Monday, August 31, 2015

Snapshots of Anchorage // July 2015

In July KC and I were asked to go to a work event in Alaska. Since it was right after the holiday (and my birthday) weekend we decided to fly out a few days early to play a little before the work week.

The flights from Kansas to Alaska are between 9 and 11 hours long, and many of the flights leaving Alaska are red eyes. I have a terrible time sleeping on planes, so I got a lot of reading done! See? Whoop, whoop.

We got out there, and the view was immediately incredible. The mountains, the glaciers, the clouds.

We spent the first few days in Alaska exploring Anchorage (& the full work week), don't judge... this is mostly food! :) bahah
Anchorage was cultural, decorated, and scenic. The food was amazing (& expensive!), the street art was beautiful, and the people were so friendly. It was a pretty small city downtown, I feel like we saw most of it in a day. If we go back for work or something else someday I would want to check out a few places outside of the downtown area and more of the museums and restaurants.

Eat: Fat Ptarmigan, Humpy's Ale House, The Kobuk Cafe (donuts, coffee, baked goods, etc.), Snow Goose Restaurant, Glacier Brewhouse, Snow City Cafe, M.A.'s Reindeer Dog Cart.

See: Street Art, Lovely Parks, View from The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.

Shop: The Kobuk Giftshop, The Saturday Market, Anchorage Museum Gift Shop.

Do: Anchorage Museum, Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.

Favorites: Street Art & The Kobuk. Also, the BEST SEAFOOD I've ever had.

Have you been to Anchorage before?

Where did you have the best seafood you've ever tried?

Up Next: Wasilla & Talkeetna, + Seward & Kenai Fjords National Park

Linking up for Wanderlust Wednesdays with Emily, Kate, and Kerri

Wanderlust Wednesdays

Thank you for reading!



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Have You Heard? // Glass Animals - "Black Mambo"

Glass Animals is my favorite band for summer, and really they are becoming one of my favorite bands overall. Maybe because the music is so catchy and complex... but mellow at the same time? I'm not really sure....

We were lucky enough to find tickets to their show in Indianapolis for just $24 each. That's such a steal, because around here they've been playing for $45+, usually $65 - and they aren't headlining. We jumped at the chance and had the best time at the show, more on that later.

While I haven't found a song of theirs that I dislike.... "Black Mambo" has to be my favorite.

What do you think? Do you like Glass Animals?



Monday, August 24, 2015

2015 So Far & Thoughts on Self Care

2015 has admittedly been a really hard year for me. I got a new job, my family moved across the country, we traveled for work, we got stuck on planes, were in our first car accident... the list goes on. Sometimes bad things, or hard things just happen. So why was all of this SO much for me? Why was it SO stressful?

It was because in those glorious free moments, the ones where I was at home, or without a task...  I wasn't taking care of myself.

To be fair, there really was not time to get as organized as I needed to get. There just were not free weekends, days, or afternoons to overhaul our schedule, budget, or goals. And that couldn't be helped. And the small bit I was able to use calendars and to-do lists wasn't cutting it.

But looking back on those rare evenings at home or chunks of time here or there, I can see that spending that time on self care would have helped in the long run.

Some things I could have done:

