What I’m Into – October

October has always been one of my favorite months. The leaves are changing, it starts getting breezy, there is an abundance of pumpkin, etc. Where I live the leaves are barely changing and the breezy hasn’t cooled down yet but nonetheless it’s been a great month and I’m sad to see it go. This month I’ve gotten to dress up in costume once (as the eleventh doctor from doctor who) and will be dressing up for Halloween (costume tbd), which is always a great mark in my book. Linking up with Leigh, for what I’m into.

What I’m Reading:
-Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (5/5). Must read. What a beautiful and haunting look into the life of a lawyer, trying to find justice and freedom for death row inmates.
-Humans of New York: Stories (5/5). There’s something beautiful about these anthologies, a shared humanity. I loved getting to read the accompanying stores of tragedies, triumphs and hope.
-AD 33 (2/5). I’d been looking forward to this release for a year and was sorely disappointed. I was looking for something new and groundbreaking, which I didn’t find in these pages. The story of Christ’s last week was taken straight from the gospel and it felt like it.
-The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet (5/5). I grew to love Lydia Bennet during the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Mary Kate Wiles performance made me fall in love with this Lydia, gave her depth that the original story can miss. This book was a love letter to the fans who wanted closure to Lydia’s story and it was perfect.
-Out of Sorts (5/5). I’m going to be writing about this more soon but this book is one that found a home in my heart. For anyone who feels they don’t feel they fit in the church, this book is for you.
-For the Love (4/5). I didn’t love everything about this book but I love the way Jen invites us all to use our talents, not to minimize them to fit.
-Something Must Be Done about Prince Edward County (5/5). Documenting the county school shutdown immediately after the Supreme Court’s integration ruling and the effect through the years. Definitely recommend this one.
-Furiously Happy (4/5). I wish I had Jenny’s humor. The way she has me laughing about the things in her life made me feel so much lighter.

I read 13 books this month bringing my total books read to 108. Yep, I crossed my final goal for the year of 100 books read and I’m so happy about it! Keep up with my progress or my reviews over on goodreads.

What I’m Listening to:
-Hamilton. On repeat. I wasn’t sure it would live up to the hype (thanks hipster tendencies) but it did. A historical musical, told through rap. I’m officially obsessed and I don’t care.
-Hello by Adele. Thank you, Adele for coming back and bringing your top notch words into our lives. I’m looking forward to your new album.
-Confident by Demi Lavato. Girl power anthem commence.

What Else I’m Into:
-That Star Wars trailer. :inlove: I watched, I’ve cried. I’ve gone on incoherent speeches about Leia and Han and REY and Finn.
-Definitely bought my premiere tickets already and am in the process of planning my Rey costume.
-The opportunity to dress up twice in one month, both times for work.
-Getting to introduce one of my best friends to Magic Kingdom. We went on the perfect day, there wasn’t a wait time above 45 minutes (which is practically unheard of). Thanks to OUAT, we went to meet Merida and I love her so much. We also met Gaston and he is everything. She very much enjoyed her introduction to the parks, but we definitely collapsed in exhaustion that night.
-We also went to Universal Studios, where we both got to experience Wizarding World for the first time. I miss it already. So much. Take me back and give me butterbeer please. Diagon Alley was fantastic. I loved all the shops, the food, the atmosphere, the puppet show (and did I mention the butterbeer?) I’m so glad I got to experience it for the first time with such a good friend too. Made it even better.

Instagram of the month:
Star Wars mickey ears. I’m still debating whether I should pick up those R2D2 ears, they’re too cute.
https://instagram.com/p/8ZQuDyRnJE/

Favorite picture with one of my favorite people. πŸ’œ

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Here be Dragons!

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That’s all for this month. Don’t forget to hop over to Leigh’s blog and check out more of the What I’m Into participants. Coming up next month, I have a couple posts inspired by Sarah Bessey’s new release Out of Sorts. It’s real good.

