I have never put any sort of booze into a smoothie before, but I will say as a bit of warning: it changes everything. I originally was only going to add in water as my liquid in this smoothie (which you can totally do if you don't want alcohol), but when I saw a bottle of white wine chilling in the fridge I couldn't resist. And I have no regrets. This smoothie is so fresh, crisp, sweet and tart, and perfect for a warm summer weekend afternoon. There are some other surprising ingredients in this recipe: like cucumber. Just trust me, it all blends together wonderfully and tastes absolutely delicious (and unlike anything else).
Read the rest of this post and see the full recipe on Some Call Me CJ today!
The book I've chosen to talk about that I read this month is Longbourn by Jo Baker. You may recognize this book as the April selection for the ABM book club, which is where I first heard of it too. I immediately wanted to read it after seeing it there and further learning that it was set in the Pride and Prejudice "universe," but instead followed the storyline of the Bennet families servants. Yes please.
I read every single Jane Austin book as a teenager and identified strongly with Elizabeth (from Pride and Prejudice), especially, at the time. I even secretly wanted to live back in late eighteenth century Britain — except not, because holy cow: class devisions, servitude/slavery, lack of women's rights= zero fun. But boy, did it all seem romantic.
I immediately got into this story; Jo Baker does a remarkable job of mimicking Jane Austin's writing style while still offering a unique voice that feels more modern. She also intertwines little snippets of the Pride and Prejudice storyline, so you are always aware of the timing and context of things. I will say, this was my absolutely favorite aspect of the book; seeing the whole series of events from a different perspective — arguably a more grounded and realistic perspective — gave a entirely new light to the original love story. As a teenager, I was infatuated with The Mr. Darcy but now I'm more like "Eh" about the whole thing, haha. Seeing all of the sister's and their drama from Sarah (primarily), Polly, and Mrs. Hill's point of view was changing as well.
My one concern going into this book was that the storyline would feel limited, just based on the precept that this was creating a story within an existing classic. It seemed to me, at the time, that there would be little room for character development and plot. I was wrong, definitely. I feel in love with all the characters. My favorite part was the third section where James' real parents were revealed and we got a glimpse into his past.
Have you read Longbourn? Did you enjoy it as much as Pride and Prejudice?
See previous 1 Book a Month selections here:
2. February, March, April
Do you have any suggestions for what I should read next???
My life seems to be full of many changes at the moment. I've been feeling a bit exhausted adjusting to a new schedule — while trying to keep at (and add in more) things I enjoy — but also feeling very happy. A new job, a new site to launch soon, and a new season, why not throw in a new look too! To be fair, I've been wanting to cut my hair into a pixie again since cutting off the length last fall, but something seemed to be holding me back. After this last long weekend, with summer like temperatures, I finally felt it was time to get out my scissors again.
This cut took me four hours to do — and I had to wait for Will to get back home from work to finish — as it is a bit difficult to check the back for uniformity on your own (especially when you're blind in one eye). When I started cutting, I wasn't sure how short I wanted to go. I just cut slowly, judging and deciding as I went until I reached a length I was happy with. I still think this is a little long, by my standards at least, and after wearing it for 3 days now I'm considering trimming it (at least the sides) a bit more for easier styling. But I love it. And I loved it immediately. It feels very light, classic, and me. I think it will be the cut to wear all summer long.
What do you think? Have you ever cut off your hair for the summer? Do any of you cut your own hair too?
As we were driving home late Monday night — after squeezing in some quick grocery shopping — I rolled my window down, letting the cooling summer air wash over me. Pippin immediately hopped on my lap to stick his head out and I leaned over to Will and said, "Goodness, doing things is exhausting." He laughed, but agreed. I know I've said it before: we are homebodies. Most weekends are spent relaxing at home in each other's company, with some hiking and errands tossed in there for good measure. Weekends like this past one are few and far between, but I still enjoy them. But boy, this introvert is still feeling a bit of weekend hangover (yes, that's a thing) from all the activity.
Friday morning I had a second interview at an awesome store, which I had a week to prepare for — so, you know, plenty of time to feel anxious about it (but, hey, I got the job!). I felt pretty drained after and spent Friday night simply at home with my boys. Saturday morning we walked downtown to the farmer's market and met my mom. There, we had pizza for breakfast and bought some yummy Cafe de Paris bread for later. We walked home after, casually and slowly wandering the north end and scoping out some yard sales. We sure love this neighborhood. Sunday we had a taco picnic in the park, had a photo adventure of sorts, walked along the river a bunch, and took too many pictures of the pretty blooms is the rose garden as the sun set. Monday we drove out to Nampa to visit with Will's family before his parents left for a long trip down to Colorado. We left late in the afternoon and drove straight to a barbecue with my mom, sister and brother-in-law. Then, the whole weekend was finished with some quick errands.
