Good Reads

Helllooooo lovelies. Just popping in to share a couple amazing books that I read recently. The first one is Wild, which I finished a while ago. I bought this on my trip to San Francisco last fall, but it sat on my bookshelf for a couple months before I picked it up. I was hesitant because I thought it was going to be boring. Lesson learned: never underestimate the powerhouse that is Cheryl Strayed. It is the story of Cheryl’s solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada on the West Coast. But more than that, it’s about her journey to find love, acceptance, and peace following the death of her mother and the destruction of her family. What I loved most about it is that Cheryl is such a relatable superwoman, if that makes sense.

There is a part in the very beginning of the book where she packs the bag that she will take with her on the trail. She stuffs it full of everything she thinks she’ll need along the way. When she goes to pick up, she can’t lift it off the ground. It is just too heavy. And she grumbles to herself. She doubts herself, her decision to do the hike in the first place. She wonders how she is going to carry this pack for miles when she can’t even pick it up. But eventually she gets down on the ground and somehow wrestles the pack onto her back, and heads out to start the hike. Because what other choice does she really have?

I love that scene so much. I love her adventure, even if at times I found myself saying, “Cheryl, NOOOOOOO!” You can’t help but admire her broken-hearted carelessness and humility through the lens of her beautiful writing.

The other book I recently finished is If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher. I tell anyone who will listen about her blog, which I’m obsessed with, which is why I ran out to buy this the day it came out (and got to meet her at the author signing *fangirl moment*). This memoir covers everything from friendship to first love to faith to discovering God to depression. When she moves to New York City right out of college, Hannah believes she’s going to change the world. Because life is life, things don’t go as planned and she becomes wrapped up in her loneliness. One day, a woman on the subway catches her eye and something moves inside her–she begins to write that woman a love letter. And nothing from that moment on is the same for her. Hannah now runs More Love Letters, a movement that allows anyone to write love letters to strangers in need. I bookmarked so many lines in this book–the girl just has a way with words that inspires you to make a change in your life as soon as you put the book down.

And that’s it for now! Hoping to be back sooner than later this time around. xo

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tumblr_nj9knqInDF1rarw77o1_500I came across this article yesterday and I wanted to share it with you—not only because it’s so amazingly WONDERFUL, but one part of it really stood out to me. In answering a woman’s question about feeling bitter about men, Polly writes:

“If it helps to map out a life alone—what could make that look better, look ok?—then do it. For me, I needed to think that, if I didn’t find the right man, I’d definitely be pouring my time into crazy interesting things. I would learn to sew my own clothes and paint. I would adopt 15 dogs. I would write poetry on the walls of my dining room. Instead of being afraid of getting ‘weird’ and ‘lonely,’ I needed to believe that I would engage with the world, create things, reveal myself to others as a serious freak without shame, and just generally throw myself into the world with abandon.”

What an interesting change in perspective, right?

+ Another one of my favorite Ask Polly columns here.
+ And if you like her, you must read Tiny Beautiful Things.
+ One of my other favorite writers on being mapless.
+ Can’t get this song out of my head.

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Let’s Talk About Fitness

tumblr_nasydzyQ2B1rbn5qpo1_500So today we’re going to get a little personal on the blog (inspired by this little baby right here) . . .

About eight months ago, I went through a breakup. It was right around the time I moved back to New York and started a new job, so I jumped right into having fun with old friends, meeting new ones, and going on lotsa dates. Eventually everything caught up with me, and I began to realize that partying and dating weren’t going to fix any part of me. It was around that time that I made a promise to myself–I wanted to focus on taking care of myself, no matter how lonely or boring it would be compared to the summer.

Part of this promise was that I would start going to the gym regularly. I had been going on and off since August, but often times my social life took first priority and I cancelled classes to go out with friends or on dates or because I was hungover. So sometime in December, I started forcing myself to go.

And . . .

I feel like a new person. Like a hard-ass motherfucking Amazonian queen, to quote my favoritest and the real queen of all, Cheryl Strayed.

((Not to be dramatic or anything. <diva emoji>))

I’ve never been a gym person. I was athletic in high school, but sort of fell off the bandwagon once college hit. But something about this gym was different. I fell in love with the instructors and their music, the gym itself, and the classes. Every day at work I find myself looking forward to the minute I’ll be on the bike or about to begin a round of circuits. Weird, right? I know. Because once I’m there, it’s a totally different story. I start to climb the first hill or get through a round of lunges and the thoughts are like a stampede: icantdoitimnotgoingtomakeitisthisalmostovermakeitstop. And then just when I think I can’t take it anymore, the tide shifts. I change directions, muscles, speeds, and get ready to do it all over again. Because I can. And because I am strong. Stronger than I know. And I surprise myself with that every time. And maybe that is the reason I crave a class at the end of the day–to show myself that I am stronger than every one of my excuses. Maybe it’s the soreness in my muscles that lets me know I worked hard. Or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t feel as bad about that afternoon cookie. But mostly I think it’s because I don’t think of anything other than the challenge in front of me when I’m in that room for 50 minutes–everything falls away for a blissful, sweat-filled hour until I walk back out the door.