What I’m Into – August

It has been a beautiful, heavy, horrible month and I’m ever so glad to see it go. The highlight was that my beautiful “nephew” Calvin was born. My friends are now parents, it’s crazy and so so awesome. He’s the cutest ever and I’m so glad he’s here. I love getting pictures of him and seeing just how cute he is. A week later, my beloved pup Gracie passed away. We had her for seventeen years and she was just the best. Even at the end, she was in good health until she wasn’t. I miss her so much.

And so, my month has been filled with grief, loss, pain and as much substance as I could manage (ie: not a lot). It took me a bit to get back into reading. I watched a lot of youtube videos, because that was all I could take. I’m looking forward to September with it’s newness and coming Fall. Linking up with Leigh and the other lovelies to talk about what we’re into.

What I’m Reading:
-Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mendel (5/5). SO GOOD. My favorite book this year. I love the writing style and the way she took the genre.
-Armada by Ernest Cline (3/5). I’d heard mixed reviews prior to picking this up, so I was unsure how I would feel about it. The book felt like a screenplay, to me and I finished reading feeling like I would have preferred it as a movie. As a book, it just didn’t do it for me. It was hard to visualize at times, it fell into too many tropes and it lacked the spirit I loved so much in Ready Player One.
-You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day (4/5). My heart wasn’t in it, reading this book. It was the first book I picked up on that terrible week, when I could barely do anything. And it was perfect in the sense that Felicia’s writing style is light and humorous. I liked reading the background of her story and hearing about all the hard work she put into The Guild.
-Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (4/5). I loved the style of this book, I enjoyed reading through this story.
-Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (4/5). I am Jean Louise, that’s what I came away from this book feeling. I loved this story for what it was, the first drafts of what became To Kill a Mockingbird. I loved the characterizations of Jean Louise, Atticus, Henry and Alexandria. I loved the flashbacks, callbacks and stories. Take into account that this is very much a first draft. It still needs editing in places and I think without that connection to TKAM, it doesn’t stand up as well. But it’s a good little story and a great study.

I’ve read 12 books in August, bringing my total for the year to 88 books. For more books I didn’t mention, check out my goodreads account.

What I’m Listening to:
-Noah Gunderson’s new album is amazing. Halo and Jealous Love are on repeat.
-The playlist of the month is “Gusty Skies” is filled with all kinds of music. Some of my favorites are Make You Better by The Decemberists, Vie En Rose by Pomplamoose and Halo by Noah Gunderson.
-I picked up The Civil Wars “Live with Eddie’s Attic” after years of not listening. Oh boy, so good. The Civil Wars are their prime, when they were just starting.

I’ve got Gungor and Jon Foreman’s latest in my queue, along with Nichole Nordeman’s new ep.

What I’m Watching:
I did not watch a lot this month. Except for Super Mario Wii Let’s Plays. And Taylor Swift’s new video repeatedly.

In my queue: Doctor Who series 8. Mixed feelings about this one. Girl Meets World season 1. I’m excited about this show. I caught episode 1 when the series premiered and liked it. I’m anxious to see what the show grows into.

What Else I’m Into:
-Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. I think I found a new fall drink.
-Oiselle has some of the cutest women’s workout apparel I’ve seen. I have a few of their pieces and just love the colors and fits. This new tank just released. Purple and birds, it’s too much to resist. (No, they didn’t pay me to say this. I just really like their clothing. But if they want to pay me…)
-The end of August is when I start to get achy for Fall. Give me all the pumpkin coffees, candles and recipes. Also the cooler breezes. (To all of you with nice northern summers, I’m sorry.)
-I reached a big personal accomplishment in August and though it’s been hard to celebrate, I’m still glad for it.

I have two favorite photos of the month.

I got up early and was rewarded with a spectacular sunrise. I plan on reuploading this to show the full picture, thanks instagram upgrade!

Up at the crack of dawn has some advantages. #nofilter

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And here is the last photo I took with my pup. I wanted to have a last photo of our memories. I’m so glad I do. She was the best.

