6 New Things I Tried this Year that You Should Try Too (List-cember #4)

Alongside my list of goals this year, I really tried to let my curious eyes wander. Over the last few years there have been things that I thought, “I’ll try that one of these days” but never did, and so I decided this year was as good as any to finally change that.

They are mostly small things. I didn’t jump out of any planes or shave my head or anything. But I made small little discoveries that made my day to day a little brighter and I’m hoping they can do the same for you! 🙂

.

1) E-Library Card

Are you one of those people who can drop money on books even though you’re pinching pennies to make rent and pay other bills? I know you can’t see it, but my hand is raised—HIGH. Thankfully, the library is here to help. I mean, it’s always been here, but I had no idea there was an online library that will lend you books straight to your Kindle.  It’s so easy! It’s so wonderful! It’s so free! I highly recommend looking into it.

If you’re in the LA area, you can get your own e-library card here!

.

2) Audiobooks

51zDtFwotSL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

I never thought I’d be someone who could listen to a book rather than read it, but this year I decided to try them. Turns out, they’re the perfect driving companion, and getting ready in the morning companion, and during the slow hours of the work day companion. All I’m saying is, audiobooks are your friend and you should give them a shot. If you’re into classics, I recommend To Kill a Mockingbird read by Sissy Spacek, and if you’re into memoirs, I recommend Drew Barrymore’s Wildflower.

.

3) Spiffing up my Inbox

skimmlogo-fbshare

My email inbox goes through phases of being organized and a complete disaster, but this year I noticed how unexciting it was regardless. I was never excited to get any emails because they were always work related, bill related, or complete spam. SO, this year I decided to spiff it up a bit.

I subscribed to newsletters:

  • The Skimm: A daily newsletter that gives you the bullet points of important events happening around the world.
  • Goodnewsletter: A weekly newsletter full of only good news, and you know I’m all about good news!
  • The Rise Newsletter: Another weekly newsletter run by Rachel Hollis (author of Girl, Wash Your Face) that gives you little doses of inspiration to help you to take on the week!

And some weekly devotionals:

  •  The Monday Club: Probably my favorite find of this year. It arrives every Monday morning with some encouraging words to help start your week off right.
  • The Cathe Laurie Devotional: A weekly Bible study that gives you a specific goal to focus on for the week.

I would recommend any and all of these. They brightened up my inbox throughout the year with doses of inspiration and positivity.

.

4) Birchbox

Screen-Shot-2015-05-22-at-8.02.41-PM

I would definitely consider myself to be an amateur in the makeup department, but like any other department of my life, I’m curious and anxious to be better. So, I enlisted Birchbox to help me level up. I was probably subscribed for about six months, and while it was very exciting to get a package—that only cost me $10!—every month with new things to try, I just couldn’t keep up. I ended up having a big pile of samples sitting on my bathroom counter that made me anxious and sad and annoyed whenever I looked at it. I might pop back in once in a while to get a few more things to try—or just to get another one of their incredible boxes, which I plan on using to wrap gifts this holiday season—but for now I’m on pause.

.

5) Imperfect Produce

black_logo

This is probably my favorite thing that I found this year. I’ll be honest, I was definitely a victim of consistent marketing on this one. THE FACEBOOK ADS GOT TO ME. But hey, it’s a super easy (and cheap) way to get fresh produce, and I’ve used each box I’ve gotten to inspire to look up new recipes with food I might not otherwise have tried. I highly recommend giving it a shot if they deliver in your area!

If you are interested in trying it, you can sign up here and get $10 of your first box—which is amazing because an average box for me costs about $12.

.

6) Rev Captioning

1_A1KW_hj3mpIkqq82DojNCQ

With student loan payments, bills, rent, and my failure to win the lottery this year, there were definitely times when I was sweating my finances. I thought about getting a second job, but was struggling with having to give up my free time. When I get home from my current job, I like to relax, but I also like to exercise, write and work on my goals for the year. So, I started looking around for options that could fit in to my schedule, which led me to Rev. It is a captioning service that pays you to either transcribe or caption videos. The application process is a little tough (I went through it twice before being hired) but once you’re in, you get to make your own schedule and work as much or as little as you like. You don’t necessarily rake in the money, but if you are consistent about it, you can give your bank account at least a little buffer.

Check it out here

.

Overall, I’d definitely say that my curiosity paid off this year and I’m excited to see where it takes me next year! Do you have anything you tried this year that you loved?

 

2018 Ornament Superlatives (List-cember #3)

One of my favorite List-cember traditions is going through the ornaments on my family’s Christmas tree and giving them superlatives. This year we were on top of our decorating game and had our tree up two days after Thanksgiving, giving us ample time to appreciate our extensive collection of ornaments, and giving me ample time to reward them just for being them.

Thus, here is the third installment of Ornament Superlatives, enjoy!

(Also, in case you missed it, you can check out the first installment here and the second installment here.)

.

