Book Club

This week I hosted my very first book club. SUPER EXCITING!
After multiple different conversations with multiple different girlfriends, I decided to bite the bullet, put my inner-nerd out there & start a book club.
I love reading & so do many of the women I hang out with. I’m always reccommending books to others, discussing what I’ve read or am currently reading & trying to influence my non-reading friends to get addicted to the habit too.

I’ve got a passion for books, baby! And Cory calls me his little bookworm.

It was time to start a little book club.
I’m happy to report that all went well. Better than well, actually. It was super fun!
We had seven ladies take part in the evening & the cool thing was that few knew each other prior to Thursday. We had a couple of professional connections & one prior bible study connection, but all of the girls came out of pure love of reading. Which, in my opinion, made all the difference.
We read Emily Giffin’s “Heart of the Matter”, her fifth book published to date. Several of us had read at least some, if not all, of her other books & are a big fans of her writing, largely because it is so relatable. Her sixth book comes out on July 24th, 2012 (my second wedding anniversary!). Heads up to potential book clubers – we’re considering reading this for our August book club – it’s called “Where We Belong.” Check out her website: http://www.emilygiffin.com/

We munched on enchiladas (here’s the recipe I got off of Pinterest: http://pearls-handcuffs-happyhour.blogspot.com/2010/05/cream-cheese-greatness.html), lots of delicious dips & sipped some sweet sangria (made w/tequila – another Pinterest gem: http://thefauxmartha.com/2010/06/05/sangria/) while getting to know one another.
And then we got down to book business. We had about an hour long conversation, losely based off of some questions I picked up from the author’s reading guide (you can find that on her website, or here: http://www.emilygiffin.com/books/heartofthematter_guide.php), but as all worthy groups go – those questions lead us into all kinds of discussion.  
Overall, everyone had rave reviews on the book & I think enjoyed the evening.
L-R: Raquel, Amanda, Bonnie, Kate, myself, Jennifer & Kristine
Awesome ladies, awesome evening, awesome book club!
 Check out our Facebook event for our next meeting date & book. We’ve already had more than a handful of girls ask to be added-on to the Facebook event group (you should be able to add yourself or a friend on w/out admin approval, by the way) so please feel free to join if you’re interested!
If you love books like we do, we would love to have you!
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Spring Bucket List Update 2: Carpe Diem

As we are halfway through with this fine season, I thought I would update you all on how my SBL is going. I’ve made some major progress, but still need to get some stuff crossed off my list.
– Make Glitter Easter Eggs
– Grill Out Often
– Ride Bikes
– Celebrate my Birthday
Here with our good friends, Chelsey & Ryan
Me w/my gorgeous & wise friend, Lindsay
– Have a Picnic
– Travel to California

– Walk Dogs Often
They are loving their 3x a week habit!
– Complete Warrior Dash
Tough, but worth it & so much fun! I’m ready to do another one!
Pre-Dash

Post-Dash 
– Shop at the Farmer’s Market
– Play Tennis
– Travel to Vegas (One Month from Today!!)
– Go to the Drive-In
– Put Our House on the Market

Yes!!! After months of work to get it ready, it felt great to put that For Sale sign up!

– Read Often (Outside)
– Attend WSU Baseball Game

I’m sort of cheating on this one. My company sponsored a WSU baseball game last month, so technically we attended the game, but most of it was watched from behind the bar of our suite (playing bartendar for the day). So we still need to try & make another one. Anyone want to accompany us??

– Spring Clean

Another cheat. This one is only about a 25% cheat though. We super spring cleaned the majority of our house. It’s organized, spotless & I’m loving it. It truly frees up your mind space to live in a clean & ORGANIZED (most important, in my opinion) home. So…the cheat comes because we lost steam & haven’t totally organized the master bath, kitchen or garage. Those three rooms are still on our To Do List.

– Make Up Jar Project

I’ve got some pretty fun things still ahead of me this spring & I hope you do too! Be inspired – take an item or two off of my list or create your own, whether it be on paper, a blog or just in your head.

