Monday, January 29, 2018

On my Radar: Goodreads

When it's grey, dreary and rainy outside there is a good bet you can find me immersed in a book. It's where I go when I need to escape from the weather, from myself, from everything. When Steve is feeling extra sweet he will even serve me dinner in my favorite spot on the couch, in my favorite jammies. And usually there is a stinky dog curled up beside me and I couldn't be happier. 

I've been a reader since I was young and in this age of tech I have found an app that is really useful in tracking books I want to read and also see what friends are reading. And since I have found reviews by others so helpful (and sometimes entertaining!) I have tried to write short reviews of my own. The app is Goodreads and I have it on both my computer and phone. Anytime I hear of a book I want to remember to read I can add it to my shelf. And thankfully my library has an app where I can request books to be placed on hold so they go hand in hand! 

And then it's off to the library to bring in a haul of books! I tend to not buy books anymore unless I really love it, or it's a design or a beautiful coffee table book. Otherwise it's really wonderful to be able to have the library to have the access to all these wonderful reads! 

I'm also part of a book group that has me reading books that I would never know to reach for. I have found myself being challenged by new topics, new ways of seeing the world, and touched by stories I would never know I was missing out on. 

And anytime I am looking for inspiration there are also beautiful books to be found. I will occasionally pull cookbooks too, though I tend to go for fiction most of the time. Are you on Goodreads? I would love to be connected to you there! And have you read anything lately that you would care to share about? Please do! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Working on Balance...again

Are you like me where you wake up and find yourself reaching for your phone and looking at instagram or facebook before anything else? And like me have you wondered at how this is serving you but kept doing it in a mindless manner because it just happens? 

Though I have said that I don't really make resolutions, thru my work on my '52 Lists for Happiness' book I finally started to question myself and make a change. I still reach for my phone as it has my alarm, but I now pull up my pandora account and search for a playlist to start my day. It seems to help me as I can have a problem with wanting to be someone else/somewhere else. 

This doesn't mean I am swearing off either of those sites! Far from it. I'm just trying to be intentional about where and when. I'm trying to not be on my computer when Steve gets home from work so that I'm not distracted when he is ready to connect. There is plenty of time for me to look at that stuff later! 

Another thing I am hoping to need to buy a latte...every, single day. It's nice when it's a treat. It's another thing when I think I need to buy one every day. I own a perfectly good machine at home, just waiting for me to use it. And it would be great to save that $5 up for something of use! Or to at least wait to spend it when I can sit down and really enjoy it. Preferably with a friend. And an extra long chat. 

I know these are small things, but they can really trip me up. Are you working on any small steps these days to get things back under control? Do you have any tricks to making things go smoother for you? I would love any hints! 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Steps to Self Care

So we are into the beginning of the New Year. Are you a keeper of resolutions? Are you feeling the need for change? Or are you someone that feels they would go off by the wayside to quickly to bother? 

I'm a bit in-between. I like to resolve to make small changes to make my life a bit better going forward. I feel like if I make small changes they will amount to bigger changes as time go on. So these are a bit of the changes to start and we'll see where they take me. 

1. Exercise  This is something I would have scoffed in the past. I truly would have. But I have found that the best way to deal with my emotional life is in a physical way. If I can get two (working on three!) workouts in a week I feel so much better. And since we are entering into the grey winter my emotional state is something I really need to work on! Depression is something that can rear it's ugly head this time of year and this is just the thing to help combat it. 

2. Introspection  A little journaling helps me to really sit down and take a moment to focus on my life and where I am now. And guided journaling seems to help with focus. I have had these two journals for some time and this year a friend and I have challenged one another to work on 52 Lists of Happiness and then compare notes weekly. I seem to work best if I have an accountability partner so this is working out well. And talking through the topics will help us dig even deeper. This is something I am really looking forward to this year. These books are by Moorea Seal and can be found online here, or in her Seattle store. 

3. Connect & Disconnect This sounds like a contradiction but it truly isn't. I find when I am feeling a bit depressed I pull away from friends. And getting together with others is usually just the thing I need to contract the blues. 

What doesn't help is social media. This is where the disconnect needs to happen. I am working on having electronic free Sundays. It feels like a baby step but I think it will make a big difference in how I feel.

4. Read  One thing I have a lot more time for when I put down my phone is reading. I love reading and spending time lost in a book. Our library is one of my favorite places, and I find myself using the online program all the time. This combined with the goodreads app and I am a happy camper. I have made a goal this year to read 100 books and hope to do that and maybe more. 

