19. IF YOU HAD TO MOVE TO A STATE OR COUNTRY BESIDES THE ONE YOU CURRENTLY LIVE IN, WHERE WOULD YOU MOVE AND WHY?

This question fits well into the conversations being held about the results of tomorrow’s United States Presidential election. While everyone else who threatened to move to Canada packs their bags, I’ll be heading to a different region. Right now it’s a two-way tie between 2 locations where it’s a gift to be able to take up residence in either town.

PROVENCE, FRANCE

prov-home

Click on photo to book a room to stay here. I don’t earn commission but I might beat you to it!

To me, this charming yet sturdy medieval area offers a romantic lifestyle filled with rolling lavender fields, weekend mornings spent walking through narrow streets to wide-open markets only to return with a basket filled with fresh flowers, produce and meat. One’s country home truly may be a castle, as sturdy as the medieval ones sprinkled throughout the valleys.  Walking into the ruins of any castle sends you back in time in history.  

Life feels simpler, yet more luxurious when starting the day rising slowly from your cloud of down beds and comforters. Vibrant purple lavender covers the countryside, bright yellow sunflowers populate the fields, and lemon yellow, blue, green and red cover many tables in town.  At the same time, one may wander from their farmhouse into a Michelin starred restaurant that serves the region’s best vintage wines and unforgettable food.

SANTORINI, GREECE

santorini

Rent this spot through airbnb by clicking on the photo. Save our spot in the chairs, I’ll grab wine!

A certain confidence comes from living on top of a volcanic eruption, separate from other parts of the world on this island in the Aegean Sea.  One feels closer to God (or the Gods, based on Greek Mythology) based on the altitude and the frequency of beautifully domed churches.  In other parts of the world the layout of the island, with literally so many people living on top of each other, could test even people’s strongest nerves. In Santorini, the proximity means you have others to appreciate nature’s gifts with – as witnessed by how the whole island seems to take a break during the transition from day to night celebrating each sunset.

One feasts like the Gods with fresh Greek salads, feta cheese, phyllo dough drizzled in honey, fresh meats and sea foods nourishing our bodies. Suddenly the sculptures of the Greek Gods seem accurate in their portrayal of health and strength and totally achievable… until the ouzo and baklava comes out.  

Both of these places slow life down unapologetically and remind us that we are fortunate to inhabit this Earth. They’ve both been around for ages so stop and sit, listen and learn a while.

So VOTE in the comments! Where should I go? Where would you go?
Would you stay in your country, but just visit another state/province/territory?
Where have you visited that was the strongest departure from where you live?

 

#Greece #Santorini #Provence #France #SouthofFrance #MedievalFarms #MarcandAngel #HackLife #Vote #Election2016

Advertisements

CURRENTLY: November 2016

Here I am again, daydreaming and trying to distract myself from the election!  I’m hopeful for a quick and final decision so that we can shrug and move onto holiday preparation!  If you’d like to give yourself something else to think about and and do this exercise, share your links below!

CURRENTLY LOVING
Holidays are a family affair and I received this fun Knock Knock stuff that will weave the family together for this season. The 20 Holiday Vouchers help you enlist the family for assistance, but also remind you all to take family time over the holiday. The sweet Spread the Love journal becomes a keepsake remembering what about that person tugs on your heartstrings …and I guarantee it’ll pull on theirs!  Sorry, but the Vouchers already sold out for this year, but browse the Spread the Love journals – available in a variety of styles!

nov-hello2

CURRENTLY INDULGING IN
Don’t ever feel guilty about only sending a card again!  Letterpress Holiday cards by Papermum Press are a gift in and of themselves. The impression of the letterpress gives your card depth, and emphasizes the quality of the paper. For every color on the card, they pass each card through the printing press again. The printer’s expertise and artistic eye comes through in every card. Maybe we’ll get an up close look one day soon

nov-llttr

CURRENTLY DAY DREAMING ABOUT
My next themed birthday party.  I love doing themed parties – in the past I held a non-tragic TITANIC party for my son, a SPY TRAINING CAMP for my daughter.  For work, we recently hosted a conference but gave the guests the true California experience. Now, I’m creating an Oceans 16 themed event. Being a Walt Disney fan, creating events that appeal to every sense with unexpected surprises invigorates me. Pictures to come!

