Thursday Thoughts

1. HAPPY THURSDAY! Thursday = almost Friday = almost the weekend, therefore, Thursday = Almost the WEEKEND! Haha pure math there for ya!

 

2. Benny Boo boo booo boo booo! Haha I had a GREAT weekend because I got to relax and finally see my friend, Sarah, who I hadn’t seen in over a month (despite the fact that we live in the same building…). And of course I got to hang out with her dog, Bennett, as well. That face.

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3. Ever since I started thinking about moving to CO sometime in the future (still whirling around in my brain), I realized how EXPENSIVE moving is! And that I legitimately could NOT afford to do it unless I put things on a credit card… Soooo I’m going into super-budget/money-saving mode. Basically I could afford to pay for a U-Haul. And that’s it. Womp, womp. Working on that… #nonprofitjoblife

 

4. My coach/sponsor decided she’d pull together some of her coaches to do a June Inspire Joy Challenge (Inspire Joy is our team name). I’ve co-hosted groups since becoming a coach but I am SO EXCITED for this! We’re looking for women who are truly committed to bettering themselves in both health & weight loss, but in personal development as well. IT IS GOING TO BE EPIC!! Can you tell I’m excited?? Haha if you’re interested, comment or email me!

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5. My college BFF/sorority twin/basically sister Amy Lee is pregnant and due VERY SOON! She’s my first friend to have a baby and I’m DYING of excitement! They don’t know the gender either, which is making this all that more exciting. Every single time she calls I immediately answer and of course she beings with, “no, I’m not in labor, just on a walk and wanted to chat…” Haha love her. Can’t wait!!

 

6. I may have mentioned this before but I’m doing a new Beachbody program called Body Beast – it’s a weight-lifting, muscle building program. I have trouble gaining muscle so I decided to take the opportunity to focus on that 100%. So how are the videos? Hilarious. It is so “manly-man” and has me laughing the whole time. Once I got used to that, I’m now really enjoying it and that good-sore feeling the next day knowing I worked hard!

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7. Sooo remember how I posted that 2015 summer book list yesterday? Well I already read Redeeming Love since putting that list together and it was AMAZING. I could NOT STOP reading! Now I’m reading as many Francine Rivers books as I can get my hands on. I love that they are stories that I get really into and can’t put the book down, but at the same time I feel like I’m getting in the Word and learning more about my faith as well. #obsessed

 

8. Have a great Thursday!

 

Do you have friends with babies? Or your own children? Did they (or you!) wait to find out the gender? 

If you could join an accountability group, what would you want to work on in your life? 

My Summer Reading List

2015 summer reading list

1. The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life

The Best Day of Someone Else's Life

Synopsis:

Despite being cursed with a boy’s name, Kevin “Vi” Connelly is seriously female and a committed romantic. The affliction hit at the tender age of six when she was handed a basket of flower petals and ensnared by the “marry-tale.” The thrill, the attention, the big white dress—it’s the Best Day of Your Life, and it’s seriously addictive. But at twenty-seven, with a closetful of pricey bridesmaid dresses she’ll never wear again, a trunkful of embarrassing memories, and an empty bank account from paying for it all, the illusion of matrimony as the Answer to Everything begins to fray. As her friends’ choices don’t provide answers, and her family confuses her more, Vi faces off against her eminently untrustworthy boyfriend and the veracity of the BDOYL.

Eleven weddings in eighteen months would send any sane woman either over the edge or scurrying for the altar. But as reality separates from illusion, Vi learns that letting go of someone else’s story to write your own may be harder than buying the myth, but just might help her make the right choices for herself.

 

2. Garden Spells

Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)

Synopsis:

The women of the Waverley family — whether they like it or not — are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother’s unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town’s constraints. Using her grandmother’s mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business — and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life — upon the family’s peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire’s routine existence upside down. With Sydney’s homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire’s own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney’s child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

 

3. Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love

Synopsis:

California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.

Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.

But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does … the One who will never let her go.

 

4. Secrets of a Charmed Life

Secrets of a Charmed Life

Synopsis:

She stood at a crossroads, half-aware that her choice would send her down a path from which there could be no turning back. But instead of two choices, she saw only one—because it was all she really wanted to see…

Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades…beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden–one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, one million children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…

 

5. This Is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You

Synopsis:

The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.

Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.

As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd’s father died: She’s pregnant.

 

6. The Chaperone

The Chaperone

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestseller and the USA Today #1 Hot Fiction Pick for the summer, The Chaperone is  a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922 and the summer that would change them both.
 
Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.
 
For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.

 

7. A Most Inconvenient Marriage

A Most Inconvenient Marriage

Synopsis:

Having fled a difficult home life, Civil War nurse Abigail Stuart feels like her only friend in the world is sweet but gravely wounded patient Jeremiah Calhoun. Fearing he won’t survive, the Confederate soldier’s last wish is that Abigail look after his sickly sister at home. Marry him, return to his horse farm, and it’ll be hers.

