September Heart to Heart

Hello friend. How are you handling all things pumpkin and apples? Honestly, I am just not quite there yet. I know, I really need to get it together or it will be winter before I am finally able to admit its fall. I don’t know why I am having such a hard time, I love fall, my brain just wont catch up with my heart I guess.

Anyway, lets catch up about September shall we?

The Highs

Besties from B-lo

Our best friends Mariah and Ty were in town for a weekend visit with his family and we had the freaking amazing honor of spending a whole day with them. My heart was overflowing guys. You know that feeling of home you just have with certain people? The easy, the peace, the laughter? It’s just so sweet.

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Class is in

I am back in the classroom and LOVING it! Seriously, being a student again is exhilarating. I know it sounds like and exaggeration, but I literally (really literally) was on a cloud for every minute of that 8 hour class day.

Metal Madness

I was dragged privileged to join my hubby for a metal show in Clifton. A band called Convictions headlined, and even though I have zero authority in this arena, they put on a great show. I can’t say I have become a metalhead, but it was definitely a unique experience I am glad to have tried it once.

‪We are going live on Facebook tonight @10! Come hang out! ‬

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Last Wedding of the Season

A long time friend of Hubby’s tied the knot just this past weekend. It’s been a while since we attended a wedding as nothing but guests, so we had a great relaxed, reconnected time. IMG_1719

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Everything about the wedding was absolutely beautiful. Honestly they are two of the most beautiful people, all around really.  We could not be happier for the new Mr. and Mrs.

 

New projects!

This month I started a few exciting new things. At the risk of being annoying, I think I am going to wait to tell you more until they make a bit more progress. (If you look closely you may spot one of them!)

The Lows

Last day at the beach

Okay so this is a low high. I was able to sneak away for one last day at my favorite place in the world. High because I didn’t think I was going to get that closure day and, its the beach! Low because its always hard to say goodbye to my sweet spot until next year.IMG_1185

What I Read

Rising Strong by Brené Brown

“The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall. The author of Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection tells us what it takes to get back up, and how owning our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak gives us the power to write a daring new ending” (Goodreads)

Brené Brown is truly a gift to my heart. I have never listened to her speak or read her work without gaining incredible and crucial insight. Seriously I would read her grocery list. I will admit, I tried to listen to this one on audio, and had to stop so I could get my hands on the actual book. There was just so much I needed to stop and listen to over again so I could process (in the best way) which is not really the best thing to do while operating a vehicle.

So, besides teaching me how to recover from failure, Brené also helped me decide that audiobooks will now exclusively be fiction or memoir from this point forward.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.” (Goodreads)

This was the first in my newly declared fiction/memoir only audio and it was an excellent start. Timely, engaging and eye opening. Challenging and serious but not overwhelming.


Joy Unspeakable by Martin Lloyd-Jones

“. . .a classic call to submit afresh to the Spirit for power, purity and assurance, while keeping our heads in the face of pitfalls that might distract or ensnare us.” (Goodreads)

Full disclosure, Joy Unspeakable was required reading for the class I am taking, and I am so glad. Lloyd-Jones ministered in the early to mid 1900’s, which is reflected in his writing style, but the book is a classic for a reason. Honestly, it is so relevant to my own church experience and maybe yours as well. I found my soul challenged, comforted, encouraged, and inspired. If your curious about the Holy Spirit, make this a first stop.

What I Watched

Vietnam Ken Burns

Would you be surprised at all if I told you that Hubby and I were majorly geeking out over this one? We were seriously counting down for it all summer. This picture was taken 2 months ago and excitedly texted to Hubby so we would not miss it. IMG_1001 Ken Burns is the documentary king, and he did not disappoint.

Atypical 

THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD! A Netflix original that details the life of a teenager with high functioning autism and his family, it will absolutely have you laughing and crying and thinking and learning in every single episode. Watch it, watch it right now.

What I Listened To

Chance the Rapper, always killing it.

Some Things I Loved

I was too excited to get pictures, but Wegmans opened ten minutes away from where we live. My own little piece of Buffalo right in my backyard. How sweet it is!

What I am Looking Forward to

We have got some fun weekends ahead of us. Hubby and I will be speaking at a conference this weekend in New Hampshire. Then we have a visit to Little Rhody (one of my absolute favorite places) with my brother and sister in law (some of my absolute favorite people)!

August Heart to Heart

I am still really struggling to admit it, but the truth remains, it is September. The struggle has been so real, its 11 days in to September🤦🏻‍♀️. August came and went in a big old blur.  Did it for you too? Though the cold mornings have been creeping in, I am not ready to trade my iced coffee for all the pumpkin things just yet. So I am going to tell you all about August from under a blanket while stubbornly sipping an ice cold coffee.