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO
This music choice perfectly represents my gemini-ness:
21 Pilots Heathens perfectly portrays the delicate line between pained control of Marvel’s Suicide Squad’s outward appearance but also the betrayal that deeply scarred their hearts.

The Weeknd (featuring Daft Punk) produced a song Starboy that takes me away! The strong beat supports The Weeknd’s dreamy lyrics and the melody just makes my body move –  I’m a star girl!

CURRENTLY OBSESSED WITH
In a world where life is often lived online for the world to see a gift with a secret code feels like something my loved ones would cherish. Though Morse Code was built for communication to connect two individuals, reinventing it into cherished modern jewelry as a way to connect two individuals warms my heart.  The style of the code easily fits with the styles worn by men or women!    

nov-morse

CURRENTLY ANTICIPATING
Every amazing movie from the 80s culminated in the new series Stranger Things!  My children and I binge-watched the series over two nights.  Though they don’t appreciate all of the symbolism from my teen years in the show,  they love the characters and the suspense.  We were thrilled to see that STRANGER THINGS SEASON 2 recently started production!

stranger-things

CURRENTLY WANTING
I know I’m in my mid-40s but the sloth ring may be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and I love the way the designer builds multiple parts to the ring to create depth with her animals. Maybe I’ll get one for myself “and for my daughter” (but it may escape and wander over to my jewelry box one night…)

nov-sloth

WTF: What?! Toes? Feet?

CURRENTLY AVOIDING
The media of all kinds (at least for the next 60 or so hours). Though this blog lives online and we all live in a social media world now, I feel as though the news agencies’ competition for ratings result in exaggerated, sensationalized and even falsified news. This crazy election exacerbated the problem.  So until the election washes over, my screen will be dark except to write my #NaBloPoMo posts. Now if only I could stop political mail from hitting my mailbox.

What favorite song represents you the best?
What indulgence reminds you of your childhood?
What happened to Barb?
Did you vote?

What about you? Consider these:
CURRENTLY REFLECTING
CURRENTLY DRINKING
CURRENTLY WATCHING
CURRENTLY PANICKING
CURRENTLY COVETING
Or dream up your own!

 

#Election #Vote #StrangerThings #MorseCode #Holidays #Sloth #Ring #Jewelry #Journal #KnockKnockStuff #TheWeeknd #21Pilots #Disney #Marvel #SuicideSquad #Heathens #Starboy #Letterpress #HolidayCards #NaBloPoMo #StarboyAMAs

TAKING A BULLET (JOURNAL) FOR YOU

I’ve always wavered between paper time management tools and electronic ones, probably because I deal with a daily showdown of my left and right brain. I love setting up new organizational systems but the first time the post-it notes start to take over, I know my system has failed.  

Until now, I used a combination of Outlook calendar, iCalendar on my phone, and a shared document spreadsheet to keep my family and life in order.

Rather than explain my madness, I’ll simply say that an “Analog System for the Digital Age” flew by my head one day, clipping my memory and leaving a lasting mark. It appears to be mindful, simple and succinct like my paper systems, yet stores and recalls info like a computer. Ryder Carroll invented this system called the BULLET JOURNAL (BuJo for short).

WHAT I LOVE:

  • This system seems streamline, visually clean, very adaptable and customizable, and works well with my creatively chaotic mind.

  • The scheduling system reminds me of a refined Franklin Covey system (which I used 15 years ago) so it already made sense to me. Like the Franklin Covey system, it’ll be the best thing that happened to me or the absolute biggest time suck.
  • I love that I can create layouts for any project or goal I have from reading books to exercise!

  • I love that I can be as streamline or embellished as I want – I decided to start simpler to form the habit of using it.
  • I love using colored pens – they make me happy! Pens that don’t get bloppy keep my hands clean and pages smudge-free! I have pens stashed in my purse, in my car and at my work desk.

      • Knowing how much I love books – carrying a bound journal with me feels elegant. 

      WHAT SCARES ME:

      • I’m a researcher and decided to do an internet search for Bullet Journal and almost lost my mind.  This system has blown up and evolved into:
      • So many creative systems (Pinterest)
      • Support groups (Facebook)
      • How-to videos (Youtube)
      • Fandoms (Instagram)
        for a second I was regretting finding this fabulous system.  
      • Seriously what started as an efficient dot, square, and journal system was taken hostage by all the scrapbookers and now the pages have doodles, washi tape, fancy folds, and calligraphy!  The way my mind works, if I can’t do it that beautifully – do I want to do it at all?
      • My OCD (self-diagnosed) and Type-A tendencies.  Though I did set up my journal and survived a few mistakes without hyperventilating.  