5. Good eating My family loves to eat. We find ourselves talking about the next meal when we have finished a meal. And when we vacation a big part of planning is researching new places to eat. That said we know we feel better when we eat better. More veggies, lots of water drinking, and organic when we can. I won't say we are going to diet, just hopefully make some better choices. 

6. Body care   I'm hoping with all the free time on Sundays (due to no distractions from electronics!) I will have time to create some spa like evenings. I have a good stash of face mask and my favorite herbivore botanicals coconut milk bath all of which equals happiness. My hope is this will send me into a new week with a good attitude ready to face the week and ready to create even more good routines. 

Are you creating new routines in the new year? I would love to hear if you have any ideas or steps you are taking to make life better for yourself! 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Deep Thoughts: The Crazy Ride that was 2017

I think we can all agree that 2017 wasn't the best year when it comes to the bigger things in life. It was a time of anxiety, upset and serious disappointment in so many things happening in our world. 

But those feelings led to things like marching for what one believes in, investing in small business and slow fashion that one feels good about, and having experiences that reminded us about all the best things about life. So I decided it was important to remember these things and go over them. Care to take a walk thru 2017 with me? 

This year seemed to be one of music which makes me incredibly happy. I had the pleasure of treating Steve to seeing one of his favorite bands, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was not only an incredible show music wise, it included an amazing light show. 

Thanks to my incredible friend Pam, I was treated to a show at the Neptune of the Poptones. Then we headed cross-country in August to see (and meet Garbage!) Garbage and all time music idol Debbie Harry leading up Blondie! Life changing. 

Having a teenager can kill you and/or keep you young. Sam has been great at keeping me young for the most part, and introducing me to new music. One of her favorites is NSP, and we had the greatest time singing and dancing at their show. Thankfully they do a bunch of covers from my era so I wasn't too far out of my comfort zone!

There was some travel this year, mostly related to California. During a trip to San Diego we snuck away for a visit to spend some time in Springfield and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. They were both so much fun and an instagram dream! On that trip we also wandered into the Flower fields of Carlsbad, another photographers dream. And truly a gorgeous sight in real life. 

Another trip took Steve and I back to Palm Spring where we spent some time at the relaxing Sparrow Lodge and found ourselves wandering around looking at the amazing architecture and ran across the famous pink door! 

We continued to explore small business and found ourselves falling in love with the people behind them. Apse Adorn opened a storefront which is quickly becoming a regular stop on our stops downtown, especially with all they have planned for the future. 

We were lucky enough to get a tour of Moorea Seal's new store by Moorea herself and snap some quick pictures with her on her gorgeous couch. Steve and I found ourselves back at Christmas doing some fun shopping at one of her Happy Hours, picking out treats and sipping champagne! 

Sam and I found ourselves helping Spruce with the undertaking of bedecking the Downtown Parkade with a balloon garland that made us all amazed once again at the creativity of Brittney. And her store continues to be one that hosts and draws interesting and makers of Bellingham. 

Renegade Craft this past summer was full of new faces and new friends to make. We found ourselves meeting the people behind Apartment on Belmont and loving their product even more. And we brought home many more handmade items that we continue to fall in love with. 

And experiences! There were so many fun ones that we could attribute to the blog! Steve would often ask me if I needed content and off he would search for something to do. It's been a great motivator. 

We spent a magical night in the trees at Treehouse Point in which it magically snowed. We hope to be able to take the girls back at some point to experience it. 

 We ate our way thru the Night Market in Richmond, BC. We were overwhelmed by the variety of food and hope to go back during another time of year (it's open May-October).

 We were ably guided by Kristi of Moondance Kayak on a daytime kayak trip exploring the gorgeous waters of the area. And we took another trip with Moondance at night to experience a trip thru waters that were illuminated by bioluminescence. A truly magical night.

 Steve and I spent a restful couple of hours soaking in the float tanks at Still Life Massage and Float and hope to make it a part of our routine in the New Year. It's an incredible way to treat stress and anxiety. 

And words escape me when trying to describe the experience of the Infinity Rooms of Yayoi Kusama at the Seattle Art Museum. It was by turns lighthearted, deep, and incredibly meaningful. Experiencing it with close friends made it even that much better. 

We expect the New Year to hold even more adventure, hopefully travel and more friends. This blog has become what I had hoped, a place to talk, share and hopefully encourage. Please come along for the ride and let's see what 2018 holds!