Feel Good Friday 85
Hi, friend. I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July weekend and spent time with friends, family and friends who feel like family. It’s funny how as we grow older, we learn that family is a word that means so much more than blood, but we’ll talk about that more surrounding one of the books I’m highlighting today. We had a wonderful rather low-key weekend spent with people we love, which I really needed after last week’s insanity. This past week felt pretty quietly normal compared to how life’s been lately, and it was nice to take the chance to read, cook, watch a movie with the family and move my body. I’ve got lots of fun things to share with you today from books to recipes and then some!
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A, well, beach read (that can be read at home)
Last month I read Emily Henry’s second novel, People We Meet on Vacation, and enjoyed it. While passing my free little library recently, I came across her highly-acclaimed debut novel, Beach Read. I tore through it in just a couple of days! Was it predictable? Yes. But was it sweet, funny and everything a hopeless romantic loves? Also yes. If you’re looking for a light happily-ever-after that will make you laugh and cry, this is it.
Light But Thoughtful Read
Our book club chose The Midnight Library for June. To be honest, I fell behind with being sick and overwhelmed at home so I took a little break from the club and didn’t finish this one until after the other girls discussed it. This book follows Nora, a quiet and lonely woman who decides to give up on life. However, rather than dying, she’s transported to The Midnight Library, a place where she can go back to any place in her life and make a different decision that will change the course of things. This book started so slowly for me and, to be honest, I fund Nora rather annoying. It took me some time to get into, but once I did, I really enjoyed the second half. It’s a rather short and easy read, so definitely worth sticking through for the end. It’ll make you think about your own life and see things with fresh eyes.
Savory Summer Veggie Recipe & Serving Idea
Last Saturday at my favorite Farmers Market, I brought home organic fairytale eggplants. That night, I used this recipe for roasted fairytale eggplants with chili lime yogurt sauce. It was really simple and the sauce was awesome! To make it into a meal, we grilled shrimp and cooked rice (cauliflower rice for me), added feta, slice cucumber, tomatoes and peppers. The whole meal was easy to put together and quite healthy and delicious. (In the bottom of the photo, you can see the roasted eggplant.
A Fresh Summer Salad
On Sunday, we were invited to our neighbor’s house for the 4th of July. After getting the rundown of what was being cooked and what other people were bringing, I decided to bring a fresh and light summer salad, sort of a palette cleanser. I always love green salads for that purpose. This recipe for a garden salad with lime cilantro dressing fit the bill exactly. The dressing was a little tart and watery so I ended up adding a little honey to it which really helped. It ended up being a hit with everyone there! I had leftover dressing so ended up recreating it at dinner at home the next night.
Impromptu Date Night
Last week was one that really challenged us. Chris is probably going to be making an internal move in his company, which would be good for him in the long run. He was away last week when he called to tell me more and I asked what it would mean. He made the mistake of leading with, “Well, I will have to train but I told them I can’t leave until later in July . . .”
I cut him off and just said, “I can’t think about this right now. OK, bye.” And I hung up. It was not my best wife moment for sure, but I’ve been so overwhelmed and so run down (which I am sure has lended to me getting sick). The next day, I asked what the training would entail and I imaged he’d be gone for a week. Nope, the training would be out of town for 5 weeks, M-Th, and likely would be happening during the time when Wilder would not be in school. The thought of it crushed me.
Friday night, after arguing all week because I am SO exhausted and mad (let me make it clear that I am not mad at Chris, just mad at the timing and situation), we decided to take an impromptu date night. We walked around SouthEnd Brewing‘s First Friday market where a very talented electric cellist I’d been wanting to hear was playing and artisans were selling wares. The weather was perfect – not a typical July night – and we enjoyed sipping craft brews (peach for me).
After that, we headed to Lewis & Elm, a fabulous wine bar, for bites and more drinks.
The evening was a good reminder to me that as frustrated I am with current circumstances, I do enjoy spending time with my husband. I just get so frustrated when it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders when it comes to our home and kids, plus working (a job I love) and trying to keep up minimally with my own blog and social media. It’s exhausting and infuriating and I need somewhere to direct my anger. Unfortunately, I tend to make Chris my scapegoat and I shut down after exploding at him. I needed this night out to remind me that he’s not the bad guy here. No one is, really.
The Perfect Meditation
After sharing my stress with friends, a couple of quite wonderful things happened. First of all, one of them sent me this meditation. When I saw the name, I thought it was a joke, but I listened all the way through. It’s very short (less than three minutes) and honestly soothed my soul, while making me giggle simultaneously. Give it a listen, but make sure there are no little ears around. Just feel the effing nonsense float away. Breathe in strength, breathe out BS.