Here’s to a beautiful month of September. There’s a lot for me to look forward to and I’m grateful. I hope this month finds you filled with beautiful moments and favorite activities.

What I’m Into – July

The summer has flown by, I can’t believe it’s almost gone. As a fan of fall, I’m ok with this. I like the idea of summer, but in this space of my life the enchantment doesn’t hold me the same it did as a kid. I’m not in an environment that makes the warmth of the sun and cool breezes a welcome feeling. Instead, there is a strong humidity that clings to everything around it, making you feel as though you’ve walked into a wall of heat upon stepping out your door. I won’t miss that when it leaves in a month or two.

July was a month of business and parties and recovery. Of reunions–of quiet and loud. So many contrasts held close. I’m not sure what this halfway point means to the rest of the year but I’ll be glad to find out.

What I’m Reading –

I did not do too well this month with reading, I got pretty busy and pleasure reading came few and far between. So I’m going to cheat and sneak a few June books in here.

-If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski (5/5). I’ve followed Jamie’s writing for a long time. He has a true talent in his words, which shines in this collection. An anthology structured through the years shows triumphs, tragedies and moments of beauty. Though many of these told his story, his words always have a way of connecting to the hearts of others. It’s a solid collection that I highly recommend.
-Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (5/5). My first of Dessen’s and I loved it. I thought the story, the pacing and the characters were excellent.
-Found by Micha Boyett (4/5). I was unsure of this book for a while, because while it sounded interesting to me, I’m not a mother and often in christian non-fic, motherhood is used in such a way I just can’t connect with. That said, not a problem here. I loved the way she wrote about becoming a new mother and adjusting to that stage of life. Micha’s writing about her journey within church and faith was beautiful.
-The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson (5/5). Blown away by book three in the Shades of London series. It’s a little creepy but suspenseful and oh boy did I love the passage 3/4 through the book. I also appreciated that it didn’t end with a cliff hanger. But I’m still anxiously awaiting book 4…due in two years or so.
-The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (4/5). Beautiful Royal Family fanfiction-esque story and I loved it to pieces. There were a couple sections I skimmed or skipped over but overall I just loved this story. It was a great quick read, fluff piece.
-Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (5/5). I did not anticipate liking this story as much as I did.

I read 6 books in July, bringing my total to 76 books for the year. I beat my second reading goal (!!!) and moved my final yearlong reading goal up to 100.

What I Listened To –
-All Prodigal Daughters and Sons by Emily Joy. This spoken word album is amazing. I’ve relistened to this so many times this month. My favorite tracks as “The Last Poem,” “You Are Not a Princess,” and the title track.
-Sly July. I made a playlist of favorite songs this month. My most played songs: House of Gold by twentyone pilots and Before I Sleep by Joy Williams.

What I Watched –
-Broadchurch series 2. I watched 83% of the series (I haven’t seen the last two eps yet so no spoilers!) but I really enjoyed this second season. I tried to come in with no expectations (and having seen no promos) and I think that was the best way to do it. That and bingewatching it. Worth a watch just for David Tennant’s scottish accent.

Favorite Instagram –
Sorry instagram changed their website and I can’t attach photos at this point. I’m embedding it and hopefully I can come back in and put the photo up later. Here’s the photo.

Sending best wishes to you for this August, in this month of change that there would be plenty of small, beautiful moments. Linking up with Leigh, as usual. Be sure to check out her post for beautiful San Fran pictures, as well as the rest of the link up.

What I’m Into – May

Where did May go? Didn’t the month just start? It was a pretty good month and as usual, I’m sad to see it go. June will bring with it more summer goodness. Here’s some things I was into this month. Connecting with the lovely Leigh (check out my favorite post of her’s this month. Made me want to hit the road and head to Nashville stat) and the What I’m Into link-up.

