My Favorite Books

I’m starting this post with an asterisk.  It’s never good when a post starts with an asterisk, right?  But, I’m starting it that way because although I love to read and learn new things from books, I don’t have a lot of “extra” time and I don’t really dig listening to books on Audible.  I like to have an actual book in my hand to read.

*When I say I don’t have a lot of time, I mean that.  I work over 40 hours a week away from home, have 2 kids, work a side hustle with Rodan & Fields, try to schedule blog posts (I promise I really do), spend time on starting my own personal growth/development journey, have a 10 year old in travel sports, have a very needy (although also very cute) 5 year old in tee ball and try to keep up with a house, a 7 month old puppy and occasionally laundry.  On a good week, I can get a walk or two in on the treadmill.

So, without further ado….my FAVORITE books that I continuously come back to, year after year.

Reshaping It All, by Candace Cameron Bure.  This book is G-O-L-D!  She wrote this book back in 2010 or 2011 I believe, when she was starting to come back into the spotlight, and I’m telling you; it’s relatable, down to earth, HONEST and something every woman and mother needs to read.  It’s no secret that Candace is, and always has been one of my favorite people in the celebrity world.  I love many of her books, but there was something about this one that clicked with me instantly.  I refer to it all the time, 8 years later!  It contains ways to mindfully eat, a handful of very simple recipes, scriptures related to each chapter’s subject and even touches on getting back into a workout routine and getting your mind back to what’s important.  Go get it or download it!

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.  I was reading Self Magazine one day in 2011 while eating breakfast (side note: this only happened because we only had 1 kiddo at the time, obviously haha) and saw the suggestion for this book.  At the time, I wanted to read something new and different, and what’s better than a book called with this title?  Right?  I walked myself into Barnes and Noble and bought it a few days later.  We were living with my parents at the time while our home was being built and the only piece of workout equipment they had was a stationary bike.  So I took the book with me every night while I was on the bike.  I was hooked.  What an amazing book!  And, at the same time, my workout went from 30 minutes to 60 minutes because I literally couldn’t put the book down.  The idea that every month Gretchen implemented something that sparked happiness in herself and in others made me happy as well.  The notion that if you just change things up, start some new habits that are good for your soul and change your perspective on every day occurrences was a little mind blowing to me.  It made me think about what my habits were at the time and how I could change them ever so slightly to become a happier person, and/or make someone else happy.  It’s a book I’ll never forget or get rid of.  Every time I even see it in my book collection I think of happy times.

The Frugalista Files, by Natalie McNeal.  I can’t even remember how this book fell into my lap.  Maybe another magazine suggestion?  Maybe my friend suggested it?  Regardless, it was funny, insightful and enlightening!  Ironically, I remember reading this book while watching the Royal Wedding (William and Kate)…so I mean, basically this concept sums up my life, haha.  As I’m reading a book on how to save money and how this amazing woman paid off over 30,000 in debt, I’m watching a million dollar wedding and getting googly eyes over Princess Diana’s massive diamond ring on Kate’s finger.  All joking aside, this book was awesome!  Natalie, the author, is so funny and honest and gives realistic goals and tips for cutting back on expenses, while being a woman in the workplace that still has a great social life.  It was a fun read and would be good for anyone looking to change up some of their financial habits. Check Natalie and her hilariousness out!

Do you guys notice the word habit keeps coming up?  It amazes me, that even in 2011, changing habits was something I was not knowingly gravitating to.  Habits are obviously the HARDEST thing in our lives to change.  You don’t even realize how hard it is to change them until you try to be consistent to make a change.  Now that I’m slowly stepping into the personal growth/development world, I’m realizing how naive I was before, when I THOUGHT I had good habits.  Friends, let me just tell you, I have a looooooong way to go.  Sorry for the side step from the book reviews, but it’s amazing to me that even 8 years ago…personal development was there, under the surface, screaming to be heard.