Writing that all just made me tired, haha. I definitely spent yesterday recuperating, and I may have "impulsively" decided to cut off all my hair. Yep, it is all gone. I just needed something light and easy for summer — it's way too hot already!
I hope your long weekend was as lovely,
Maybe I watched Twister too much as a child, because in my mind there is quite a bit of romanticism behind storms and chasing them. Nothing beats sitting out with a view of the valley and watching big thunderstorms roll in. I'm definitely the type to drop everything I'm doing — and make those around me do the same — to run out and get a better view of a sudden storm. This was just the case Wednesday afternoon, when huge storm clouds crept in from behind the mountains (the opposite way storms usually build in this town). I proposed we take Pippin for a quick walk in the hills before the rain hit, with the full intention of seeing this storm in all its glory. And boy, did we happen to time it perfectly. The moment we got to the top of the ridge the thunder had begun to build and the storm hovered just beyond us. It only started to pour as we made our way back down again; we only got muddy and soaked a little bit :) but that's what bathtubs are for, right?
Hope you're enjoying your long weekend!
I made a new background for my phone this morning and wanted to share the love with you! I refresh my screens regularly; at least once a month for my desktop and nearly every week for my iPhone. With how often I am getting on my phone or staring at some sort of screen throughout the day, it only makes since to take that often overlooked background space and use it to my advantage. I often create backgrounds to reflect my mood that week, or use it as an opportunity to give myself a simple reminder. Last week, I had the words "seek adventure and happiness" on my phone's lock screen, but these words from Beyoncé feel relevant to me right now. I have a lot of changes coming, a lot of fun projects I'm working on, and some opportunities I plan on grasping fully. This confidence reminder is perfect for me to glimpse often throughout the day on my different devices.
If you'd also like a little confidence reminder on your screen, you can download the backgrounds using the Dropbox links below (for use on your computer or phone).
+ Desktop download: with quote | without quote
+ iPhone download: with quote | without quote
Something that I don't talk about very often is my relationship with my body. It sometimes seems strange to me that my body is always what I am perceived as, above all else. My thoughts, ideas, health, and personality have no meaning to the average stranger. To them, I am this body and nothing more. When so much worth is placed on our bodies, it's easy to become obsessive and self critical; especially with all the body policing we are exposed to with popular media. To me, the first step in overcoming a negative relationship with my body has been recognizing that my worth is not tied to my appearance.
That is not entirely a simple thing to do. As women, we are well aware of the scrutiny of our bodies and our worthiness associated with their condition (as determined by our society/culture). I've struggled with body image for most of life. When I was really young, it was that I was too thin. Then, as I grew, it was that I was the wrong kind of thin; the growth spurts meant stretch marks and awkward limbs. Then it was my "strangely" proportioned body. Then it was the acne. Then it was the weight gain. There was always something that was deemed not right by those around me and inevitably seen as wrong by myself. Why did there always have to be something wrong about my body? Couldn't my body just be a body?
Body acceptance is not about denying the existence of health problems. It is not about ignoring steps you could take to feel or even look better. Rather, body acceptance is about acknowledging that our bodies are what they are, and processing that without judgment or criticism. It is about accepting that are bodies are here to stay. That they aren't constant, but changing. That they sustain us and are us. Here are my favorite recommendations for achieving a body positive attitude:
When I began my journey toward body acceptance, it seemed a rather unfamiliar concept. It was definitely something I wanted to achieve, for my confidence, self-worth, and happiness. But years of internally telling myself that I was not good enough, and believing it, was simply brainwashing. You have to begin by investing time into your relationship with yourself, just as cautiously and lovingly as you do in your relationships with others. You have to switch that internal conversation from focusing on your flaws and faults to now obsessing about all the things you like about yourself. You have to feel validated beyond how you look. Find qualities, talents, attitudes, accomplishments you are proud of and build from there.
While your relationship with yourself is the most important thing (and what should be worked on the most) in your body acceptance journey, it is no doubt that other relationships in your life can have an affect on your body perception. After all, it is often negative comments from others that we internalize and play over and over again, that take the largest toll on our spirits. We are far more likely to love and appreciate our bodies if we believe they are accepted by others. You can't control the minds of others, and it is difficult to stop negativity about bodies amongst the general public. But, you can chose the people of importance in your life. Spend time with people who love you regardless of your size. Minimize contact with people who criticize your weight or appearance. If you're feeling particularly brave and there are specific people who critique your appearance regularly, try letting them know how it negatively affects you.