What I’m Reading:
Last month I read a lot of books that didn’t connect with me. Some weren’t great or were good but generally just weren’t my thing. I looked at my goodreads ratings for last month. It was all threes and fours. Suddenly I understood why I felt a little burnt out. At the beginning of May, I accidentally devoured a book that I fell in love with. That’s when I remembered why reading books you’re passionate about is so important. It reminds me why I love to read in the first place.

-Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (5/5). An anthology of notes from the Dear Sugar column Cheryl used to write for the website The Rumpus. I loved this book. It spoke to my soul and freed me. I know this book and her advice are not for everyone. But I found the questions and the answers immensely freeing & good for my soul. I love how much of her own stories Cheryl (as Sugar) included in her responses.
-Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (4/5). I love this series of books by Steph.This particular volume in the series wasn’t my favorite. I definitely preferred Isla’s story (which comes after Lola’s). It was a little tropey and very teenage protagonist. That said, it was a (mostly) light and cute read for me, which is what I wanted.
-Find the Good by Heather Lende (5/5). I picked this up on a whim from the popular reads section of the library and loved it. A short collections of essays on life and death from an obit writer in Alaska. These stories were good for my soul.
-Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson (2/5). The back cover sounded interesting: destiny brings a man and woman together as they’re held up at a gas station. But between the characters (both very wounded and unstable) and the unclear flashing between past and present, I couldn’t take it. Halfway through the novel, I nearly gave up because I couldn’t find myself rooting for either of the main characters. I pushed through but still, didn’t like it. Nothing hurts my heart like being disappointed in a book. Sometimes it’s just not a good match for you.
-In the Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (5/5). This book took me by surprise in the best way. Rory, a Louisiana native, comes to boarding school outside of London when a Jack the Ripper imitator is beginning to strike. I’d hesitated at picking this up before but I’m so glad I did. The story picks up about 1/4 of the way in and it’s hard to put down! I requested books two and three…three came first and I haven’t been able to pick up book two yet! Excited to start book two next week.

This month I hit my preliminary reading goal of 50 books! Woohoo! I moved my goodreads challenge up to 75 books. I’d like to read more than that but since I’m not sure what the rest of the year will bring me, I’m going easy on the number. Currently I’ve read 55 books for the year.

On the to-read stack: If You find this Letter by Hannah Brencher, The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker and If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski.

Audience participation: I have a question for you. What does it take for you to not finish a book? Is there a page limit? Do you push on through and just finish? Is there certain content that will make you stop? I’m curious about what you think.

What I’m Listening to:
-Mumford and Sons, Wilder Mind. Yes and please. Don’t get me wrong I miss those banjos like whoa. But their lyrics still connect to my soul.
-Jon Foreman, Caroline. I think I’m really going to enjoy his next musical series The Wonderlands.
-Joy Williams, Until the Levee and What a Good Woman Does. Joy is bringing the soul stirring lyrics to her debut. If I can’t have my beloved Civil Wars back, this is the best runner up.

What Podcasts I’m Listening to:
-Joy the Baker podcast.
-Dear Sugar. Always and forever. The episode about friendship this month nearly brought me to tears. I love the Sugars.

What I’m Watching:
-Once Upon a Time. Alternate Universe (AU) storyline? Yes. I loved this episode so much. I had a feeling I’d enjoy the AU, but not as much as I did. I’d watch a mini-series of these characters in the AU realm. Of course I’m still feeling the ending (that’s as much of a spoiler as I’ll say) and I don’t know how I’m going to make it til Fall.

Other things I loved this month:
-Early morning walks on the beach during our Mother’s Day trip.
-Catching up conversations with a friend.
-Ordering a box of new books I’m excited to read.
-Finding a gift card in an older box and discovering it still had a full balance! That made my box of books order even better.
-Sitting in the new airport cell lot, which is right near one of the runways. Sitting in the car and getting to watch planes take off or land. Dream come true. ❀
-Finding out one of my favorite authors, Allie Brosh, has a new book coming out in October!

