I would not call myself a “traveler” nor would I classify it as a hobby. I do love to visit new places but I don’t want to “see the world.” I am blessed to live in a country that is expansive and filled with interesting cities, people, and history in their own right. Although all of this is within my reach, most of my travel within the United States has been strictly East Coast.

I have traveled to Europe. In 1999, at the age of 14,  I visited Paris and London. For my honeymoon in 2015, my husband and I took a tour of Ireland.  I’ve been to the Bahamas twice and Punta Cana. You could say that there are lots of places to check off on my list but one thing always struck me: there is a huge country just to the west of me and I want to see it!

One of the places on my list was California, but not the typical L.A., Hollywood, Beverly Hills visit. I wanted to see the Pacific Ocean and The Redwoods. After a few weeks, my husband booked and planned out our entire trip. We would fly into San Francisco, drive up the coast to Mendocino, down to Gualala and back home through San Fran Airport. 

 

As we drove up the winding coast, I would look at my phone – as one does out of habit – and noticed I had zero service. I should note that I do not have any social media apps on my phone except Twitter. That’s right: No Instagram, No Facebook, No Facebook messenger, no Snap Chat…nothing. So my checking my phone was not to check for push notifications but simply to see if I had any text messages or missed calls.

As usual, I had none.

And though I do not have apps on my phone, I will post photos or check Facebook through the web browser. So I would see a beautiful shot like the one above and think, “I need to share this!”

But I couldn’t. And I was OK with that.

My service was spotty at best throughout the 5 days and while I took photos on my phone, it was only because I wanted to capture the moment for myself. My husband had the “Big Boy” camera so I took way more shots on that than my phone.

This trip was last month and I feel ready to write about it and share it. The most remarkable experience was the Redwoods. I do not have photos of those to share now because, frankly, capturing them on a real camera is hard enough let alone of a itty-bitty phone camera. More importantly I didn’t want to. Being in those Redwoods made me feel powerful and powerless all at once. They are powerful, strong, natural structures that you have to see to believe and experience. To look up at a tree and not be able to see the top, knowing it has been there for hundreds and hundreds of years is quite humbling. I didn’t have a life-altering experience with these bad boys, but I realized that having zero service was the best unexpected gift the California coast gave me.

 

Far too often we spend most of our experiences with our phones in our hands and our eyes looking through a screen.  We never take the time to experience life through our eyes and take it as a moment that doesn’t need sharing immediately.  Our “followers” can and should wait. The best moments like the ones “captured” in California would not make the best Instagram shots that would gain me thousands of followers and sponsorships.

 

 

Like in the photo below when I visited Jessica Fletcher’s house. Happening upon this house was a complete accident. It was not until after the trip was booked that I learned the 80s-90s show Murder, She Wrote was filmed right where we were staying in Mendocino.

I couldn’t send this to anyone.  I couldn’t post it online. I couldn’t text it, email it, or Tweet it. It was MY moment. And while I am sharing it with you now, the “no service” has taught to give me pause. 

Pause before you think to jump on that app and share a photo of a delicious meal or a beautiful scene. Soak it in. Welcome it into your brain and your experience. Once you’ve done that…then, share away.

 

Hello Readers!

The last quarter of 2016 was an odd one for me and I did not do much reading at all. I had lost my passion for it – along with other things – due to reasons I’d rather not discuss on the internet. ha!  Let’s just say I was taken out and lost a lot of the joy I usually find in many things. I am back to it and in January I culled my To Be Read (TBR) list and decided to begin the Re-Read Project to ignite the bookworm in me once again.

All 3 below are so different from each other and makes for great, diverse reading.

As a bonus, queued up is :

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. 

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The 3 Books I am Excited to Read

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth…But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand

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Girl Waits with Gun (Kopp Sisters, #1)

When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.  

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Pachinko

follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.

planner

Although I am only 2 weeks in to my new role – and a deceptively easy 2 weeks with the holidays – I am understanding how important it is too keep a calendar up to date and our daily tasks/to-do lists at my fingertips.

2016’s calendar was a Lilly Pulitzer calendar which worked out well. Each month had a calendar in review, then pages beyond it with blank lines for each day. I used the calendar for keeping track of appointments, workouts, when my husband travels, etc. and the blank lined pages for daily tasks that I would lovingly “cross out” with a highlighter once complete.

