Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Club :: The Woman Who Wasn't There

I feel pretty grown up and pretty darn cool saying that I am in a book club. My high school girlfriends decided that we needed to find an excuse to get together on a regular basis {outside of weddings and baby showers} and figured a book club was the perfect way. Our very first meeting was a raging success filled with wine, pizza and actually talking about books {we weren't entirely confident we would ever actually discuss books at our book club and were prepared to be more of just a club}. For our first read we decided on The Woman Who Wasn't There by Robin Gaby Fisher and Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr. 
This book is about a 9/11 survivor with an incredible story about her experience in the South Tower and her husband who died in the North Tower. This women uses her incredible story to spearhead a 9/11 survivors network and works tireless to help heal survivors suffering from survivor guilt and get their group noticed and heard amongst all the support geared towards families who lost loved ones and the rescuers. But it turns out, much of this story doesn't match up. 

Synopsis via Amazon.com: "Tania Head’s astonishing account of her experience on September 11, 2001, was a tale of loss and recovery, of courage and sorrow, of horror and inspiration. It transformed her into one of the great victims and heroes of that tragic day. But there was something very wrong with Tania’s story—a terrible secret that would break the hearts and challenge the faith of all those she claimed to champion. 

Told with the unique insider perspective of Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr., a filmmaker shooting a documentary on the efforts of the Survivors’ Network, and previously one of Tania’s closest friends,The Woman Who Wasn’t There is the story of one of the most audacious and bewildering quests for acclaim in recent memory—one that poses fascinating questions about the essence of morality and the human need for connection at any cost."

Overall, I thought this was a good book. It's always interesting reading about 9/11 and this book was no exception. I did feel like the book was filled was a lot of unnecessary information that really didn't add anything to the story - it felt like the authors were just throwing in some historical information just to beef up the content. I was also a little disappointed in the ending. Going in I knew the gyst of how it would end, but overall I thought it was a bit anti-climatic. But, with that being said, it's a quick and interesting read that will definitely inspire some post-read google time to find out more about this woman who told a pretty incredible lie and maintained it for quite some time. 

Next up for book club, Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Anyone read either of these books?

Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm Back!

If you read my last post, you know I've been in a bit of a rut. Life is really great right now but I was feeling super unorganized and out of control. Some prayers, some focus and an amazing career change have me feeling back on track and hopeful that I can get myself in a routine that will help me not only feel more sane but will help me reach my goals.

I've mentioned a few times before that I have several different jobs, and technically I still do, but thanks to an awesome twist of fate I'm focusing my energies on one of my jobs that will give me structure and routine but will still allow me to be a mom and spend time with my baby girl. 

So what have I been up to you ask...?

Since leaving my full time job in March, I have been working part time at a coffee shop near my house. I absolutely love it and it brings me back to my Coffee Buzz days. Sure being a barista is a little different than owning your own shop but I love to make drinks and love to make connections with regular customers - and I'm pretty good at it (if I do say so myself). While it's been a fun job, it's not what I want to do the rest of my life. However, I was having a hard time giving it up completely so I am keeping one shift a week (my favorite Friday morning line out the door craziness shift) for fun and for the coffee discount. 

I am also doing the social media for my Aunt's women's golf clothing line Tzu Tzu Sport as well as helping her with trunk shows and other odd jobs. I am so proud of my Auntie and am amazed by the brand she has created and the success she has seen in such a short time. Tzu Tzu is destined for big things and I am excited and proud to be a part of it.

I also do the social media for a local juice company called Zula. I've written about my experience with one of their juice cleanses in the past and that post helped build a relationship with the owners that eventually led to a job! Zula is the ONLY 100% organic, raw, cold pressed juice company in Minnesota and I love how passionate they are about health and spreading information on healthy living. It's really fun to help this awesome husband & wife duo! 

Then, of course, you know about my at-home job of being a mama-wife-blogger. I love being a mom more than anything (and love being a wife too) and really love my blog. It kind of amazed me that it has become a small little spending money income for me. I love to write and love the connections I have made through this blog. This is something that is 100% me and I love that. I hate that I've been such a slacker on the blog front and am anxious to find my blogging mojo again and make this little piece of the internet a priority once again. 

Most recently, I have also become a Wellness Advocate for doTERRA Essential Oils. This passion and opportunity just kind of fell in my lap and I absolutely love that I can make some money while sharing this incredible product. I'm amazed by what essential oils can do and am excited to learn more and grow within the company. 