Eating should be fun and an enjoyable experience. You should savor a full range of foods without depriving yourself or forcing labels onto different groups ("good" foods and "bad" foods). I enjoy pizza and ice cream more than most other foods, but I'm done feeling guilty when I do indulge in them. Learn to keep negativity away from your food as much as possible (like, seriously, don't feel bad about eating that cookie). Practice healthy intuitive eating (post to come on this soon), meaning that you should eat foods that you like and that make you feel good (energized, nourished, strong, full). Learn to recognize your body’s hunger and fullness signs, and respond to them.
Health is the most important thing, always. Don't deprive yourself of food just to loose numbers on a scale. Diets don't work, lifestyles do. That number on the scale is just a number; in fact, let's just stay off that scale as much as possible. There are far better determiners of health — like what you are putting into your body, your activity levels, cholesterol levels, etc. Guess what? You can be healthy and fat! Just as the opposite is true, you can be thin, average, whatever size, and be unhealthy.
Being bombarded with media that critiques and attempts to police our appearance, it is easy and common to turn to comparison and negativity about our bodies and the bodies of other people. Try to avoid those sources of negativity and extreme photoshop and work hard to watch what you say about yourself and others. If you hear another woman criticize herself, refuse to join in. As women, we often try to console by one-upping like "Oh please, you don't look fat. I, on the other hand, feel like a whale and could barely pull these jeans over my ass this morning." Instead, stop the negativity by starting a conversation about influences that tell you you're not good enough because you don't look airbrushed, or offer her a sincere compliment. Above all else, focus on the nonphysical qualities that make people lovely and beautiful and unique. Sincerely compliment people on their achievements, personality, attitude, perseverance, spirit, talents... Below, I've included 6 things to stop doing to others.
1. Stop saying things like, “She would be so pretty if…”
2. Stop judging other people’s clothing choices.
3. Stop making up body parts to degrade, i.e. muffin top, cankles, saddle bags. And stop placing women in categories like pear shaped, apple shaped, etc. And please, please, please, let's stop the terms "baby making hips," "good breeding stock," etc. A person is a person, not a baby-making machine.
4. Stop avoiding the word fat. Sensitivity around the word only implies that it so horrible, so much so that you can't even talk about it. End body shaming by refusing to dance around the word and stop using replacements. Body size and having/being fat does not indicate the state of anyone's health!
5. Stop using phrases like "real women have curves," making it an "us versus them" thing. Real women come in all types, shapes, and sizes.
6. Stop assuming someones exercise routine or diet by body size. Don't casually suggest to thin people that they "must spend all day at the gym." Don't suggest exercise habits to fat people, like "maybe you should start by trying something simple, like walking more?" Stop telling women to be cautious of "bulking up" when they want to weight-train. The same is true of food, never tell someone to eat more or less.
The less you focus on your looks, the more time you have to focus on how your body is functioning and feeling. Switching to this perspective will allow you to appreciate all that your body does, and can do, so much more. As women, especially, we've been expected to accept this mysticism surrounding or bodies — particularly in regard to sexual/reproductive health and menstrual cycles. I urge you to learn as much about your body as you can. I certainly know that the more I know and appreciate all that my body can do, the more I treat it kindly — and consequently I feel far better about myself.
Going back to the first and second points of nurturing your relationship with yourself, do it often and in the same way you would nurture your relationship with other people. Do nice things for yourself and your body. For suggestions, check out the previous Learning Happy & Heathy topic, Practicing Self Care.
Good luck on your journey!
If you're a frequent reader, you know I have been escaping to the trails and hills that surround me, daily, for as long as we've lived here in this beautiful apartment. It is my favorite kind of alone time and may even be my favorite part of the day. Pippin and I can get lost out there for hours; I feel pretty lucky with the miles upon miles of trail that is accessible from my home.
I've been spending more time than usual in these hills lately, especially now that I have a new camera to play with. I figure this has got to be the best place available for me to learn, practice, and improve my photography. I'm feeling pretty spoiled, to say the least. Yesterday Pip and I found a nice shady spot along a creek. I sat along it's bank for as long as my allergies would allow, desperately trying to capture the beauty of the trees, leaves, blossoms, and green green grass all around me. And Pippin was happy, running freely, chasing squirrels and ducks. I've been soaking up as much of this creative energy as I possibly can, attempting to stash some of it away for later.