The Highs

Welcome to New Jersey

We had the best kind of busy this month with so many visitors!
First we welcomed some dear hoosier friends. We served alongside Conner in ministry a few years back and though Kristin has always felt like a great friend, this was the first time we were able to meet face to face!

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IMG_1105.JPGThe following weekend we had a sweet couple days with other dear friends from New Hampshire. We cherish every minute with Daniel and Natalie. They are the kind of people that make you feel right at home and let you breathe deep you know? They also the kind of people you have wacky pool competitions with.

Then to top it all of, we had the privilege of hosting miss Kinsley Marie after her first road trip! Mom, Dad, sister, brother, baby. My heart friends. Isn’t there something so sweet about sharing your places with the people you love who aren’t in that place with you? Does that even make sense? Regardless, it was so so good.

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I dare you not to laugh at her mohawk, and the face though!IMG_5441
Her little legs never stop kicking out of the water, so you know she had a blast kicking away in the pool.

 She is the sweetest friends. Just a little love bug. But for the sake of authenticity, you know you cant always just get love and cuddles, sometimes you get a little bit of this mixed in.

Greetings from Michigan

At the end of the month we cashed in on an incredible Christmas gift from the Hubby’s parents with a week vacation to Lake Michigan. Stunning does not even cover it. We reconnected with family, we dreamed, we kayaked, we learned Euchre, and someone (me) bought a souvenir shirt that says “great lakes, unsalted and sharlkess.” yes, you are reading that right.

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The Lows

Hmm. . .

It was a busy month, but overall it was great. The one low I can think of seems to occur every year around the last week of August. An already wild and unstructured summer schedule seems to just go totally bonkers in that last week, anyone else? Honestly I get to the end of my rope with inconsistency by then so it feels like a punch to the gut. But if thats the worst thing August could throw at me I am in pretty good shape.

What I Read

 Hunger – Roxane Gay

I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.

So many emotions over this one. Roxane tells her story with such jarring and beautiful honesty. She walks in the tension of having grace for her body, yet wanting to change, embracing her story and the struggles she faces because of it, but also seeking to overcome. Roxanne definitely doesn’t hand you easy answers, but sets you up well to think for yourself.

 Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Lets not talk about how late I am to this party but OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK IS INSANE! I listened to it on audio, reached the first plot twist right before vacation and had to download it on my phone because I could not possibly wait a whole dang week. You know I watched the movie as soon as I finished! Get your hands on it for a captivating “for fun” read.

 The Boys in the Boat – Daniel James Brown

A synopsis from GoodReads “Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.”

The whole family listened to this on audio on our drive to Michigan (Edward Herman, aka grandpa on Gilmore Girls is the reader, and I for one would listen to him read an encyclopedia, he was made for it!) Its engaging, heart wrenching, and inspiring. We were all reading to take up rowing when we got home.

 Why Not Me – Mindy Kaling

Okay, I am going to be honest and say I didn’t love it. I am all about championing powerful women, and I appreciate Mindy’s honesty in some places, but in a lot of places I just wasn’t on her humor page. Still love her though.

 Woman Code -Alisa Vitti

Ladies, there is just so much to learn about our bodies. This book
1. Made me FURIOUS at the way women’s issues are handled in our culture and by standard medicine.
2. Made me sad that it wasn’t until my 26th year of life (and therefore roughly my 14th year of menstruating) that I got my hands on this information, and
3. inspired and encouraged me to know more about my body and work with it instead of against it. (If this interests you, I also highly suggest Taking Charge of Your Fertility)

What I Watched

Black Mirror – Again Hubby and I are late to the party, but we finally watched Black Mirror. I like to describe it as a modern take on “The Twilight Zone ” (but I have a feeling I got that description from someone else). If you want to be horrified about the future, empowered to live in the woods somewhere off the grid, and really think deeply about issues in our society, this is just the ticket.

The Mayweather v. McGreggor Fight.
We watched it, it felt like a cultural necessity. It was more interesting than I was anticipating. That is all.

What I Listened To

Andrew Belle – Dive Deep
Andrew Belle dropped a new album, and hubby and I are digging it.

Some Things I Loved

Cold Brew Pitcher
With my love of cold java can you believe it took me this long to invest in one of these? I used to make cold brew by steeping the beans and water in a big bowl than used filters or a cheese cloth and it was so. much. mess and so. much. time. This thing is amazing.

What I am Looking Forward to

Routine

See “the lows.”