And FINALLY, I have been helping my dear friend Sara Jayne with her photography business over the past few months. It has been so much fun and I have really loved helping her with all sorts of random things from culling photos, writing blog posts and watching her baby boy during shoots. My prayers were majorly answered when Sara asked me to become a more permanent employee of Sara Jayne Photography. I will be helping with the same things but will now be focusing my attention on her business which I love so much. I am so excited to help Sara and am excited to see where these next few months take me and Sara Jayne Photography. I am so grateful for my friendship with Sara and feel so honored that she trusts me to help her. I just know we are going to do great things together and I am so excited for my first official day TODAY! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

breaking point

This is one of those sit at the keyboard and let it all out kind of posts, so I apologize if it does not flow or isn't grammatically correct. I assure you I haven't been drinking, just need a way and a place to clear my head. 

I've recently had one of those days moms joke about, ya know the ones where all you want to do is lock yourself in the bathroom with a pint of gelato and cry/ignore everyone and everything.

It was a perfect storm of chaos and frustration that has been building up for a while. 

For one, I have a two-year-old. Kenley is a great kid and I am so proud of how well-behaved and self-sufficient she is. However, she is two. She needs to be entertained, she knows what she wants, and she doesn't yet understand that she doesn't always get everything she wants right when she wants it. She is also very much testing the waters to see what she can and cannot get away with. I love her SO MUCH! And love spending time with her SO MUCH! But sometimes being the mama of a toddler is taxing and tiring!
Once upon a time some kids did as they were told and their Mommy didn't have to lose her shit and drink wine out the box before noon... ;p

Additionally, this two year old has a lot of stuff. And I have a lot of stuff. And Jason has a lot of stuff. Our townhouse is not all that big and it seems that our stuff just keeps multiplying and expanding and taking over. I find myself getting easily overwhelmed by the mess and the clutter. 

On top of that I am working multiple "mini-jobs" as I like to call them. I love what I am doing and love the mix of out-of-house-work and working-from-home but I don't have a schedule. Every week is different, in fact every day is different. Combine that with the fact that Jason is in sales and has a very varying schedule along with relying on my busy family for her care when Jason and I are both working away from home makes me go a little nutty. I feel like I am doing all of these things and not doing any of them well. 

I have also lost all motivation to eat healthy & work out. I have not only been fluctuating between the same dang 5 pounds since June which is uber discouraging but I am totally an emotional eater so I've been making poor choices to cope with my inability to get my shit together. On top of that I have broken BOTH of the FitBit bands that came with my FitBit and my stupid Tory Burch one doesn't clasp right so it always falls off and therefore I am too afraid to wear it. I'm not making time to work out because I am just not motivated to do it. Meal planning has pretty much been out the window and therefore scrounging and eating random crap has become the norm around here.

All my goals, plans, ideas, etc. seem to just be slipping because I am too overwhelmed by the big picture and just shut down as a result. 

As I read this back, I realize I sound like I am both complaining and making a ton of excuses, but that certainly is not my intent. I LOVE my life. This is me just finally hitting that breaking point and realizing that I need to do something to make this lifestyle work for me and my family so that I don't get so easily stressed and overwhelmed. Like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I am bad at baby steps, but figuring out how to implement some baby steps and every day habits to work towards an overall goal of not being a basket case just needs to happen.
Me to a T.

side note: I added the ecards after writing the post and found all of them in one of my Pinterest boards. If you have a "Funnies" board where you keep all the funny stuff you come across, go look at it after a rough day! It totally helps! 

I will leave you with this because it has absolutely NOTHING to do with this post or my life but made me laugh out loud for like 5 straight minutes. 

Chicken Strip
"Chicken Strip"

Monday, September 29, 2014

Celebrate the Good Times

The past couple of weeks have been tough as we said goodbye to my Grandpa Dale.
This was my first real experience with loss and while it has been hard and really sad, it has also made me feel grateful for the wonderful life that I have and the wonderful family and friends I have in it.

This September has really been a month filled with celebrations. I am definitely at the age where pretty much every-single-one of my friends is getting engaged, pregnant, married or giving birth and it seems like they are all doing it back-to-back-to-back! No matter how crazy life gets or how busy we are, celebrating exciting times in my life, my family's lives and my friend's lives is what makes me absolute happiest - so missing a celebration is rare for us. 

In these past few weeks we have celebrated....

...Weston's first birthday! My Beeb hosted an adorable Monster Birthday Bash which was the most perfect way to celebrate this big milestone for this special little boy.

....one of my high school bestie's bridal shower! I love any excuse to get together with my high school girlfriends and we had a lovely time showering Abby.

...Abby's Bachelorette Party! Our adorable little bride-to-be requested a prom themed bach party in which we all ran around downtown Minneapolis in our prom dresses....so that is what we did! It was without a doubt the most fun bach party I've been to {besides my own of course}. Plus, fitting in my prom dress from 2003 was a major victory!