And it is healing me. One of my favorite instructors said something a while ago during class that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. During the middle of the hardest hill of class, she said, “Where does your mind go right now? Instead of I can’t do it, you should be thinking, I’m fucking killing it right now.” I think this is true for life, too. I’ve talked about self-love and seeing love before, and putting it into practice is the real thang, man. It’s making a choice to look at something differently and think about it differently and believe it with your whole heart. It’s realizing that your life is full of love, with or without a boyfriend. It’s realizing that time is an odd and precious thing, and the greatest gift of all is choosing how to spend it. And I’m so thankful for this crazy fitness thing for teaching me so many things that I never knew I needed.

So here’s to sweat, thoughts of summer, and girl power. Love you guys!


Currently Loving . . .

. . .

Just checking in to share a few things that I’m loving lately. : )

These 2015 calendars by 1canoe2 are absolutely beautiful. We teamed up with them at work to produce a few 2016 calendars (such an amazing experience working with them and see the calendars come to life!), so look for those coming in mid-2015. For now, I’m obsessed with this one and this one.

My mom and I stopped in my favorite coffee shop last weekend when she came to visit, and they were offering granola tastings from a little shop in Hoboken called Bounty. We were easily convinced to purchase the Dark Chocolate kind and it is delicious. Never been a granola girl, but now I am.

I always enjoy reading Cup of Jo, especially Caroline’s posts, so when they posted Caroline’s beauty uniform, I immediately bookmarked and wishlisted almost every product she mentioned (and bought the hot air brush!).

Nashville started up again recently and it made me fall in love with Lennon & Maisy all over again (that song at the wedding rehearsal!?!!?). Then I saw this on Facebook and it is now currently on repeat. Also loving Ecstasy by Calvin Harris and Love Yourz by J. Cole.

Still reading Wild and loving it, but I’m excited to read fiction/YA next. Considering Althea & Oliver, All the Bright Places, or Funny Girl (which everyone is talking about).

Good words, good vibes.

This makes me laugh EVERY SINGLE TIME.

And on the beauty front, my good friend Leanna had a few recommendations of her own . . .

  • This sexy scent, with notes of fruit and sandalwood and grapefruit wood. Heavenly.
  • These yummy chips for a healthier afternoon snack.
  • This multi-purpose kit for all the skin issues that winter brings.
  • And a new body wash to try next time you run out.

Have a great week, my loves!



Three Little Words

A wildly beautiful thing happened to me the other night. A while ago I became very interested in the art of self-care (read this, this, and this). Every night before bed, I started saying “I love you” to myself. It felt so weird at first. I didn’t say it out loud, but just thinking it in my head still felt uncomfortable. Like, why was I doing this? Did it even mean anything? Would it ever affect anything at all? Eventually it became somewhat of a habit, a tiny nighttime ritual. I also started saying “thank you” to my body after every workout.

On Wednesday night, I had just finished a particularly hard workout–I pushed myself extra hard and felt very grateful to be there. As we began the cool down, a little voice popped out of nowhere. “I’m so proud of you,” she said. It was so surprising, yet completely empowering. Do you guys think I’m crazy now? Haha! Just a little reminder to always be kind to yourself. xo


Good Reads & Tunes

Hey loves! I hope you’re welcoming 2015 the best way you know how.

So, to state the obvious: I fell into a major reading drought during the end of last year. I’ve gone without reading before, but nothing like that. I think it was the combination of reading at work and a shortened subway ride and the fact that nothing really caught my eye. The thing that always pulls me out of it is an amazing can’t-put-it-down book, and I’m so happy to say that I’ve gotten back into it. (For now, at least–fingers crossed.) The book that saved me this season is Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve never bookmarked so many pages before. Guys, it is so right on and she gives the most beautiful advice on every subject from financial issues to love to family to friendship. Even though I don’t usually enjoy reading advice columns (it’s a collection of her Dear Sugar columns from The Rumpus), the letters published in this book are thoughtful and human and raw, and I can’t help but see myself in every one of them. This is one I’ll read again and again, and I haven’t even finished it yet. Go buy it now, please!

Next on my list are two YA books that caught my eye: Althea & Oliver and All the Bright Places. Well-written YA is my fave and I can’t wait to dive into these.

And two songs that I can’t get out of my head . . .

Oh, and this recipe is delicious heaven. A little bit of everything for ya. :) Hopefully I’ll be back sooner than later this time around. Peace and love ya’ll.

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. . .

Dear blog,

Hello. I miss you. I wanted to write to you today about the small things. Like how I saw this pin the other day, and thought about how perfect and so damn true it is (thanks, Paige). And that the leaves are changing, and it’s not too cold or too hot, but just right. And how much I missed the fall and didn’t even realize it until now. And how the entire Gilmore Girls series is now on Netflix, and I’m currently addicted. And long, rambling, nonsensical gchat conversations with my friends. And the mountain of pillows and blankets that make me feel safe in my bed, with sparkly lights and candles. And the book I’m reading right now, the one that’s taking me weeks to get through even though it’s only 96 pages. And finding the good Chinese place in my little perfect town. And putting the best song ever on repeat, turning it up a touch too loud. And this blog that has the shortest but loveliest posts. And texting people hilarious pictures too embarrassing for an actual #TBT post. And sitting on the couch for three whole hours on Thursdays for Shonda time. And the fact that I already bought my tickets home for the holidays. And being 24 and fun. And Jack Falahee. And new boots. And these beautiful planners. And burritos, always.

Thank you, universe.