Girl Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.  If you haven’t heard of this book, you are living under a rock.  If you haven’t read this book, you are missing out.  So listen, sometimes we search for something to grasp when we go through hard times.  I was doing this last spring/summer when panic disorder was ruling my life at the time and my anxiety was spiraling out of control.  I was desperately looking for something and someone to relate to.  I would google anxiety help and all kinds of crazy stuff would come up, I would search and search for books on anxiety and OCD and panic disorder and only clinical type books would come up, no matter how I tried to search.  Then, deep, dark in the rabbit hole I had gone down in, I came across someone recommending this book.  Here’s the thing, this book is NOT a book on how to help anxiety.  I think it was more like a red blinking light sent to me from God that I needed to do a deeper dive into the world of all things Rachel Hollis.  When I did this, I found her podcast called Rise.  I had never listened to a podcast and didn’t even know how to work the podcasts on my iPhone.  I came across her podcast from April of 2018 about how she dealt with her debilitating anxiety.  I felt like the world sat still for just a minute….I had FINALLY found someone I could relate to, someone my age, that was a mom, that had been an event planner, that wanted to work, but had bigger plans no matter the struggle with anxiety and that was honest about her successes and failures.  Are our reasons for anxiety the same?  Somewhat.  But, I took the TOOLS in that podcast and in the book that I found and applied them in my day to day life.  Game-changer.  As I mentioned above, the book is not about how to deal with anxiety, but if you are struggling with anxiety and know the red flags associated, then you will find the tools in the book.

This book is about lies we tell ourselves as women, moms, sisters, daughters, co-workers etc. that we have started to believe.  This book is about ENCOURAGING you to live the life God created you for.  Will it happen overnight?  Heck no….God wants us to work for what we want, ya know.  It’s about using our gifts God blessed us with, to their greatest potential.  It talks about getting out of your own way and not caring so much about what people may think of your goals!  It opened up a lot of doors for me; for example, I felt led to talk about my anxiety struggle and knew so many others around me dealt with similar issues, but I just didn’t know how to display it.  Now I use my blog, yep…this little sucker here, to be completely 100% honest about my anxiety battles.  Do you know what that did?  It, in turn, helped other people, which in turn, helped me feel better, helping others.  Then I thought, as silly as it sounds, I’ve always wanted my own platform, and it’s giving me one…albeit a very small one right now, but it’s something.  It encouraged me to keep going, through the panic, through the OCD, through the anxiety and get my story out there.  I have no idea where all of this will lead, but I know where I would ultimately LIKE for it to lead….anxiety and all.  So, stay tuned and please please please, go get this book and subscribe to the Rise podcast!!!

The 5 Second Rule, by Mel Robbins.  I’ll be honest, this was another find on my quest for all things anxiety help last summer.  I didn’t find out about this book until last fall when I had come across something of Mel’s on You Tube.  I, again, like many times, fell down the rabbit hole of listening to her Ted Talk on the 5 Second Rule, then going on to listen to her give interviews with several personal growth gurus and before I knew it, I was following her on social, subscribed to her You Tube channel, ordering her book and listening to her morning coffee talks.  The book is not all about how to get past anxiety.  It’s about learning how to change your brain’s thoughts.  We can retrain our brain, ya know?  It’s about developing habits and staying consistent and doing them anyway even when you don’t.  You hate working out, welp, 5-4-3-2-1- DO IT ANYWAY.  You can apply this teaching to basically any situation in life.  It takes work.  Don’t let the simple concept fool you…because trust me, I’m still working on it.  I have a long way to go before my brain adjusts to accept different thought.  Here’s something to take away though, Mel is one smart woman.  She is a lawyer and is one of the most sought after speakers in North America.  All of her research is backed by science, generally from Harvard or Yale studies and she is hilarious!  Also, she’s a busy mom with an even busier life that still manages to be present and open to new thoughts and ideas.  And yes, she’s an anxiety sufferer as well, but has self taught her way around it.  It’s a great read guys, you should definitely check it out!

Well, there ya have it!  My top reads!  I really hope you will hit up your local library or Target, or hop on Amazon to give these books some love.  I have several others that I have read that are definitely some awesome reads, so I may include them next time.  As you can see, I’m not a big fiction reader.  I really don’t have an answer for why that is.  Maybe because what little time I can devote to reading, I want to read about ways to make my life the best it can be?  That sounds right.

(Side note: I’m 100% positive that Rachel Hollis’ new book Girl, Stop Apologizing will be on the next list, but I just haven’t finished it yet.)

I hope you all have a great day and if you have read any of these books, drop me a note and let me know what you thought of them!!

xoxox

Mary

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Home Projects and Inspiration

Hello lovelies!

The hubs and I are getting ready to embark on making some changes to our home this year.  I mean, we’ve put it off for like 3 years and it’s just one of those things we need to bite the bullet on and finish….well not finish, but at least complete these couple of changes.

Our home is going to be 6 years old in May.  I’ve decorated the office, the flex room, the kids’ rooms and started on our bedroom, BUT have never touched our living room.  It’s so intimidating to me!  Literally, all I’ve done is put up 2 picture collages and that’s the end.

