Feb 25, 2018

My Sunday Best: Wedges and Ruminations

It has been SO rainy and dreary this month! We've had a few beautiful days, but then when it seriously rains/ is gray and cold for days in a row the gorgeous weather becomes the most distant, vague memory. I think that added to my "how is only the second Sunday of Lent?!" feelings at the beginning of mass.Therefore, this Debbie Downer is linking up with Rosie's My Sunday Best because blogging therapy. 

Here are a few mass outfits I've snapped recently:

Everything has been worn before, except the black shirt I bought last summer from Piper and Scoot, and the copper striped shirt on the right is a fall buy from J. Crew factory- it's one of their artist tees and I definitely recommend!
Also, elastic waists are basically the theme of my life.

I can't remember if I mentioned this before but the black wedges were a desperate Amazon buy last year. Several years ago I bought a pair of black (pretty high) heels that were actually not uncomfortable. I was able to wear them in the years when we had two kids and then they sat in my closet for a while. Well, last year I wore them on a Sunday when we went to the parish hall for donuts after mass (ergo, more "distance" walking than usual), and I was SO embarrassed because I could hardly walk in them! I was hardcore considering taking them off and walking barefoot to the car, but I opted for a vain hobble instead. That afternoon I pounced on Amazon and found a pair of well-priced wedges with good reviews. Lesson learned. 


I've had some interesting moments of introspection today. In one of the books I read last year (How Not to Hate Your Husband after Kids), the author talks about doing away with narratives she makes up about her husband. Like, if she's doing the brunt of the housework or putting a lot of effort into parenting while her husband is sitting around, she'd tell herself he's being lazy on purpose, when in reality he's happy to pitch in but is waiting for her to ask him for help. 
I definitely do the narrative thing. 

Likewise, while reading Gretchen Rubin's book, The Four Tendencies, I recognized the narrative thing in play too, in regards the Tendencies- I might think people are doing x,y, and z because they have no common courtesy, but it's probably that they have a completely different Tendency that plays a role in their actions (or lack thereof). 

There's a second-hand auction site that I've gotten really into since the summer; I've since realized that I do the narrative thing with this auction site. I almost always won't bid on items that already have bids. I don't like to get into bidding wars, and I feel like that other person "found" the item first (I know- um, hello! The purpose of an auction is to have multiple bids!). I get in such a huff, though, when I've searched out and then bid on an item that is obscurely listed, and then someone else comes along and bids on it too! In my head they are saying, "MINE!" to something I've discovered. The nerve of them!
Haha, I guess it's good I've realized all of this during Lent- lessons in self-reflection and detachment, right?

That's all for now. Hoping your Sunday is relaxing if not sunny!

Feb 7, 2018

Favorite Reads from 2017

Before we get any further into the new year, I want to share my favorite reads from 2017! Disclaimer: My brain is goo when it comes to writing interesting blurbs for books; just know that I really liked all of these and many were recommendations from other blogs/ people, so multiple stamps of approval and all that. :)

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything
by Anne Bogel
Anne digs into several personality + temperament frameworks and gives insight into how they can affect our lives and the lives of others. I like that this offers a breakdown of many of the frameworks in one place, and that she points to the best resources she's found for further research and individual testing. This is one I'd like to get a copy of instead of borrowing from the library!

You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life
by: Eleanor Roosevelt
I truly wish everyone, especially high-schoolers, would read this book. There's nothing earth-shattering in it, but Eleanor has such a way of presenting principles of common sense and imparting essential life advice for all, that makes you really think.
I almost wanted to shout from the rooftops when she pointed out the paramount importance of making informed choices when choosing a candidate to vote for (mostly by reading, reading, reading, and talking to many different people). Amen!

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better
by: Gretchen Rubin
If you're into personality frameworks- read this! For some reason I feel this framework is easier to grasp (then say, the Temperaments), and pinpoint which Tendencies others belong to, therefore shedding light on how they tick. I figured out I'm an Obliger (sometimes dipping into Rebel)- which has explained so much about my life!