        MY JOURNAL:

        I researched what journal to get as well. Many people preferred the Leuchtturm1917 Journal with dots on the pages to help guide your pen. Due to the fact that I “had to” start my journal right away, I walked to the university bookstore where I work and walked out with a Moleskine graph journal with a pocket in back for forms I collect. No pen loop? No problem. 

        I started with a simple layout based exactly on Ryder’s system featuring:

        The Index

        The Weekly Layout (see Ryder’s video to learn how to set up your journal)

        Again, I started simple with the following key to guide me, but used colors to keep my categories separate.

        The 2nd month I decided to try a new Weekly Layout that allowed me to separate Household, Blogging/Social Media and Appointments/Miscellaneous.  This allows me to better visualize the plates I have in the air.


        NOTE: My Secret Code: Cursive! My kids can’t read it easily – which is another blog post all together!

        Will this be the perfect system for me? Only time will tell – but being in November, I’m starting to feel the pressure to commit to a system for 2017. Stay tuned…

        What about you? Have you tried bullet journaling? Do you have any layouts that have changed your life? Do you have a different system you love?

        #PILOT #ACROBALL #bulletjournalformoms #bulletjournal #bujo #organizers #calendar #organization #Moleskine #journal #Leuchtturm #RyderCarroll

        PJ WILDERNESS: 2nd STEP – ASK FOR TIME OFF

        Welcome back to the PJ Wilderness!  So now you’ve picked a destination but aren’t sure if you have the time.  Why is it we slave away being everything to everyone, meeting every deadline, closing deals, racking up vacation time, yet when it comes time to use it we feel guilty!?! Yet, how crazy do we feel when Monday rolls around, as always, and we haven’t found Me time?  These tips will help you find time to wander off through the PJ Wilderness whether you have vacation time to burn or not.

        clocl3

        WTF: Wanted – Time Found

        Give yourself time off:
        You must give yourself permission to pay attention to you – it’s not selfish!  Your inbox will constantly overflow and your house will continually get messy (rapidly, if you have a family or roommates). Whether you feel the stress creeping up on you, or you have hit the wall and need to change now, you deserve to be a priority in your life.

        How Much Time?
        Start small: I am re-reading “Don’t sweat the Small Stuff” in my restroom.  It’s a small book broken down into even smaller chapters of 1-3 pages so I go in to brush my teeth and promise myself I won’t leave until I’ve absorbed another lesson.  It takes me off of auto-pilot and brings me to the present and I’ll chip away at the book (and it keeps me from rushing through my dental hygiene)!

        …or leap! Following my divorce, I forced myself into a large goal and recurring commitment to train a few hours a week for a marathon.  Also, because it was for charity – it got me around feeling guilty about taking the time for myself.

        Be flexible: You may not have the luxury of months off like Elizabeth Gilbert did. Bill Bryson didn’t make the journey in one large chunk of time, he took breaks.  Stay flexible like Cheryl Strayed did, whether you encounter spots that are tough to navigate through, or unexpected things pop up that require you to detour.

        Where to find time: The trick here is allowing yourself time to play, or be still, or scream, but then draw a hard line!  Knowing you’ll have the opportunity again later should make it easier to set boundaries. When things ooze past the boundaries, we start to feel yucky.

        • Hit snooze 1 less time (10 min) to meditate or pray
        • Hit snooze 2 less times (20 min) for yoga/stretches
        • Occasionally while eating (20 min) bring the company of a good book over people
        • Make lists (varies): Overall you’ll spend less time looking for things or  recall what you were doing
        • Leave the phone home: Instead of checking texts, emails or social media, consider closing your eyes and listening, feeling, or with eyes and minds open, chat with someone close in proximity or people watch. Let your mind wander after each sense.
        • Allow time for distractions: To make it easier to be able to shut down the static we live in give yourself 10 min. to read the headlines, check on the latest celebrity gossip, or your friends’ amazing adventures. Then draw the line and move on.
        • Take a long cut: Take a different route to work, or home, or explore the neighborhood you find yourself in while running errands.  You may find some new cafe, some old bookstore, or a sparkly bit of inspiration!
        • Stay in a hotel (Min. 1 night): Rather than catering to everyone, be catered to. Stay in, order room service, hog the bed and remote, and indulge in comfort items such as lavender plants, potpourri, or favorite lotions. Get out, people watch or introduce yourself to fascinating folks you find in the lobby bar! Significant others optional.