Back to school

I am taking a class this year and we kick off on the 16th. I always say my dream job would be to get paid to be a student, so you know I am counting down. The class is called Empower at Alliance Theological Seminary and it is specifically for women in the church. I feel like the timing could not be better for me and I just feel GOd moving in it deep in my bones.

All. The. TV.

Call me a loser, but I am STOKED for all our TV shows to return for the season.

July Heart to Heart

Hello dear friends.

Are you completely blown away by the fact that it is August? I am going to be honest, I can’t handle it. Maybe I am the only one, but as soon as August rolls around, I look at the calendar, and immediately feel like the summer is over. Hubby and I have got so much more summer fun ahead, but the feeling that its flying by just seems to intensify.

If you cant find me, chances are I am in a corner taking deep breaths and doing my best to live in the moment and not think away the next couple weeks.

Anyway, lets catch up on July shall we?

 

The Highs

So much adventure

Bobby and I were fortunate enough to get a few good trips in this month. There just isn’t anything quite like getting away for some rest and reconnection.

Over the 4th of July weekend, we rented an AirBnB in Neptune and spent a glorious 5 day weekend at the beach. We were beach bums by day, and little city explorers by night. We hit the boardwalk in Asbury Park, explored Red Bank and saw the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra perform in the park, and had my first authentic carnival style boardwalk experience at Point Pleasant.IMG_0512

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IMG_0513It was a perfect way to officially usher in summer, to reconnect after a busy end to the school year, and to celebrate 5 years of marriage (we killed a lot of bird with that one stone). Also, we caught up with some college friends at the beach on the 4th!

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A few weeks later we headed to Massachusetts for the Celebration Conference. Our network of churches gathers from all over the northeast to worship, pray, and celebrate! This one was a game changer for me. I received prayer and counsel from some of our very best friends, and really feel like the Lord used them to heal me of living offended at God, and began the process of healing some other places in my heart. It was nothing short of amazing.

Love and Marriage

We celebrated 5 years married this month. I still don’t quite believe its been that long. I’ll spare you any more mushy stuff, since you already got it a few weeks ago. We celebrated the day exploring Hoboken, drinking good coffee, eating good food, strolling and chatting and dreaming, all our favorite things.

Facial First Timer

July always ends with a weekend trip to Lancaster PA to celebrate the birthday of one of my very best friends, lets be real, she is one of the very best humans on this earth. This year we celebrated with good food, great coffee, encouraging conversation, and facials!

Both of us were first timers, and it was so, so good. We got the validation treatment at the Lush Spa in Philadelphia. The treatment space was made to look like an english cottage, it was perfectly comfy and homey. It was such a relaxing and immersive experience we both left feeling pampered, relaxed, and beautiful.

Bethany is one of the most thoughtful and generous people, and spending time with her is like water to my soul. It was a good day indeed. My only regret is that the time was so short.

The Lows

I feel like I have a harder and harder time remembering the lows by the end of the month. I want to be authentic and not come across all rainbows and sunshine, but the honest truth is God has been doing a work in me to embrace positivity and hopefulness more and more. Praise Him! Thats not to say there haven’t been hard days, but those days weren’t caused by things I can summarize in quick post. Does that make sense?

Hubby had a couple grad classes cancelled, which is a mix of low and high. No class means he gets to hang out with me and the little man, but it also means more time until the finish line. So I guess its short term gain for long term pain. Womp womp.

IMG_0653Working for the summer hasn’t been bad at all (like I said, me and the little man have been spoiled with lots of Bobby time, and also the little man is so much fun), but saying yes to work has meant saying no to some other things and that has been a bit of a bummer. The largest bummer being missing my cousins wedding in Buffalo. Thank God for pictures right?

What I Read

Okay, I don’t want to brag or anything, but pretty much I am killing it on the reading right now. Full disclosure, audiobooks and a 45-minute-each-way commute have been a major factor in that killing, but books are books right? (I will mark books I did on audio with an *)

Shrill – Lindy West This book totally challenged me and I ate it up. I will admit, I was expecting the emphasis to be more on empowering women to have a strong voice in the world, and while there was some of that, there was definitely a heavier emphasis on body image. Lindy gave words for so many things I have experienced and really empowered me to unashamedly take up space in the world.

Girl Up- Laura Bates– This one caught my eye on the “new releases” shelf a the library. Laura writes to young women about sexism, mental health, sexual health and the like in a funny but direct way. I found her candor refreshing and wish that I had access to a book like this in my teens. I will readily admit there were some ideas I disagreed with, but I was so impressed by Laura’s ability to present all sides of an idea in a way that made space to decided for yourself. I think it could be a really helpful resource for parents of young girls as a way to start conversation about difficult and sometimes uncomfortable conversation.