Most Likely to Give You PETDMD (Post Emotionally Traumatic Disney Movie Disorder)

IMG_5814

.

Most Likely to Have Seen Better Days (And Make You Wonder if Whoever was Given the Skinny Stocking Felt a Little Unloved)

IMG_5817

.

Most Likely to Make You Start (Punny) Caroling 

(And Grab a Seasonal Drink from the Fridge)

IMG_5820

.

Most Likely to Make Dodger Fans Relive Their World Series Sadness

(for the second year in a row)

IMG_5821

.

Most Likely to Inspire Your Crafting Spirit…and then Awaken Your Perfectionist Mindset…and then Make You Lay in a Pile of Your Own Untalented Despair

IMG_5822

.

Most Accurate Representation of a Third Child’s First Christmas

Note: please refer to the ornament celebrating my first Christmas in the 2016 Ornament Superlatives

IMG_5823

.

Most Likely to Have Been Upcycled into an Ornament Just Because it’s Pretty

IMG_5824

.

Most Likely to Ignite the Argument: Ginger Angel Sitting in Front of a Fireplace OR French Fairy Hovering in Front of a Fireplace?

IMG_5825

.

Most Likely to Make You Want to Buy A Roll of Sugar Cookie Dough

(or Most Likely to Convince Overly Egg-Nogged Family Members it is a sugar cookie)

IMG_5826

.

Most Likely to Have Written an Article for Cosmopolitan on How to Improve Your #LashGame

IMG_5827

.

Most Likely to Start a Light-Hearted but Extremely Passive Aggressive Argument between College Football Fans

IMG_5828

17 (More) Things that Inspired Me This Year (List-cember #2)

About halfway through the year I posted this blog that listed a bunch of things that had inspired me so far in 2018. I felt bad holding them hostage until December when they might be just the burst of inspiration someone was looking for in July.

Now, as we’re (already!!) making our way through December, I’m hoping this list will give you all warm fuzzies and encouragement you need to close out this year and welcome the New Year.

2019 is going to full of good things, y’all. I promise.

.

1) Girl, Wash Your Face

91ReiTnLpL

  • “Comparison is the death of joy, and the only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday.”
  • “The only thing worse than giving up is wishing that you hadn’t.”
  • “There are hundreds of ways to lose yourself, but the easiest of them all is refusing to acknowledge who you truly are in the first place.”

.

2) This little act of kindness

Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 8.16.31 PM

.

3) The Monday Club

This is a newsletter I subscribed to about halfway through this year. It comes every Monday with inspiring words that aim to get your week off to a good start. This is a snippet from one of my favorite ones:

“When your dreams go unfulfilled because you didn’t start the work, the world won’t even know how to be heartbroken by the loss of things that would have made them better people. That’s the thing about the things you don’t do: you carry the loss.”

(find it here)

.

4) The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

51fRrYZt84L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_

  • Be brave. Be amazing. Be worthy. And every single time you get the chance? Stand up in front of people. Let them see you. Speak. Be heard.
  • Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.

.

5) This documentary

114a1849dd9bdd54aa244214f401e70b439a516f

.

6) The School of Greatness Podcast

Lewis-Howes-School-of-Greatness-Podcast

My favorite line (from Episode 721):

“Fear can be:  Fear Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise”

.

7) Teen Vogue’s “Compliment Battles”

It’s just such a wholesome segment. We should all compliment each other more.

.

8) My Life (So Far) in Song by Sara Bareilles

513HElMVa3L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

I highly recommend this book, especially the audiobook. Each chapter starts with Sara Bareilles (BEAUTIFULLY) singing a portion of one of her songs and then she talks about how that song applies to a specific part of her life.

.

9) #Last90DaysChallenge

I talked a little about this challenge in the most recent edition of My Google Search History. The challenge was started by Rachel Hollis (see inspiring thing #1) and it essentially dares you to be as aggressively passionate and optimistic about the last 90 days of the year as you normally would about the first 30 days of a new year. I love the concept and it has help me scare off that “I’ll start that next year” mindset that always tends to sneak in during this time of year.

(find it here)

.

10) This milkshake from the Ventura County Fair that showed me no culinary dream is too small

IMG_4999

.

11) Tuesdays with Morrie

download

Read. This. Book. It will make you smile, it will make you cry, it will make you think.

I could have highlighted, underlined and dog-eared the entire thing.

.

12) “Don’t let anyone rent space in your head or heart unless they’re a good tenant.” – Anna Faris Unqualified

.

13) Francesca Battistelli’s album Own It

I love the ENTIRE thing.

.

14) This:

Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 8.18.05 PM

.

15) The White Helmets

06f6bf5b5bd5aa3a187fcee1aca0faf1

.

16) Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, who inspired me to write this blog post.

.

17) And finally, this:

IMG_4601

.

Inspiration is all around us, all the time. Sometimes it gets hidden by frustration and discouragement, but if we look closely, there’s always something there to make us smile, or laugh, or cry (in a good way) or just feel.