        But it’s not “alone time”:  Until you learn to steal a few moments to yourself, learn how to check in with yourself at the drop of a hat.

        • At the stop lights (Varies) to stretch, take a few deep breaths, turn up the volume of your favorite song and sing along or feel the textured steering wheel to get present!
        • While at kids’ practices: (varies – 30 min to an hour) walk around where their practices are held, or sit with headphones in so you can unwind while flashing thumbs ups. 
        • Divide and conquer: While folding laundry, catch up on DVR’d shows. While the kids empty the dishwasher, I lay down for 10 min. When they’re making their beds, I step outside and tend to my plants outdoors.
        • Change it up! Grab friends or family and shock your routine to supercharge your creativity and increase your fun tolerance!  Movies on a school night, stick your toes in the ocean or in the grass, or get a mani/pedi – though I can do my own nails, I love going to the salon to catch up on my gossip magazines. Sometimes the secondary benefits are just as rewarding.

        Simply put, when you decide to make something a priority, it will be. So put yourself at the top of your list.

        Next time we’ll talk about mapping your destination!

        What about you? Where do you steal a few moments for yourself?
        Which do you find easier: Time Management or Time Travel?
        When’s the last time you did something just for you?
        Have you read any of the above “Find yourself in the wilderness” books?

         

        #EatPrayLove #Gilbert #Bryson #AWalkInTheWoods #Strayed #Wild #Time #MeTime #PersonalTime #AloneTime #Down Time #MentalBreak #NaBloPoMo

        HOW’D I WIND UP LIVING IN ONE OF THE 10 BEST PLACES IN CA?

        header

        Shhh! Don’t tell anyone or housing prices will continue to skyrocket, but [whisper] my city was voted one of the 10 Best Places to Live in California! Upon hearing this announcement, (you can call it a midlife or nostalgia) I wanted to retrace our journey that directed us to Redondo Beach.

        On my first visit to the area, 15 years prior to setting down roots here, it wasn’t the sunshine that drew me in, but the taste of the salty air and sound of the waves crashing against the pier pilings. Running between the hot spots, lost in the woody maze of the pier, the texture felt familiar. It was reminiscent of the boardwalk edging the east coast of my childhood. That night, I was there for one fun time and didn’t realize that the sites and sounds would seep into my being (and eventually dictate the feel of my blog).

        Later, when I found myself rewriting my 5-year plan (divorcing, starting over), I felt going home to San Diego would be giving up, but I knew I couldn’t stay put either as my time was up. Initially, upon moving to the coast, I didn’t recall having been there before. Plus, I didn’t know how long I’d stay. 

        Our lives were a bunch of moving parts: Me going through a divorce and starting a new job, my oldest child entering kindergarten, and the youngest at her most active age of 2. I was falling fast, flailing my arms to pull together loose ends and create a new normal.  I’d chosen the area for the following 3 reasons: 1) Great schools; 2) Closer to family; 3) I felt I could just slip right in unnoticed.  Part of me was led by a romantic notion that the sea air and sunsets would heal my uprooted spirit.

        past-future

        At first, I felt I was nothing but noticeable (in my own head) as the divorced mom in a field of adorable married couples. But that big D on my shirt got less noticeable as I focused on helping my kids build their new community as quickly as possible by joining teams! Through my son’s soccer, daughter’s t-ball, and my Team In Training, we met amazing people and slowly started tipping the scales as our happiness grew and life experiences became richer.  

        We met other parents who helped me set the kids on a positive and hopefully long, windy path of discovery about themselves.  Growing up, I’d moved a lot and lived places for on average 4 years. I started a lot of things, then left many of them undone. I never did a drastic mid-school year move or anything, but as soon as I’d get to know people, or be introduced to something fun, we’d move, and do something different. So when it came time to choose where we’d move, it was a significant decision that I didn’t take lightly.