Instagram:
-Beachgram. One of those few summery things I got into. But goodness morning walks with your feet in the water are glorious.

beach view

Here’s to a glorious June of warm sun, cool breezes and lots of cool treats. To summer reads and good things, both planned and unexpected.

What I’m Into – April

Hello lovelies! Another month has come and gone. April was good to me, though I spent the majority of the month swamped. It feels good to have time to reflect on what I loved and learned last month. (What I was into the last week of April: R&R!) Linking up with Leigh to share what I’m into.

What I Read:
-I read Marcus Borg for the first time this month. When he passed in January, I reserved two of his books from my local library. And since I’d run out of renewals (oops) I finished them up this month. I may have been a little intimidated because I’m not a scholar. There was nothing to be afraid of, for me. I picked up Reading the Bible Again for the First Time (4/5) and Evolution of the World (3/5). These books touched on similar themes and often repeated themselves. I enjoyed them both but ultimately wished they were longer (yep, a 500 page book needed to me longer) and had a little more depth. He glossed over ideas as facts, then skipped past them, whereas I wanted more of an explanation. Guess that means I need to do more reading!
-#girlboss by Sophia Amorosa (4/5). Found this in the new and relevant section, so I grabbed it for a quick read. Not the standard book I’d pick up but she had some great insights about business, professionalism and running a company.
-Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (4/5). So good. A collection of short stories and poetry. Not everything is a hit but there’s so much variety you can find a favorite easily.
-The Last Letter to Your Lover by Jojo Moyers (4/5). The setting of this book felt very much like Mad Men, as the stories are set around the same time. The story is split into two parts, then and now. Then takes up most of the novel with now taking up the last fourth.
-Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith (3/5). I’d read mixed reviews before picking this book up. I understand why once I read the book. Some modernization elements I like, others I thought fell flat. I didn’t enjoy this book (but if you love Emma, you probably will).

Given the amount of 3 and 4 star books I read in April, I can see why I’ve been itching to read something I really love. I read 9 books in April bringing my total up to 42.

What I Listened To:
-Home by Josh Garrels. I haven’t listened to this album too much yet. But I know it’ll be one of those albums that will stick with me.
-Ioexa by Copeland. Haunting and beautiful.

What I Watched:
-Once Upon a Time. The Robin centric ep was my favorite. I still have mixed feelings about the Cruella ep.
-Greys. I haven’t watched this show for a while because of time issues. I remembered it was on last week and decided to watch it. Bad move. Ughhh, I don’t want to talk about it. Still not over it.
-Star Wars – The Clone Wars: Picked this series up during Celebration. I hear it gets better past season 1. (if you see jar-jar in the description, it’s probably safe to skip that episode)

What Else I Listened to, Podcasts:
-I listened to a lot of podcasts this month. There were a couple days where I was anxious and needed the extra noise to focus on what I was doing. I expanded my borders and picked up a few new podcasts.
-The Boredom Experiment. Photographers Jeremy and Ash Parsons have lived their lives online. Now: they embark on a new journey, a year without social media. So far they have two podcasts up, one about how the idea began and the second about how their two oldest boys were effected by their parents use of social media.
-Dear Sugar. I loved Cheryl’s memoir Wild so I thought I’d check out her podcast. I really enjoyed the episodes I listened to. Definitely a podcast I’ll be coming back to.
-This American Life. Caught up on a few episodes I downloaded and missed. I really like this series, because it makes me think critically about the things around me.

I’ve downloaded two more that I haven’t started yet: Sorta Awesome and The Liturgist Podcast.

What Else I’m Into:
-One of the coolest things I saw come out of RHE’s book release (besides the awesome Searching for Sunday itself) were these printings. Ruth is so talented, creating a work based on each of the Sacraments. I was taken aback when I first saw these. They are so rich and gorgeous and meaningful. ❀ I love them, I love art. Here’s the link to check them out. And by popular demand she’s made them available for purchase on her Society6 page.
-I did a series of writing this month during Holy Week. I was apprehensive about it at first but I loved the results (coming soon to a blog near you, I hope).
-Summer is almost here. Though I’m not a fan of the weather, I’m so grateful for the possibilities it brings with it. I’m looking for renewal, recharging and growth.
-The weather on the last day of April was the perfect spring weather! 70s and breezy. Just what I needed.

