Who To Be…What to Do…”Renew Yourself”

(This post contains affiliate links.)

I’m a little pensive today.  As summer begins, I am looking forward to a few months of time on my hands.  Time to think (that I usually don’t have) and time to do things that I WANT to do, instead of just things that I HAVE to do.  But, I feel pressure.  Like I have to figure out what it is that I WANT to do.  I look around and it seems like others have it all figured out.  They are looking forward to camping trips or reading books in the backyard or spending hours poolside or fun outings around town.

But, I feel lost.  I want to read books, but I can’t spend the whole summer doing that.  I want to spend time with Bean, but that will happen inevitably since my husband is gone for seven weeks starting Saturday, leaving Bean and I with plenty of Mommy-daughter time.  I want to work on my professional and personal development – get organized, set up some routines that will work when school rolls around (Bean starts Kindergarten at the end of summer so I feel like it is a whole new ballgame), get prep work done for classes in the Fall, figure out our budgeting, etc., etc.  But, there are so many choices…what should be prioritized?


Well, I wrote all of that this morning.  I’ve remained pretty much the same throughout the day.  I just feel a little…lost…I guess I would say.  But, I went to the thrift store this evening and I bought a few more pairs of shorts, some jean capris and a brand new Gap t-shirt that was there.  I also got a cute pair of shoes.  I’m going to get rid of some of my old shorts, which I hated but held on to because I only had four pairs and needed them.  Now, I can get rid of them.  I then went to Walgreen’s to get some more Lipton tea bags (we ran out of regular this morning and I like to mix those with the fruit infused ones for iced tea) and ended up going a little crazy.  I have been feeling not so great about myself lately and not doing much with my hair, no makeup, slobby clothes.  It is no wonder I don’t feel good about myself.  So, I decided I would get some things to try to change that.  We’ll see how it works out.  I got the following items to perform my pre-summer “renew yourself” (just made that up):

Revlon Revlon Colorsilk Natural Hair Color 11N Ultra Light Natural Blonde – 1 Ea

I was going to go to the beauty school to have my hair cut and colored, but decided to forgo both and just trim my bangs myself (I want to grow my hair out a bit more before getting it cut again, and really it is just the bangs and my cowlick in the back that is driving me crazy) and color it at home.  We’ll see how it turns out.  Often, it makes my hair look much healthier and fuller, so hopefully it satisfies my hair desires.

Organix Hair Spray, Moroccan Sea Salt, 6 Ounce

I have read in a few blog posts and magazine articles about the magic of these sea sprays.  We’ll see if it actually works or if it just makes my hair look dirty and feel crunchy.  I don’t hold a lot of hope, but it was on sale and I was feeling adventurous, so I sprung for it.  Perhaps I will review it in my Thursday Thumbs Up post if it works really well!

OGX Highlight Activating Citrus Oil Mist, Sunkissed Blonde Lemon, 4 Ounce

This is because I feel like my hair color is a bit dull right now.  Between coloring it with the Colorsilk and using this citrus mist, I’m hoping to brighten it up a bit.  I almost bought the old Sun-In Spray-In Hair Lightener, Original – 4.7 fl oz with hydrogen peroxide, but decided that may be worse on my hair in the end.

I also decided to try some new makeup to try to make me look less…well, less old.  I have been using L’Oreal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream, Light, 1.0 Ounces and I really liked it. But, then I tried to save some money and got CoverGirl Smoothers SPF 21 Tinted Moisturizer, Fair To Light 805, 1.35 Ounce instead. I don’t like it nearly as much. It does not “beautify” nearly as much as the L’Oreal did. It feels more like makeup and heavier and does not work to make my pores recede the way the L’Oreal did. So, I probably should have just bought some more of the L’Oreal, but they had the Revlon Photo Ready BB Cream Skin Perfector, Light/Medium, 1 oz on sale, so I decided to give it a try. I have to admit the “photo-ready” in the title definitely made me feel like I had to try it. We’ll see just how photo ready it makes me.

