Catching Up... April 2019 Edition

It’s been a month since our last catch-up so I thought I’d do another post! Of course you can follow me day to day on Instagram (or if I see you all the time in real life…) but this is always fun for those who don’t and for me to take a look back on what I’ve been up to recently.

Running Again

I’m running the Chicago Marathon on October 13th with a few of my cousins to raise money for The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (my name doesn’t show up on the page but it’s my team!), which is the rare cancer that my aunt passed away from this past October. Since I’m running a marathon, I figured I should actually start running again… So I ran about 6 miles last week. HA. BUT I did run 4 all at once! Baby steps… Wish me luck on building up a base before official training at the beginning of June!

Blank 8 x 4 in.png

Beautycounter Store in Denver

Beautycounter is opening a pop up location in downtown Denver at the end of April and my team is hosting a private event! If you’d like to come to the event, send me an email at peaceloveandoats@gmail.com so we can get you RSVP’d. If you just want to check out the store, let me know! It’s a great opportunity to see their products and test things out in person.

If you don’t live in the area, Beautycounter does have a 60-day return policy that allows you to use the products and send them back if you don’t like it!

56732778_10218700259234655_6993288587135418368_n.jpg

Spring Break

Yes, I get spring break! We had our spring break during the last week of March and it was nice to have a little time off. I did spend 3 days skiing and did a lot of errands and clean up around my apartment so it wasn’t 100% relaxing but I did get to do some fun things. I went to a coworker’s art show (and drinks before, of course) and did a 5k (walk) in the snow. A few of my coworkers and I also went to a speakeasy called Williams and Graham in the Highlands neighborhood (where the cool kids live) since our fundraising Gala coming up is speakeasy themed. Basically it was work research… right?

I Need a New Devotional

I finished reading 100 Days to Brave a little while ago and haven’t found a new devotional that I want to try. I’d really like something that builds on itself, like a lesson, rather than just day to day. I’d also like something not too long because that gets intimidating and I hate making that big of a commitment. Any suggestions?

My Niece is Three!

The older of my two nieces turned three last week and I can’t believe how much she has changed in the past six months. She is talking in full sentences and has grown up so much! Her little sister is almost eight months old so we’re getting into my favorite age - the 1-2 range where they want you to pick them up all the time and are learning to walk and talk. They’re just so cute. So sorry I can’t show a good picture but you can imagine… haha.

IMG_4305.jpeg

And that’s what’s been going on in my life!

Do you have a favorite devotional?

Whats the best thing you ever did for spring break?

Books I've Read... January, February and March 2019

I’m definitely reading a lot less than I have in the past (it’s hard to have both reading and needlepointing as hobbies… but I just got an audiobook from the library!). However, I’m definitely still reading! I’ve been a bookworm since I can remember and I know that will never stop.

The books I’ve read in the first quarter of 2019 have quite a range of genres and topics. I also listened to a few of them since I did so much driving at the beginning of this year with my trips to Utah, Aspen and Santa Fe. I didn’t write reviews for all of them, but I’m including the whole list here and in order of when I finished reading (or listening) to each one.

Feel free to share your book recommendations in the comments. While I have quite a “to read” list, I’m always open to more suggestions!

Books Read 2019 Jan Feb Mar.jpg

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman - 4 stars

I don't generally read suspense novels because, well, they make me anxious. However, I chose this novel in audiobook form because I figured it would keep my attention on a couple very long road trips and it certainly did! I love the main character and how the story is told only from her point of view. I also loved the character of Eddie Bishop. The whole theme seemed to be that people are often so much more (and different) than you may think from the outside - that we shouldn't judge people because they've been in jail or because they're some amazing guy that you think is perfect. The suspense part also kept me intrigued and guessing the entire novel, which is hard to do with me! I definitely recommend.


Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - 4 stars

Another one out of my normal genres, I chose to read Before We Were Yours because it came highly recommended by several people. I had also never heard of this particular part of our American history and really wanted to learn more. I found the whole story fascinating and sad at the same time, which is expected based on what these children went through. Honestly, I thought the author could have shared more of their stories but I also understand she was only telling one family’s story and from the limited perspective of those people within it.