How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
by: Jancee Dunn
This is one I want to read again and again, and I agree with this summary that the book would be applicable for relationships in general.
The author realized her marriage before having her daughter was vastly different than after, and recognized the need for outside help to set it back on the right course. I appreciated that she includes research/ advice from a variety of sources, and follows up with the results after carrying it out.
Some PSAs: language alert, and I'd recommend skipping a short section (part of a longer section about sex which is tastefully done) when she mentions watching porn to "get into the mood".

As I Remember: An Autobiography
by: Lillian Moller Gilbreth
(Lillian is the mom in Cheaper by the Dozen) I loved this one with a few 'buts'. It reads like a diary- very "first this happened, then this, etc", and I liked getting the backstory of her childhood (although the very beginning was tricky to get through, keeping track of all her relatives). It was also fascinating to me to read a first-hand account of life in the early 1900s, including things like "dating" or going to Europe with no knowledge that WWI would happen in the near future!
The bittersweet parts for me were in the timelines- Mr. Gilbreth seemed to travel so much for his work that I had a hard time reconciling that with how he is portrayed in the books, as it didn't seem like he (and even Mrs. Gilbreth at times) was around his children all that much. (I.e. she mentions summers where the children would go on to Nantucket with a Nanny and later be joined by one or both parents.) I guess I felt like many things the Gilbreth parents implemented in their family life in Cheaper by the Dozen seemed ongoing, over several years, when I'm wondering if many things were only isolated events? Sorry if that's vague. Anyway, overall very interesting!

Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue
by: Kathryn J. Atwood
I originally borrowed this from the library, as I wanted to read more about Irena Sendler but couldn't find any full books about her in our system. I am so glad I did read this after all, as the bravery of all of these women, what they gave up, and what they accomplished is truly astounding.

All-of-a-Kind Family
by: Sydney Taylor
I loved reading this aloud to the girls so much. It follows the adventures of a sweet family of five girls (and later one boy) in NYC at the turn of the century. 
(I also found a used copy AoaKF Uptown, so we skipped a few in the series and read that as well- loved it!)

The Magnolia Story
by: Chip Gaines
Okay, while I have enjoyed watching episodes of their show in the past and love their family and husband-wife dynamic, part of me wants to stand waaay back from the "all the Magnolia things!" obsession that is raging across the country. However, I really enjoyed this book- a quick, engaging read, and I love a personal story that turns out well.
Also, I do have a butter dish that I ordered online from Magnolia and it *is* one of my favorite things on our counter, so thanks, Gaines' :)

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
by: Atul Gawande
Gosh I love his books. The case studies are so intriguing, and I appreciate how he offers his experiences and observations, as well as including related studies performed and historical context. It's not just one surgeon telling you this how it is- the end.  He includes varying points of view and offers a good amount of food for thought.
This one was very aviation related which I found quite interesting- again, the historical background in his books adds so much. Also, we had just watched "Sully", which I kept thinking about all through the book and the story was mentioned at the end, as the book was written in the year of that miracle landing!

Originals: How Non-Comformists Move the World
by: Adam Grant
I really cannot think of anything specific to say about this- but it was really good! Like the book above, the author used many specific (engaging!) stories to illustrate his points (about a invention Steve Jobs backed that hugely flopped and the unconventional beginnings of Warby Parker to name just two).

Always and Forever, Lara Jean
by: Jenny Han
My teen self related SO much to the first book in this series and I was happy to find this last book just as enjoyable.

The Way She Wears It: The Ultimate Insider's Guide to Revealing Your Personal Style
by: Dallas Shaw
I didn't find anything especially pivotal in this book, nor did I read it with that intent, but I did relish reading a book entirely about personal style and lots of clothing and accessory drawings/ photos. I picked up a few pointers and outfit ideas, and I found it helpful that she broke everything up into the four seasons- kinda helps you get excited for pulling out your cold or warm weather clothes, and changing up your makeup or nail polish game, even if it's one new color.

Also. I notice a lot of these titles fall into the category of part memoir/ part self-help, which seems like it's becoming a thing? If so, I really like it! And I'd love any fiction recommendations, if you have any!

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