Monthly Archives: January 2015

Reading Challenge Update #1

I did it! I read a book! In some kind of miraculous surge, I finished a book less than three weeks after starting it. I think reading it on the Kindle app of my giant iPhone 6 Plus was the key because I always had it with me.

InterruptedThe first book I chose for my 2015 Reading Challenge was “Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity,” by Austin’s own Jen Hatmaker. This checks off the “A book by a favorite author” category. It was a quick but convicting read, focusing on Hatmaker’s awakening to a deeper, grittier faith, one that compels us to truly care for, engage with, and serve our neighbors and communities. A great read for anyone interested in social justice and living missionally.

Next up I’m tackling “A book in a genre you don’t typically read.” Now, I have pretty wide-ranging interests and enjoy everything from historical fiction to mysteries to Malcolm Gladwellian non-fiction. So I decided to Google a list of book genres to find something that’s so atypical that it wouldn’t even occur to me. And there on Wikipedia I found it: graphic novel. Perfect! Never read one, never been particularly interested.

Tales of Woodsman PeteSo I turned to my favorite pop culture blogger, who I remembered loved graphic novels. And I discovered she had been laid off. Nooo! But all her graphic novel recommendations are still online, and I came across “Tales of Woodsman Pete,” by Lilli Carre. Here is the description:

“a collection of vignettes and stories about a solitary albeit gregarious woodsman with a loose grasp on his own personal history and that of the outside world. He forms relationships with his inanimate surroundings and muses to a dead audience, specifically his bear rug Phillippe.”

I’ll take it!



What I Love Right Now

These are the things currently making my life a little better. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

The Gilmore Guys Podcast

gilmore guysI want a ringtone that is these guys impersonating Miss Patti exclaiming, “Rory!” I never knew it was funny until they said it. Now it is amazing.

My friend Brittany recommended this ridiculous, hilarious podcast to me, and I’m so glad she did. Kevin, a die-hard Gilmore Girls fan, and Demi, who had never seen the show before, “recap” each episode of Gilmore Girls (which I re-watched in its entirety during my maternity leave). I use “recap” loosely because they go on tangents of tangents of tangents. But they are glorious tangents. Regular segments include the Fashion Report, freestyle rapping about people who leave iTunes reviews, and Pop Goes the Culture, a supercut of each GG episode’s pop culture references. Oh and making up fake podcasts about other shows: Friends Fellas, Parks and Rec Pals, About About a Boy. They love Emily. They call Chad Michael Murray “Chad Michael Mudface.” Good stuff. They do swear quite a bit, which is weird to listen to compared to how tame the Gilmore characters are. But generally I love it. As my friend Brittany said, “I didn’t think I’d want to listen to twenty-something guys talk about anything, much less Gilmore Girls,” but I’m happy to listen to these two talk about anything, especially Gilmore Girls. BONUS: They’re both UT grads. Hook ’em!

(Kevin is also the creator of this brilliant “Sorkinisms” supercut that highlights all of Aaron Sorkin’s lovely but recycled dialogue on his various TV shows.)

Frozen Basil Cubes from Trader Joe’s

This one doesn’t really need an explanation. It’s great. There.


Lush Cosmetics Shampoo Bar

Lush shampoo barMy brother- and sister-in-law gave me some Lush products for Christmas and I immediately became a fan. They use natural ingredients, no animal testing – all that good stuff. I decided to try their shampoo bar, and lemme tell you, it’s pretty awesome. I was skeptical, but you just rub it a few times through your hair and BAM: suds city. My hair generally gets greasy pretty quickly, but with this it stays clean for longer than usual. I have the Jumping Juniper one. Also, it’s only $10.95, so it’s easy on the budget.

Everlane T-Shirt

everlaneI’m on a mission to aim for quality over quantity in my fashion choices and to be more aware of how and where things are made. Everlane is an online startup clothing company dedicated to “radical transparency” on factories and pricing. I tried their basic white v-neck – it’s a steal at just $15 – and am very pleased with the quality. I also like that their website tells you how tall the models are and what size they’re wearing. That way I knew to order one size larger than I normally would, since the models don’t have any – what’s the word? – boobs or hips. (P.S. – If you order something through this link, I get a nifty store credit. Then you can get your own referral link to get your own credit. Yay for free stuff!)

Endless Reader App

This app has been a lifesaver for keeping Camden occupied when I’m nursing and when we had a lot of travel in the fall. You drag and drop letters to spell a word, and then drag and drop that word and a few others to make a sentence. Then there’s a cute little animated video that reflects the sentence. I was amazed at how quickly Cam picked it up, and now he actually recognizes some of his favorite words. Educational, entertaining, and not at all irritating. Win win win!

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Reading Challenge

All year my social media feeds are flooded with new challenges people are signing up for: abs, real food, writing, not shaving, remembering to take out the trash. What have you.

I can honestly say that I’ve literally never cared about any of them. You go girl with your 30 days of crunches. I’ll be over here binge-watching The Good Wife on Amazon Prime Video. (I see what all the hype is now about that show! I mean, Christine Baranski’s jewelry alone is worth the watch. Those chunky rings. But I think Julianna Margulies is too hard on her daughter about the faith stuff.)


The other day I finally saw one I could get behind:


I LOVE reading. It’s all I want to do on vacation or a plane. Or a train if I ever rode those. But with a toddler and infant and full-time job and two dogs and dishes and Facebook and Netflix, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find time or energy to read. I’m also a rather slow reader, so it takes me awhile to finish something even when I do find time. I have 121 books on my Goodreads to-read list. I have stacks of books in the house that I’ve been meaning to read for years.

So when I saw this challenge (from a website called Modern Mrs. Darcy, shared by The Art of Simple), I was intrigued. I liked the categories, and it sounded like something that would motivate me to CREATE time to read, to really make it a priority. But in a fun way, not a 30-days-of-crunches way.

First on my list is Interrupted, by Jen Hatmaker. I’m putting that in the “book by a favorite author” category because I adore her writing. And because the Kindle version was on sale the other day for $1.99.

And since one of the categories is “a book recommended by someone with great taste,” I’d love your book recommendations. Because I’ve managed to surround myself with people who have great taste.

I was also drawn to this challenge because, while I’m not making any resolutions this year, I do want to try and live more intentionally in 2015. Making decisions and spending time on things and people I really care about. Hopefully that will also include more posts here. But it definitely won’t include a month of crunches. Just to be clear.

P.S. – If you’re like me and feel like you don’t have the time, check out Austin Kleon’s 7 tips on how to read more.