  • Read a book - a better escape than TV, because it feels so much more productive. & when you are working on a screen all day, not looking at a screen is important.
  • Painted my nails - not a huge thing right? But it makes a big difference in how I feel.
  • Said "no" - to overtime, to family or friend obligations... when there just wasn't time.
  • Stayed home with KC more - because going out (even to Target) is not usually a good way to wind down when you're too busy.
  • Yoga - Duh
  • Cooked for fun - there wasn't time to meal plan, or be successful at meal planning... but I could have made cookies, or breakfast on a weekend  morning.
  • Slept - staying up so you can have fun after a stressful day is not the answer to actually having fun, and it's certainly not healthy.
  • Wrote it down - talking to KC and others (and blogging!) about all of the stuff going on is certainly helpful, but sometimes physically writing it down is so much more cleansing.
  • Cut myself some slack - I didn't realize until last week that I really was doing the best I could. There wasn't any way for me to be more successful at the things I felt I "should have been doing" (i.e., cleaning, cooking, seeing my family more, etc.). There just was not time. There would have been no way to reasonable "make the time" either.
  • Go for more walks - nature, movement, all that jazz
  • Play with our cats - pets relieve stress (when they aren't climbing the shower curtain)
  • NOT had soda after lunch to stay awake - not healthy, not helping.
  • Had a drink after work - I am not a drinker you guys, I don't think I have ever had more than 3 drinks in a day. I drink socially, from time to time. But while we were in Alaska for work (read: mega stress), I found that there can be a benefit to having a drink after a hard day. Drinking every night? No thanks. Drinking to excess? No thanks. But an occasional margarita or glass of Sangria? That can be helpful.
  • Got a haircut - I legitimately have no idea when the last time I did this was.
  • Listened to more music - When you are too busy to listen to music, that's probably when you need it the  most. 
  • Cried - I didn't do this enough. I should have. Maybe I couldn't figure out what to cry about?
  • Gone Out on Dates - we didn't really make a point to spend time together, just the two of us. Not as much as we needed to.
  • Treated Myself - I don't know about you guys, but it's the same as with self care, I treat myself least.
  • Took Care of my Environment - clearing clutter is good for the soul, and easy on the stress level.
  • Eating Healthfully - we did ok at this, especially for how many meals we had to get out. But the better I eat, the better I feel.
  • Use a Planner - you know that's bad...
  • Identify My Goals - (or be excited about existing ones) goals are so important, especially when you are trying to feel more in control of your life, or have a sense of accomplishment.
From what I am gathering, self care is hard for many of us. Especially us ladies... so ...

I'm working on a list to share of ways to take care of yourself big & little. I would love to hear all of your ideas on taking care of yourself, and maybe even add them to my list! :) 

Please share in the comments!! 

August has been the greatest month of the year by far. A lot of it is because we haven't been busy, but also because I have been trying harder to take care of myself. I'm really excited for the rest of fall! :)



Friday, August 21, 2015

August Reads // Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge

August has been an amazing month so far. I'm not working over-time. We don't have any big plans. It's just been about organizing ourselves and taking it easy. HOORAY! :) 

That being said, I also haven't been on any planes recently. So, so far in August I have only completed 3 books.

1) Breakfast at Tiffany's + 3 Short Stories - Truman Capote 

Most of you have probably seen this movie, I took the chance to read it during the end of our Florida trip and our first week back home. Capote has a talent for description. He makes these quirky characters seem so real and vibrant. I enjoyed the fact that the book was different than the movie. I liked the additional characters. I did like that some of my favorite parts of the movie were in the book as well. But overall, Holly Golightly's character is much less delightful, and a lot more certifiable in the book. You can see that her intentions (wanting to marry rich and live a big life) are much less a whim than they seem in the movie. She's pretty calculated, and unstable in the book. It was very interesting, but had me feeling less attached to her character and the writer's fascination with her. And I don't even want to talk about Cat.

On the other hand, I really liked the three short stories that followed the novel. They were called A Diamond Guitar, House of Flowers, and A Christmas Memory. They were all really good. And I think I liked them overall better than Breakfast at Tiffany's. 

A Diamond Guitar is about a group of men in prison, and a recently arrested young man who changes group dynamic. He is very young and reminds the older prisoners of what they cannot have. Bonds form between the prisoners, and it's kind of a sad story, of what could have been.

House of Flowers was about a young girl who lives in a brothel in the Caribbean. It has a folk tale element to it, a kind of magic, which I loved. She runs away to marry a young man she meets. Conflict arises when her husband's grandmother decides to play tricks on her. On goodreads it seems that many people were disappointed in the ending. I wasn't. I should also mention that the description of the settings especially are really lovely. If you like pretty setting description and short stories I would recommend this one.