So, this spring we are FINALLY giving our living room the make over it deserves.  I mean, hark the harold angles sing, right?

Anyways, here’s a before picture:

(So plain, so un-homey, so undecorated—and I took down the curtains I originally had because I couldn’t stand long curtains {let there be as much light as can shine through those windows…amen?!})

living room before2living room before1

Now, here’s a picture of what we are planning to do with the empty wall:

Shiplap wall living room

*Instead of barn wood, we are doing white ship-lap.  Brock has been taking measurements this weekend to make sure we have enough material. I’m giddy, guys!  I thought we were going to start on this project this fall, but between athletic and work schedules, it didn’t happen.  We will finally have a place to put our TV and can get rid of the old TV stand!  And, I will finally have built in’s to decorate!  Bring on all the pictures that I have framed, but can’t fit on the tables in our flex room. 🙂

Also in the plans for the first half of this year:  New floors on the first level of our home!  I think I may be more excited about this than any other home improvement item….ever!  When we designed our flooring for this house, we choose the (almost) cheapest carpet because we knew we wanted to eventually have hardwoods.  Life happens and suddenly it’s almost 6 years later and we still haven’t put them in.  2 words….IT’S HAPPENING!

I have 3 different colors picked out and I’ve been trying to educate myself on what brands, colors and finishes are out there to choose from.  Here’s what I’ve narrowed it down to.  Let me know your thoughts!

Flooring ideaflooring idea2flooring idea3

Finally to complete our living room, I’m going to have my super duper talented aunt make curtains in a style similar to these:

curtain idea1

Only, I am going to have them made with coral and off white stripes, similar to this:

fabric_coastal stripe_coral_web

The living room is obviously our biggest project, but moving on from there and into our master bath, I also want to add shelves, similar to this:

bathroom concept shelves

Shewwww, so that’s the main goal of 2018!  I cannot wait!  I’m so excited to share progress photos and before and afters on here with everyone.

What are your house goals for 2018?  Any big projects on the horizon?

Until next time……

Mary ❤

 

Update Time!!

It’s time for an update!  It’s been about a month since I last gave one…..so here we are.

Things you should know before I mention anything about weight or inches lost:

–I never measured myself. Every time I do, I lose motivation, so I just didn’t even go down that road this time.

–I didn’t cook hardly at all.  We have a crazy schedule full of homework, baseball practices, doubleheaders, hitting lessons and the beginnings of basketball season, so there’s that.

–I didn’t bring my lunch.  See above explanation.

Alright, so now that those facts are out of the way…let me share with all of you what I DID do and talk about the progress I have made.

In my last post, I talked about how 2-4 pounds would typically come and go depending on the day, and that I had lost almost 3 pounds.  I wasn’t sure if it would actually stay gone, because unfortunately, a lot of times it is just water weight.  Well, guess what?  3 solid little pounds are permanently GONE!  And, as an added bonus, I’m well on my way to a 4th!

Guess what else?  My pants are fitting a little different, so I know I’ve also lost inches!

I love my treadmill time, because I actually get to watch a movie or TV series that I want to watch, without any complaints from anyone.  It’s the equivalent to sitting down on the couch when everyone is gone and having the Direct TV movie choices in front of you, and picking something like Beauty and the Beast (or Magic Mike) because no one is around to tell you no, or whine about what you choose.

However, lately, even though I was spending 4-5 days a week on the treadmill, for 45-50 minutes every time, I wasn’t seeing results.  So, I got out my 21 Day Fix DVD’s and as much as I loathe watching a trainer on TV, I muted it (sorry, Autumn) and turned on a work out playlist on my iPhone.  I did the lower fix DVD and then some crunches afterwards.  While I know it was good to mix things up and get a great work out, I hated every single minute of it. I just can’t do it.  That 30 minute video felt like 3 days.  I just get so distracted because I’m not into it.

Back to the treadmill I went, but this time, I put the incline up higher than usual to change things up and hit different muscles.  My typical work out looks like this:  I complete 10-12 minutes at the highest incline, then 20 minutes at a middle incline and drop it to a lower incline for 10 minutes and finish the last 10 minutes at a 0 incline.  I really feel like this has worked, or at least jump started some changes.  I started to notice a difference in how things were fitting after about 2 weeks of this new “routine”.  I also do about 50-60 crunches after every workout.  Big picture:  that’s probably next to nothing when it comes to abdominal exercises, but I’m sure it’s helping a smidge.  😉

Here’s to the next 4 pounds!  Whoop Whoop!