Keep your eyes open for all the magic around you and I promise I’ll do the same. heavy-black-heart_2764

 


 

Find more List-cember posts here

20 Popular Christmas Decorations: Ranked (List-cember #1)

It’s officially December! Which means it’s also officially List-cember!

In case you have no idea what that means, List-cember is an annual blogging tradition I have where all the posts in December are centered around lists!

It’s fun. It’s organized. It’s has pictures. I love it!

Let’s jump right in.

.

For the true purists out there who wait alllll the way until December 1st to embrace the Christmas spirit, I can imagine you spent your weekend pulling down boxes and putting up decorations.

My roommates and I decorated a little early these year. We didn’t even wait until Thanksgiving…but SHH don’t tell my mom, she didn’t raise me like that.

After decorating our house, and then my grandpa’s house, and then my parents’ house, you could say I’m well-versed in the world of decorations, though I’ve never really taken the time to choose a favorite. I usually just say, “pretty!” over and over again until everything is hung up.

So this year I decided dig deep into my psyche and figure out which decorations are the best decorations. Because nothing says “holiday spirit” like pitting inanimate objects against each other, am I right?

.

20) Nutcracker Dolls

art-celebration-christmas-decorations-1612768

Let’s be real, these things are creepy. Are they traditional? Sure. But are they comforting to look at when it’s cold outside and you’re snuggling up with a mug of hot chocolate? Absolutely not.

.

19) Elf on a Shelf

erin-walker-462490-unsplash.jpg

These also fall into the creepy category for me. I know it’s a tradition in some families and I mean no disrespect, but as an adult who already has a hard enough time pretending she’s not scared to be home alone, the concept of having a doll watch me and wander around my house at night while I’m sleeping is a hard pass.

.

18) Lawn Inflatables

e9bdb7b6-0962-46ad-801f-fdfbd333f159_1.0a75c3b4f03c67072d27b82e61c66cd9

Photo credit: Walmart

I’ll admit, these are fun to look at for like, a minute, but then they just turn into hazards. With the wind and rain (and snow for you non-Southern Californians), these guys are just waiting for the right gust to send them soaring through the neighborhood.

.

17) Nativity Scene

This is probably asking for trouble, seeing as this showcases (at least what I believe to be) the actual purpose of Christmas. It’s main reason for being so low on the list is its breakability. Some years the pieces simply weren’t wrapped good enough, so when you pull them down in the fall the stable’s roof is falling apart or the donkey is missing a leg. There’s also the chance you’ll have someone like me put in charge of setting it up, who takes advantage of that responsibility by making everyone look as if they are worshipping one of my baby pictures.

15253463_10211133591601261_8092078048267294904_n

.

16) Poinsettias

poinsettias-10026-64_1000

Photo credit: The Home Depot

Bottom line: no one pronounces these the same and it’s frustrating and confusing.

.

15) Scented Candles

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 3.10.16 PM

Photo credit: Yankee Candle

I have what my family calls a “pregnant nose”, meaning it’s as sensitive to smells in its everyday life as an average nose would only be during months of, you know, baby growing. So stepping into houses during the holiday season and being assaulted by smells of Cinnamon or Holiday Frost or Wooded Cottage or Rudolph’s Kitchen is just a bit much for me.

.

14) Garland

wes-hicks-474776-unsplash

One of the decoration staples in my parents’ house is a long strand of garland that sits on top of the fireplace. I think it looks great, but it’s heavy duty and has a mind of its own and sometimes decides to jump off the ledge for no apparent reason, taking anything and everything else on the ledge with it. Points deducted, my friend.

.

13) Mistletoe

jakob-owens-486025-unsplash.jpg

To be honest, I rarely see mistletoe outside of Hallmark movies. And while I love a cheesy well well well looks like you have to kiss and fall in love movie moment, I can’t say I’ve seen or would overly enjoy being placed in that situation in real life.

.

12) Snowmen

pamela-saunders-388821-unsplash

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Frosty. But I feel like snowmen are quite possibly the most overdone decoration of the holiday season. People make snowmen out of EVERYTHING. Sometimes a jar just wants to be a jar, you know?

Also, I’m bitter because I hardly ever get to see snow…

.

11) Wreath

jez-timms-46810-unsplash

I feel bad for placing these so low on the list because I genuinely love wreaths and think they add so much holiday spirit. But man, are they a HASSLE. (At least in my experience.) They always make the door hard to close and then if you have a screen door it just kind of leans there, awkwardly open. I don’t know, unless you hang them inside or have giant front doors that make average sized humans feel small to walk through, I think they might be more trouble than they’re worth.

.

10) Bells

xlgtgvh0a8g-joanna-kosinska

I love the sound of bells, both the ding and jingle type—because that’s how they’re categorized right? I mean, have you ever watched people play the hand bells? It’s incredible. So really my only reason to mark them down is that I think they shouldn’t be restricted to holiday months. #justiceforbells

.

9) Angels

angel-christmas-christmas-angel-1602744.jpg

I think angels take the place of Santa in our eyes when we grow up. They become the source of Christmas miracles after we’re told that a grown man doesn’t actually climb down our chimney and leave us gifts. I like this transition, since I sincerely believe in angels and their capability to perform miracles, and I like that the Christmas season displays them in abundance.

.

8) Advent Calendars

markus-spiske-466188-unsplash

When my siblings and I were little, our aunts used to put together advent calendars to open during the month of December. They wrapped little gifts in tissue paper and tied them to pretty gold rope that we hung up in the living room. The three of us then took turns opening gifts each day. It was fun and magical and remains to be one of my favorite Christmas memories growing up.

.

7) Santa

eric-perez-1148786-unsplash

If you ever want to see a fantastic collection of Santas, you need not look any farther than my grandpa’s house. He has a western Santa that moves his hips like Luke Bryan, he has one that raps, he has one that is attached to a serving tray that is always filled with chocolates. So honestly, I’m here for whatever portrayal you’re willing to give me.

.

6) Tree Topper

I think this would have less of a special place in my heart if my roommates and I didn’t have the greatest topper of all time.

IMG_5874

Yes, that’s right, folks, it is a cheeseburger with legs and it cannot and will not…be topped.

.

5) Snow Globes

n-451271-unsplash

My sister collects snow globes, something she got from my parents who also have more than a few to display every holiday season. To me, snow globes are one of those undeniably charming things, always ready to give you a little taste of magic whenever you pick one up and shake it.

.

4) Christmas Lights

derek-thomson-498678-unsplash

There’s nothing like a decoration that brings literal light into the world! Last year my sister and I spent an entire evening driving aimlessly around our neighborhood looking at lights. They never fail to make me smile.

.

3) Christmas Tree

chris-benson-489183-unsplash

Come on, you know this guy has to be near the top. There’s almost nothing more Christmassy than a tree—unless maybe…

.

2) Ornaments

f3174a29-13b0-435b-9439-68ab4fcef1e3

…THE ORNAMENTS YOU HANG ON ITS MAJESTIC BRANCHES. Y’all know I love ornaments and may or may not be surprised that they didn’t top out this list. I mean, ornaments can be anything (as demonstrated by my family’s ever growing collection) and they are some of the best memory keepers. That being said, the only thing that could have possibly beaten them out for the top spot are…

.

1) Stockings

IMG_5873

I don’t know if you can tell, but one of these stockings is homemade.

It’s also our favorite stocking.

Stockings are just so homey and I love seeing them hanging above the fireplace, showcasing all of the members of a family—be that human and/or animal members. And in my opinion, finding the smallest little gift in your stocking, even if it’s just candy or a fuzzy pair of socks, can be more magical than opening the biggest present under the tree.

.

However you decorate your house during the holiday season, I hope it makes you smile and brings you all the joy that this month is made of.

Merry Christmas and Happy List-cember everyone!

 


 

You can check out last year’s List-cember posts here.

30 Good Things that Happened in November

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

.

1) Fans paid tribute to Stan Lee

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 9.41.29 PM

.

2) These teens created an app to help prevent teen suicide

Photo-Credit_-VANIA-STOYANOVA1

.

3) These people were reunited with their pets after they were separated by the California fires

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 9.43.22 PM

.

4) This man had a conversation with his goat

.

5) This high school teacher won big on the Steve Harvey Show

.

6) These girls set out to make “powerful panties”

https_blogs-images.forbes.comtoriutleyfiles2018102Y-503Ew-1200x800

.

7) This girl offered her *hand* to help her cousin announce her engagement

.

8) This veteran made a podcast to help others suffering from PTSD

Richard+Casper+-+Creativets+-+TIMe

.

9) This dog waited patiently at the (invisible) door

.

10) Pete Davidson’s apology on SNL turned into a call for unity

SNL2-b6abc18fcf23ad35b374b113a801eab2

.

11) This book finally had its day

.

12) Customers bought this donut shop’s stock so the owner could visit his wife in the hospital

.

13) This girl asked people to brag about their 2018 accomplishments

.

14) And tons of people responded

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 10.06.45 PMScreen Shot 2018-11-28 at 10.06.34 PMScreen Shot 2018-11-28 at 10.06.05 PM

.

15) This volleyball team gave their opponents new uniforms after they were burned in the California wildfires

Paradise uniforms_1542579868325.jpg_6415669_ver1.0_640_360

.

16) This couple spent their vacations helping fire evacuees

b-c-couple

.

17) The WSU band learned their opponent’s fight song when their band was unable to make it to the game

221052-1024x683

.

18) This 10 year old got to meet the bone marrow donor who saved his life—who by the way only got in line to donate because he liked a woman he saw in line, who BY THE WAY is now his wife!

p06syd08

.

19) This care package was put out for hardworking postal workers

img_5848.jpg

.

20) This cow took the internet by storm

.

21) This family continued their tradition of donating blood on Black Friday

.

22) This little one finished a Turkey Trot

.

23) This Powerball winner donated $500,000 to the Travis Mills Foundation to help wounded veterans

.

24) Wholesome lifestyle brand, Kristin Made, released this recipe for pumpkin cookies (which I’m still dying to try!)

.

25) Toyota gave a deserving man a new car

IMG_5851

.

26) This rookie quarterback had an amazing debut

.

27) This boy, known as Bat Kid, was proclaimed cancer free!

AP_batkid_makeawish_lpl_131115_16x9_992

.

28) Robert Irwin introduced Jimmy Fallon to some more animals

.

29) Nasa Insight landed on Mars!

.

30) And amazing celebratory handshakes ensued

.

Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what December brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

tree

 

 

 

Raise Your Hand if You…

It’s Monday.

I’m just looking for some solidarity here.

Please raise your hand if you…

  1. Color in the bubble part of letters when you’re bored or antsy
  2. Set more than one alarm for work in the morning
  3. Just don’t get the “dilly dilly” commercials
  4. Guess how many previews are going to play before a movie
  5. Can’t keep a houseplant alive
  6. Audibly gasp when you find groceries unexpectedly on sale
  7. Try every flavor of Oreo
  8. Always return the shopping cart
  9. Treat/talk to your car like it’s a person
  10. Wait until after Thanksgiving to listen to Christmas music
  11. Feel calmer when things are clean
  12. Prefer chocolate milk over coffee
  13. Can’t resist a movie on sale for less than $5
  14. Have waited so long to do laundry that you had to wear a bathing suit under your clothes
  15. Have playlists that coincide with your current mood
  16. Sing in your car like you’re in a musical
  17. Hate salad
  18. Talk about athletes on your favorite sports teams like they’re your actual friends
  19. Are constantly Googling things just because you’re curious
  20. Always read the directions of a board game in full
  21. Also have a tendency to make up your own rules that might make the game more fun
  22. Add random vegetables to your pasta to try and make it healthy
  23. Sniff your hands after you wash them to see if the soap smells good
  24. Will take any opportunity to craft
  25. Suck at painting your nails
  26. Avoid going to Target because you have no self control
  27. Have a compulsive need to touch everything that looks soft
  28. Have had an argument with Siri
  29. Are worried Siri is constantly listening to you
  30. Would like Siri to know you love and appreciate her and to please not turn against you when the robots win
  31. Have your own unique vocabulary to describe things
  32. Take coloring seriously
  33. Take coloring so seriously that some coloring books in your house are off limits to guests
  34. Can turn almost anything into a quesadilla
  35. Still make paper-chains
  36. Hate sneezing in an empty house because you’re scared someone might say bless you
  37. Cut the crusts off your sandwiches
  38. Like seeing movies alone
  39. Lay on top of your laundry when it comes out of the dryer
  40. Think all DVD’s should come with a blooper reel

 

Anyone?

My Google Search History (Part 3)

Hello and welcome back to another episode of why does Kim never close any Internet windows?

In this post a little while back I talked about my tendency to max out the number of search windows that are allowed open on my phone. And now, since this habit shows no signs of slowing down, this has become somewhat of a series that dives into the mind of past Kim.

What has she been Googling lately?

Let’s find out:

.

1) French Poodle

I honestly have no idea why, when, or how this came into conversation, or if I was just sitting around wondering what a French Poodle looks like, but in case you’re curious, they look like this:

french-white-poodle-sit-on-260nw-385070548

.

2) What icing goes good with spice cake?

I hate spice cake but my mom and cousin love it. This past June, while preparing for my (at the time soon to be) cousin’s Bachelorette party, I made a couple of spice cakes to bring to Vegas with us and had no idea what to put on top. According to Google, my best bet was: cream cheese frosting, maple frosting, or cinnamon buttercream frosting. I went with cream cheese frosting because I could buy it in the store, but you better believe I’ll find an excuse to make cinnamon buttercream one of these days.

.

3) Kanye poop song

This pretty much speaks for itself. I was trying to show my family that song where Kanye West starts saying “poop” and words that rhyme with it over and over again. They didn’t believe it was real, even after I pressed play. But I just kept saying, “wait for it” and eventually they heard the cold hard poop truth.

.

4) How to cut a mango?

I got a mango in my Imperfect Produce box and while I was excited, I had no idea how to go about eating it. I ended up finding this article, which helped me cut the mango perfectly—too bad I didn’t realize it wasn’t ripe yet.

how-to-cut-mango-method-600-6-600x400

.

5) World’s Largest Peanut

Again, I don’t remember when or why I wanted to know this. But to be honest, this one isn’t that weird for me as I have an actual list of the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions that I hope to see one day. Also, it’s in Ashburn, Georgia by the way.

GAASHpeanut_8021_620x300

.

6) Thorncrown Chapel

My mom, my sister and I were in Arkansas to visit some family and we decided to make the drive to check out this church in the northern part of the state. The roads were a little windy but the drive was worth it. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

front2

.

7) Error Code 771 DirecTV

My roommates and I spent a good amount of time watching our cable box skip in and out—namely during Jeopardy, which is pretty much all we have time to watch together—and were frustrated when we couldn’t identify the cause. But, after a few calls to the DirecTV service department where we were told it was probably a (clearly invisible) tree blocking our satellite dish or a tornado in our area (because you know how common tornadoes are in Southern California), we were finally able to get a technician out to our house who discovered the cord connected to our satellite dish had almost completely eroded, which in turn was causing all of our Jeopardy interruptions.

.

8) What do the emojis mean on Snapchat?

A while back, Snapchat added a feature that places emojis next to your friends’ names, which describes your snap-lationship with them. Now, I rarely send Snapchats, so whenever I do, my friends list lights up with emojis and I’m always curious as to what they mean. Here’s a legend.

.

9) Einstein’s Riddle

My brother came home one day with this puzzle for all of us to solve, which we quickly jumped on board with, each of us timing ourselves to see who could solve it the fastest. So far my dad and my roommate Rachel are the quickest with a time around 30 minutes.

1452259523_einstein-riddle-0

.

10) Baked stuffed peppers recipe

Try. This. Recipe.

5-Ingredient-Mexican-Quinoa-Stuffed-Peppers-11-1

.

11) Loser by Beck Lyrics

My roommates and I spontaneously bought tickets to see Beck at the Hollywood Bowl one Friday night, and as the band started to sing their most famous song, I started wondering, you know, what the hell they’re saying.

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 9.06.39 PM

Soy un perdedor = “I’m a loser” in Spanish, so it makes sense…but yeah I definitely wouldn’t have guessed that.

.

12) Last 90 Days Challenge

As mentioned in my latest favorites post, I absolutely loved the book Girl, Wash Your Face. After reading it, I looked up everything there was to know about its author, Rachel Hollis, which led me to the Last 90 Days Challenge that she runs every year on her website. The whole idea behind it is that if we put as much gung ho energy into the last 90 days of the year as we do the first 30 days of a year, we could be unstoppable come the New Year. I LOVE this idea, and while I have been a little bit too busy to stick to every part of the challenge, it’s given me a much more positive mindset. I’ve really made an effort to stop looking at these last few months as something to get through and to instead think of them as equal opportunities for inspiration and success 🙂

.

13) What are scallions?

My mom and I were in the grocery store looking for scallions for a recipe we were cooking that night. When I googled a picture, the Internet returned what appeared to be a photo of green onions. At the grocery store, we found the food that matched the picture, and it was also labeled as green onions, which led me to wonder, then what the hell is a scallion? Turns out, green onions and scallions are actually the same thing. It’s up to the grocery store selling them to choose how they are labeled. So….yeah, that’s dumb.

1280-584247502-green-onion

.

14) Why is the flag at half-mast today?

Have you ever driven past a fire station or police station and seen the flag flying at half-mast and immediately feel like a bad American because you have no idea why? This website is here to help you figure that out.

Also, in Googling this, I learned that “half-mast” is actually only appropriate when referring a flag on a ship. Flags on land are flown at half-staff. 

maxresdefault

.

15) 2019 Honda HRV

A couple weeks ago I wrote this blog about my attempt to better appreciate the (figurative and literal) rental car I was driving while my car was in the shop. Unfortunately, a few days after posting it, I got a call from the insurance company informing me that my car had officially been totaled. This broke my heart, as I’d been driving that car for 11 years and was not ready to let it go yet. Plus, with the coverage on the rental car coming to an end, I was going to be without any car very soon. So, I quickly started doing some research on what options I had out there, and with the help of my family and my job—because I do a lot of driving for work—I was able to find a new four wheeled friend. She is yet to be named, but she is pretty and I’m very thankful and lucky and GUYS, I HAVE AUTOMATIC WINDOWS NOW.

2019-Honda-HR-V-Aegean-Blue-Metallic_o

.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m again going to close all the windows and see how long it takes me to max out again. Which to be honest, shouldn’t be too long…


 

Check out Part 2 of this series here. 

Embrace the Change, Even if it’s a Rental

For the past week or so I’ve been driving a rental car. I was in a minor accident at the end of October and so my car—who some of you might know I call Jeffrey—is currently in the shop getting himself a new passenger’s side door and an overall spiff up.

In the meantime, I’m driving a white Kia which, when it’s parked in the garage next to my roommate’s white Acura, has officially been dubbed half of the “white car crew”—because we try to make everything a little exciting.

The Kia, which I’ve named “Ren” (for rental) is vastly different than Jeff, and in the last week of driving him around, I’ve really been able to pinpoint the distinctions.

For starters, Ren is a 2017 Kia Optima while Jeff is a 2007 Saturn Ion, so obviously I’ve taken a huge jump forward in terms of technology. There’s Bluetooth, a backup camera, automatic headlights, shortcut buttons on the steering wheel, and automatic windows. (Swoon)

But even with all of these positives, I spend most of my time picking out things I don’t like about the car. Things I’ve grown comfortable with in my own car, that I miss and would rather not lose, even if it’s only for a few weeks.

The other day, as I was sitting at a stoplight, I was turning my steering wheel back and forth, a habit I’d picked up while driving Jeff because the steering wheel squeaks. Ren’s steering wheel however, does not. It’s silent and smooth and doesn’t have the cracked exterior I pick at when I’m nervous.

This got me thinking.

We’re always looking for the bigger and the better, right? We dream and we look forward, craving the possibilities of the future, rarely looking back at the comforts of the past. I likely wouldn’t have noticed many of the oddities I’ve found that I like about Jeff until I was put in a situation like this where I’m in a completely new car with completely new oddities. The same goes for a new job, a new house, a new relationship, etc.

No matter how much we might be looking for a change in a particular situation, we are always going to have parts of our old situation that we will miss if/when we finally do make that change.

One day I’ll get a new car and all the things I love about Jeff will be gone. I’ll have to break in the driver’s seat and get the mirrors right. I’ll have to find the perfect air temperature and restock the backseat and the trunk with the odds and ends I always like to keep with me.

When that day comes, I will undoubtedly be sad. Sure, I’ll be excited to have a new car, but I’m sure I’ll spend many an afternoon drive thinking about things I liked about my old car. But just as I’ve tried to tell myself now, in the wake of this rental: I can’t dwell on it.

When we make these big changes, either by our choice or by the choices of those around us, we are forced to deal with the ripples. Maybe that new job won’t have your favorite restaurant next door or that tradition you have with your coworkers. Maybe your new relationship won’t have the same dynamic or will take longer to find a new normal. Maybe your new car won’t have a squeaky (yet weirdly comforting) steering wheel.

We are always going to find things to miss about what we had, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, there is a reason you wanted to make this change or why this change found you. And even if the change is only temporary, like this rental car, it would be a waste to spend our days comparing and complaining.

Embrace where you are, what you have and who you’re with right now. Find out what you like and don’t like about what’s right in front of you, not in comparison to what’s behind you.

For me, I can’t wait to get my car back, but I’m thankful I’ve been provided a car to drive in the meantime. And as long as I have it, I solemnly swear to cherish these automatic windows.

September/October 2018 Favorites

So it’s a little sad actually, because I finished this post over a week ago and was set to post it the Monday before what would have been Game 6 of the World Series. I was feeling optimistic and clever and I even wrote a cute intro that talked about how relieved I was to take a break from screaming at the television to tell you about some of my favorite things. But then the Dodgers lost and I was heartbroken and I wrote this blog instead.

Now it’s been a week since baseball ended and I’m still bummed and slightly disoriented and already counting down the days until it’s back. In the meantime here is a list of some of my favorite things from the last couple months:

.

Dirty John Podcast

150491

I’m about a year behind listening to this podcast, but I can finally say that I have listened, I have gasped, I have had heated discussions with my sister in our living room, and I completely understand why everyone made such a big deal about this podcast last year. For those of you who haven’t heard it: LISTEN! It is such a crazy, frustrating and mind blowing true story that you simply have to hear it to believe it. (find it here)

.

Computer Glasses

glasses

On the nerdier side of things: these glasses! As someone who spends eight hours—at work, plus a few more each night while writing/blogging at home—a day behind a computer, I was starting to get constant headaches from looking at the screen. So, I did some research and came across these glasses that are supposed to cut out the blue light from the computer screen and prevent those headaches. I’ve been wearing them for a few weeks now and I’m happy to report they are helping! I have far fewer headaches and wholeheartedly believe they were worth the (totally inexpensive) investment. (find them here)

.

Movies

 

Since the Dodgers were in the playoffs for most of October, most of my evenings were spent on the couch screaming at the television. Thus, I didn’t have a lot of time to put aside to go to the movies. That being said however, these two managed to both steal me away and put a smile (and/or tears) on my face. A Star is Born is one of the biggest showcases of Lady Gaga’s talent you will ever see and I highly recommend it for that exact reason. The story, music and acting by other players—including Bradley Cooper who gives an amazing performance—is as good as everyone says it is, but Lady Gaga is just beyond. On the completely other end of the scale, Crazy Rich Asians delivers one of the most heartwarming romcoms I’ve seen in a long time. I laughed, I cried, I AWW-ed, and I was ecstatic to learn there is an upcoming sequel because it means I get to spend more time in that wonderful world with that wonderful cast.

.

A Million Little Things

1200x627-Q80_567098473cd83ee2fa5800b47a55c359

This fall TV season made me mad because it presented a bunch of promising shows that I was interested in watching, even though I definitely don’t have time to watch them. I usually like to pick one or two to try out and then eventually drop one (or both), but my DVR is currently taping about six new shows, almost all of which I am behind on. The exception being A Million Little Things. At first I was skeptical about this show because I thought it was trying to be the new This is Us and I didn’t feel like I had the emotional capacity to watch both. But, I have been pleasantly surprised by its unique storyline and characters. It is without a doubt my favorite new show on TV right now.

.

Books

 

I have been practically overdosing on books lately, so choosing only a few favorites was incredibly hard, but these are the ones that really got me.

I listened to Wildflower on audiobook and essentially fell in love with Drew Barrymore in the process. Not only did I love her stories, but listening to her tell them and actually hear how much they meant to her made the book all the more enjoyable. (find it here)

After listening to Wildflower, I immediately started looking up memoirs by other people I admire that I could also listen to on audiobook, which led me to Bryan Cranston’s book, Life in Parts. It was a book I always thought sounded like it would be good but never knew if I’d get around to it, but I’m so glad I did. Cranston has lived such an interesting life and worked so many unique jobs and I loved hearing stories about all of them. One story in particular even inspired this blog post I wrote a few weeks ago. Thanks for that one, Bryan! (find it here)

And last but certainly not least: Girl, Wash Your Face. I practically inhaled this book, reading it every chance I could get just so I could absorb more of the inspirational advice it’s dripping with. It felt like one of those books I was meant to read, you know? The kind I might bring up some time down the road, noting it as an important book that I read and reread and then pursued my dreams like crazy. (find it here)

.

Music

Similar to books, I’ve been making a point to listen to all kinds of music lately and I’ve been so excited with what I’ve found. These are a few of my favorite, with iTunes’ adjectives as always.

Swimming by Mac Miller: “He’s riding ultra funky baselines…and an altogether jazzy and danceable set.”

Desperate Man by Eric Church: “Church’s life-affirming relief over successful emergency surgery to remove a deadly blood clot can be heart in the joyous survivor’s boogie of “Hangin’ Around,” the opposites-attract waltz “Heart Like a Wheel,” and the Sympathy for the Devil”-nudging title track.

Expectations by Magic: So there’s no review on iTunes for this one, but if I were to award it descriptive adjectives I would say funky and smooth and close your eyes and bob your head kind of groovy.

.

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

 

31 Good Things that Happened in October

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

1) The first thing this man heard after receiving his cochlear implant was his partner proposing

.

2) This artist gave new meaning to Humpty Dumpty’s “great fall”

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 4.59.43 PM

.

3) Mark Ruffalo explained empathy

.

4) This comic illustrated what it’s like to have a dog

dog-comic-6-851afc9360aced6ff00813022d1c8742

dog-comic-8-bb60ab1d6c1cf8eb59ca7311b6288d31

.

5) This little guy looked at his mom with loving eyes

.

6) This daughter wrote her mother a letter to remind her that she is enough

.

7) This teacher added some fun to her paper grading

.

8) This cat walked the red carpet at the premiere of its new Netflix show

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 5.12.06 PM

.

9) This dog got his picture taken for the yearbook

.

10) This artist collected sayings from different cultures and illustrated them

elephantfight-5a135e441dce4405ca6cb872ff491403

.

11) These writers shared why they write

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 5.14.48 PM

.

12) This Kindergarten class learned to sign “happy birthday” for their hard of hearing custodian

.

13) These teenagers invented a helpful way to prevent ice cream drippage

.

14) This wife saved her husband shortly before giving birth

r-28caa6a37306dd529ec01e639b373aa6

.

15) This girl raised money to buy her best friend new shoes

.

16) This wild magpie became the best pet a family could have asked for

DSC3821-e19345d8ac42f4540d3e5e3c1e655e20

.

17) This girl found a way to make an amazing change in the world

.

18) This photographer took an incredible engagement photo of a couple he didn’t even know…

.

19) …and then he found them!

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 5.23.36 PM

.

20) David Schwimmer made light of claims that this criminal looked just like him

.

21) This girl took her mom to Sesame Street

.

22) This woman donated 1 1/2 tons of vegetables to families in need

5bd917346f026.image

.

23) This brother supported his sister

.

24) These Muslim Americans raised more than $120,000 for those affected by the Pittsburgh shooting

181029-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-muslim-community-flowers-se-311p_588566b54129e0af99cdb0f158cc50e1.fit-2000w

.

25) This mother had a conversation with her daughter

.

26) This article highlighted all the things going right in the world

.

27) Nike surprised this runner with a contract

.

28) This grandpa went all out for Halloween

.

29) As did this dog

.

30) And you gotta hand it to this pilot for his sense of humor

IMG_5666

.

31) And finally, this reminder was posted to be thankful for the little thingsIMG_5667

.

Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what November brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

tree