        I love that our city that feels larger than some of its neighbors, but occupies a small footstep within our county. It is anchored with main streets with entertainment, food and shopping, yet at the same time, the horizon is wide open with opportunity and possibility. I love that we’ve actively worked to become a Blue Zone – I’ll explain in the next few weeks – which increases the strength and health of a community!

        10 years is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. I laugh as I ponder that to newcomers, I’m a local! While I never hope to repeat the circumstances that brought us here, I’m certainly glad for where we landed and grew roots.

        KEEPING UP WITH THE KID ACTION:  POKÉMON GO – WHAT ARE THOSE?!

        So sorry! Seeing a Pokémon ball, Pokémon hunter, and a Jigglypuff out Trick-or-treating made me realize I left y’all hanging since my last Poképost!

        fullsizerender-2

        While wandering around the Pokémon GPS map, a fantastic, mythical creature popped up in your path! What now?  Today’s goal is to get you out there catching any and all Pokémon, plus tools to help you! Pokémon types, evolutions and powers come later*! Again, I use an iPhone 5 – if there are differences with Samsung or better iPhones, leave comments in the bottom.  *Topics with an asterisk will be discussed in a future post – coming soon! If you have specific questions or advice, leave them in the comments below!

        TO CATCH POKÉMONS
        When the Pokémon first appears near you on the map tap on it!

        LOOKS LIKE: The Pokémon will become roughly centered in your line of sight. You will now see the character either where it appears in your reality, or in its world. 

        WHADDYA DO:
        You should have a red, white and black Poké ball at the bottom of your screen. 
        Put your finger on the Poké ball.

        img_0982

        You will see a white stationery circle and a colored circle that gets smaller form on the Pokémon’s head. Slide the ball up the screen then release your finger to launch it towards the circles. If you miss, keep going. If you catch one a ray of light draws the Pokémon into your ball.

        TIP: The Pokémon’s CP number and the color of the inner circle indicate how difficult it will be to catch. Green is easiest, yellow a bit tougher, orange harder still and red is hardest. As you get more practice, aim for the inner colored smaller circle.

        IMG_0983.PNG

        IF YOU CAUGHT POKÉMON
        The ball opens and captures the Pokémon. A red light flashes and after 3 pulses, it shoots stars celebrating your capture.

        A screen shows much Stardust and Pokémon Candy you earned (to help you Power Up* and Evolve* Pokémon) and how many XP points you earned (notice more points for fancy throws) to help you level up.

        The second screen shows your Pokémon’s CP (strength) and other powers* we’ll cover to build a strong team.

        img_0975

        If it’s a new Pokémon, it gets registered in your Pokédex.

        img_0823

        Then you are returned to your map view.

        IF POKÉMON ESCAPES THE BALL
        You can:
        a)
         Keep trying
        b) Run away (by clicking small running man button in top left of screen)
        c) Use more advanced throws.*
        d) Use tools from your bag such as a Razz Berry or a more advanced trap (once you’ve reached a certain level). Tap on the backpack button and it shows you what in your bag is available to be used to help you.

        img_0994

        NOTE: Occasionally the Pokémon disappears in a cloud of smoke. You’ll have to wait until the next time your paths cross.

        WHAT’S IN MY BAG
        When on your regular GPS map view, click on the red, white and grey Pokémon ball at the bottom of your screen. The click on the backpack icon “ITEMS” to find these things (and if you don’t, you will as you level up):

        POTIONS

        To help heal or revive your Pokémon after battling in gyms. Sometimes you’ll have to apply more than one.  If you click on them, it’ll show you which Pokémon need to take it. Clicking on the trashcan next to the name allows you to get rid of some to help keep your bag balanced.

        img_0995

        POKÉ BALLS
        You must have these to catch Pokémon! As you level up, you’ll earn balls capable of catching higher and higher CP Pokémon. You can buy more – but instead, visit Pokéstops to collect more!

        img_2334

        SUBSCRIBE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS:  HOW TO MANAGE MY POKÉMON and WHAT DO ALL THE NUMBERS MEAN?

        I know school limits the amount of time people can play, but the new Buddy feature* helps  you evolve Pokémon faster and I’m hopeful there will be more special promos like they did at Halloween with double the candy earned.  Happy Hunting!

        fullsizerender-1

        WTF: Walk to find!

