Holiday Cheer

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Here’s to more inspiration, friendship, unconditional kindness, and laughter than seems reasonable this season. Also, a healthy dose of wanderlust. And while you’re doling out the holiday cheer– don’t forget a health dose of gentle-loving-tenderness for yourself, okay?

Books & Brews: Results May Vary / Urban Family Brewing Company’s Death to Cereal

 

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday* of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. (*Except this month … I’m running a little late with August’s book. Which just means double the fun in September!)

Up for reading and pairing in August was Bethany Chase’s RESULTS MAY VARY (which, by the way, might have one of my favorite covers ever). The story opens with the main character Caroline discovering that her husband is having an affair with a man. And when I say husband, know that I mean high-school sweetheart turned husband, with whom she has spent the overwhelming majority of her life– so obviously her world is completely turned upside down. The novel chronicles Caroline’s attempts to make sense of the betrayal and learn how to move forward. The book totally lives up to it’s amazing cover (not that I was judging it by that, at all, in any way).

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Let Your Heart Be Light …

holidays!

My wish for all of you on this December 24 is a peaceful day filled with whatever it is that makes your heart happiest. (If you happen to be celebrating Christmas Eve, like me,  happy that, too!)

Also, if your heart is not so light and you feel more like you’re muddling through– be kind to yourself this season. The holiday blues are real and if you’re not feeling ultra full of elfin good cheer, it really is okay. Take care of you and know that I’m sending extra helpings of those wishes for peace your way.

Seemingly Simple, Deceptively Complex

I saw the movie, The Intern, this past weekend. It was the best (happy sigh). I love a presumably simple story that turns conventional wisdom on its head just enough to make some really, really big points.

The simple story: young women who is head of start-up that has exploded, agrees to work with an intern in the company’s new program, as a goodwill gesture– to set the tone for her employees. She has no intent of actually working with said intern. The conventional wisdom turned on its head: the intern is not your traditional college intern- instead he’s a 70-year-old retired VP. It’s a new kind of senior internship program. The story basically chronicles the growth of their friendship.

So what where the big points? There are probably lots, because like any really good story, I think you’ll take from this one what you need. Here’s what I got: Continue reading

One Room Down, One Up

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I’ve heard the story about my grandparent’s first home many times over the years. A granary on the family farm that they repurposed into a modest house after getting married. Two small stories, one room on the bottom and a second stacked right on top of it. They got married in 1947 in rural Virginia– there was no indoor bathroom and heat was provided courtesy of a fireplace. When they talk about their first home, they still look at each other and smile as I imagine they did 68 years ago, except with more knowing. Less mystery about what lies ahead. Continue reading

The Top 3 Songs on my Playlist (Today)

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A friend of mine recently wrote a poignant Facebook post about a song that really speaks to her.  It got me thinking about some of my own favorites and I realized that I really haven’t written much about music here.  This seems odd to me, since it’s a huge part of my life. I started thinking about all the music I love and trying to come up with a clever way to present it.  Maybe my favorite songs of all time?  Or I could organize it by decade, or style, or the age I was when I fell in love with that one song in particular?  In thinking about it all I realized why I don’t write about music — it’s daunting.  Too many things I love and too many reasons I love them.

So instead I’ve decided to simply share the three  songs that I find myself playing over and over recently: Continue reading

Go To Bed Angry (& Other Lessons from 10 Years of Marriage)

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First and foremost, let me start by acknowledging that ten years of marriage in no way makes me an expert on the subject. It’s quite possible that in another ten years I’ll look back at this and dismiss it as total bunk, but (for now) here are some things that I’e learned:

Continue reading

What Your Nightstand Says About You

So I’m mostly a minimalist.  My decor preferences trend towards the modern and I have a thing for pop art, sleek lines and all things clutter-free.  This is true of my home, my office, and my home office (i.e. the couch).  The only place it doesn’t ring true:  my nightstand.

No, seriously.  In a house free of clutter, my nightstand just . . . well . . . isn’t.

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Recently I stopped to ponder the stacks of books/journals on my nightstand.  What do they mean? (Full disclosure, I have degrees in Psychology and Counseling, thinking about things like this amuses me in a way that may or may not be normal.)  Anyway, here’s what I determined our night stands say about us.

If you have piles of books (like me) you are a lover of words.  You like to slowly sip your books and drink in every bit of goodness.  One at a time is not enough.  There is a book for every mood.

If you have one book.  You are focused.  You know exactly what you want and you go after it.  Start to finish. You also have a good memory about what you’d like to read next. (Or a list on your iPhone).

If you have no books.  You don’t like to read in bed. You are well-rested.

If you have a journal you are reflective and insightful.  Also, disciplined.

If you have random scraps of paper with half-legible notes jotted down in dark, you are a writer.

If you have an iPhone, etc. you either: a. read books on it;  b. work way too much; or c. don’t have another type of alarm clock. (I genuinely hope it’s a. or c.)

If there’s a phone that isn’t a cell phone on your nightstand, you’re probably in a hotel.  Hopefully on vacation.

One of those little book lights, you stay up later than the person you share a bed with.

A glass of water, you’re super healthy (or had a salty dinner).

Pictures of friends, family or friends like family, you’re loved.  Never alone.  Grateful.

What does your nightstand look like?  Tell me in the comments below.  And if you know someone with a crazy, piled up, awesome nightstand (or a super beautiful clean one), please pass this along!

Brooklyn, Brooklyn Take Me In

There are train tickets and a hotel confirmation on my kitchen counter. Date: early March. Destination: Brooklyn.

Last year, right around this time we travelled to New York with friends for a birthday celebration. It was an amazing experience. The “main” birthday event was a trip to Brooklyn Brewery, but we stayed in Manhattan and caught the train over for the day. This time we’ll reverse that pattern. Spending the majority of our trip diving deeper into the borough that peaked our curiosity in a matter of hours. The one that whet our (figurative and literal) appetite for more. The one that felt a bit like home, away.

Here’s what I’m already excited about:

  • a return visit to Brooklyn Bowl (which I think I have now shamelessly linked to about 5,000 times on this blog . . .)
  • visiting Brooklyn Brew Shop and finding someone to personally thank for the amazing spent grain recipes on The Mash (holy Barley & Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars, Batman)
  • Checking out some of the coffee shops and restaurants documented here
  • Checking out more of the amazing-ness in Trust Neely’s Guide (which served us so well the first time)

Also, I can’t stop singing this in my head.

And it’s just the beginning – I have a whole month to plan. If you’re from Brooklyn or have spent more time there than me (*easy, since I was there less than 8 hours) leave me a comment and let me know what it is essential that I add to my list!

A Little Bit of Crazy

The conversation goes like this:

Me: You know I haven’t heard about whatever.  I would have thought I would have by now.

Husband: Don’t get all crazy.

Me: I’m not!

Husband: I don’t know, I definitely detected a little bit of crazy in your voice  . . .

And that folks, is what nearly nine years of marriage is about.  Hearing the crazy in someone’s voice and not being afraid to call them on it.  What it’s also about, is being called out on your crazy and being okay with it. Knowing that the other person loves you so much and knows you so well, that they are refusing to  let you slip into an icky patch of self-doubt over whatever.

When you find this sort of love, I recommend you hang on to it.