Healthy Updates….

If any of you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know I’ve been on a mission to lose weight.  

The short story behind this ‘a-ha’ moment was me giving a pep talk to Brayden after he didn’t make a travel team he tried really hard to make.  I didn’t know what to say at first to make him feel better.  I knew his confidence had taken a big blow because we did everything we could have done on our end and it still wasn’t enough.

I kept thinking about things he could maybe improve upon and one thing I told him was that if he wanted something bad enough, he had to overcome the fear and nerves and be able to work through it.  If this meant, for example, getting hit with the  ball a couple times to get over the fear of being hit, then I told him to do it.  I just wanted him to work through it.  

Then it hit me; if I expected Brayden to try his hardest, then I needed to set the example.  I decided to use losing these stubborn pounds as my ‘quest’.  

I’ve pretty much been on the quest to be thin my entire life and I don’t think that’s a big secret.  I’ll lose 5-7 pounds, then within a few months it creeps back, and this pretty much repeats itself over and over.  While I’m not super hard on myself for what I eat, I am hard on myself for how much I eat!  

After 1 week, I’m down almost 3 pounds.  I’m not really calling this an accomplishment since it could very well just be water weight.  I’ll get excited when the scale shows 6 + pounds lost because I’d be willing to bet that it’s legit at that point!

My ultimate goal is to lose 15 pounds!  

Oh, and just throwing this out into the universe—but if you feel the need to hold me accountable or have some spare motivation laying around, feel free to let me know 😊.

Back To School!

Hi everyone! It’s that dreaded time of year, the time of year that interrupts our summer earlier and earlier, back to school time.  I mean, it’s inevitable, right?  But, starting August 1st is just plain cruel.  At the bare minimum, I feel like they should start after the State Fair is over, around mid-August.  That’s doable, right?

Anyways, as you read in the previous paragraph, Brayden started August 1st.  Third grade snuck up on me, and just seems so middle to upper aged in the elementary school sense.  I feel like it’s all going so fast that I haven’t been able to do the things I want to keep ‘preparing’ Brayden for the road ahead.  For example, when summer started, I told him he was going to read every night (granted, I told him this after our Disney trip, so it was basically mid-June) so I went Targeting (good excuse to go!) and bought him 2 chapter books.  He had just finished a chapter book that he bought at the end of school book fair right before our trip to Disney.  Well, as of the first day of school last week, he only had read one of the two books I bought him.  I mean, I feel bad that I didn’t enforce the reading like I told myself I would, but I’m always torn between being the enforcer and letting him enjoy playing outside with his friends every night until dark (which, by the way, is also a good thing).

Which brings me to my next topic…. parenting is rough at times as the kiddos get older.  No shock there, of course, but I’m starting to think back to my own experiences and hope and pray the Brayden never has to experience some of them and pray that he gets to experience all the good things!  I’m lucky that, to this point, he’s had great friends, awesome teachers and a great overall school experience, all while keeping good grades, staying well behaved and basically being the ideal type of student.  But, I know times are changing with the friend aspect.  As Brayden gets older, his friendship status with some kids is starting to change.  He’s becoming closer with some and distancing others, not by choice, but just because he spends more time with some.  He’s starting to get to that age where some of his friendships will strengthen and some will break.  I remember this time in my life well and it can be rough!  And, as a parent, it makes me sad sometimes, because I see Brayden getting hurt occasionally by friends he loves dearly.  I just keep telling myself we need to keep moving on and experiencing new things with new people.

Something I’m enjoying as Brayden gets older is seeing him become a leader, seeing him influence and build others UP and seeing him succeed.  My heart is happy when I see him doing what he loves and doing it well.  Something else I’m also enjoying….dressing him!  I mean….I don’t literally dress him, but you moms know what I mean!  He’s doing a great job looking as handsome as ever…and he’s very particular about what he wears if he is going to school.  Haha!  He’s also particular about his hair if he’s doing something special at school or going somewhere fun.  I love it.  I think he’s just becoming more aware of everything on that front.  


Third grade, we are ready for you!!! Let’s do this!!  Let’s learn more, get better, have more experiences and enjoy the ride!
What are your favorite moments to watch as your kids get older?  Oh, and on a side note, I think we should sign a petition that says the kids don’t need to go back until August 15th…can I get an amen on that?

Have a great day!!

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