What I Instagrammed:
-My favorite snap this month was a plane, of course. I love when my travel takes me near the airport.

May Goals:
-Painting. I have one project in progress and a couple in mind, so I want to get those done this month.
-Make a dent in my to-read stack. Besides the fun, I do have a few practical research books in there.
-Pick up a few new books. New releases from Rachelle Dekker and Jamie Tworkowski are coming out this month, among others, which I’m super excited about.
-Write. Both in generally and here on the blog.
-Training. I need to get myself in shape now that I’m going to have a little more free time.
-Find a few more ways to have fun. Because why not, right?

Until next month, lovelies! I hope May is everything you want and more. ❀

What I’m Into – March

I love March. It’s the beginning of Spring when Winter is supposed to shake off. What I forget about March is what with the pretty blooms comes pollen. There has been a distinct lack of breath this month. Despite that, this month was filled with good and interesting things. It’s been a while since I’ve linked up. I’ve written a lot of monthly drafts that never quite got posted. This month, I’m changing that and linking with Leigh and y’all.

What I’m Reading:
-The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer (4/5). I knew nothing about Amanda prior to this book beyond a few basics– never listened to her music or read more than a blogpost or two. But I really enjoyed this book and her perspective. Amanda is a pioneer of modern crowdfunding for her music. A great companion to this book is Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.
-All of the Women of the Bible by Edith Deen (1/5). I was really excited about the premise of this book, going into detail about the bible’s women. OH BOY. This was bad, so bad. She put in a lot of unnecessary commentary, like condemning all women for the sin of discontentment during Eve’s chapter or blaming Dinah for her own rape. Yeah.
-Miss Peregrin’s Home for Particular Children by Ransom Riggs (4/5). This was a great young adult novel. The premise was different and interesting. I found the sequel Hollow City (also 4/5) wasn’t quite as solid as the debut. But I’m looking forward to reading the ending, coming out this year.
-The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (4/5). I’m always a fan of biblical fiction, so I really enjoyed this story. The last fourth was a little slow for me. But I loved the perspective this author wrote about.
-Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (5/5). I’ve been wanting to read this book for months. One of my dear friend said such good things about it. And finally, I found it hidden in my library’s e-book section. I accidentally breezed through it in a day (oops). It is now one of my favorite books ever. The spirit of everything I love about my favorite rom-coms wrapped up in one story. ❀ It’s also set in the late 90’s, so the throwbacks were really fun to read.
-Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans (5/5). I’m going to be writing about this book on the blog around the release date (April 14) but suffice to say: it’s excellent.

I’ve read fifteen (!!!!) books for this month, bringing my total of books read to thirty-three. I don’t know how I managed to read that much this month, honestly. For more, you can check out my goodreads account.

What I’m Watching:
-Once Upon a Time. I feel like this season is turning into Once Upon a Plothole. I’m finding it hard to suspend my disbelief. Would some of these characters be so naive? I’m hoping the storyline improves. Despite that, I love Cruella.
-The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I love this series so much. I watched it on a whim and fell in love with Kimmy and Titus immediately. Can we talk about the theme song? Because it’s AMAZING.
-30 Rock. I picked up this show as my late night comedy. I’ve been really enjoying it.
-Downton Abbey. I binged the end of this show because it was set to expire off the PBS app. I know I’ll like it more in the future (that ending was perfect) but it felt like too much at once. It’s bittersweet about the final season (I’ve been loving the cast read through pictures on fb) but I know they’ll end it right. (Come on Fellows, give Edith her happy ending please!)

