Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Favs - Cookies

Confession: all cookies are my favorite. Seriously, I love them all.

So today's favorite isn't my only favorite cookie, but my new favorite cookie. 

I've officially found the grown-up version of Chewy Chips Ahoy (holy cow, what an exciting day when we had these as a kid!). Soft Baked Montauk from Pepperidge Farm are so delicious! Soft with huge chocolate chunks! Yum! 

Check out my other Friday Favs posts here

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How are you?

Last week, I read this cupcakes and cashmere blog post about the impact of responding positively. I've been thinking about it ever since. Emily writes about the impact of another's positive response to the "How are you?" question had on her day. She shares how the positive response always put her in a better mood and I agree. 

Her post reminded me of an experience from a few years ago when I was volunteering at a clothing ministry. The ministry was set up like a department store and those in need could visit and choose items that they needed free of charge. I was working in the bagging area and the essential "How are you?" question was being delivered continually. One gentleman's response was, "I can't complain!". I was surprised by his answer. He was here because he was in need of new clothing. He was probably carrying or wearing all of his possessions and he had nothing to complain about?!? Not one thing? He wasn't just "okay" or "getting by". He found nothing to complain about. 

This week I'm working to give positive, but honest and constructive answers to "How are you?". Basically, I want my answer to be thoughtful and not my standard "oh, fine" or "not too bad". Hopefully, it will brighten not only another's day, but also my own. 

(These pictures are from the walk I took this morning. And there is no filter being used here - the sky is that blue! Spring is simply gorgeous!)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend Recap - Bloom and Grow

Three Things about this Weekend

1. This weekend I got to attend my churches women's retreat. The quick retreat took place at one of my most favorite places, Camp Shalom. A little over 20 women gathered for this gardening themed retreat. We started with socializing over appetizers then a pasta dinner. Our gardening theme started with us each sharing a story where we had to "dig deep" to overcome a situation. Next, we had a simple worship in candlelight. For some of us the evening ended with an easy night hike. 

The next morning started with a morning walk around camp and a lovely breakfast of quiche and cinnamon rolls. Then we started our reflection/discussion sessions. Each was related to a gardening activity and related to a story of an historical or present day woman. We talked about "sowing seeds" of desired growth in our lives along with "weeding and tending" where we thought about things that nourish us and things that keep us from being who we want to be. Lastly, we talked about celebration through "harvest". After lunch and another walk, we did a flower themed craft and finished the retreat with worship and communion. 

The retreat was so quick that I'm still reflecting on our discussions. We each got a journal booklet so I'll be going through that over the next few days. My most favorite part of the retreat was forming connections with women of a variety of ages and enjoying the quiet of camp. 

2. My brother played in his first outdoor soccer game of the season on Sunday and the weather was perfect! 

3. My tulips are starting to bloom! 
(some pesky bunnies have been munching on the leaves though!)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Favs - Emojis

With the recent iPhone update, talk of new emojis is in the air. Honestly, my main disappointment is that there is still no taco emoji! Seriously, who wouldn't use a taco emoji?? I figured it to be an obvious addition, but apparently Apple did not. 

Anyway, here are my frequently used emojis and reasoning behind some of my choices. 

1. Thumbs up and down: applicable in so many situations! I use these all the time!

2. Straight Mouth Teeth Showing Face: Perfect for anything intense or awkward. Aka various moments on The Bachelor or the end of Scandal last night. 

3. Pizza, Spaghetti, Wine, and Beer: food staples. duh.

4. Octopus (and animals in general): I'm not sure why, but I send it them in many texts to my sister and dad.

5. Dancing Girls and Girls in Dresses: me and my friends.

Are you an emoji user? What are your favorites? 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friday Favs - Cold Survival

I'm officially suffering from a spring cold. It is terrible. (hence this Friday Favs post on Saturday) Luckily, I think I'm finally over the worst (which was brainstorming ways to remove my ears to alleviate the pressure...). 