When Food is Love- Geneen Roth Crossing this one off from my summer reading list. As always Geneen provides some great little nuggets to challenge you and open your eyes to the reasons why you behave the way you do. Of all her books I read, I struggled most to relate to this one, but the revelations it brought were well worth it.

The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath* Maggie Gyllenhaal reads this audiobook, and she did a fantastic job. I find audiobooks are a great way to get more classic literature into your life, if thats something  your interested in of course. The Bell Jar was certainly interesting, and I can only imagine how groundbreaking it must have been for its time. If I am honest though, I wanted more from it. I enjoyed being let in on the story, getting a picture of a woman in crisis, but it felt a little impersonal, like I wanted more insight into her thoughts and feelings.

Hillbilly Elegy – JD Vance* Woah. This one really got me thinking. On a practical note, I really enjoyed the way Vance wove statistics and case studies with his own personal story, his writing is relatable and accessible. On a personal note, I was really challenged to have more compassion for a people group I easily put myself at odds with, and even place myself as superior to, especially because I found myself relating to and understanding much more than I anticipated.

 The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving -Jonathan Evison* Okay, full disclosure, I did not love this book. I picked it up because the Netflix movie based on it is one of my favorites. The book was SO DIFFERENT, and not nearly as funny or endearing. I don’t know if I have ever said this about any other book turned movie, but go ahead and skip the book, just watch the movie.

What I Watched

The Big Sick – find it in a theater near you and run, don’t walk to see this movie! It is heartwarming and funny and just. so. good.

Dunkirk – Hubby was so amazed by this movie, he saw it twice. It really is a powerful display of bravery and sacrifice and unrelenting perseverance.

What I Listened To

I don’t have much new to report here. Still loving Chance the Rapper.  Andrew Belle released a new track I am digging, and it has me pretty stoked for the new album coming later in August.

Some Things I Loved

Lush Cosmetics – Okay I am so late to this one, I know, but their products are wonderful and it feels so good not to worry about rubbing harmful chemicals into my skin. If you have one nearby, the stores are so worth visiting, the employees are so helpful and you can sample any product your little heart desires.

What I am Looking Forward to

Our summer is going to close out with a bang! August is jam packed and we have so much to look forward to! Top on the list, visits from friends, a Wojo family invasion into New Jersey, and Callamari-Bishop family vacation!

How was your July? What are you looking forward to for August? What are some tricks you found for taking deep breaths and being present in the moment?

June Heart to Heart

Hello sweet friends. We are ten days into July and we haven’t caught up about June yet! My oh my the Fourth of July festivities really threw me for a loop, in the best way of course.

How was your June? Did you enjoy the start of summer? What have you been up to? Grab yourself a nice cold drink and lets chat.

The Highs

You can call me The Godmother
Hubby and I have upgraded from Aunt and Uncle to Godmother and Godfather! We are so honored. We took a weekend trip to Buffalo, and when we walked into my parents house we, obviously, beelined it for Kinsley who was decked out in this super sweet onesie, asking us to take on the job!

Ty’s Graduation
One of my besties finished up his degree at NYU. Seriously I could not be prouder of him and Mariah for all that they accomplished as a team. I am in awe of how they sacrifice for each other.

Working an emotionally tough job is not easy. Going to college and maintaining a killer GPA is not easy. Doing all of that with your best friend 300 miles away is damn near impossible. They are heroes.

We had an incredible time celebrating him and reuniting with old friends. Not to mention Mariah is a kick-butt party planner.

The Lows

Stranger danger
June is a freaking hard month for teachers and their families. Hubby was busy with school trips, dances, graduation, retirements and all the parties. It is great fun, but it keeps us pretty disconnected. Don’t worry though, we had a little getaway the beginning of July to reconnect.

Moving
We said goodbye to our place on Pine and high tailed it for Bergen County at the end of the month. Seriously moving is absolutely the worst activity. We spent the entire month packing up slowly and moving a car load of boxes just about every weekend. I can’t say enough how thankful I am for family and friends that help us so selflessly. I am excited and hopeful for this next season, but we have really loved Montclair, so it was hard to say goodbye.

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Side note to compound the sadness, we spent our last day celebrating Montclair by going to all of our favorite places (this of course was not sad, in fact it was wonderful). The number one place on our list was The Corner, our favorite breakfast/brunch spot on Walnut street. Imagine the sound of our hearts crushing when we realized they were closed for a week of vacation. Womp womp.