What I’m Listening to:
-New Mumford! I love the new song. The sound is great (even if I miss the banjos). I can’t wait for more.
-Joy Williams just released her new song called Woman (Oh Mama). Those lyrics tho. ❀

What I’m Liking on Youtube:
-Mary Kate Wiles (of Lizzie Bennet Diaries fame) just released a new short film called Spore. It’s a spooky sci-fi piece and demands to be watched more than once.
-Mary Kate also hosts a project called Craftversations on her channel where friends come and talk while making a craft. She describes it as a visual podcast. This month she had her LBD sister Ashley Clements on the show. I loved the way they talked about vulnerability and self care. They nailed it. So here is the episode where they talk about it.
The Ballad of Serenity sung by Jesse L Martin, Rick Cosnett and Carlos Valdes (aka actors from The Flash on CW). I love their take on one of my favorite TV theme songs.
-Wedding Horror Film. I don’t have the link to this because I’ve only seen it as a facebook video. It’s a film by Buzzfeed about how almost everyone seems to be getting married. In true horror film style. It is the best thing.

What Else I Loved This Month:
-Mint. I’ve discovered I’m all about the color mint green this year. I had previously picked up a mint scarf on clearance. But my trying-on selection and eventual purchase at Old Navy sealed it for me.
-Paint. I started a painting project this month. I’m still in the middle of it but I’m enjoying the process and the results so far.
-Hot Fudge Sundae’s for dinner. This little rarity is why I like being an adult.
This Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt print, which a friend put on my wall.
-Insightful conversations with friends. I’m so glad my people are only a text message away.
-My friends have officially announced this month that they are expecting and he’s a boy. I’m over the moon thrilled.

While I didn’t take this picture in March, I uploaded it this month. It just feels right to see the blooms this month. My part of the country doesn’t have many flowering trees and I find myself missing that a lot.

Spring

Β Here’s to a beautiful upcoming April. See you all next month!

What I’m Into – July

Linking up with Leigh and so many beautiful others for What I’m Into. This month has been filled to the brim with so much. I’m sad to see it go and yet I’m glad to move on. I spent my last days in the mosqutio filled north with its beauty. I walked (and barely sprinted) my first 5k. We took the long way home over five flights, four planes, hours running through airports and calming down one curious chihuahua. I spent days trying to readjust, especially with my allergies. I was caught up in daily deadlines. But I found the joy in summer. I’ve started to love the cool rains (but not the lightning, hasn’t won me over yet). I said goodbye to my favorite coffee shop, not knowing if it would open its doors again. And happily, an email told me that it will be reopening. This month, I have stretched and grown and ached and smiled.

Reading-
The thing about spending a lot of time in airports and on airplanes is that you get a lot of time to catch up on your to-read stack! I vary between my kindle app and physical books. Can’t beat some of those kindle deals but I don’t think I’ll ever be over the feeling of a book in my hands, flipping through pages.
-Faith Unraveled by Rachel Held Evans. I’d actually picked up this book before under its former title when I was at school. For whatever reason (deadlines) I didn’t read it. But now I’m so glad I did. I loved what Rachel wrote about faith, asking questions and tradition.
-Speak by Nish Weiseth. I’m going to write a separate review on this book, so stay tuned! I loved this book. If you’re worried that this will be another in the pile of story-related Christian cliches, don’t be. It’s a book for her, for you and for me.
-I Haven’t Been to Vegas but my Luggage Has by Mandy Hale. Y’all, I’m a sucker for a good story about hilarious single women. The world needs more of them sharing their heart and making me laugh. It’s why I love Annie Downs so much (coming soon, a review of her latest book! Which I’m behind on because deadlines). I found this at the bookstore and knew I had to read it. The first half of the book is really strong, as Mandy tells stories of her hilarious hijinks and delves into the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to dating. But the book lost appeal for me during the second half. The tone seemed to change, it wasn’t funny or strictly serious. She talks about starting her platform “The Single Woman” but she used such sparse details, I couldn’t quite grasp the concept. Maybe she’s gone into detail on her own site, I don’t know. I’m not a reader of hers, but I found that too distracting. I was disappointed at the outcome–it felt like the book just couldn’t keep up momentum.
-The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson. While we’re on the topic of books and that can’t keep up momentum, I was disappointed with this offering, too. I loved the previous book so much I ordered this on kindle immediately after finishing. But it didn’t quite live up to the previous book for me. I was so eager to read the last letter and it almost didn’t seem worth reading, which makes me really sad. The first book (which I read last month) was great and I’ll be sure to check out more by Maureen (that is, if she doesn’t run me over in her segway this weekend at Leaky).
-Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. This book took me months to read in the best of ways. Since it’s filled with little essays, it’s easy to read a bit, then set down to ponder. I loved the way Glennon writes and speaks honestly about her own life. It’s good humor and I love the way she talks about faith & loving others. I love that this is a book I can continue to pick up and read short pieces of.
-I just started reading a novel from one of my favorite authors that hits stories in September. I’m sure I’ll have lots to say about it next month.
I’m up to thirty books read for the year! Yay! When I first started this challenge, I wasn’t sure I could get to twenty five! It feels good to have made so much progress.

