was hilarious and the beer was tasty!

Another exciting part of my week was that the hubby finished painting my room! Yay! Peaceful serenity! My room color is the color of choice throughout my house…Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams. It’s a great neutral, but also makes me feel like I’m at a spa or by the ocean (which is where my heart resides). I’m so glad my friend introduced me to this color! Thanks friend!

Also, I finally found a duvet cover (yes, my bed could be made to look more like a magazine ad, but you know…real life and all). I’m not big on buying something just to take something that bit the dust’s place. My duvet cover finally had to meet its maker about 4-6 months ago. It’s taken me that long to find one that I like and that didn’t cost an exorbitant amount. This one is linen and I found it at Macy’s. It was either on clearance or a really big sale. Nevertheless, I’m super happy with it. As you can tell, I’m a fan of neutrals. We don’t do throw pillows because they just get “thrown” into the chair that’s in the corner on the right. Things hanging out in that chair (like some people’s clothes. ahem) is a massive pet peeve of mine.

I did see where there are some nice covers you can get for body pillows and that can be the decoration in the middle.

Have you seen this done? What do you think?

Soccer life has been crazy this week. Miss Sunshine needs some physical therapy for her knee so on the nights that she didn’t have practice, she had therapy. To keep myself occupied I played with Snapchat filters. I don’t actually snapchat, but I do love the filters. We head to Charlottesville tomorrow for a weekend in the rain at a tournament.

I know that I’m going to need to plan ahead to be mindful of my September Challenge.

If you follow my Instagram stories, then you know that one of my 2017 goals is to participate in a 5k. Originally, I didn’t care if I walked the entire thing, I just wanted to participate in one. Well I’ve decided that I might be a little more competitive than that.

I had some cash to spend at the sporting goods store from earlier backpack purchases.I went there looking for sports bras…but no luck. So far, I only like the Knockout Bra by Victoria’s Secret. In yoga and pilates, I spend time on my back for core work and there’s nothing I hate worse that hooks digging into my back. Plus, anything that says S, M, L… instead of a bra size, never actually works for me. Fun fact: I worked at Victoria’s Secret as a second job when I was 18, so I actually do know how things are supposed to fit.

I ended up finding this really cute Calia tank. Honestly, I’ll probably wear it all the time, not really for working out.

Yesterday, I went to see how long it would take for me to run/walk/power walk 3.2 miles. I’ve never been a runner because I get anxiety if I feel like I can’t get enough oxygen in my lungs. This is why I don’t particularly enjoy snorkeling and haven’t (and may never) been scuba diving.  I could tell the difference made by learning how to breathe in yoga and pilates. I finished it in 44.5 minutes. While I didn’t crush it, it was my first time, and I was pleased.

Since I want to make sure I don’t injure myself by trying too much too soon, I’ve downloaded a Couch to 5k app that I plan on implementing for training starting next week.

Are you a runner? Have you ever run a 5k? Or more? Let me know!

My song choice this week is because I find it uplifting and fun. I’m working really hard on me. On being me. On being happy with me. Feeling confident and strong. Making choices that move me in that direction.

Also, I had a recent conversation with Miss Sunshine about feminism. That I do consider myself a feminist because I think women should be paid the same for doing the same job. I don’t think they are lesser in any way. But I also don’t agree with the contingent (which is hopefully a small contingent) who believe that you must also bash men in the process. Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Because as with many divisive things… it moves us no closer to a solution.

I hope that your weekend is filled with more sunshine than mine appears to be.

Remember how far you've come, not just how you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. -Rick Warren

Let your light shine!

Amy