 

What I Read

Women, Food, and God – Geneen Roth
I was wanting so much more from this book. I had read Breaking Free From Emotional Eating, and learned so much that I had high hopes for Women, Food, and God. Unfortunately it was less informational and more story telling. Perhaps if I had expected that I would have enjoyed it more. If food psychology is interesting to you, I would skip this one and go for Breaking Free From Emotional Eating.

Wonder Women – Sam Maggs
This one on my summer reading list. I am going to be honest, I didn’t read cover to cover, but thumbed through the women who’s stories caught my eye. Maggs is witty and relatable in her story telling, which made for a fun read.

What I Watched

Master of None
So this was a little hit or miss for me. I adored that Aziz Ansari is unafraid of dealing with issues that are not discussed enough and with intellectual humor. But, there were a few ideas I just couldn’t get behind and some issues I wish he would have went further with. But all in all, worth a watch if your looking for a light hearted but still thought provoking.

What I Listened to

Invisibilia
This is a podcast I have loved for a while now, and this season did not disappoint. In general the ladies of Invisibilia deal with “the hidden forces that control human behavior” and this season was focused on how we perceive reality. Very interesting.

I also have not stopped listening to Chance. Your Welcome.

Some things I Loved

Packing plastic wrap. 
This is not a joke. If you are moving, this stuff will make the process so much easier. For. Real.

Chameleon Cold Brew
I am just about positive we would have killed each other moving without this sweet sweet medicine. Also, the vanilla. So. Good.

What I’m Looking Forward To

Summah, summah, summah time (which means all the trips to the beach, weekend getaways, and our 5 year anniversary!)

May Heart to Heart

So we are already 5 days into June. Which means we are almost at the half way point of 2017. Is your mind blown? Mine sure is.

Anyway, new month new meet up. I am detoxing coffee (yes, it is as crazy and awful as it sounds, but it is also really good for my brain, sleep, and reducing caffeine tolerance later. Three straight days of detox headaches were no bueno, but I am just about hitting the sweet spot) so I’ll grab some tea. Lets reminisce about May.

The Highs

Wedding season is upon us

Hubby and I got to celebrate two of our dearest friends tying the knot a couple weeks ago. They had the wedding at a Christmas tree farm in Warwick NY and it was STUNN.ING. They both looked so happy, and the day was truly beautiful. Also, there aren’t many things I enjoy more than busting a move on a wedding dance floor.

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First Beach Day

Did you know the beach is my favorite place in the world? Like its my peaceful, take in the greatness of God place. I was so thankful to get in a perfect day with my family, even my sister in law who was in town for the wedding!

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Memorial weekend

To kick off the summer season hubby and I headed to Buffalo to visit my family and so he could finally meet Miss Kinsley. Oh my gosh, she LOVES her Uncle. It was the absolute sweetest thing.

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& as if that weren’t good enough, Amanda was able to come all the way from Nashville, so almost the whole family was together (we missed Elias though☹️)

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IMG_4255The Lows

Funky funk town

As I look back over May, if I am honest, I just have a general feeling of ‘meh’. To be even more honest, I was just in a funk most of the time. I couldn’t quite get a hold of my mental space and kind of wallowed in it a little bit more than I wish I had. Like I just let a things get me down and keep me dow you know?

Hence the coffee detox mixed with a new supplement regimen, and morning routine I am trying in an attempt to get my head right. Do you have any tips for me?

 

What I Read

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero : Okay, so you always have to take the self help stuff with a grain of salt. But there were a lot of real helpful little nuggets I pulled from this one. Jen is funny and engaging and much less hippy dippy then some others in her genre. Definitely would suggest getting your hands on a copy.

The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning : The forward to this one puts it perfectly “To say that Brennan Manning has blazed new trails with this book would not be true. He has not. But to say Brennan Manning is attempting once more to plow up the hardened ground of our hearts, now that would be a true statement.”If your a lover of Brennan Manning as I am, you wont find anything new here, just the same sweet reminder that you are recklessly and senselessly loved by the God of the Universe. & if you as me, those are words worth reading again and again and again. This book has actually been part of my new morning journaling routine since the chapters are short and end with a couple questions to ponder.

What I watched

Parks and Recreation  Yes yes we are so late to the party, but Hubby and I just finished Parks and Rec and I am going to say it, it is definitely in my top 5 favorite tv shows of all time. I mean, you know me, so the pro feminism just makes me straight up giddy. But for real, Leslie and Ron’s relationship is my literal favorite. If you haven’t watched it yet, what are you waiting for? and if you have, it may just be time to watch again.

