Around Here


Happy summer, the best time of the year! I've been traveling like a madwoman this month - since our brother-sister trip to Seattle, I've gone home to Chicago to spend Father's Day weekend with my parents, to Little Rock for a business trip, and I'm heading to Malibu tonight to host a bachelorette party for Becca! Needless to say, there has been lots of coffee & books involved (my favorites being a piping hot flat white & Still Alice, respectively). While I am ready to enjoy some quiet weekends in July, I truly wouldn't want my life to look any other way - I am so blessed by my travels and adventures.

I'll definitely be posting some fun recaps when the dust settles, so in the meantime, I'll be posting photos on Instagram! I'd love for you to tag along.

Fringe Hours

77a739df6567692f00457bfa75adea4fI recently read The Fringe Hours by Jennifer Turner and there were so many good takeaways from the book that I've already applied many of them to my everyday life. I admit that I didn't always relate to the author's tone, and some of the content didn't resonate with me (the book seemed mostly geared towards women with young families), but there were some irreplaceable insights in the book that caused me to sit and ponder how I can best use my time. The concept of the book is focused on identifying our fringe hours, the little bits of time that are found in between meetings, while checking out at the grocery store, or while waiting for appointments that collectively add up to create large chunks of time that we can use to pursue our passions, restore our souls, or even knock items off of our to-do lists. In a review about the book, author Laura Vanderkam sums up the concept best:

"Have you ever claimed to be busy but lost an hour to Pinterest? In this gentle yet no-nonsense book, Jessica nudges us to question how we spend our time and to find ways to bring joy into the little and large space of our lives."

This quote highlights exactly what I loved about the book. The premise initially seems so straightforward, causing me to wonder why I even need to read it - the subject matter appears to be obvious: spend time doing things that are productive and beneficial and you will be a happier, more well-rounded and complete person. But once I started analyzing how you use my fringe hours, I realized that so much of my time that could be life-giving ends up wasted. The book turned m attention to ways that I can be more intentional with the pockets of time that I've been gifted with, using them to pursue my dreams or brighten up my days.

While reading The Fringe Hours, I realized that I spend a lot of time waiting, whether in airports or office buildings or restaurants or parking lots. To pass the time, I inevitably end up scrolling through social media feeds, which can be enjoyable sometimes, but usually just numbs my brain. Encouraged by Turner's insights and advice, I decided to ensure that I have a book with me at all times (especially now that I'm loaded down with great titles thanks to my library card). I've found that in just the two weeks since I've started tucking books into my bag and stowing them in my car, I've actually come to enjoy waiting for airplanes or meetings or appointments; the waiting gives me the chance to dive back into the delicious story I'm reading. The same idea goes with keeping workout clothes and running shoes stashed in my office or my car, making it possible to go for a lunchtime run or pop into an unexpected exercise class after work. Jennifer Turner keeps notecards in her car so she can write letters to people she loves. Those who love drawing can keep sketchpads in their desks; those who love magazines can keep them in their bags and pull them out at a moment's notice. People who like to take pictures can keep a small camera handy, and people who like to cook can download apps that allow them to categorize recipes on the go. It can take a bit of effort as you plan to have the necessary supplies ready in advance, but the payoff is so, so life-giving. By not wasting precious time and instead using my fringe hours to indulge in my passions and hobbies, I have felt energized and renewed.

One other takeaway I gleaned from the book was related to the way I use my time in the car. I have found myself getting extremely irritable during my daily commute, which can range from 30 - 60 minutes. I tried listening to talk radio but usually ended up on top 40 stations, and I felt frazzled every time I got out of the car, irritated by the fact that I hadn't used my time to sharpen my mind while driving (I totally wish I could take a train to work so I could read during my commute). Inspired by this post, I subscribed to several podcasts , and mirroring the example above, I find that I no longer dread heading to my car; I actually look forward to it! My favorites are Bon Appétit FoodcastHappier with Gretchen Rubin, and This American Life. Today I even sat in my car for a few extra minutes so I could finish up Bon Appétit's latest show, which featured fabulous interviews with Ina Garten and Gordon Ramsay. The best part about this new practice is that I feel like I'm feeding my mind and my soul during my commute instead of frittering away the precious minutes I'm gifted with each day.

There are so many more ways that I'm looking forward to applying the principles of The Fringe Hours into my daily life in terms of pursuing my dreams and hobbies and interests and relationships, and I can't wait to provide more feedback here. Have you heard of fringe hours? How could you better construct your day to maximize the gift that is the little pockets of time that can be utilized for your benefit?

P.S. I'm trying out a new blog template - let me know what you think of it!

