Friends in Far Places

My mom came over to my house last night, and while she was standing in the kitchen, she looked at all of the Christmas cards that we have hanging on our cabinets. When she got to Danica’s card, she asked me who she (and her husband, Jesse) is, and I explained. For those of you who don’t know, Danica and I met online through blogging, but have since met in person in Minnesota and in Utah, at various blogging conferences. Despite the fact that she lives in California, we still chat weekly over email.

My friend Diane and I lived down the street from each other from first to fifth grade. We rode the same bus, were in Girl Scouts together, and played together in the summertime. When I moved from Ohio to Indiana, we lost touch, but nearly 15 years later, we reconnected when she spotted my comment on someone else’s blog. A couple of days ago, we had the chance to meet in person for the first time since then.

Gotta love 90s fashion…

I’ve always appreciated the fact that my blog has allowed me to have a lot of amazing opportunities, but reconnecting with Diane for the first time in that many years made me realize how blessed I am to have all of my blog friends. We might not live very close to each other or talk all of the time, but I appreciate the connections that I have made through this space.

And that, is why I keep blogging.

 

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A Weekend Full of Christmas Cheer

I don’t know where the weekend went. It was definitely one full of Christmas cheer, but it’s just a reminder that Christmas is less than two weeks away. I don’t feel quite ready yet, but ready or not, it’ll be here soon!

My sister Molly, my dad and I kicked off the weekend with the Ugly Sweater 5k Run. We typically do the Santa Hustle, which takes place a week later, but we decided to try a new one this year.

We all enjoyed this race. They started us in waves, so the course wasn’t too crowded; there was Christmas music and decorations along the whole course; and the time seemed to fly by. My dad recently had surgery and I haven’t been running regularly, so we took it slow, but we all stuck together and it was fun to cross the finish line at the same time. If this run comes to your area, I recommend it!

Later in the day, Jordan and I met up with my family for an afternoon of lunch and pottery painting. It’s a tradition that we started years ago with the girls in my family, but we asked the boys to join us this year.

Jordan and I ended the night with a visit to his grandpa’s house, and then spent Sunday catching up on things– church, quick trip to Lowe’s and Kohl’s, lunch with my in-laws, addressing and sealing Christmas cards, and doing things around the house.

Things are starting to slow down at work for the holidays, so I’m hoping for an uneventful week that allows me to have enough energy to get the rest of my Christmas stuff done after work, so it’s done by next weekend! Have a great week!

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High Five for Friday

I’m linking up with Lauren today, to share five highlights from this week:

1. On Monday night, Molly and I went over to Hilary’s house. We ate Chipotle and watched ‘Elf’ in our jammies, for the perfect sister night. However, next time we decided we’d do it without my sisters’ cats around (aka, at my house), because they get so rambunctious at nighttime! It’s kind of funny… until they start ruining the furniture. Oops.

2. To help us get in the Christmas spirit, Jordan and I have been watching Christmas movies before we go to bed. The movies we’ve checked off of our list so far: Elf, The Santa Clause, The Polar Express and Christmas Vacation. I’m excited to watch Arthur Christmas and The Grinch sometime this weekend!

3. On Thursday, my cousin Lauren sent me this picture:

A kid-size Target shopping cart for a whopping total of $10 ($5 with the coupon). It’s something we would’ve loved playing “store” with when we were little! So, naturally, I bought one for the kids that I don’t have yet. I know, it’s weird; but I love it.

4. I am almost done with my Christmas shopping. I have a few more things to buy, and then I need to start wrapping!

5. I finished up my six-week session with Girls Inc. this week. It’s always a little sad to leave a group of girls, but I just hope that they’ll go forward with more confidence, and that they got something out of the program.

Tell me two highlights from your week.

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Why I Haven’t Been Blogging as Often

1. I spend 30+ hours a week sitting in front of a computer at my day job. I don’t always want to do more of that when I get home.

2. I rarely take pictures. I’ve gradually stopped taking pictures of my food and other random objects over the past several months. The main reason being — “does anyone really want/need to see that?”

3. Quality > Quantity. I have dozens of unpublished posts sitting in my Drafts folder. I usually read through them a second time for proofing purposes, only to realize that it’s a post not worth publishing.

4. Just call me a homebody. After being gone every weekend for most of the summer into fall, I am now in a season of rest. Most of my free time consists of doing things around the house, running errands, working out or watching TV. I’m pretty sure you’d fall asleep if I documented all of the sort of boring stuff that I’ve been up to lately, so I choose to keep it off of the blog. You’re welcome.