What I listened to

Chance the Rapper :So much Chance the Rapper. In case you missed it from Fridays post, I am just going to leave this here (I may or may not be personally responsible for about 500 views on this video)

Red Couch Podcast : It launched, and I love it. Propaganda and Alma are so funny and relatable and really make you feel like your chilling with them in their living room.

Something I loved

Now Foods Multi Vitamin so this is part of operation-get-my-head-right. I did some research and read some reviews and Now foods is a trusted brand to many a blogger and this multi has glowing reviews. The capsules are a bit big, and taking 3 at a clip feels like a lot, but so far it seems worthwhile. I have noticed my nails growing fast and stronger, skin clearing up and even without coffee I feel like I have increased energy.

What I am looking forward to

PARTAYY

One of my best friends freaking graduated NYU film school. He and his wife sacrificed so much and worked so hard for this, I cant wait to celebrate him with a big old fashioned party!

Schools out for the summer!

That being said, this month is going to be tough, BUSY with all the capitals for the Hubby, but the end is in sight!

 

How was your May? What are you looking forward to in June?

April Heart to Heart

Any one else want to be like

but oh wait, you can’t. Because it IS MAY!

It feels like a big prank, but it really is May already. Like two-more-months-of-the-school-year-left May, like college-kids-are-just-about-done May, like where-the-heck-did-April-go May. Somehow we are here, and I am itching to catch up with you over a nice cold cup of joe!

The Highs

Welcome to Michigan

This year Hubby and I scooped up his youngest sister and hightailed it to Michigan for spring break. My brother and sister-in-law live out there so we had such a sweet time catching up with them and exploring the Mitten.

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Explore we did! We spent a day on the west end of the state in Holland and Grand Rapids. Friends, Holland is adorable. We had to grab some Dutch grub for breakfast, so we hit up a little spot called DeBoer’s. yum.

Then we just took it slow through all the adorable little shops, grabbed some coffee and enjoyed each others company.

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You know me, so you know we went to the beach. Lake Michigan is unbelievable. Breathtaking beauty. IMG_5958

You know we went to New Holland Brewery before we left. Dragons Milk is the business! IMG_5973

We hopped over to Grand Rapids

because you simply can not be a beer lover in Western Michigan and not go to Founders.

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Later in the week the Michiganders had to work, so the New Jersians (Jersey-ers ?) took an adventure through Ann Arbor. Oh my. We fell in love.

For the sake of the Hubby and his sandwich loving sister the first stop upon arrival was Zingermans Deli. It lived up to all the hype. In fact, I am drooling now just thinking about the cuban sandwich (that my gluten sensitive self got on a salad, because they had that as an option!)

We had great weather while in Ann Arbor, so we spent the day walking the streets in search of art, and we found plenty.

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I fell in love with the social conscious of this place. Every book store and coffee shop we went into featured art, literature etc. of a wide range of people. Just look at all these childrens books with diverse lead characters. Also I want to only ever drink this coffee, both for the name and the taste.

     

We live such blessed lives to be able to explore the way we do. It was an incredible trip, with much need rest, reconnecting and fun.

Folsom Records Show

Hubby and I have been calling this “The Year of Concerts.” I almost died when I saw the Twin Forks was touring, and stopping in NYC! You know we jumped on that. I will love Chris Carrabba forever and ever. Dan Layus and The Social Animals totally won me over. The show was so good, it was worth the SPRINT through Times Square afterwards to catch the last bus back to New Jersey (we were those people, we caught it with 2 minutes to spare, TWO).

Classic #latergram #twinforks

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BABY

You already know the highest high of April was becoming an AUNT! 18198580_10209134815032290_4664585627110257538_n(all the sass though)

The Lows

Honestly, April went by so fast that no lows stand out to me. But, this past Friday was one of those days where so. many. things. went wrong you have to laugh about it. Let me tell you in list form:

  1.  Woke up with just enough time to make myself some coffee and bring it to work. While making with a pour over, I knocked the edge of the little contraption, sending burning hot liquid and wet coffee grounds in a downward explosion all over everything (me, the ground, the boxes of books nearby, all the mugs on our coffee cart). Have you ever had to clean up wet coffee grounds from the floor?  Needless to say, I did not make it out of the door with coffee.
  2. Had to run to Target for a few things. The little guy I nanny was a champion, but I wanted to get him home, Target is no fun for a little man. Decided to grab some Starbucks on the way out, since by now its about 1030 and I still haven’t had coffee. have to put down my bags to find my sunglasses. Walk all the way to the car (which is parked far away to get in the steps on fitbit of course), get a screaming kid into his carseat (because he hates that part) and realize WHERE IS MY FITBIT. Unbuckle said screaming little one and run back into Target praying its at Starbucks so I do not have to back peddle through this whole friggin store. Praise the Lord it was, but a moment of silence for those active minutes lost to my fitbit account. . .
  3. Go to pull out of Target, coffee just chilling in the cup holder, a bit too hot to drink after running through a parking lot and all. Begin to pull out slowly and an old man decided he has got to GO even if my car is in his way. Yup, backed right into the side of my car. Amazing. (It was not that bad, in fact it was such a gentle run in that i had to honk before he realized what was happening).
  4. Too shaken up to drink said coffee, still it sits. We make it back to little mans house, I go to grab the coffee, and the cup has just about disintegrated. Half the contents just chilling in my cup holder. So I have to run into the house, kid in one arm, coffee dripping down the other.
  5. After a pretty chaotic day, I get home around 3 and finally eat some lunch. I have to quickly get ready to hit the road with hubby for a weekend conference, grab my make up bag to find my Micellar Water has leaked on all the things.
  6. Clean up make up bag mess and go to get dressed, discover my favorite jeans have some mysterious green stain on the knee. It looks like a grass stain, but I have no recollection of rolling around in grass, yet here we are.
  7. Hit the road to New Hampshire and inevitably endure 1.5 hours of traffic through the entire state of Connecticut. But as the miles ticked up the day seemed to wash away. That is until my darling hubby thought it funny to say “wouldn’t it be fitting for you to finish this day with a sweet ticket.” No hubby, no it would not. I am happy to report, I did not get a ticket, and the day ended with everyone breathing, so all in all it could have been worse.

What I Read

The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel : One of the major reasons I was drawn to whole30 was to try a natural approach to correct some hormone imbalances I have been dealing with for some time. The internet rabbit trail of whole30 and hormonal issues brought my attention to Keto, specifically to Leanne. I have been following her for a little bit and when her book came out earlier this month I jumped on it. I have learned a whole lot, as I keep experimenting with this approach I will keep you guys posted. I will say, so far so good!

So maybe my reading was slacking a bit this month . . . 😳 🤷🏻‍♀️

What I Watched

Big Little Lies : I read the book last year and loved it. The series was very well done, but I cant remember the book well enough to tell you how accurate it is to detail. Definitely worth a read &  watch (though I should caution, there are some racy bits).

What I listened to

Dan Layus : remember Augustana anyone? The lead singer has been doing some solo stuff with a country twang that I can get behind.

S- Town : I do not even want to waste my time telling you about this (which is why I wont link to it, take THAT) except to say I hated it. We invested so much time for nothing. Do not believe the hype friends.

A little gadget I loved

My sister in law got my interested in this little thing called a PopSocket. I do not want to encourage anyones (read: my own) phone addiction, but this little guy makes holding the phone so much more comfortable.

What I’m looking forward to:

I have a week off in May, hoping for good weather and maybe a beach trip (or two).

Our first wedding of the season will be later this month as we celebrate some dear friends!

Memorial Weekend! Hubby and I are still trying to finalize plans, but you know we will be headed somewhere.

How are you? Were you just as surprised by May as I was? Tell me all the great things that happened to you this month! What are you looking forward to?

March Heart to Heart

Woah. April has arrived and it just barely feels like spring here. I am going to let the little hint of warm in the air today sway me to grab some iced coffee while we chat. Come join me!

March has been a rollercoaster.

The Highs

Birthday Celebrations
My birthday is the beginning of the month and that was without a doubt the highlight of March. Maybe you experience the same thing, but I find that all the kind words and encouragement I receive on my birthday just about fuels me for the rest of the year. I hope I have already said so, but thank you friend, for making it so special.

Hubby is an incredible gift giver, every year he manages to figure out exactly what I need and always delivers and then some. This year, we went on a little weekend away to rest, dream, pray, and enjoy sweet time with one of my dearest friends. It was a dream.

We took a 3 hour drive to Lancaster Pennsylvania and stayed at the stunning Arts Hotel.  IMG_5426IMG_5366

The room was stunning, exposed brick, wood beams, a hipsters dream (& I am not ashamed to say I LOVED it). The building was once a tobacco warehouse, then a paper and twine warehouse. The place has now found good use as a part hotel, part art gallery. The halls are lined with stunning art pieces and the rooms are filled with more.  The guestbook in each room was a drawing pad to leave behind your own artwork, and the lobby had an album of collections from those books. I loved all the carefully considered artistic details.