For 2017 I wanted to try something a little different. Now, I ordered this planner before my new job, but it seems the Universe was involved with this one. The ever-popular Erin Condren was a little too pricey for my taste, but there were negatives about the Lilly planner that I wanted different and I wanted something like the Condren planner.


Think about what your style is

Lilly’s planner was great because it was very colorful. The downside is it was too Lilly-focused, even down to marking when her birthday was.  Also, some of the blank pages had designs on them which took up valuable writing space.

I also needed the calendar days to be a tad bigger. I do use stickers, but not to the extent of some very creative people a la Elle Fowler.

When picking my 2017 planner I wanted it to be colorful, but a toned down version of Lilly’s, larger calendar days, and I needed more space to write daily tasks, to-do lists, and other notes. I also wanted it to be more neutral in theme.


Think about the size

I like one that is about the size of my purse, but not too huge that it overstuffs it and I look like a woman carrying a bag with only my planner inside – and a book of course. I like average book-sized planners because they feel more comfortable for me: It won’t get lost in my handbag and it fits my handwriting size and style.


How do you plan to use it

I have seen people on You Tube schedule time to plan their planners in their planner. That’s dedication! I don’t do that per say, but I do take a look at the current day in the morning and through out the day and plan things the night before. I also write things down as they come up in a small, separate notebook then transfer to calendar when necessary.  Personally, I use one calendar to keep track of everything; that way I do not have to keep looking at separate planners to see what I have to do on what day for what part of life.


Electronic or Pen & Paper

I find electronic calendars difficult to keep track of. I do appreciate the outlook pop-up reminders when I am due in a meeting in 15 minutes and it is a way for co-workers to send meetings to each other. Although I will have more meetings than ever before, I will still be marking them in my personal planner.


My 2017 Planner

After some research, I decided to buy a Plum Planner. I liked that it was custom-ordered and at a good price point for what I was getting.  I think my new planner and I are going to be very happy together.

In an upcoming post, I will write about how I will use this planner to combine life and work. Hopefully this will help you!

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[image credit: Lifehack.org]

My reading plan for 2016 was to read 30 books. I fell short on that goal for various reasons: life happens, lack of inspiration to read, major book let downs…. As I close the year I am hoping to finish The Twelve, then read the City of Mirrors in 2017. I was thinking about the period of time where I did not read. I remember the exact book and where I was when it happened. Although, I do not fully blame the book as there were other personal issues going on at that time that caused my reading slump. For the sake of this post, I blame the book.

I went a little over a month without reading a single book which is very unusual for me.  I’m the woman who always has a book in her bag because you never know when you might need one. When the slump began in August I was gifted the Complete Stories and Novels of Sherlock Holmes and each night I’d read a story as they are about 10-20 pages each. At the same time I began The Twelve which is book 2 in a trilogy. Those 2 books kept me reading and while both are excellent, the spark for finding a new book to envelope myself in, everything continued to fall well below my expectations.

Which led to a thought: how do I spark my reading again?

And thus, the Re-Read Project was born.

 

I have so many books over the years I love and that I have not read in quite a long time. I’m not one to re-read books except for very few. “Chocolat” is the only one I can recall I read at least three times and I always read it during the cusp of Spring for obvious reasons. But there are more.

From January – December of 2017 I will include one book in the Re-Read Project and supplement any new reads because there will always be new reads. I already have several in mind and I cannot wait to begin to share my experiences with you throughout the year.

 

 

Image result for blooming flower

We are in the final 2 weeks of 2016 and while many of us have our finger poised over the reset button for January 1st, I hit the reset button many, many times throughout the year. And today, I just hit it again. Well, last night.

Yesterday I posted about my personal winter guide  and how I manage to not crack apart and turn into sand during these dry, dark months. The outside is important, but even more important is the inside: our mind, our spirit, our organs and general functions of the body. We often forget that the outside is only as good as how the inside operates and that is what I am hitting the reset button.

My diet is the best it has ever been in my life, but something is off. This time of year I gravitate toward foods that are not the best, loaded in cheese – aka fat – and sugar because treats are abundant around Christmas.  While I have not “over done” anything in these areas, I feel a general sense of heaviness.  The rest button pressed today is a button to lighten up.

Reset my diet in a way that limits those oh-so-tasty, fattening and sugary foods that slows down digestion; get to bed earlier and work on getting a quality night’s rest; get back into my full workout routine (which has been sporadic at best); meditate daily and free my mind through writing.