A Christmas Memory was the longest short story I read, and it was my favorite. It is about a young boy and his "friend," an elderly cousin. Every year the two have a tradition of making fruit cakes for their friends and family, but they don't have any money. It's a lovely story of friendship, resourcefulness, and quirky characters. As the story progresses you notice that something is off, and then it becomes somewhat sad. But I loved the story, and I loved the characters. I would highly recommend this one!!

After reading these stories, I have a new love of Capote's writing. He is so observant, paints some amazing characters. I can't wait to read more of his work!

2) Lost Lake - Sarah Addison Allen

I love Sarah Addison Allen's books, they are filled with subtle every day touches of magic and rich characters. I found this one at Barnes & Noble for $6 during the summer clearance, so I jumped at the chance to buy it. It follows Kate, a recently widowed young woman, and her daughter Devin as they struggle to find their new normal. It begins with Devin discovering a post card from Kate's aunt Eby, from a place called Lost Lake in Suley, GA. Kate had never been given the post card, and takes Devin to Lost Lake to re-live and remember her favorite childhood summer. The characters in this book are great, I especially loved the older guests at the lake. It made me want to own vacation property.... but overall this wasn't my favorite of Addison Allen's books. Perhaps because there were flashbacks and a focus on Devin that they were a little different than her others that I read. That being said, I would still give this one 4 stars. I would recommend it!

3) The Rosie Project - Graeme Simison 

This one has been really popular recently, and shockingly another book I found for $6 in the clearance section at Barnes and Noble. I started reading, and immediately fell in love with the Don Tillman and the way the story is told. It is quick, it's fun, it's hilarious. Picture Don as a mix between Sheldon Cooper, Hector (from Hector and the Search for Happiness), and Harold Crick (Will Farrell's character in Stranger than Fiction). He is an extremely calculated and intelligent geneticist. He decides that having a life partner would be beneficial, but he knows he isn't interested in smokers or picky ice cream eaters, so he devises a very logical questionnaire to rule out the undesirables, thus calling it "The Wife Project." Along the way he meets Rosie, a woman who is not at all his desirable life partner, but she does need help finding her real father. Being geneticist, Don offers to help and his world is turned upside down. I told KC how good this was. He read it in less than 24 hours. Might I just say, this man is not a huge reader (normally). He has however, read 5 books this summer. :) He loved this one. Highly recommend! 

4) Well-Read Women - Samantha Hahn

This book is an artsy, coffee table type book, and I loved it. It features illustrated pictures of literary leading ladies like Jane Eyre and Anna Karenina, next to beautiful quotes from the novels. I love this book, I picked it up in Florida, because I've wanted it forever. Being and art and lit lover its a great little treasure. This doesn't count for the summer challenge or anything, but it's lovely. I would recommend it just for fun, or to treasure on your coffee table forever. :) 

Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge Update: 6/10 (Hector and Tiffany's are too short!) - and I have clearly switched some of my books around.... Only 4 left! :) 

Summer Total: 9 books(!) 

Year Total: 11 books(!)

Current Read:

The Rosie Effect - Graeme Simison 

The sequel to The Rosie Project. So far it's delightful, but I have found myself working on other projects, so I haven't had as much time for reading this week.

I have put holds on The Selection Series by Kiera Cass and Paper Towns by John Green, but I am 6th on the list for both.

Check out my July Reads too!

What have you been reading lately?!?!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Also: I am super pumped about this!!




Have You Heard? // Beck - "Dreams"

Happy Friday everyone! I hope that you demolished your to-do list this week.

I just had to share this song, you may have heard it in commercials..... but I can't. stop. listening to it! It's so catchy. I just dance at my desk, in the car... anywhere I am when I hear it.

