Category Archives: Things I like

My vacation reading.

One of the great pleasures of vacation is devouring a good book or three. Because I had not read much lately, I have quite a reading list.  I somewhat randomly picked three and loved each one.  I keep my list of books to read on Pinterest.  Megan keeps trying to move me to Good Reads, but I have not yet made the plunge.  My running list is here.

big little liesBig Little Lies is set in a fancy Australian community close to Sydney.  It is a funny murder mystery, about a person who was killed at an elementary school fundraiser.  The remainder of the book reveals  how the murder happened, told through the eyes of kindergarten moms.  It is sarcastic and witty, and while I do not have kids, I can imagine the gossipy circles of elementary moms.  This story makes that reality a comedy.  It didn’t warm my heart or make me think, but it was very entertaining.

 

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Nobody’s Cuter Than You Are is a precious memoir on friendship, written by Melanie Shankle, who incidentally, went to Texas A&M at the same time Scott did.  They have friends in common.  I read part of this story out loud to Scott and he also liked it.  I laughed and cried, and took stock of my own friendships.  It made me grateful for the friends I have made in so many different stages of my life.  I read this book in one day and loved every second of it.  Now I want to read her other two books.  She also has  very successful blog that is hilarious.

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Light Between Oceans is the best book I have read in quite some time.  It took me a few chapters to get into it, but boy, it was worth it.  It is the story of a couple who lives on an island off the coast of Australia to maintain a lighthouse.  They encounter a boat on their shores with a surprise that turns their heartbreak into delight, but that later causes bigger problems.  I think this one hit home in some ways and really touched me.  It is a tearjerker, but is very fulfilling in the end.

I hope this is a summer of reading for me.  As I finish a book or two, I will report on them here.  I love having a good book to read, especially in the summer when TV choices are dismal.

 

 

 

Recent favorites

One good thing about my blog hiatus is that I have discovered a whole new collection of favorites to share.  I love discovering new things–brands, products, stores, etc–and hope you do too.

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I don’t keep my love for Trader Joe’s a secret.  I counted down to their arrival in Austin.  Their face soap is fantastic.  It is very similar to Purpose, another of my favorites, but doesn’t take a special trip to CVS and it is a few bucks cheaper.  Who knew you could buy TJ stuff on amazon?

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Another new discovery of mine is face wipes to remove mascara.  The ones from Sephora smell good.  I tear them in half to make them last longer.  I am thrifty that way.  (Others would say cheap.)

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I am also loving Sephora’s Sun Safety Kit.  It is fun to try all the different products without waste.  I bought one last year and it lasted me all summer.  Of course, I have a day job so my pool/beach excursions are fairly limited.

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Moving onto food and back to TJ’s.  My friend, Keira, introduced me to this goodness.  It is the perfect snack at the bewitching work hour when you want to gorge yourself on Cheez-Its from the snack machine.

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Avacado Toast is one of our breakfast favorites.  Sometimes with an egg on top.  Always with a squeeze of Sriracha when mashing. (photo credit above, Faith Durand)

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I may be the last to jump on the Jesus Calling bandwagon.  I love starting my day with this devotional.  I have the app on my phone, which means I have zero excuses to skip it.  Sarah Young speaks to my heart!

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And lastly, my new favorite store in Austin, Spring Frost.  Spring goes to my church, and she has a lovely boutique on Burnet Road (almost as lovely as she is).  Good prices.  Lots of merchandise.  I bought two dresses that I have worn all spring (work and elsewhere), a pair of Hudson black waxed jeans ($50!), and a few other favorites.  My mom, sister and I all went in and came out with a big load.  Which means I need to limit my trips there.

And there you have it!  A few of my favorites.  What are yours?

House update and Stitch Fix

First, wow.  I didn’t know my post about parenthood/pregnancy/fertility would generate so much love.  I am grateful and humbled by the kindness each responder showed to me.  The day I posted, I heard from so many people–on Facebook, texts, emails, comments on the blog.  At the end of the day I fell in bed, exhausted by all the goodness.  Thank you for your offering of words and love.  For anyone who thinks the world is all bad, this day showed me how wrong they are.  There is so much good in this world and you showed it to me generously.  I am grateful.

Second, a house update: We received word that we are approved for a permit and that it is now “available for purchase.”  Fantastic.  So we pay for an application, we pay for various steps along the way, and then we pay when it is ready.  Then we try to close the permit, we have the pleasure of paying for an inspection.  Name of the game: payment.  Fun. Times.  We have a concrete bid, which is good.  We were worried nobody would want to bid on our little project because the Austin building market is nuts right now.  Everyone is busy and not in need of extra work.  Timing is everything and while we bought our house at the right time, we are renovating at the wrong time.  Oh well.  No demo yet.  We need a few more bids first.  Stay tuned.