So, that was my big “renew yourself” afternoon.  I did not color my hair yet.  I may hold off and just try the citrus spray alone to see what that does before doing the full head of hair coloring.  It may be enough for me.  Tomorrow, I will don new (to me) clothes, new makeup and I may even blow dry my hair to capture the full effect of the citrus spray.  Who knows?  I’m feeling a little crazy…

I do think it will do me good to invest a little time and effort in myself.

Do you ever feel like you aren’t sure who to be or what to do?  What do you do to “renew yourself” every once in a while?  I would love some more ideas, beauty tips (especially ones for the 40+ set), hair ideas for short and somewhat fly away hair, etc.!

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Early Edition

Up early for no good reason.

Got up at 4:15 a.m. this morning because my hubby got up to go fishing and I could not go back to sleep.  It was nice to have a couple of hours of quiet time without my 5 yo saying “Mom.  Mom.  Mom.” every five seconds, but that is a bit too early.  Took a little nap this afternoon though and I’m feeling okay.  Just wish I had a better reason for being up early!

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Messenger

Five Minute Friday


I am participating in Lisa Jo Baker’s 5 Minute Friday today.  I’ve missed this one lately.  I love the five minute Friday because it is COMPLETE in five minutes.  No matter what.  No pressure.  No necessary number of items.  No photos needed if they aren’t, well, needed.  It is what I need in my life.  Limits and deadlines!  Anyways, this week’s prompt is “messenger”.  Take it away writing muscles…

Messenger is a tough one.  At first all I could think of was a messenger bag.  But, the 5 Minute Friday is focused on the messages we receive.  I receive messages everywhere.  I’ve been trying to be more attuned to finding the messages, but I know I still miss them quite a bit.  I think, for me, messengers come in many forms and sometimes I discount the message because of the way I receive it.  For example, I think I receive a lot of messages through what, for lack of a better word, I will call “gut feelings”.  I think that those gut feelings are really messages from our more “connected” selves.  Connected being open.  Open to receiving messages, to knowing what we know and listening to God, or if you don’t believe in God, your intuition (I personally think that God provides me with my intuition, but that’s just me).

Messengers can sometimes come in total strangers or songs or such.  If you are open, you can start to see messages in a lot of things.  But, it is important to really consider whether the message is one that is being sent or one that you are looking for so hard that you find it even when it isn’t there.  So, although we need to be open, we also need to be discerning.

So, there is my five minutes of writing on messenger.  Want to join in?  Pop in over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s and add your post!



Top Ten Tuesday – Children’s Book Edition and Reading as a Habit


I am once again joining the Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday!  This week is the top ten books I’ve read so far this year.  And, well….yeah…

This is a depressing list to make, because I  definitely have not read ten books this year – unless I count children’s books.  So, my list will be a bit of mix and will go back further than a year.  I am trying to get my act together on reading adult books for my own enjoyment, but it is slow going.  Here is my take on reading:

Reading is a habit.  It also takes momentum.  Once you fall out of the habit of reading, it becomes more and more difficult to get back into the habit.  It seems difficult to “fit it in”.  Unlike television, it can’t be a “background” activity (unless you do audio books, which I’ve thought about and even done a few times back in the days when I was commuting, but I like reading an actual BOOK).  If you have not been reading regularly, it seems like it is slow going (having become used to the fast movement of television and movies).  To me, reading has become like fine china that has been put to the back of the cabinet.  Sure, it is made to be eaten off of, but it means getting it out, washing the dust off of all of it and then worrying about it getting broken or chipped.  It seems like a lot of work.  So, we reach for our tried and true day-to-day dishes.  Why do we save the best and never get any use out of it?  I love reading, but I have this vision of “savoring” my reading, so I don’t give myself a chance to even get started really.