Anyway, here are my Friday Favs for Cold Survival:

1. Entertainment: Mine came in the form of Netflix (mostly Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 and Revenge) and Season 1 of Girls that I got from the library. Variety is key when your sickness lasts 3-4 days!

2. Tea: Nothing like some warm liquids to soothe an achy throat! I found this tea (that's suppose to help the immune system) at HyVee and love it.

3. Tissues with Lotion: An essential when you're going through them at a high rate! 

4. Popsicles: No explanation needed. 

Anyone else out there suffering from a spring cold? What do you do to get through it? 

Monday, April 6, 2015

30 Before 30 Update - Run a 5K

Another one bites the dust! AKA another item on my 30 before 30 list has been completed! Over the weekend, I (mostly) ran a 5K! I finished the Easter Egg Scramble

Before I started training I couldn't remember the last time I ran a significant distance, (I'm more of a treadmill walker so I can read a book at the same time) so I was a bit super nervous about a 5K. I knew I needed some sort of plan for training because I had no idea of where to start. I was already using the app RunKeeper so I decided to sign up for the Beginner 5K plan. Every other day they gave me a different workout to complete.

I missed a few workouts and I didn't start the plan early enough to get the whole training plan completed before the race, but I definitely think it helped! 

Overall, I'm super happy with how I did! The elevation of the race was way harder than I had done in training, but I still ran my fastest pace ever! Plus it was fun and breakfast burritos were served at the finish line!

Read about my 30 before 30 list here or check out my progress here!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Favs - Books (Autobiography-ish Edition)

Time for Friday Favs! 

Today we're (well, I'm) talking books!

Specifically, non-fiction books written by awesome, inspiring, funny women.

  • #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
    • I found this book while browsing the "New" section at the library. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but what about its title? This book had me at hash-tag. Anyway, #Girlboss is the story of Sophia Amoruso and the way she started the online vintage retailer, Nasty Gal. My favorite thing about Sophia's book is that she encourages the reader to follow their passion into a career. She shares her failures probably more than the details of her success which helps her feel more like a friend who is trying to motivate you into fulfilling your dream.
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
    • I've loved Mindy Kaling since the start of the office and her book is funny and empowering. Mindy's book is organized by topic and each topic has a few short stories. Her stories are relate-able and features the topics of body image, work, and relationships. She even has a chapter about her legacy which includes a plan for her funeral as well as a eulogy she writes for herself. Mindy's writing style is conversational which is probably why I have this idea that we are best friends. This book had me literally LOLing at times.
So, if you're looking for a book by a strong and funny female, give these two a try! 
I've heard good things about Amy Pohler's Yes Please and Tina Fey's Bossypants. So those are on my "To Read" list. 

To view other Friday Favs, visit my friday favs page.

(Opinions shared are my own. This is not a sponsored post.)

It's your turn: What great books by strong females have you read lately? Any book suggestions for me?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Things I Hate

Monday, the president of my alma mater issued a statement in response to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. President Heckler encourages cooperation and love. "We must find a way to live and work alongside one another in community. We must love one another." He adds that Valpo "will continue to welcome people of all faiths, cultures, and walks of life" in the community. With this development, a plethora of my Facebook friends shared the statement or news stories about it. Unfortunately, within moments each post seemed to have earned at least one negative comment. Hence my topic for today. 

Hate: to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest.

things i hate
5. Disease
4. Natural Disasters
3. Poverty
2. Hunger
1. Hate

That's right, the thing I hate most is hate.  

Why is hate the thing I hate most? 
Hate hurts. 
Hate harms. 
Hate ruins. 
Hate separates. 

Hate seems to be the heart of each newscast...
Stories about disagreements between groups turning to violence. 
Comments that put down a group with different beliefs or lifestyle. 
Stories of harm or mistreatment of others.

Hate causes violence and brokenness. 
Hate destroys relationships. 
Hate breaks my heart. 
I hate hate. 

Why do people hate? Love (or at least tolerance) is so much easier.