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - 4 stars

ANOTHER book I would never normally pick up! However, I again heard such great reviews that I figured I should give it a try and I was pleasantly surprised (plus it wasn’t too long). The novel was a very interesting look at one person’s battle with cancer and how that person dealt with the idea of life and death from the inside.


Confess by Colleen Hoover - 3.75 stars

More of a “fun read” than the other two, Confess was a nice break from the three above as it was more about romance than anything else. I also loved the concept of Owen’s art studio and hearing everyone’s “confessions.” More proof that we are never alone in circumstances we go through or our own inner dialogue, fears and wishes.


Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella - 3.5 stars

Another cute Sophie Kinsella novel, although this time about a couple farther into the marriage and faced with the idea of just how many years they have left together. I only gave it 3.5 stars because it was cute and interesting but just not quite a “4 star” novel.


Becoming by Michelle Obama - 4 stars

I had a hard time starting out with this one as I don’t love nonfiction, but once I got into it and especially once the presidential race began, I flew right through this memoir. It was incredibly interesting to learn all about Michelle Obama’s life both before and in the White House and helps me appreciate her even more (if that’s possible).


All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin - 3.5 stars

I really liked Nina's character and the picture that the author painted of her life in Nashville. I could definitely feel the emotions between characters, which I think takes great writing. The author was really able to express the mixed emotions that come with knowing someone you love is doing something wrong or being faced with your own wrongdoings. However, I only gave the book a 3 (more like 3.5) because I felt the book was a bit scattered. While I appreciate very much the topics that this book touched on, I felt like there were far too many. I kept getting pulled in all different directions and wished I could have heard more on each story on its own rather than trying to fit in all into one. 


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - 5 stars

An always enjoyable re-read (or listen in this case…).


100 Days to Brave by Annie F Downs - 3 .25 stars

This certainly took me more than 100 days to get through… but I’d heard good things about this devotional so I decided to give it a try. I’m sure most devotionals are this way but some days really struck a chord with me while others I didn’t relate to at all. For the most part, I enjoyed this devotional and got some really great journaling out reading it. However, I think in the future I need something that builds on the days before it a little more as I’m not sure I felt like I’d grown by the end.


Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - 4 stars

I absolutely loved this movie and didn’t realize the movie came from a book (let alone a series!) until afterwards, so I was really looking forward to reading this novel. While it is looooooong, it is also very interesting and entertaining. I thought the movie did a pretty good job of depicting the original story and enjoyed both!


Turtles All The Way Down by John Green - 3.5 stars

My boss actually gave me this book because I mentioned I deal with anxiety… thanks, Charlie. Not sure what I’m supposed to take from that BUT I did enjoy this novel. Reading what Aza was thinking was, honestly, a bit sad but I also appreciated seeing her perspective and the spirals her mind went into because it helps us all better understand those we know who deal with anxiety and depression (and even helped me recognize my own, less extreme, spirals from an outside perspective). I also loved the characters, especially Davis. He was broken in his own way but so kind and thoughtful and just what Aza needed to shift her own life. My only reservation was just how knowledgable these high schoolers were about certain things... as though they spent all their free time studying and reading things that had nothing to do with school. Most of the kids I knew growing up definitely didn't have such extensive knowledge on such subjects! Overall all though, a great book and an "easy" read to get through. I never once felt bored.


The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn - 4 stars


I ended up liking this book a lot more than I expected. I'm not generally a huge fan of "scary" novels because I live alone and get easily freaked out, but this one was much more of a mind-bend type of suspense where you're guessing what's really going on throughout the entire novel. I also enjoyed hearing the entire story from the protagonist's point of view. I came to like her character very quickly and the insight into all of her thoughts - she felt very realistic and relatable despite the fact that what she was going through at the time is not something most people experience.


Follow me on Goodreads to see more of what I read and what I plan to read!


Catching Up... March 2019 Edition

It’s been a while since I’ve shared what’s actually been happening in my life so I thought I’d do a “catching up” post and let you in on a few things that I’ve been doing.

Lots of skiing

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I spent a good deal of January and February skiing. I took a trip to Deer Valley in Park City, UT to ski for 3 days and spent two nights with my friend, Annette! It was a lot of fun to see her as well as really great to get to go back to where I grew up skiing on spring breaks as a kid.