Image (& decor inspo!) via Ghost Parties

Monday Inspiration

diy_marble_vase_still_61I'm rereading one of my favorite books, Bread & Wine, for the millionth time, and something I love about rereading a great book over and over again is that I can read the same pages and paragraphs and quotes and yet each time I read them, if they're from a really rich, layered book with lots of depth, I come away with something new, a page or paragraph or quote that strikes me differently this go around. The quote below really jumped off the page at me today, so much so that I had to share it with you as a little inspiration for your Monday:

"I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of roundedness, of enough, even while I'm longing for something more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I'm practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that he sees what I can't, that he's weaving a future I can't even imagine from where I sit this morning. Extraordinary, indeed. More than enough." - Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine

Image via My Dubio

Week & End

10:17:14 - Houndstooth Coffee Happy Friday, friends! Today has been a good day, one that started out with an early morning yoga class and an impromptu pit-stop at Houndstooth Coffee (pictured above - I think a calligraphy-ed version of their tagline about coffee & people would look great as a framed print), continuing on with lots of items checked off of my to-do list and burrito bowls with one of our sweet volunteers in our office. The weather is perfect and I'm listening to the Bittersweet audiobook for the thousandth time and I'm so thrilled that it's the weekend. There is hardly anything on the agenda, except lots of rest, pedicures with girlfriends, reading good books, taking Callie on lots of walks, and whipping up several batches of tortilla soup.

Enjoy your weekend as well as some fun posts from around the interwebs!

Our wedding is going to be featured on Style Me Pretty on Wednesday! I am so, so, so excited! I'll be sure to share the link here when the post goes live.

Speaking of weddings, my sweet friend Blair got engaged a few weeks ago and her proposal was captured by a local news photographer, who then sought out Blair's fiancé so the whole world could read their story. It is so, so sweet, and the pictures are fantastic!

After I finish the tortilla soup I plan to make this weekend, I want to try this crock pot pumpkin chili recipe that Becca passed along. Doesn't it look so seasonally delicious?

My most recent post went live on Darling Magazine's blog last week and it's about three books that can help propel you to greatness. Check out this list and let me know what you think - do you have any titles to add?

I though this was a fun article: "The Perfect Wine for Runners' Favorite Foods." I want to try a Sangiovese with my next steak and some Sancerre the next time we go out for sushi!

School Year Resolutions

Hustle + Florals Happy Wednesday, friends! I always feel like I'm in my best rhythm on Wednesdays - does anyone else feel the same way? I seem to have an extra boost of energy that helps me be super productive, allowing me to accomplish lots of tasks on my to-do list.

I wrote about this before, but I really find the month of September to be so invigorating. Don't get me wrong - summer is still my favorite season, but there's something about the sentimentality of a fresh new school year that makes me want to set brand new goals for myself. So I started thinking, in lieu of (or in addition to) making New Year's Resolutions, why don't we start coming up with School Year Resolutions each fall? We can create new goals for ourselves, using the timeline of a school year to chart our progress. In addition to providing you with some ways that you can make some resolutions of your own on Darling Magazine's blog, I also thought I'd share my personal School Year Resolutions with you here. This is what I'd like to do:

  • Research and register for inspiring conferences, classes, and seminars that I could participate in for work. I would love the opportunity to get out and about a bit more, pushing myself to meet new people, explore new avenues of relationship-building and fundraising, and learn lots of new and creative ways to do my job.
  • Read two new books every month - one novel and one creative/inspiring/motivational book. On that same train of thought, I need to get a library card...
  • Cook two new recipes per month and categorize them in Evernote. This is an extension of a goal I set for myself in the New Year, and while I have been testing out lots of new recipes (and sharing many of them with you here), I haven't done the best job of recording and organizing them in Evernote. Extra challenge: memorize some of my favorite recipes.
  • Complete one house-related project per month. This can be as simple as cleaning out a closet that's bursting at the seams or choosing a new bedside lamp for the guest room, or it can be more time-consuming, something like repainting our master bedroom nightstands or reupholstering our couch.
  • Pursue more writing opportunities.  I am so grateful that I get to write consistently for the powerhouse that is Darling Magazine and also occasionally for the beautiful Bungalow Magazine. In addition to working on pieces for these publications, I'd like to more intentionally pursue other freelance projects and also work on some essays, query letters, and writing exercises in my free time. I love to write - it's such a life-giving creative outlet for me - but I'd like to fine-tune some of my skills and also identify my weaknesses so that I can work to improve them.

So there you have it! What do you think - will you make a list of School Year Resolutions?

Image via designlovefest