         

        Are you still playing? What level are you?
        Do you have any tips?
        How has Pokémon changed your lifestyle?  I’ll let you in on our changes next time.

        #PokemonGo #Nintendo #Niantic Labs #Pokemon #Updates

        TOP 10 BEST ADVENT CALENDARS

        elf-meme

        Now that we howled through Halloween I feel like life becomes a game of Chutes and Ladders leading up to Christmas!  On the one hand, time slows down the hourglass a bit as your to-do list becomes filled with larger projects and many social gatherings. On the other hand, it always comes too fast for me. I always wish I had a few more paychecks between now and then to play, gift and donate to everyone I want to.

        So let me start by leap-frogging to December 1st!  For me, anticipation builds my excitement for any holiday! For Christmas, my internal clock gets a break because Advent calendars builds my holiday spirit – one day at a time! While some people carry a traditional method of counting down, I love to mix it up a bit to keep my kids on their toes.

        In no particular order, because my vision of the holidays changes annually, here are my family’s favorite Advent Calendars!

        advent-lego-swars

        So many adventures come from one tiny calendar! Play well with other Legos too!

        1.  Lego Star Wars – After getting this calendar you may not need to do Christmas.  Lego and Star Wars tie for favorite toys with my children so while this calendar carries a larger lifetime – the life of its daily toy is longer than any other from this group. Plus these daily lego toys spawn creativity and the engineering side of my children’s minds which also goes a long way.

        advent-chocolate

        Treat yourself!

        2.  Chocolate – Coming off of Halloween, you may not be as eager to rush out and get a chocolate calendar – until I tell you it’s made by Cadbury!  You may want to buy one for yourself (and a bottle of red wine) and treat yourself during the season where you’re considering everyone else’s treats!

        advent-ring

        For a how-to tutorial, click the picture!

        3.  DIY Paper Rings – I’d say most of us made these rings out of construction paper and hung them on the wall or framing our door to count down days for the holidays or vacations. Whether as a calendar or decoration, its a fun tradition to sit together and make these. During these still quieter moments, the fun stories of old come forth again.  

        advent-mel-doug

        4.  Melissa & Doug Tree – This lovely calendar will become a family tradition as everyone remembers their favorite ornaments to hang on this wooden tree.  The whole family’s excitement will grow as the ornaments decorate more and more of the tree! Melissa & Doug products last long enough to be passed down.

        nativity

        5.  Nativity Scene – As a beautiful reminder for the reason for the season, these calendars recreate the Nativity story with a new addition each day. This gives one plenty of time to ponder each new addition to the story and stop to really consider its significance!

        advent-tsum

        WTF: Welcome These Favorites to your home!  (C) Disney

        6.  Tsum Tsum – Your favorite Disney characters win you over again now that they’re adorably oval! Tsum tsums were this year’s hottest collectible and create stacks of smiles! Again, the hours spent with these will outlast the holiday!

        paper

        I love the simplicity of this look from the allfortheboys.com blog!

        7.  DIY Grab bag – Who doesn’t love opening presents?  This way your family gets a small daily gift you can tailor to fit your style!  Go as simple as a brown paper bag with raffia, all the way to decorative cellophane bags. Gifts can range from Bonus tickets: Watch an extra Christmas special! to favorite treats, or notes to your family! To really torture them, give them 1 clue a day about some surprise that will come their way at Christmas!

        advent-grat

        Click thru to learn how to make the Gratitude Calendar (originally from pragmaticmom.com blog)

        8.  Gratitude – I saw this idea on another blog and LOVE it!  This idea is similar to the one above, only fill each bag with a random act of kindness to complete for others.  OR you can create a Gratitude Journal as they do in the blog post and write down the things you’ve completed – or write down one thing you’re grateful every day. Warms your heart better than hot chocolate!

        advent-alcohol

        9.  Alcohol calendar – To warm your hot chocolate one step farther – may I suggest Alcohol Advent calendars.  I found a company that creates a calendar for you featuring scotch whisky, bourbon, rum or vodka (to name a few). You can peruse their site like a kid in a candy store and custom make your own calendar.  You’re welcome!

        wedge

        10. Wedgewood blue and white jaspar ware (Limited edition of 3; only 1 available online) – For that relative who has everything, why not surprise them with this amazing calendar. Wedgewood’s delicately decorative exquisite pieces set the tone for an exquisite holiday.