Music-
Two of my favorite bands came out with new releases: Anberlin and Colony House. I don’t own either yet. I’ve been listening to a lot of Cities in honor of the new album. I’ve also had the Noah Gunderson and Josh Garrells pandora channels on this month as my study music.

Youtube-
I fell in love with a series called Letters to July by Emily Diana Ruth. It’s amazing. She writes letters to the month of July with the moments she’s savoring, the things she thinks and fear. It’s beautiful. And it’s a collaboration with other youtubers. Here’s the playlist from this year (adult language warning) and from last. I was so inspired, it become a writing prompt on my tumblr. And I think I’ll be reposting some of the content over here next month.

Around the Web-
All Hootenannie, all of the time. Especially this post about how your dream might not be all you thought. But seriously, this gal is hilarious and one of my favorite writers on the internet.
And Hilary Yancey’s post at Lisa-Jo’s place about her relationship with her mother. It made me cry and reminded me so much of the relationship between my own Mom and I. We share a lot of special moments, which I’m so grateful for. I hope we’ll laugh that hard at my own wedding, some day. Hilary is another of my favorite writers.

Random-
-We’re getting a book about Lydia Bennet. It’s real. It’s happening. I’m so excited. I fell in love with her thanks to Mary-Kate Wiles performance on the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and the spin-off, The Lydia Bennet! I’m really excited to get more of a glimpse into this character.
-I got a gym membership this month. Which means a lot of testing my own limits, introspection and drinking a lot of water. It’s something I’m glad to do and keep up with, but I don’t feel the progress yet.
-I’ve had deadlines every day this month until the 28th. What was packed in those deadlines nearly killed me towards the end. So now I’m reveling in this time I get to rest. It’s not something I loved but I was sure into it. πŸ˜€
-I’m always into breakfasts or brunches at Fresh Markets.
-Conversations with friends that remind me how lucky I am to have them. I’ve had several of those this month and it’s a joy. ❀
-Surprise presents in the mail.
-Oversized, cozy sweatshirts.

Instagram-

Two favorites this month: A study in contrasts or Florida. Every day. Like clockwork.

And I like airplanes and good shots.

August, I’m excited to say hello to you, friend. It’ll bring new excitement and new challenges. Tomorrow, I’m attending my very first convention! I’m a huge bundle of excitement and nerves. Friends have been so generous to give me tips and I’m hoping I’m prepared. I’m also hoping not to make a fool of myself when I meet my favorite actors and fandom friends. Soon after, a roadtrip adventure and seeing a dear friend. Then home and more dear friends. I hope August brings you joy and laughter. A relief of cool air or the warmth of the sun, depending on your preference. πŸ˜‰ And I hope you have amazing adventures this month. Thanks to Leigh for hosting this awesome link-up. And check out her page if you haven’t.