Left with few choices, Abigail takes him up on his offer and moves to Missouri after his death, but just as the family learns to accept her, the real Jeremiah Calhoun appears–puzzled to find a confounding woman posing as his wife. Jeremiah is determined to have his life back to how it was before the war, but his own wounds limit what he can do on his own. Still not fully convinced Abigail isn’t duping him, he’s left with no choice but to let the woman stay and help–not admitting to himself she may provide the healing his entire family needs.

 

8. #GIRLBOSS

#GIRLBOSS

Synopsis:

At seventeen, Sophia Amoruso decided to forgo continuing education to pursue a life of hitchhiking, dumpster diving, and petty thievery. Now, at twenty-nine, she is the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million e-tailer that draws A-list publicity and rabid fans for its leading-edge fashion and provocative online persona. Her story is extraordinary—and only part of the appeal of #GIRLBOSS.

This aspirational book doesn’t patronize young women the way many business experts do. Amoruso shows readers how to channel their passion and hard work, while keeping their insecurities from getting in the way. She offers straight talk about making your voice heard and doing meaningful work.

She’s proof that you can be a huge success without giving up your spirit of adventure or distinctive style. As she writes, “I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”

 

9. Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins

Synopsis:

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set ofCleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

 

 

10. All The Bright Places  

All the Bright Places

Synopsis:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

Over Your Oats #28

Untitled

Life

What It Feels Like To Be Called Real All The Time

17 Amazing Hacks Google Can Do

How To Know You’ll Be Extraordinarily Successful

Health & Fitness

It’s My Trainer’s Fault If I Can’t Lose Weight

Getting Mentally Strong Is More Important than Physically

Work It Walking Workout

4 Lessons Weight Training Taught Me About Life

Food

Immunity Boosting Orange Carrot Coconut Smoothie

Gluten Free Easy Herbed Chicken and Biscuit Bake

5 Easy Weeknight Dinners

Thursday Thoughts

1. I almost didn’t get this post done at all… it’s been quite a week. Nothing particularly busy but I cannot stop yawning, I’ve been feeling down (I think I miss that fresh Colorado air…) and getting anything done has been a mental battle for me. I want to lay in my bed aaaaall weekend. #bum

 

2. I took this picture on my cab ride (yes mom, I took a CAB) from the airport to home Sunday night. The lake and clouds were gorgeous and of course it was impossible to capture. But here’s Navy Pier!


3. This past Sunday, after Blend, I got lunch and hung out with Maddie. We went to this amazing vintage store that we’ve been to before on Pearl St and Maddie almost got this coat to look like Macklemore. I 100% supported the idea. She didn’t want to spend the $75. There will be regrets with that decision…


4. Last night at small group our leader’s roommate came and asked us many questions that she has about both Christianity and faith in general. It turned out to be a really interesting discussion and I learned 1) what I believe and 2) that even amongst my small group, we feel differently about certain things. And of course we all have our doubts and questions, which is good – it’s good to seek answers but also to just take the leap of faith. I’m thinking about writing some blog posts on MY “truths” and thoughts – would anyone be interested?

 

5. I’ve thought about moving to Colorado since my second year of law school, back in 2011. I still think about it, and meeting so many people this past weekend who live there it was really at the forefront of my mind. I may have looked into UHaul prices… and how much buying a car would be…

 

6. &  7. Short Thursday Thoughts this week. My brain is struggling…

 

8. Have a great Thursday!

Have you ever thought of just making a big move for no particular “reason?”

Do you have questions about faith? 

Blend Retreat 2015

Ah Blend. By far my favorite blogger event I’ve been to, both this year and last. To be honest, I was nervous going in this year. Partially because I felt like I should have sold my ticket since money is tight and this seemed like such a luxury, and partially because most of my close blogger friends weren’t coming and I was nervous about not having that group with me again! But silly me – turns out this weekend was exactly what I needed. Not only did I make some new, amazing friends, but I also got the sunshine, fresh air and laughter that I didn’t even realize I was missing.

Blend is a blogger (or non-blogger!) retreat with mostly food & fitness bloggers. Blend means Blogger + Friend. There were 100 girls, plus our three amazing leaders who put the whole event together: Lindsay, Janetha & Lauren. This year Blend was held at Chautauqua Park, which is just outside of Boulder. I thought it was just a park, but they have a little neighborhood here with tons of lodges, a general store, a restaurant and soooo much more. And of course amazing hiking trails!

If I try to re-cap the entire thing I think we’ll all be here for hours, so instead I’m going to do a bit of a photo dump of my amazing weekend with blends:

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(some photos stolen from Lindsay & Lauren’s Instagram!)

A HUGE THANK YOU to all the sponsors of Blend this year. This amazing weekend would not have been possible without them, and it was so great to meet some of their reps at Blend!

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Have you ever been to Colorado? 

Have you ever been on a “retreat” of any sort?