        What about you?
        Do you mix it up each year or use an heirloom calendar?
        Can you share other ideas for wonderful ways to count down to the holidays?
        Feel free to share ideas or links!

        Please note that some of these posts contain affiliate links through which I may earn a few coins should you purchase your calendar through them.

        SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT (The rest)

        After finishing our first month of school, I’m reminiscing about my summer escapes.  I let the kids watch videos longer than they should, to savor a few more words (WTF: Wait ’til finished!)!  Sure, they read books, too, but books feel different when optional vs. requisite!

        I’m excited to share this 2nd part of my Summer 2016 reading list. PLUS, one I’m cracking open tonight AND one already Amazon wish-listed – containing unforeseen twists even before creasing the cover. Click on the links to check out the books!

        booksparkschoice

        The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

        My reading pattern alternates between (or reading concurrently) heavy and light-hearted stories. I visited local Dave’s Used Bookstore and found another Sparks book! Though a fairly recent film release, my #BookBeforeFilm mantra insisted I read this one before watching the film that same weekend. Sparks also wove the characters’ pets into the story, for a warm-fuzzy touch to this heart-squeezing story.

        bookmwrinkle

        A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

        (Daughter’s summer reading assignment #1) – I finished this book with my daughter – 4 years after starting it with my son. I wish I’d read this when I was in elementary school because the technology mentioned wasn’t as real then and IT’s power may have been more frightening. Though, on the heels of another internet security breach, the fear feels real. Movie remake coming soon!

        bookserumblefish

        Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton

        (Daughter’s summer reading assignment #2) – Mentioning S.E. Hinton’s name makes me giddy a) Because she is female, b) Successful in her teens, c) And, wrote The Outsiders – THE most amazing story and hunk movie of my teenage years.  I feel like Hinton’s characters speak their truth so well, that you can’t help but empathize and join them in their journey – blow by blow.

        booksparksthree

        Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks 

        I’m always curious to read different genres of my favorite authors to compare story construction. I thought each chapter would begin “Dear Diary, Today we…” Instead, it revealed their adulthood as a result of their childhood – perhaps many of our childhoods, when kids ran free. It was also exciting for me – as a writer – to learn where his life inspired his books (A Walk To Remember) and how he presented those personal stories.


        NEXT IN MIND:

        jk

        The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

        I mentioned starting this book on my Currently – September 2016 list.  Finally I’ll make an honest woman out of me, no kids, red wine, pjs, and grown up book by Jo sounds like the perfect reading environment!

        bookrgcuckoo1

        The Cuckoo’s Calling by Richard Galbraith

        I salivate over juicy mysteries! This one starts in immediately with the author!  I’m the last person on the planet to learn that Richard is really Jo (see above)!  This set of 3  (and growing – named after the lead character/investigator), The Cormoran Strike series, are giving people chills and a thirst for blood pumping crime series!  

        Here are the other two (don’t have to be read sequentially):

        bookrgsilk2     bookrgcareer3

        Though I can’t keep the summer reading pace during the school year, I hope to read one new one per “Currently” post. I want to hear what you’ve read in the comments below!

        1st part of my list is HERE

        What about you? What are you reading next?
        Did you already know about Richard Galbraith?
        Who is your favorite author?
        What book is your guilty pleasure?
        Are you a daily, nightly, weekly or sporadic reader?
        Do you like when books change covers?

        #Readabookday #NicholasSparks #MicahSparks #RomanceNovel #SciFi #Murder #Mystery #BookIsBetter #SummerReading #BookClub #TheCuckoosCalling #RobertGalbraith #JKRowling #MadeleineLEngel #SEHinton #Pseudonym #PenName #AWrinkleInTime #TheChoice #ThreeWeeksWithMyBrother #TheCasualVacancy #CuckoosCalling #Silkworm #CareerOfEvil #CormoranStrike #Detective

        DOES MY BLOG NEED MORE FOCUS?

        LMU’s M-School has an amazing class called Personal Branding that I was fortunate to get a peek of today. First of all it’s never too late to reinvent ourselves and secondly, because I’m currently rebranding and rearranging my blog so this class will ask me all the right questions to get a wide perspective of what I want the blog to focus on.