Twenty Six

Life has been more than a little busy lately. I’ve been too busy living & not busy enough blogging. So what have I been up to?
Well, last month I celebrated my 26th birthday. As I was reminiscing over the last year of my life, I began to realize at what a different place I’m at, coming into 26 than I was coming into 25.
 For some reason, I thought at 25 I thought that I should have it all together. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I had reached that monumental “quarter of a century” age & felt the pressure to have life figured out. Needless to say, I was at a loss. And that loss prompted me to to do some digging. A lot of digging actually.

(Celebrating my birthday w/friends.)

A sweet friend of mine from college (and now Junior League) had told me about her therapist. He was blunt, in your face & to the point. He had helped her work through a tough situation that she was going through at the time. So I decided to give him a try.
And he freaked me out. He pissed me off. He made me cry (and admit that I don’t like to cry in public -weird?). And he helped me get past family hurdles that I had never dug up & examined in my entire life. Lots of old, old stuff was turned up in our sessions & some new stuff too.
For the first time in my 25 years, I was able to forgive & accept certain people who hurt me in the past. I was even able to accept myself.
Instead of having everything perfectly together the moment I turned 25, I began tearing everything down. And that’s truly the best birthday present I could have given myself.
I am so thankful for every challenge I’ve faced & overcome, which have lead me to where I am at 26:
1. I’m more comfortable in my own skin.
Listen, I’ve never been a large lady. But I slimed down for my wedding & would have liked to stay that way, when instead, I went back to old, bad habits, including emotional eating & therefore, packed on the lbs.
I’m slowly, but surely getting them off and through this experience I’ve learned to appreciate my body. Have I looked better in a bikini than I will this summer? Sure. But I feel happy and thankful to have the beautiful body that I do, even if I’m not at my best.

(Feeling happy & confident in a body hugging pencil skirt w/my husband at the Boys & Girls Club Gala in March. Good news – you don’t have to have a perfectly flat six-pack to rock a pencil skirt!)

And having a healthy attitude about my not-so-perfect body (which it will never be), makes me MORE motivated to treat it right with exercise & healthy foods. Okay, and some not-so-healthy, but delicious indulges.

(Pre-5k run w/friends at the beginning of this month.)

(And three days later I completed the Warrior Dash w/friends.)

(And then went out to celebrate w/tapas & sangria!)

I will also say that it matters SO MUCH, who you surround yourself with. It brings you down when you spend a lot of time with ladies who obsess over every calorie & regularly body hate on themselves. Instead, if you hang out with women who are more realistic & appreciate who they are & what they’ve got going on – it begins to rub off on you & make you so much less body-obsessed.

2. I’m more comfortable with my decisions.

I know that everyone may not understand why I do what I do or say what I say or feel what I feel. I don’t need them to. And it’s truly as simple as thing.

Pretty easy thing, right? Not for many woman, especially those of us who are people pleasers (and I know very few non-people pleasers, honestly – almost all of us have it in us).

It’s taken 25+ years to get to a place where I don’t LET myself worry about what others think of me. I don’t think about “them” and what “they” are thinking when I make my decisions. And “they” can be anyone: co-workers, friends, strangers, acquatainces, family. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what people think of you, but it is so freeing NOT TO CARE!

I try to make every decision based on what is true to myself. And of course there are times when I make the wrong decision, but then I only have myself to blame & can learn from my mistake. I no longer have to get frustrated because I let someone else lead me down that path – I make my own paths now.

3. I’m more comfortable in my relationships.

I have this need to control things, including relationships. It’s like, when my relationships were going my way, I received the validation that I needed. At 26, I have done enough work on myself that I no longer need or seek validation from relationships, aside from the ones I have with God & myself.

And that has made all of the difference for me. I’m able to accept that people come & go from your life & that you don’t have to label them, because life doesn’t operate in black & white.

(At the Winefest Walkabout w/some long-term friends who have never left my side. I’m lucky to have these ladies in my life!)

At 26 I feel like I’m growing into the person I’m meant to become. And I don’t know about you, but so far life has only gotten better w/age & I’m that it will continue along that road. : )