A couple weeks later, I took a solo trip to Aspen where I stayed for one night in Glenwood Springs and skied Friday at Aspen Snowmass and Saturday at Aspen Mountain. It was beautiful out there and I’m glad I got to experience somewhere new. Plus I finally got to try out the hot springs that a previous coworker of mine told me about so often.

THEN I got to have a fun day at Copper Mountain with another friend of mine, her husband, her dad and her dad’s friend. Despite many debacles in the morning, I ended up having the best day. Yes, I enjoy getting to ski even if I go alone but it was a ton of fun to get to go with them and enjoy the slopes together. My friend’s dad also used to be competitive skier, so it was nice to have him give me some tips and guide us around the mountain.

Last but not least, other than a couple solo ski days, I went to ski in Taos with my friend, Maddie! Well, I spent the whole weekend in Santa Fe with her but on Saturday we went to Taos and despite some questionable weather, we had a lot of fun.

Cars are expensive

Oh man. I never owned a car until I moved out to Colorado and I’m sure all of you already know this but CARS ARE EXPENSIVE. I was in an accident back in November and I’ve luckily been reimbursed for all of those expenses (not at fault) but once that dust (almost) settled, I discovered I was very much in need of new tires. $900 later, I had those and then needed windshield wiper fluid (okay, super cheap) and new windshield wipers. A few days ago my key fob stopped working too… Luckily I have two :). And very soon I will be getting my car registration information for April and will have to pay that… I know, I’m complaining. I’m very lucky to have a car in the first place but MAN! I had no idea… Any other newer car owners out there?

I should probably start marathon training soon…

Yep, that’s right. I’m running another marathon after a 7 year hiatus. I’ll be running the Chicago Marathon with the Cholangiocarinoma Foundation, which is the cancer that my aunt passed away from this past October. If you’d like to donate to our team, you’re welcome to do so here! I’ll be running with three of my cousins and one of their boyfriends. I’m excited to be doing this with them but also kind of terrified of actually doing all the training again… Wish me luck!

487450_3879174660332_235434948_n.jpg

I’ve been going to spinning class as a substitute for running but I’ve really got to start actually running. I’m thinking about joining a gym nearby (I found one for $10 a month!) just so I can run indoors. I feel like I might be far more incentivized to run inside than outside while it’s still cold and snowy. I’ve really softened up since those days of winter running in Chicago…

I’ve become a needlepointer!

I know, random. My cousin, Emily, loves needlepointing and learned from her mom. I decided to try it out on her recommendation and did my first project from KC Needlepoint. I was hooked!! When I started looking for new designs to do, I struggled to find anything that really fit my style. Then I discovered that there are many young women who are painting their own canvases and I thought, I could do that! (My favorite is Thorn Alexander). So I did. I painted my first canvas and it was horrible. Then I replicated it again as a second draft and it turned out pretty cute! I’m stitching it right now to see how it looks but so far so good!

I’m honestly just making this up as I go with a few YouTube videos so I need to find a class or two and learn some new stitches, but I’m having a lot of fun with it!

IMG_3649.jpg

Anxiety is the worst.

I don’t know what exactly has been triggering it, but my anxiety has been a bit worse over the past couple of weeks. I share this not for sympathy but to keep it real because I know so many of you probably deal with the same thing. I’ve been finding ways to numb out instead of deal with it and that’s not the best! This month, I’ve decided to focus on me and dealing with my fears (aka journaling them out, praying, letting go of my own expectations) rather than accomplishing all the things. A lot of my anxiety stems from the feeling that time is slipping away and I’m not making the most of it - does anyone else feel this way? You’re not alone!

I’ve been watching the Bachelor

Do you like that I mentioned this? I do because it’s quite a commitment for me to watch these episodes every single week since I don’t actually have cable. I’m also listening to the podcast The Wright Reasons after each episode which I realize seems extreme but I love their take on what’s happening. Kyle and Rachel Wright, husband and wife obviously, don’t just recap the show - they actually talk about the relationship dynamics and the mental state of the girls. Rachel is a marriage counselor and licensed psychotherapist and they both run the Wright Wellness Center, so they have a really good take on what’s going on (or at least what the producers want to show us…).



There you go! A few highlights from the past two months. Hopefully I manage to do this more often… If you want a more up-to-date look into my life, be sure to follow me on Instagram.