Monday Musings: To Live Is The Rarest Thing

I love a good memoir. There’s something so reassuring about reading people’s personal stories of realizing their lives are not what they want, making a huge change, struggling and coming out on the other side. It’s almost therapeutic. If they can completely change the course of their life when things get bad, why couldn’t I?

Shortly after reading Eat Pray Love, I went to Naples and raced over to the pizzeria where Julia Roberts ate that whole pizza by herself. I figured it was part of the experience, part of the journey to the fulfilling life I so desperately wanted (plus, I rarely turn down an excuse to eat pizza).

These memoirs of self-awareness and living a fulfilling life reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

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I truly believe life is too short to just go through the motions but more often than not, change is terrifying and so reading about people who go through the difficult times and come out the other side with better, happier lives is inspiring.

You know what people never talk about though? The middle part. The hard part. The part that’s always whipped past in stories of change.

Few people discuss the fear, uncertainty, anxiety of putting yourself out there in the world, the self-doubt and the absolute terrifying feeling that maybe the path you’re on won’t lead you to a happier life.

It’s so easy to get caught up in people’s successes, we don’t realize that all that middle part that no one talks about is experienced by almost everyone. You make that leap to change your life but adrenaline only keeps you going for so long. We expect a 2 minute montage of the bad times and then we’re there, taking the first exciting steps towards the rest of our happy lives.

In reality, change takes time. It could take a few months,  a year or maybe even a few years. Some people claim the first step is the hardest, admitting that your life is not making you happy and taking that step towards change. I, however, think there are two equally hard times: the first step and the middle, the waiting, trying new things when it’s so easy to give up, get depressed, become overwhelmed and fight everyday for your inner resilience. As difficult as it is taking the plunge to aim for a better life, it can be even harder to remain positive during the hard times and keep yourself from accepting that as your fate.

So this is my rallying call for those of you brave enough to reinvent your lives in a way that makes you happy. Remove your mentality from what the media tells you great life adventures should be like and persevere. Yes, it may be hard. Yes, it may take a while. Yes, you may feel like you want to give up but I believe that if you’re strong enough to take that first step, you’ll be able to keep taking steps through the good and bad, only to come out stronger and with that life you want, full of Julia Roberts’Napoli pizza.

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First photo from here.

Books and Babes

Over the weekend, I went to a fantastic author luncheon. Few things will convince me to put on real pants on a Saturday so when you see me wearing them, you know the event must be worth it! To me, a day spent with book lovers is a day well spent!

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The luncheon was at the beautiful ballroom of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. I have the fondest memories of reading Harry Potter as a kid, curled up in a big armchair at the Yacht Club. In my opinion, I can’t think of a dreamier place to become absorbed in the world of books. Wide, tall windows, glittering chandeliers, fountains and paintings. It’s utterly dreamy!

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We sat at table, basking in the early afternoon sunlight. Waiters ensuring your coffee never got too low, chatting away until the authors took the stage.

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We listened to Cynthia Tennent, Amor Towles and Adriana Trigiani. All write different types of books and had very different personalities. As a group, they left us laughing, thinking and spellbound.

Have you ever been to an author event before? More importantly have you read anything by the authors I saw? I’m so excited to get a read A Gentleman in Moscow!

Wolf Wednesday: Spring Morning Wander

It may be controversial to say this but I think I like spring more than summer. Maybe it’s a result of being an adult now and summer not meaning freedom. I have no idea why I was in such a hurry to grow up, kids have it made!

Anyway, in spring you have the promise of summer and the exciting anticipation that comes with it. The sun is almost always out, days are longer, mornings are crisp, you can curl up under the covers with the night breeze coming in from a cracked window.

My favorite part of the day is Lupin’s morning walk. Fueled up on almond butter toast and coffee, I snuggle into a sweatshirt and stroll around the neighborhood which is currently in full bloom.

We’ve had a tremendous amount of rain this year which has resulted in the biggest, brightest blooms I’ve ever seen and smells that turn my wolf into a bloodhound.

He’ loves our morning walks just as much as I do and sits next to me all during breakfast, just waiting until it’s time.

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Just look at this and tell me spring isn’t a magical time.

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I really can’t think of a better way to start the day than with an outdoor wander in the early morning sunlight, fresh faced and cozy before meetings, phone calls and hoards of emails becomes reality.

 

Life Update

Where has the time gone! My last post was over a month ago, I can’t even believe it.

I can now attest that “March Madness” is not a term exclusive to basketball. Combine that with school and other home responsibilities and that’s what’s been going on. So, within the time since my last post . . .

Flannels have been traded in for chambray shirts.

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The books I’ve been reading have been for school and have been awesome!

If you’re interested in history, you should absolute check out Penny Coleman’s book on Rosie the Riveter.

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It’s officially blossom time! I ran through a tunnel of bloomed trees the other day and I could not have had a bigger smile on my face.

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Our trees practically bloomed overnight thanks in large part to the massive amount of rain storms that have been rolling in.

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Fantastic for flowers, not so great when your Wolf needs a walk.

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I really can’t complain though. Just look at them!

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It’s also time to start eating outside. For me, there’s no better way to pass a summer evening than with a glass of wine in the sun.

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The Wolf is pretty happy about it all too.

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He loves to wake up and say good morning to his friends through the window.

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Baseball season is finally here. Baseball, Summer Shandy and pizza, it doesn’t get more summer than that!

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That’s about it! February to April is the most hectic and boring time of the year.

Not entirely winter, not yet spring. All anyone wants to do is curl up, wrapped in a blanket and hibernate until the blossoms appear.

May on the other hand is fantastic! It marks the start of early sunrises, late sunsets, summer breezes, long walks, cotton dresses, road trips, fresh fruit. It’s my favorite time of year and it’s right around the corner!

P.S. all photos are from my Instagram. If you haven’t checked it out, you should!

Spring Weekend in February

Now, I don’t want to jinx anything but it has been *whispers* sunny and warm in Michigan for the last week.

In February.

January through March is the worst time of the year but it’s been between 40-60 degrees lately and the sun has been making an appearance, at least for a portion, of most days lately.

If you don’t live in the midwest, you won’t know how it feels waking up day after day to a dull, gray sky, low temps and bitter winds. To say it’s utterly miserable and depressing is a vast understatement.

Not recently though! This weekend it was in the 60s and the sun was constantly out – which worked perfectly for me. I took a much needed personal day and spent as much time outside, wearing sunnies and being unburdened by a heavy coat as I could!

Three days of waking up without an alarm clock to this face with nothing to do but roll out of bed and make breakfast and slowly enjoy a big mug of coffee.

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Saturday, we played in the yard and the Wolf got a much needed bath.

Is there anything better than a soft, clean pup?

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Completely exhausted, Lu dried off in the sun while I worked on some work (taking more study breaks than I’ll admit to go cuddle).

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Now, you know how much I love my Sunday mornings. Cuddles first and then coffee in bed while reading a good book. I live for mornings like these.

Being able to crack the window and let in some fresh air and hear the birds chirping was just icing on the cake.

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When we finally rolled out of bed, we harnessed up for a walk in the sun along the lake. Shedding jackets as we went and stopping here and there to point out our dream houses.

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The face of pure happiness.

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Completely exhausted, we came home. Lu to nap and me to get ready for this week’s midterms.

Studying isn’t half as bad when you can do it next to a window with the sun streaming in across your face.

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As much as I love sweater weather, this weekend gave me a taste for the summer and it cannot come soon enough!

Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari

My favorite part of the day is the morning. I wake up early, make breakfast and settle in at the table, reading, eating and enjoying a big mug of coffee. Everything’s quiet, the house is still and whatever craziness is in store for the day hasn’t happened yet.

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The past few weeks have been crazy so last week, I picked up Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance thinking I could use a little humor to start my days. As I’m sure you can tell, I’m a huge Parks and Rec fan. I think Aziz is hysterical in the show and I couldn’t wait to read his book.

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I’ll admit, I didn’t read anything about the book before I bought it so you can imagine my surprise when I started reading it and quickly found out it was not a comedy book or hysterical memoir. It’s a sociological look at romance in the 21st century.

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Aziz teamed up with a sociologist from NYU and interviewed people from all over the world about their romantic lives and takes a look at statistical information from online dating sites and apps.

He talks about everything from the changes in dating from our grandparent’s generation where geographical proximity was key to today when dating apps open up the world to us to find our soulmates.

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He goes in depth about texting conversations, the history of online dating, what people look for in profiles and how picky we are and quick to judge others by the limited of information we initially share.

The most interesting chapter, I thought, was when he interviews people in other countries. The differences in dating in the U.S., Japan, Paris and Argentina are extreme.

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While it’s not the laugh until your belly hurts book I thought I was getting (don’t get me wrong, there are definitely funny parts – come on, it’s Aziz Ansari, you know there had to be) I still really enjoyed the book.

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I thought it was completely fascinating and well worth a read.

Tell me, have you read it? What did you think?

Life Update – The Little Things

I read a blog post this week that was short, sweet and simple: a life update. A post about what’s going on, what you’re thinking about, what you’re liking and so on.

I love that idea. I don’t know about you but I find myself going back frequently to old blog posts from a year ago. It’s funny how much life can change in a year and I love the reminder of where I was then (whether it was good or bad).

My posts tend to look at the big things going on (new recipes tried (yes, that is a big thing), travel, visiting friends, family, new places, wandering) but not so much the little things. So, it’s early February 2017 and here are the little things in my life.

My daily mantra (no, I’m not just saying that. It really is the saying that gets me through most days) and tea. Lots and lots of tea. Black tea during the day and detox or, my new favorite, Moroccan mint at night.

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School. A lot of reading. A lot of late nights. A lot of caffeine. Worth all of it.

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Winter indulgent snack: popcorn. Skinny Pop to be exact. Tell me, what’s better than a bowl of popcorn as you curl up on the couch with the wind howling and the snow falling outside?

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Currently reading Modern Romance (a post on this coming shortly), Fordlandia and Once in a Great City.

I recommend all of them. Fordlandia is about Henry Ford’s acquisition of land in the Amazon and what a huge failure the venture was.

Once in a Great City covers the very prime of Detroit right before it’s downfall. Motown, the Mustang, the Olympic Bid, organized crime, corruption, urban renewal. It’s an easy read and so fascinating!

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Also reading Prince Valiant every week. The best comic around, hands down.

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Loving late night puppy cuddles. I mean, come on. Look at that face. Who wouldn’t love that?

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Little things like good lipstick (MAC Candy Cane Lane and Are You Flirting With Me which I’m wearing in that first photo)

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My new iPad and marble case.

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Elephants. Nothing new here but any excuse to talk about them, I’ll take!

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Mahogany Coconut candle and shea butter hand cream. The stuff of every midwest winter dream.

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Looking forward to Galentines Day! The best holiday of the year!

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What’s inspiring me:

Videos from this year’s and last year’s Makers Conference.

Incredible discussions on Our Shared Shelf. A great place to have respectful conversations about books, feminism and society.

The Crown. I know there’s controversy about the show but I love it and Claire Foy is fabulous!

Sheryl Sandberg recognizing the importance of work life balance and the importance of family. Just when you think she can’t get any cooler, she proves you wrong.

Mari Copeny because what’s more inspiring than a young girl standing up for her rights.

I’ve found that when life gets to be overwhelming, it’s important to focus on the good, little things. A warm mug of coffee in the morning, a long walk, an absorbing book. So, these are mine currently. The little things that make life good right now.

I’d love to hear what yours are! What keeps you going on a bad day?