Adding to My Bookshelf

I received an email last week that still has me super stoked. I have been a big fan of Melissa Joulwan since stumbling upon her blog when I first heard of Paleo. Her mayo recipe rocked my universe and the Sunshine Sauce still ranks as one of the best things I ever took to a lunch with friends.

I own both her Well Fed and Well Fed 2 cookbooks and this email not only shared a recipe for Fried Chicken Meatballs, but also dropped the knowledge that the recipe is one of 128 in her new cookbook coming soon. Well Fed Weeknights features Paleo meals in 45-minutes or less. THAT is super exciting because everyone in this house loves to eat and hates to wait. And, frankly, I need more Paleo options at my fingertips and I am looking for something to reignite my kitchen interest.

I love that the email contained 70 pages of the new cookbook and 16 recipes. Who doesn’t love a sneak peek?! If you are more of a live action person, there is a sneak peek video as well. Can’t wait to have this in my hot little hands!

Is this GORGEOUS or what? You can request whatever color combination you want once you pick your planner's cover design. I will typically send the color numbers and the designers are most accommodating. You can see the heavy clear cover that protects the actual printed cover.

Meet My New Planner

PPDesignsDeliveryBoxI admit it. I am a planner addict. Since I was in elementary school, I have used some form of paper planner to try and keep track of everything I have happening at any given time.

I back-up my engagements on my Google calendar, but there is nothing like having a physical representation of my plans, my to-do lists, birthdays, tasks, etc. This is my second time using a particular brand of planner and I could not be more pleased with mine for 2017. It arrived this weekend and I would love to introduce you to my planner after the jump!

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Weekend in DC

In July, I attended a week-long conference in Baltimore. One of my dearest friends had recently moved to DC and I had not seen her in years. I realized how close I would be to her and decided if she could meet me in the District that I would make it happen. I booked a great hotel at a great price. We packed a ton of fun and great food into our weekend. Wanna see? It’s on the other side of the jump!

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Milestone Year

This year marks an important milestone year for my family. My oldest is a senior in high school and my youngest is in 8th grade. Each daughter finishes their respective level of schooling this year and then moves into their next major level of education. My youngest astutely pointed out [as I was gasping for breath trying to recover from this realization] that when my oldest is graduating from college, she will be graduating from high school so we can do this all over again in four years. She certainly does love seeing her mother in shock!

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This beautiful scene capped off an evening of paddle boarding. I am definitely a lake girl.

We Love Michigan

My youngest and I make no secret that we are big fans of Michigan football. After spending a long weekend in Holland, Michigan with some of my workout friends, my youngest is an even bigger fan of the state. I enjoyed the weekend too–it reminded me of traveling to Michigan as a kid. Back then it was fishing all the time…I mostly read books…but if we could have gone to the beach?! I’d have been in heaven! Want to see our photo album from our trip? Click through! [Hold your cursor over the pics to read the captions.]

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Our Baby Turns One

13920471_10101048634574920_5292909464915378302_oWhen we brought Lily the Lab home last fall, I thought it would be fun to create a photo album on Facebook and do weekly photos of her like the new moms on my friends list did monthly with their infants.

When my girls were small, we didn’t have all the Pinterest-inspired ideas to try. Most of their first year is documented in a scrapbook album. While I did a pretty decent job, I didn’t keep up with the task as much as I would have liked.

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Adventures in Bunnysitting

As the owner of a good-sized, fenced backyard, I have seen my fair share of neighborhood wildlife. Without fail, we usually serve as landlords to at least one wild bunny hutch each summer. Prior to losing our 12-year-old golden retriever a couple years ago, we had the occasion to have a baby bunny [uninjured, but slobbery] delivered to our backdoor. Annie had a very soft mouth and a motherly demeanor–even for bunnies. Another summer, our small dog, Gibson, was not as diplomatic or careful–Annie did not speak to him for days. After that unfortunate incident, I have kept an eye on Gibson. Lily, our black lab, just turned 1 in August and it was her first summer for bunnies.

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When “Type A” Becomes a Problem

For as long as I can remember, I have been a hard-driving, take no prisoners workaholic. My senior year of high school, I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” and although I have enjoyed some pretty terrific successes in life, I have never trusted them. My current position is fantastic and those who hired me consistently praise my work product, my work ethic and how the serious way I take my position shows in my performance. But, if someone says, “May I see you in my office a moment?” my mind immediately launches into a spinning reel of every recent action to determine why I am in trouble. Note: I have never actually been in trouble when called into a meeting and my boss has consistently said his goal is to help me downshift because my top speed is entirely too fast to be my daily rate.

I have done things like complete law school in two years with two small kids, worked full-time with small kids and a deployed spouse, or worked three jobs when my husband was off work on disability so my kids could eat and stay in their private school. I have faced immense loss that is so personal I do not even discuss it anymore. And NONE of those things have ever precipitated a decline in my general health.

It’s been almost four months since something happened that rocked my entire world. I’m not trying to vagueblog on purpose, but what precipitated the fallout isn’t the point of my post. Sufficed to say, it shattered pretty much any notion I had about life as I knew it and left me reeling.

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Eloise Had It Right

When I am staying at a hotel, it’s because I have traveled somewhere to do something. I have a speaking engagement, a conference, a wedding or sports event to attend, or something that likely prevents me from having a good night’s sleep while I am not in my own bed–no matter how comfortable the bed at my temporary spot is.

When I used to read the Eloise stories to my girls when they were small, I always thought “living in a hotel would be pretty sweet.” I have only slightly modified my thoughts on hotels, but now I think to myself, “If I could spend a weekend every month or two at a hotel, I would have a chance to do some work, take a nap, and RELAX.”

I have a chance to test my theory this weekend as my husband had to travel not too far from home for an all-day meeting. I tagged along because our anniversary is approaching and this is one way to be sure we have a chance to go out to a nice dinner. It also seemed a lucky coincidence that this meeting fell on a weekend that was 1) close to our anniversary; 2) after the two prom weekends of my oldest, and 3) on a weekend when no soccer was scheduled.

It’s a little after noon and so far, I’ve showered, had breakfast (and a great cup of coffee is still beside me), tidied up the room, started the process to have an email for this domain name created, began on a customer newsletter for my Scentsy clients, and found an Empire marathon on the television. I have not had a chance to catch much of Season 2, so I’m binging today and will be all set for the upcoming season finale.

I still have some reading to do [book club book & Scentsy leadership group chapter] and I want to work ahead on a few projects. But, I definitely think I’m on to something–this is way better than going into the office for a day or sitting in Starbucks!


June Book Club Choice

My Pure Barre studio’s Book Club has provided me a reason to put “reading” on my to-do list. It’s sad that reading for pleasure makes me feel guilty, but it does. It requires me to sit comfortably somewhere and do nothing else. So, I rarely do it. But, if it is an ASSIGNMENT with a DEADLINE, well, the obsessive-compulsive overachieving task master in me takes over and it becomes a MUST lest I be unprepared for the meeting.

┬áThis month’s reading to prepare for June’s meeting is Some Women by Emily Liebert. I don’t know anything about this book except that I like its cover. And given that I often select wines by their labels, I am guessing I could like this book. The old cliche about judging books by its cover aside, I am thinking this one might be a keeper.

Have you read this book? What did you think?