If I had to give one bit of #realtalk here, I was a bit heartbroken over the hotel breakfast. I know, I know, you should never have high hopes for a hotel breakfast, but Lancaster is a coffee /  food lovers DREAM, and it is a city beautifully full of local pride. I guess I had anticipated a place with such well curated Lancaster artistic flair to have some local love in the breakfast, you know? Like give me all the Passenger coffee, or Square One, give me all. of. it. Listen though, it is ABSOLUTELY worth it to stay when you visit, but definitely go out for breakfast (maybe I’ll do a future post on our favorite spots in Lancaster 🤔).

We spent so much time just soaking in the city! Did I mention the Arts Hotel is perfectly located within walking distance of downtown Lancaster City? Right next door we grabbed lunch and beers at The Fridge. Friends, the pizza was so good we ate it before I remembered to take a picture. They also feature an impressive display of beers from all over. I enjoyed myself, but the Hubby was in heaven.

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We roamed around, drank so much coffee, and enjoyed some chess in the park.

Then my sweet friend SPOILED us with an incredible dinner. The place was called Ma(i)son, and I cant recommend it highly enough. Its a cozy farm-to-table BYO french restaurant. I have dreamed about the food friend, it was that good. IMG_5375IMG_5376IMG_5380

Lets be honest though, any meal shared in such sweet company is a dream.
I came home feeling so loved, so rested and full of hope for 26!

90’s night
Another dear friend celebrates her birthday at the end of the month. It turns out Just Jakes, a bar in our town, was hosting a 90’s cover band on her actual birthday night! So she got a whole bunch of friends together, we ordered take out to my place (in lieu of waiting THREE HOURS for a table at Cuban Pete’s, thank goodness they do take out) before and then hit the bar! I will readily admit I am a bit of a noob as far as the bar thing goes, and crowds aren’t totally my jam, but I had an incredible time, like 90’s music people, reliving childhood as an adult with a splash of alcohol, whats not to love?

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Blood:Water
We raised close to $300 for Blood:Water and upped our hydration this month!

New Camera
My hubby is insane / wonderful / thoughtful / generous / supportive and got me a new camera for the blog!! Watch out for some much improved quality around these parts.

The lows

Christ Central 
Some of you know hubby and I have been a part of a wonderful church in Brooklyn for the last few years. When we had originally started, we had the intention of moving there, but God made it clear to us that was not His plan. After plugging in from afar these past few years, we finally had to make the hard decision to listen to the Lord and move on to something closer to home. The people in that church are family to us, and making that call was painful, but we feel so much leading from God and so much peace, hope, and anticipation for the future.

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all. the. snow.

Like, it was march. Come on.

this is actual footage of an actual storm in mid march.

What I read:

Jesus Feminist – Sarah Bessey I can not recommend this book enough. Sarah is such a gracious writer and deals with what is often a difficult and divisive topic with so much tenderness and kindness, but without holding back. Get yourself a copy, give one to a friend. Seriously.

God is Good: He’s Better Than You Think Bill Johnson always challenges me to think outside the boxes I have fashioned for God. This book was a great wake up call for me to recognize all the places I have tames God’s goodness because of my experience. Let me tell you, I have been missing out on so much of the blessings that surround me because of my broken understanding of God, and I feel like my path has been rerouted in the best way.

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware I always try to have one fiction book in the rotation for the month. This psychological thriller was a page turner, as all the best ones are. I will say it was very typical of the genre, but for the sake of some light entertainment, it did the trick.

 

What I watched:

Parks and Recreation : I know, seriously. It took hubby and I this long to finally watch, and we are loving it.
A United Kingdom There is an awesome movie theater just a ten minute walk from our apartment. We try to catch a movie at least once a month, and for March I chose A United Kingdom. It tells the story of an African king who married an English woman. I was excited to see an interracial relationship story from such a unique perspective. The film was well done, though I would have loved to be let in on more of the inner thoughts and workings of the couple.

What I listened to:

Ed Sheeran that new album though. Its just so catchy and so. good.
Twin Forks middle school favorite turned new adult favorite. Chris Carrabba I’ll shamelessly love you forever.

What I am looking forward to:

SPRING BREAK BABY! The second week of April is our spring break. We have plans to visit Hubby’s brother and Sister-in-law in Michigan. WOOT WOOT!

BABY BABY BABY!! Guys, my sister is ready to pop!

Retreat weekend : the end of this month we will be going to a prophetic retreat weekend in New Hampshire. Need I say more?

 

How was your March? Are you so ready for some more spring? What are you looking forward to this month?

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