...Megan's Baby Shower! Another one of my high school besties is due with a baby girl in November - so naturally we had to spoil her rotten!

...Baby Lauren! One of my closest, best and most special friends gave birth to her perfect baby girl the day after that bump picture from above was taken! Little Lauren is so beautiful and snuggling with her over the past three weeks has put my baby fever in to over drive!

...Kelly + Scott's Couples Shower! Kenley and I are SO excited to be a part of my college roomie's big day in November and had a great time celebrating this awesome couple!

...my besties engagement!!! My bestest friend got engaged the end of August and I am SO.DAMN.EXCITED! She is of course hiring my friend Sara Jayne as her photographer so naturally the three of us had to tour the venue, go to lunch, and talk about all things wedding! It was the BEST afternoon!

...a new house! This past weekend Jason helped his best friend, Colin, move in to a beautiful new home! Then, of course, we had to celebrate and break in the new digs! It was bittersweet saying goodbye to the home Colin & Sharisse had been in for 10 years that was filled with so many amazing memories and fun times, but we could not be more excited for them and can't wait to make more memories in their great new house!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Why doTerra

I mentioned a week or so ago {anyone else feel like September was one big blob? I swear I have no idea where time is going} that I have hopped on the essential oil bandwagon. I had heard of them of course, and read some posts {like this one and this one} from some of my favorite bloggers but I didn't really get it until my friend {and awesome health coach} Danielle gave me a couple samples. I was hooked instantly and now I can't get enough. 
If I'm being completely honest, doTerra is the only brand of oil I have tried because, well, that is what Danielle gave me. But, now that I have spent quite a bit of time researching essential oils and doTerra as a company, I know that there is no other brand that I would use. I'm not going to speak ill of other oil companies because frankly, I don't know enough to plead a case as to why one brand is better than the other. One thing I will say for sure is to be very wary of oils you purchase at health food or beauty stores! The FDA doesn't have regulations on the purity of oils so much of what you find on the shelves {and at a cheaper price point} is diluted and it's hard to say diluted by what because ingredient lists aren't required. The oils you find in stores may be nice for aromatherapy or to use in a bath {but who wants to breath and bath in fake junk?}, but for any kind of medicinal benefit you want to be sure you are buying PURE oil...and that is what doTerra works tirelessly to achieve. 

I was going to try and explain doTerra's quality control in my own words, but really, doTerra does a great job of explaining their standards, so I am taking the lazy road and sharing with you the information from their website. 

Essential Oil Quality Grades

There are a growing number of products claiming to be or to that contain essential oils. They range in price and quality and are found in skin care, cosmetics, aromatherapy, and other products. However, many of these products do not use pure essential oils and often use fragrant synthetic chemical substitutes to dilute or replace more expensive essential oil extracts. Furthermore, there are no current regulatory standards for the descriptive use of the "therapeutic grade" for products labeled as essential oils. 

The CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®* mark represents dōTERRA's own internal standards for sourcing and testing pure aromatic botanical extracts using independent testing laboratories. The dōTERRA brand and registered CPTG mark represent dōTERRA's guarantee of pure essential oil extracts that meet high standards for both purity and material composition and accurate product labeling.

dōTERRA's therapeutic-grade essential oils are pure natural aromatic compounds carefully extracted from plants. They do not contain fillers or artificial ingredients that would dilute their active qualities. Proper extraction and quality control methods also ensure that dōTERRA's essential oils are free of any contaminants such as pesticides or other chemical residues. In addition to being pure and natural, dōTERRA's Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils are subjected to further quality testing that ensures the correct composition of the active natural compounds found in each oil. Even though an essential oil may be pure, if the right species or part of a plant has not been used, or if the plant has not been grown in the right environment or harvested at the right time, or if it has not been distilled under the right conditions, the natural chemical makeup of the extraction will not provide as predictable and powerful a benefit. In some cases, the wrong plant harvested at the wrong time may result in an extract that contains harmful levels of some constituents.
dōTERRA's Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils are guaranteed to be pure and natural and free of synthetic compounds or contaminates. They are subjected to rigorous mass spectrometry and gas chromatography testing to ensure extract composition and activity. dōTERRA's pure essential oils represent the safest and most beneficial essential oils available today.

The amount of testing these oils go through really gives me piece of mind when using them on myself and my family and I particularly love that the oils are extracted from plants grown in their ingenious region...I'm sure I could grow an orange in Minnesota but I'd be willing to bet an orange grown in Florida is going to look better, smell better and taste better!

If you have any questions feel free to email me any time! Otherwise, hit the button to browse, shop & learn more!