        Photo from brandincambodia.com on her self-reflective post. Inspired me to reflect!

         

        WHY’D I START THE BLOG ANYWAY?
        This blog (my third) started in 2012 as a daily writing exercise. Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers preached that 10,000 hours honing my skill would make me a pro so my goal was 365 days of 365 words. Whether or not one agrees with Gladwell, one can’t argue that practice helps as does dedicating regular time to your skill. For a few months I spent 2-3 hours a night pounding out 1,500 words about anything I thought twice about, to later reduce to 365. Things stalled while I gathered application materials for/got into grad school.

        Once I got my masters in Communication Management (and realized I am not changing my day job for now) I focused the energy towards rebranding and growing my blog.

        DOES MY BLOG NEED MORE FOCUS?
        Every time I think I have my glittery new focus (MINDFUL MIDLIFE for those still chasing older kids, while chasing down their center so they can remember who they were before kids) then I wanna do a pokemon post or something that demographic doesn’t relate to.

        img_1891

        Mayim Bialik had such a refreshing perspective on blogging and branding!

        MAYIM BIALIK’S ADVICE
        (from Blossom and The Big Bang Theory):
        At the Blogher conference she revealed that her team and marketers are constantly asking her to focus, “What is the theme of your groknation.com blog”? She said, “How about that I’m human and I like to think about a lot of different things?!” Amen, Sistah!

        So now, thanks to growing confidence in my “Why” (whole personal branding exercise to be explained later), I need to go through my content and organize it in general categories that will be easy to navigate. The other thing is being regular. With regular content, people will get to know you and your voice, and the kinds of things that you do. Some will eat up every post, some will only love the cooking or whatever, don’t get caught up on the overthinking part. Truly, if you’re producing posts then that is the most important!

        Over-thinking leads to writers’ block which leads to crickets and tumbleweeds.

        Hey, that’s a cute name for a blog!  #4?!

         

         

        YOU WENT WHERE? CALICO GHOST TOWN (WITH KIDS)

        When first planning a road trip to Vegas, I wanted to break up the drive with stops along the way.

        Such a charming town with so much to discover!

        During our July trip, knowing we were hours ahead of my family, we pulled off the freeway just a few minutes before Calico Ghost town to kill some time!

        The landscape plucks you from now and transports you

        Now this here used to be a bustling silver mining town of 3,000 people  that mined $13-20 million in silver and $9 million in borate minerals between 1881 and 1907 (silver stopped being profitable in 1897). When the mines dried up, the folks headed for the wilderness.

        Townsfolk

        Because we arrived early, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the Calico House Restaurant. The views from their back porch hinted at other things to do while in town. Their rockers out front and the friendliness of the staff inside slowed our speed from freeways to tumbleweeds.

        Town Center is the front porch of the Calico House restaurant.

        With stuffed bellies, we moseyed down the road to the gold panning station!

        (L) Gold! (R) Swirling slowly to get silt out and gold to stay!

        Turns out this was just one of the many adventures in town.

        Next time you’ll find us belly up in the town tavern

        Thanks to the generosity of their new owner (the Knott’s family), there was a great deal if you planned to visit a few.


        While they offer a train trip and a mine tour, we left those for the next time since we had to get back on the road to Vegas (and because my kids are still a bit apprehensive about ghosts)!


        Our three thumb review is 3 thumbs waving in the air trying to find our balance in what we unanimously agree was the best surprise: the Mystery House!

        Look at the angle of the door frame, kids are walking upright!

        My teen son enjoyed repeatedly challenging an optical illusion that gripped our perception! I was totally floored knowing how much your mind could be tricked into believing and my tween daughter loved the extra puns thrown in to really drive that point home.

        Wanna see a man eating chicken?

        My teen son hinted that he felt like there wasn’t enough to do for kids his age – but I’ll counter that by saying there was a lot that we saved for next time including perusing the graveyard. Plus, I think camping near a ghost town may make teenage hearts pound!


        Oh, here’s how hot the World’s largest Thermometer showed it was during our mid-July 6pm drive home.

        WTF: Wow, that’s fiery! It was 119 when we arrived!

        Elmer you’re next!

        #ThreeThumbReviews #Baker #WorldsTallestThermometer #RoadTrip #LasVegas #Calico #Ghosttown #Silver #Mining #LongCut

        Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries