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.

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1) Girl, Wash Your Face

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  • “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.”

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2) This little act of kindness

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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)

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4) The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

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  • 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.

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5) This documentary

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6) The School of Greatness Podcast

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My favorite line (from Episode 721):

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

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7) Teen Vogue’s “Compliment Battles”

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

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

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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.

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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)

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

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11) Tuesdays with Morrie

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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.

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

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13) Francesca Battistelli’s album Own It

I love the ENTIRE thing.

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14) This:

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15) The White Helmets

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

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17) And finally, this:

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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.

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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?

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20) Nutcracker Dolls

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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.

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19) Elf on a Shelf

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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.

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18) Lawn Inflatables

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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.

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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.

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16) Poinsettias

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Photo credit: The Home Depot

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

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15) Scented Candles

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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.

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14) Garland

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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.

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13) Mistletoe

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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.

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12) Snowmen

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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…

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11) Wreath

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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.

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10) Bells

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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

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9) Angels

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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.

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8) Advent Calendars

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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.

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7) Santa

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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.

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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.

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

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5) Snow Globes

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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.

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4) Christmas Lights

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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.

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3) Christmas Tree

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

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2) Ornaments

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…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…

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1) Stockings

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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.

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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!

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1) Fans paid tribute to Stan Lee

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

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

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4) This man had a conversation with his goat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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11) This book finally had its day

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

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

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14) And tons of people responded

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

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16) This couple spent their vacations helping fire evacuees

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

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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!

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

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20) This cow took the internet by storm

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

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22) This little one finished a Turkey Trot

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

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

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25) Toyota gave a deserving man a new car

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26) This rookie quarterback had an amazing debut

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

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28) Robert Irwin introduced Jimmy Fallon to some more animals

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29) Nasa Insight landed on Mars!

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30) And amazing celebratory handshakes ensued

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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10) Baked stuffed peppers recipe

Try. This. Recipe.

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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.

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

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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 🙂

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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:

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Dirty John Podcast

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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)

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Computer Glasses

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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)

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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.

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A Million Little Things

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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

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

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3) Mark Ruffalo explained empathy

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

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

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

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7) This teacher added some fun to her paper grading

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

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9) This dog got his picture taken for the yearbook

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

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11) These writers shared why they write

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

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

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14) This wife saved her husband shortly before giving birth

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

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

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

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

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19) …and then he found them!

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

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21) This girl took her mom to Sesame Street

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

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23) This brother supported his sister

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

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25) This mother had a conversation with her daughter

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

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27) Nike surprised this runner with a contract

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28) This grandpa went all out for Halloween

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29) As did this dog

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

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

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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.

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Stay Loyal to Your Team, Stay Loyal to Your Dream

On this blog I often talk a lot about dreams. I wonder and I hope and I try to be honest about what I’m doing to try and make mine come true, in the hopes that it can inspire you to do the same. Sometimes I talk about baseball, and my boys in blue, and how their dreams tend to mix with some of my dreams, especially in October.

Last night, I watched Game 5 of the World Series, and unfortunately saw the Dodgers lose to the Boston Red Sox. It was hard, the way it always is when you know the season is officially over, but also in that deeper, tougher way that you can only experience when your season ends in the World Series and it’s not with a trophy in your hands. My mom, sister and I watched from home and my dad watched from a seat in the stands, and we all slumped our shoulders and sighed when the last out was made.

Not this year.

It’s a phrase I’ve become rather familiar with, both in baseball, since the Dodgers haven’t won the World Series since 1988—two years before I was born—and in life, because there are a number of dreams that haven’t necessarily come true yet.

Not this year. Not this job. Not this time. I’m sorry, but no.

The difference is, it’s easy to take the loss in baseball. Well, not easy, but easier. When the game ends and you watch the other team run into each others arms and hold the trophy up  over their heads, you sulk and you sigh and you wish things were different, but eventually you move on. And as the months go by and April comes into focus, you put on your hat and your jersey and you show up to your first game with a new attitude, a new set of possibilities and a new determination to win.

You stay loyal, no matter what. No matter how bad last season was. No matter how far from the finish line you stood when the last out was made. You take a seat in the stands and you say, “let’s try again.”

But how often do we bring that same positive mindset into our own lives? How loyal are we to our own reset buttons? How quick are we to bounce back and try again after our own losses and failures?

At the beginning of every season, every team in the MLB has a 1/30 chance to win the World Series. And after 175 (or so) games, that crazy, farfetched whisper of a possibility becomes a reality for one team.

The dream you’re striving for, the dream that I’m striving for, while they might have better or worse odds, still have that one chance. And unlike being a fan, we have the power to take it. We’re not sitting in the stands, complaining about what we would have done different, we’re in the game, responsible for our own successes and failures, and even more, responsible for gathering up the nerve to come back and say, “let’s try again.”

I’ll always root (root root) for the Dodgers. I’ll always show up in April, no matter how heartbreaking October was, and I assume you’d do the same for your team. But we need to start employing that loyalty in our own lives, for our own dreams. We need to take all that passion and frustration and undeniable determination and make things happen.

I’m looking at you, and I’m looking at me, and I’m looking at you, Dodgers. We may not have won this round, but there’s always a new one on the horizon. Maybe it’s in April, maybe it’s tomorrow, maybe it’s in a few years from now. We just have to keep working, keep trying, keep putting ourselves in the game, and one day, that trophy will be ours.

Three Things to Remember Before Voting This November

With only a few weeks until a very important election in November, our TV’s, neighborhood billboards and social media feeds have started to flood with ads and requests for our votes. I’ve even received a few text messages from various candidates and causes hoping they can count on my support come November 8th.

In light of this and all the talk surrounding the anticipated and encouraged outcomes, I think there a few crucial things to remember when you vote, either in person or by mail in ballot.

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1) There is more than one opinion

Social media, namely sites like Twitter, are hubs for conversations on controversial topics. And with algorithms tracking popular topics and their corresponding responses, people are quick to notice the opinions gaining the most favor—a.k.a favorites and retweets. Depending on who you might follow on Twitter (or other social media sites), your feed might become full of these retweets/reposts, so much so that it might seem as if it is the only available to have. It’s important to remember that this is not the case. Every issue has multiple sides and arguments that favor each, so do your research and pursue these sides. It’s the only way you can properly determine where you stand.

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2) You are allowed to hold any opinion you choose

In doing research on the sides of an argument, it’s important to realize that as much as supporters and opposers would like you to believe, there is not one right opinion. Opinions are based on personal values and circumstances, so what might seem clear cut for one person, might not make any sense to another. Figure out where your values align and base your opinions and ultimate votes on those discoveries. Outside opinions are great for research and understanding but they should not dictate your individual vote.

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3) Vote your own vote

I’ve seen a number of celebrities and famous personalities make a special effort to encourage people to vote this year, which is great. Voting is a privilege, one that is so often taken for granted, and as role models in our society, I think it’s so valuable for them to present voting not only as important, but exciting and cool. I myself have a number of people I look up to that constantly post encouragements to make my voice heard, and it stirs something inside me. But here’s the thing, we need to let their encouragements stop once we get to the poles. We cannot cast ballots based on who we think we should vote for and we should never vote to impress celebrities or to further their opinions. This goes back to #1: figure out your own values, and where you stand on issues, because that is the only way to make your vote count.

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The most important thing to remember this election season is to vote. Don’t make an excuse, don’t be lazy, and don’t throw away your chance to make your voice heard. Your vote matters, your opinion matters, and we are blessed to live in a country that allows both of those to be heard. So go out and be part of something bigger than you. It’s important. Plus, you get a sticker.