5. I want to keep some of my personal life private. None of my friends who knew me before I started this blog are as into social media as I am. I don’t always think it’s fair to document the things that I do with them, because they didn’t sign up for this. So, I don’t. For example, I spent Saturday night with a group of girlfriends — we had our annual Christmas dinner/ornament exchange party — but I have no pictures to show for it. It’s hard to capture fun moments in a dimly lit restaurant anyway!

6. I’m tired. I’m sure it’s due to the time change, the cold temperatures, and the fact that the sun is always hidden behind the clouds (hello, seasonal affective disorder…), but by the time I get home from work, I’m ready for comfy clothes and my bed. I’m usually in bed by 9 pm, which only gives me a couple of hours to do other things at home.

With all of that being said… I’m not going anywhere; I’m just trying to figure out what a new normal looks like. My goal for this month is to take more pictures and brainstorm new post ideas, so I can be around here more often!

To keep up with me on a regular basis, follow me on Twitter and Instagram

Do you have busy and slow seasons in your life?

Bloggers — do you stick to a schedule?

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

When Oprah was still on TV (before she had her own network), I looked forward to watching “Oprah’s Favorite Things” every year. I know I’m not alone on this one. It was pretty exciting to watch people receive cars, vacations and jewelry valuing thousands of dollars, all within a one-hour show.

Feeling inspired by Oprah, today I’m giving you my own version of the “favorite things” episode. And since I’m not Oprah, these are all things that you can give and receive without breaking the bank. From workout clothes to summer sandals, here are 10 of my favorite things!

Athleta Tights (around $70, prices vary)

I received a pair of Athleta tights (pictured above) as part of a FitFluential campaign over a year ago, and they’re still my favorite tights today. The material is nice and thick, they’re extra long — perfect for [my] long legs — and even after being thrown in the washer and dryer after every use, they’re still as nice as they were on the day that I received them. Definitely worth the price.

 

FitBit Flex ($99)

The FitBit Flex allows you to track your steps, sleep, water intake and eating habits, right from your phone or computer. I’ve had mine since July and I’m still wearing it nearly everyday. The only downside is that the band wears out quickly (I’m just about ready for a new one), but extras can be purchased in a pack of three for around $20.

 

Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 ($36)

I received a pair of these sandals as a birthday gift last summer, and they became my favorite thing to wear all summer long. The sandals are made out of recycled yoga mats, so you actually feel like you’re walking on a pillow all day long. I can’t wait to pull mine out again when the weather warms up (…in 5 or 6 months).

 

bareMinerals makeup (prices vary)

I recently went to a Mary Kay party, where I realized how extremely brand loyal I am to bareMinerals. When it comes to good mineral makeup, nothing else compares. If you haven’t tried it yet, or want to gift it to a friend, I recommend going with bronzer (I have been using warmth all-over face color for years) or eyeshadow.

 

PiYo Workout System ($60)

This DVD set is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It’s the perfect way to strength train at home without using any equipment. The workouts are nice and short, perfect for cold winter evenings when I’d rather be cozy on the couch. This isn’t just for women either — my husband has tried a few of the workouts with me!

 

Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat ($27)

Less wasteful than using tin foil or parchment paper, these mats can be placed on a cookie sheet, baked in the oven, and washed when finished cooking. I own three of them in various sizes, and I really don’t think that you can have too many.

 

Swanson Health Products gift certificate

I purchase all of my vitamins from Swanson. The prices are amazing compared to grocery stores, and there is such a wide selection, I don’t have a reason to look anywhere else. My favorite brand of vitamin is New Chapter – they’re organic, non-GMO, vegetarian, gluten-free and Kosher. Not that I need all of those things, but it’s nice to know that my vitamins are plant-sourced, and they don’t give me a stomachache or headache!

 

Fabletics workout gear ($25)

 

This workout line is co-founded by Kate Hudson, and new members can receive a whole outfit (2-3 pieces) for $25! I’m a fan of the colorful capri pants and uniquely-cut tops.

 

Celebrate Christmas Yankee Candle ($28)

I picked this up at HomeGoods last year for around $10, and it has quickly become my favorite holiday candle. When I burn it, it smells like I’m baking gingerbread cookies. I love it.

 

Victoria’s Secret Fireside Long Jane Pajama ($39.50)

I’ve received a pair of Victoria’s Secret pajamas from my parents for Christmas for the past… I don’t know even know how many years… so, I have a lot of them. The Fireside Long Jane style is my favorite. They are super soft, and they keep me warm without making me feel overheated.

 

What are a few of your favorite things?

 

This is not a sponsored post, and there are no affiliate links included on this page. I am sharing these products because I like them, and I think that you might like them too!

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