I hope that you add this to your commute or running playlist. Or perhaps just have an impromptu dance party in your living room. :)

I've loved Beck's music for a while. In high school "Que Onda Guero" was one of my favorite songs of all time. I love how versatile he is as a musician! THIS is why he won album of the year my friends. :)

Happy Weekend!!!



Thursday, August 20, 2015

1 Year Progress // 101 Things in 1,001 Days // Goals

1 year has passed since I started my 101 Things in 1,001 Days list. Click the link to learn more and see the full list. :) 

Here is some of the progress, I've linked in any posts about the items!

Started August 20th, 2014

Items I Have Finished:

-buy an espresso machine
-open etsy st 1ore & sell things
-write 50 letters to friends and family far away (138 -8/5/15)
-see the Pacific Ocean
-spend time on the beach with KC
-be in the mountains (Alaska, July 2015)
-try Russian food  (Piroshky, Piroshky - Seattle, WA)
-see an new animal in the wild (dell sheep, sea lions, puffins etc. - Alaska 2015)
-dance, we never get to dance (Jess and Kalor's wedding, making up hipster song, Kayla and Carl's wedding, )
-go to at least one Sporting KC game
-take a class (cooking, arts center, online class...) - (3)
-make colored macarons (black,)
-have a booth at a flea market / show / sale

Items I have Started:

-host 10 game nights - (5 -Aug. 5th 2015)
-send 20 'just because' pieces of gifts / mail - (2 - Aug. 5th 2015)
-write down family stories (recorded dad telling stories June 2015)
-visit 10 new-to-me local restaurants (Ladybird Diner, El Sol, Global Cafe, Roost, )
-try 10 new-to-me Lawrence coffee shops - 1 (alchemy, )
-do 12 things I never expected to do (11 -stay in a hostel, have a rough time in Seattle, be so happy to see a sunset in phoenix, watched baseball on tv on purpose, want to go back to NOLA so much, rising desire to visit florida, surprise trip back to NOLA, successfully make beignets, have an interest in country music, be invited to work in Alaska, to enjoy the beachiness of Florida, )
-go hiking 6 times (1 - Alaska)
-establish 6 Christmas season traditions with KC (3)
-have 5 splurge-y dates (2 - Rocco's in Seattle, Cafe Amelie in NOLA, )
-finish Jane Austen's novels (pride & prejudice, persuasion,)
-finish F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels (The Great Gatsby,)
-pull off 12 new upcycling projects (4 - Aug. 5th 2015)
-see 10 classic or cult classic movies at Liberty Hall (or the like) (6 - Wizard of Oz, Ghost Busters, A Young Frankenstein, Arsenic and Old Lace, It's A Wonderful Life, The Princess Bride, )
-have 4 official dates every month - SO FAR, SO GOOD!

Total: 101
Finished: 19
In Progress: 14
Not Started: 68

What are you guys up to? Do you set long term goals? 

Send me your links or comment below, I love reading other people's goals! 



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

48 Hours in Nashville // January 2015

Back in January we took a little road trip down to Nashville for a Jack White / Loretta Lynn concert (more on that later) and a little jaunt. We loved music city!

Nashville was homey, musical, kitschy, and fun. The food was excellent, the concert was phenomenal, and there was so much more we would have loved to have seen. Until next time, Nashville!

Eat: Acme Feed and Seed, Hattie B's Hot Chicken, Loveless Cafe, Pancake Pantry, The Listening Room Cafe.

See: Broadway Street, Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Johnny Cash Museum, Third Man Records Novelty Lounge.

Shop: Acme Feed and Seed Gifts, Pangaea Boutique, Impeccable Pig, Third Man Records, Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Johnny Cash Museum Gift Shop, Loveless Cafe Shops.

Favorites: Hot chicken & how darling Loretta Lynn is.

Have you ever been to Nashville? What were your favorite places?

Which places have you visited that you are dying to go back to?

I can't wait to go back someday!