things you’ll find on this blog

Hitting reset for the ump-teenth time.

Here’s what you’ll find on my little corner of the internet:

  • lists. Because they’re short, sweet, easy to read, and I’ve spent my whole life writing them. Why change what I know best.
  • things that work for me that might work for you. Blogs that tell you what to do are one of my biggest pet peeves (you know, all those “10 things you should try…” or “Stop doing this one thing” articles…blech). I want to share what works for me and you can decide for yourself whether to try it or not.
  • (very) amateur photography. I’m a work in progress, but I’m always learning.
  • budget friendly travel posts. Thanks to my frugal husband, we’ve become masters at affordable vacations.
  • words of wisdom. Because they really do help.
  • me trying new things…and probably failing a lot.
  • my many loves: beautiful spaces and my attempts to create them. banners and other crafts that i pore over. books that make me think. music that moves me. sporting events i get way too into. hikes and travel and clothes and everything.

And go.

podcasts to binge

Back in the days when I had a painful commute down 90 in Chicago and sat in agony in bumper to bumper traffic on a daily basis, podcasts may have saved my life. Here are some worth listening to from beginning to end:

1. Serial – Season 1
Like many others, this is how I entered the world of podcasts. I heard good things so I gave it a try and it was worth it. For those who still don’t know, it’s a murder investigation based on a case of young girl murdered more than 15 years ago.

2. Missing Richard Simmons
I just finished this one and Richard Simmons is so so so fascinating to me now. He’s on my list of people/places/things to Google incessantly until I have an unhealthy amount of knowledge on the subject. I’m a fan.

3. S-Town
So I gave in to this new podcast simply because they were very obviously marketing towards fans of Serial. I’ll admit I fell asleep through a portion of it — partly because I was trying to listen on a red eye flight and a little because I couldn’t seem to get totally into it. Overall though, it’s a beautifully told yet devastating story about a very interesting person.

4. Millenial – Season 1
This podcast was just so darn relatable when I first heard it that I couldn’t stop listening. It’s basically reading the mind of every 20-something out there trying to figure their life out.

Finding my green thumb

gardenI convinced myself that I didn’t have enough hobbies and decided I needed a garden. Ha. I know nothing about growing anything, and this couldn’t be more clear as I was standing in the garden section at Home Depot, basically having a panic attack. I almost yelled “ABORT!” until my much more level-headed husband calmly spoke to an employee and eased my nerves enough for us to go home with some cute flowers and a sensible window box.

Just in case I’m not the only one who decides to dive into gardening without a clue, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Window boxes don’t come with hooks. At least, most of them don’t. I wandered aimlessly through the store looking for one that would fit snugly on my railing with no luck. Instead, we opted for a box that’s currently just resting on our balcony railing. Good idea? I guess we’ll wait and see.
  2. You know those little containers that flowers come in? You don’t need a whole bunch of those to fill a window box. I grabbed a few, thinking I’d have a full blooming box, but apparently flowers need room to go — just one container with 6 marigolds was enough to fill it.
  3. According to Home Depot and my expert-gardener mother, marigolds are easy to grow and maintain. I’ll be the judge of that.
  4. Flowers have different schedules. I had planned to have a box of marigolds and dahlias, but when the marigolds die, the dahlias will live on, so growing them next to each other isn’t ideal.
  5. Basic flower window box starter kit: window box + window box liner + soil + plant food + flowers.
  6. You need to cut the container that the flowers come in and very carefully separate each one, making sure not to tear the roots. They are each then planted separately.
  7. Per the friendly Home Depot lady, we mixed the soil and plant food in a separate bag then filled the window box liner about 1/3 of the way. Then we added the flowers in a staggered pattern and filled the rest with soil mixture.
  8. You’re supposed to water the plants more frequently in the beginning. I’m starting with once a day and crossing my fingers.
  9. Even though I don’t have a full-grown garden yet, I’m making it work on my little balcony. I like the feeling of growing something and I love waking up to flowers outside my window. Knowing me, I’m sure I’ll have a jungle in no time.

I’ll be posting updates on my tiny garden. More to come!

Do more.

There’s something magical about the idea of “doing less.” It seems so unheard of and unattainable nowadays that it feels like a faraway a dream; one that I definitely have often. Lately, it’s been feeling like a dream that will never ever come true, so I’m starting to wonder: is that really what I want? It sounds wonderful, but I don’t think so. What I really want is to do more — of what I love.

There’s a lot of things I want to (and should) do less of, but in reality, the “don’t”s and the “won’t”s and the “shouldn’t”s don’t seem to be cutting it for me. So new approach: decide what I want to do more of and just do that. I figure if I focus on what I love, I won’t feel the need to do less. So here is what I’d like to do more of:

  1. Read – Books, magazines, articles, blogs, emails…anything really. I want to read a lot of things and all the time.
  2. Anything music related – Like basically everyone I know, I love music. At one point it was a huge part of my life, and I really miss that. I want to sing, dance, actually listen to music, and learn more songs on the ukulele.
  3. Be outdoors – Hiking has become a regular part of our weekend routine, but during the week (aka the majority of the time), I am lucky if I feel the sun. This needs to change.
  4. Socialize – It’s no secret that I’m an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like being around people. It’s been hard making friends in a new city, so I think it’s time to start making this a priority.
  5. Give – Volunteering, giving gifts, or just doing favors, I really just want to do some good more often.
  6. Arts and Crafts – One of my favorite things in the world, and I can’t seem to find time for it. Such a shame.
  7. Write – There is something so incredibly comforting about writing. Whether it’s a journal entry, blog post, or letter, it just makes me feel better. More of it will be good for me.
  8. Pray – For me, personally, this is something I can never do too much of.
  9. Slow down – Is doing more by doing less a thing? This is really just about the little things: sitting down for meals, asking my husband how his day was, enjoying the process of getting ready instead of rushing through it. I want to spend more time on things like that.
  10. Discover – Adventures and new hobbies and everything in between. There’s so much to do and see that it makes me want to do more — in a good way.

I’m putting a plan in place to “do more.” We’ll see how it goes.

Happy Earth Day


Yosemite National Park

I remember the day I fell in love with the Earth.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t that long ago. Even after years of childhood summers spent climbing trees, skipping rocks, and picking dandelions, I don’t think I fully appreciated nature until my early 20’s, when on a sibling trip to visit my sister in Seattle, we went hiking. The moment I stepped on that trail, I was changed forever.

I don’t remember exactly where we were, but I remember how I felt and that was everything. I was energized and alive. I felt every breath and every breath felt more real than it ever had before. And while my heart was racing, my mind was calm. That’s what struck me the most. Calmness is a rarity for my overthinking, over-anxious mind.

I’m always on the lookout for things that stop me in my tracks — things that calm my mind and soothe my soul. Nothing does this more for me than the beauty of this planet. I am happiest when I am outside, taking it all in. Please keep her beautiful forever.

Favorite Finds

Soo, I realize it’s Monday and the weekend is over, but I still wanted to share some things I found last week. We’ve had a crazy past few days apartment hunting and spending time with family. We’re back to Chicago today and ready for more moving madness.