Flowers from Friends
The second amazing thing that happened after talking to my friends is that one of them surprised me with gorgeous flowers she dropped off on my porch. I feel really lucky to have a group of friends here who listen, care and have each other’s backs. We are not meant to be islands, especially when we are hurting. I have always struggled to ask for help or to admit when things aren’t going well in the present. It’s much easier for me to get through something and then talk about it. Having supportive friends who love me through the hard times is incredibly liberating. Remember, your friends want the best for you. These girls are all coming over Sunday and I can’t wait to hug them.
Our basement sectional is over 10 years old (which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s been abused by kids and teens), and it’s got a terrible slope to it. Sitting on it is like sitting on a fabric-covered wooden crate, if you can imagine how comfortable that isn’t. We’ve been looking at sectionals for the past couple of months, trying to find something that provided a little more seating but also would fit into our narrow and awkward space. West Elm has the Harris sectional and it came in dimensions that seemed perfect for our space. We went to our local store this weekend to see it in person and touch the fabric choices. On the spot, we just decided to bite the bullet and place the order. Of course, it won’t be here until October, but I’m sure these months will fly by fast.
The other day, Emmy came out of her room with her shoelaces decorated with beaded flowers. I thought they looked cute so I shared them in my instagram stories, and people wanted to know how she did it. I asked her to send me the link, but she replied with, “I didn’t use a tutorial. It’s just one of those things I figured out on my own at 3 a.m.” Well, there are worse things she could be doing at that hour, so I let it slide. She took one apart and allowed me to make a video. Would you guys want to learn how?
Working Out with Teens
We talked Sawyer, our almost 16 year old, into working out this summer and he started on his own, using the space I recently created. I asked what he was doing and he told me. Basically, he was exercising for 5 minutes doing some squats and bicep curls. In a former life, I was a personal trainer, so I decided to help him out. This week, we’ve worked out together three times for about 30-40 minutes, doing much harder work than he’s done. He complains and he’s sore, but to be honest, he smiles the whole time we’re doing it. I told him I thought he secretly enjoyed it, and he said, “I do. I just enjoy spending time with you.”
For the Horror Movie Buffs
Do you like scary movies, Sydney? Where are my horror movie lovers? I’ve been a fan of this genre as long as I can remember. My teens are finally very much into them as well, so when Netflix came out with their Fear Street Trilogy (Part 2 drops today!), we couldn’t wait to watch. Monday night, after getting Wilder to bed because he’s not into them . . . yet . . . we gathered around our TV for a creep session. I won’t give anything away, but Part 1 ends on a cliffhanger, so I know where our family will be tonight! Check out the trailer:
Must Listen Book
Ok, if you read FGF last week, I shared this book but I was only a third of the way through. I finished it this weekend and was so sad when it came to a close! Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile is a beautiful and honest memoir, filled with gorgeous songs throughout. What I find most inspiring about her life is her ability to connect with people and form her own little family as well as her ability to stay so humble and grounded. In the acknowledgements, Carlile encourages others to “write your life. . . It’s nice to be known. Even if it’s just by you.” I loved that sentiment. Writing, for me, is very much a thing I do for myself. To share my words and have them resonate with others and make others feel seen and understood is the ultimate joy but the goal is just to get my story out of myself. If you’re looking for something to listen to, try this book! (By the way, the last couple of hours are repeats of the songs she’s sung throughout, so it’s not as long as it looks.)
Life’s Little Moments
Last Friday morning, we met up with friends at LeBauer park so the kids could play for a bit and then have fun in the splashpad. it was our first time going, and Wilder love it! I love that our city has so many fun free things for families.
That afternoon, we headed off to his very first birthday party as a guest.
I am not sure if you can tell by the look on his face, but. he loved it! Earlier that day, I’d finally shown him the gift I bought – a truck filled with smaller construction trucks – and when Wilder saw it he was so thrilled and said, “Oh yay! Lukas is going to love it!” The party was so busy that there wasn’t time for gifts, but Wilder wouldn’t leave until his buddy opened it. When he did, Wilder clapped and said, “Yay! Yay! You win!!!” I was cracking up. I love his sweet and generous heart.
Our neighbor has blueberry bushes in her yard and invited Wilder and me over to pick some. We popped over Wednesday after school and Wilder had a blast. Of course, we’ve also got some greenberries. Hopefully they’ll ripen in the window.
I hope you stay happy and healthy this weekend and that life is keeping you busy in the best possible ways.