In other news, I am now into mail order shopping, with a stylist.  Have you heard of Stitch Fix?  Megan got her fix last week and she loves it all!  I got mine a few days ago and kept 2 of the 5 things.

Here’s the concept.  You fill out a fashion questionnaire in which you answer questions like, “how much of the items in this picture do you like?”  “How often do you dress for work?  date night?”  “What body part do you like to flaunt?”  “What colors do you love and hate?”  You can connect the stylist to your fashion Pinterest board even, except I don’t have one.  It is fairly thorough.  You give them your weight, height, sizes, etc.  (THERE IS NO POINT IN LYING!)  And then, a stylist picks out 5 items for you.  Megan got all tops.  I asked for work clothes.  You can customize it.  Each item is $50 or $60.  You can keep it all and get a 25% discount, choose a few things, or send it all back.  If you send it all back, you have to pay a $20 styling fee that is otherwise credited towards the things you buy.

You can subscribe monthly or occasionally.  It seems perfect for people who don’t really like or have time for shopping.

So I got my box with this nice note.

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It also came with these flash card things for how to style the items they sent.

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They sent me a pair of earrings, a sleeveless shirt, 3/4 length-sleeve red shirt, a cardigan and a dress.  I am keeping the red shirt and the dress.  The other stuff is a little boring.

KEEPING.

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RETURNING.

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I scheduled another “fix” for April.  Oh, no.  This is a little addicting.  I will tell you how that one goes.

I can get free clothes if I refer you.  Tons of people are doing this, so don’t feel like you have to use my referral.  But if you would like to, click here.

Updated favorites.

We are days away from getting a permit and I am hopeful it will come within the next few days.  They promised last Friday but Austin was iced over on Friday and I am not complaining about that.  A free day at home is always welcomed.  It seems as if so much of our life is on hold until this remodel happens, but there is still so much to enjoy about life today.  Most are the intangible: the beauty of Town Lake as the sun rises and the energy that comes from running the whole Mopac to I 35 loop with good music as company; the sweetness of having family close by to share groceries and life with; the goodness of friendship; friends who pray for me and vice versa; a husband who still thinks I am hot, even though with every passing day I feel less hot; things to celebrate; weekends with only good things planned; and on and on and on.

I am also enjoying things that are so much less important, but fun to discover.  My most recent favorites are below.

s1482546-main-heroI put this eye cream on every morning.  I started several months ago, thinking that the mid-30s required adding this layer of care.

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I really love this lip gloss/chap stick stuff.  It isn’t shiny like lip gloss, but it gives you a little color and also has sunscreen.  I hate the shiny stuff because my hair sticks too it.  After my mom went through this awful chemo treatment on her face to bring cancer cells to the surface, I realized I needed sunscreen for my lips.  Much of her troubled area were her lips and I want to try to avoid that scenario.  It looked so miserable, but she was a trooper.

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Coconut oil seems to be a very trendy product now and I am on the bandwagon.  I primarily use it on my face–I wash my face with it a few days a week, making a scrub with it and sugar.  It works great to moisturize and to exfoliate.  I probably won’t need it in the summer, but when my skin dries out in the winter, this works really well.  I buy it at Trader Joes.  Praise the Lord for Trader Joes.

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These trouser socks are so warm and comfy.   They are made by Madewell, a brand that is fairly new to me.  The socks are perfect under boots–just the right thickness, and on cold weekend days, they are fun peaking out of Uggs.

I have also really been loving Livestrong.com’s My Plate food tracker.  After going to Mexico for a week at Christmas, not exercising, eating about 73 pounds of tortilla chips, drinking more beer and margaritas than water, and indulging way too much, Scott and I decided we would make January a no drinking month and we would count our calories.  We are super delighted that January is nearly over, but this food tracker has made it very easy to right the “overindulging ship.”

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And during the not-so-fun January, this sparkling mineral water has been our friend.  Somehow the bubbles fool you into thinking you are not starving, which is very helpful.  We drink at least one a day and it helps us eat fewer calories.

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Hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt through the seasons is such a treat.  Having such a vast park in the center of town is a gift.  I love peaceful afternoons out there.

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Homeland.  We are hooked.  We don’t get Showtime so we wait for them to come out on DVD, but when the second season came out, we devoured them in about two weeks.  I found myself wanting to pray for the characters.

And lastly, Scott and I are on a quest to see most, or all, of the Oscar’s Best Picture nominated films.  We might not make all 9 because Wolf of Wall Street looks so, so bad, but we will try.  It is a fun challenge to take on.