Simple escapes like this are what I live for; they are so important to my creative process. It is a simple, quick break from the scheduled and predetermined. Sure, I schedule time for myself for these walks, but I allow spontaneity to take me on a different path each time. As an over thinker, my little escapes have become vital. I encourage other creatives out there to seek out their own little escapes ( or as I like to call them, mini-adventures) frequently. Even a simple walk will provide you with so much movement, color, and inspiration. The key is to capture it and let it transform you.
I had a Learning Happy and Healthy post scheduled for today, but I'm just too damn happy and excited to talk about anything other than the fact that I got my new camera in the mail today! Let me get all cheesy for a moment, okay?
It's all I've been talking about for days, so by now I'm sure you all know that I won a giveaway on the blog Of Trees and Hues put on by Latrina and her amazing team of sponsors. The prize was a pretty Canon Rebel T3i but I must say, that one of the best parts of this giveaway has been all the new bloggers I was introduced to. They are an impressive bunch of bloggers, photographers, designers, artist, writers, refreshingly genuine people. If you've been looking for some inspiring blogs, check out Of Trees and Hues and her Sponsors; you can see the full list of bloggers involved with the giveaway here, and take a hop around their blogs. I can't be more grateful to that bunch. They even sent me an additional/extra lens!
I can't wait to play around with this thing, so naturally I'm off on a quick photo adventure this afternoon/evening.
Hope your week is lovely thus far!
I love when we come upon little mile markers like this, as it gives me an excuse to be overly sentimental and nostalgic. I've been reflecting a lot lately on our relationship and (I know it sounds cheesy (and I know how you feel about cheesy)) I honestly love you more everyday. I admire you, I respect you, and I love you. You're my best friend, my lover, my number one support, my adventure buddy.
It seems like just a few weeks ago that we met. But at the same time, it's seems like we've always been together. Time before you is blurry sometimes. That first summer will always be one of the fondest times in my life. And it's strange looking back at it now, because we were both going through such hardship. We grew quickly in love regardless. I've never doubted what our relationship is capable of. We've both been all-in since the beginning, without a moment of hesitation.
The last three years, despite all we've been through, have been the best years yet. Because when I'm with you, the good always outweighs the bad. It's hard to not create happiness with you around. I can't wait for many many many more years.
If you're curious, Will and I decided to postpone our Anniversary Trip until next weekend as the weather is suppose to be a million times better. And we're wanting to spend time with family this weekend. It is Mother's Day, after all, and we have two wonderful mama's worth celebrating. Plus, this means I'll have my camera for the trip! In the mean time, you can flashback to our trip last year!
Have a great weekend, lovelies.
Aaron, my younger brother, and his lovely lady Daisy recently celebrated their 1 year anniversary and asked me to take some pictures of them together to celebrate. I also took some pictures for them in the Fall, when they were celebrating 6 months together. You can see those here. I, obviously, happily oblige whenever they ask me to shoot for them; they're so freakin' photogenic, adorable together, and a joy to be around.
We've tried to get together for the past two weeks to do these but the weather was not on our side. Every day that the two of them had off and that also worked for me was always incredibly rainy/stormy. But thanks rain, for causing us to hold out for awhile, because you made everything so green and beautiful. Plus, all the grasses around here grew an extra foot (I swear!) recently, and it was the perfect backdrop and just the scenery Daisy was wanting. Win win! It was terribly bright out and windy (were talking over 20mph), but we made it work!
I also love shooting for these two because it gives me an excuse to play around with Daisy's camera for a few hours. Yes, please. Sadly, her battery died halfway through, though, and I ended up finishing our time together with my iPhone. Thanks phone, you're handy. The last 5 pictures I showed you here were taken on my iPhone.
BUT GUESS WHAT GUYS!? I have a feeling I'll being doing quite a few more shoots like this soon, and lots and lots of photo-adventuring, because a pretty Canon Rebel T3i is heading my way right now! I am incredibly lucky and grateful to have won the giveaway by Latrina from Of Trees and Hues. I about died from excitement when I found out; I never expected to win! I'm so incredibly happy that I'll have a DSLR of my own. I can't wait to share even more pictures with you and continue to improve my photography. I'll probably do an unboxing, because I'm cheesy like that. Then I'll probably hug the camera and cry like a baby. Then it will be attached to my body for months; get ready.
Anyway, holy tangent there. These two are adorable and I'm so happy they keep choosing me to capture little snippets of their love for each other.