So, for the next 28 days, I’m going to read for at least 30 minutes every day.  It takes 28 days to establish a habit.  And, I am convinced that once I get reading, the momentum will carry me to keep reading.  I will see that the “fine china” is actually pretty easy to use once it moves to the front and gets used regularly.  And it is pretty and fun and a gift to myself.  But, until I establish that regularity, this list of my favorite children’s books of this year will have to do!  In no particular order (and remembering that I have a five year old)…

The list includes affiliate links.

1.  Ivy & Bean (Book 1) (Bk. 1)  We have read the first two books in the series and I love them.  They are smart, fun and the girls are interesting without being cutesy.  I am looking forward to reading the whole series over the summer months!  We read a few chapters a day when we’re reading them and my own “Bean” (which is why we started the series – the name) wants to finish as much as possible in as short of time as possible.  A great sign for a five year old with a limited attention span!

2.  Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown Ups  Our library has an old, old, old copy of this book and it is amazing the things that appeared in children’s books in the 1950s!  But, all of these are fun books to read and great for those learning to read as it introduces a number of words in each volume but repeats them quite often.  And she is constantly in a lot of trouble!  It makes my life with my daughter look easy.

3.  I’ll Follow the Moon: (Mom’s Choice Award Honoree and Chocolate Lily Award Winner)  I got this book on the Kindle and I absolutely love it.  I can see what it has received the awards it has.  It is beautifully illustrated and the story is wonderful.  My daughter loves sea animals, so it was especially attractive to her, but I loved it for the story and sentiment.

4.  When You Reach Me (Yearling Newbery)  This was not a book I read with my daughter, but one I actually read for a book group.  This book group chooses quite a few YA books to read and this was one of them.  I really enjoyed it.  The story was a bit quirky and I enjoyed the mystery feel of it.  You can read my Goodreads review here.

5.  Alphabet Adventure  I am kind of cheating including this one since we definitely read it for the first time over a year ago.  But, we have revisited it many times this year and I feel like as my daughter gets a better grip on pre-reading and sight words, the book takes on a whole new experience for her.  The story is such a cute one and the characters (letters) are very memorable.  It is an enjoyable read to do over and over and over and over again!

6.  Our Husband: a humorous romantic mystery  I did not think I would like this book at all when I started reading it.  I started it looking for something light and easy to read.  But, to be honest with you, I kind of “judged the book by its cover” and didn’t think it was going to be much of a read.  But, as I got into it and met the characters, I really started to enjoy it and the mystery part of it made it all the better.  I liked the relationship between the wives and the way the story included some tension and anticipation.  It would be a great summer read.

7.  The Beekeeper’s Apprentice: or, On the Segregation of the Queen (A Mary Russell Mystery)  This was another book club book that I loved.  The combination of female heroine and Sherlock Holmes was almost too much for me!  Such a great concept and good writing and story line as well!  You can read my (very short) Goodreads review here.

8.  The Fault in Our Stars  Can’t say much that hasn’t already been said about this book.  I loved it.  Period.  I also could really relate to it having a daughter with health issues.  John Green is genius.

Okay – I’m going to have to stop at eight because I have a lot to do before taking off for five days tomorrow (sigh) and I think I’m going to go to bed early and get up early to do what needs to be done.  But, I wanted to get this post up before the opportunity passed me by.  What about you – do you have some favorite books from the past year (or two) that you have read (or read to someone)?  Let me know in the comments.  I am looking forward to establishing this reading habit!


Summer, summer, summer…

I need to get a post DONE!  I have so many drafts in my file that I start and don’t finish and then it leaves me without a post on this blog for days at a time.  I have great ideas and even some quality writing, but if I never get it done and posted than no one gets to enjoy it.  So, today, I’m just going to get a post up.  It may not be perfect.  It may not be something different and intriguing, but it will be a post.

Today is what I will consider our first day of officially being on summer break.  This is our first week without preschool (DD graduated last weekend, but still had four days of school to follow).


So, today is a pretty lazy day.  We were going to make it a pajama day, but we had a rental car this weekend and have to return it this morning, so I will have to actually get dressed after all…bummer.  It is projected to be about 104 today here, so staying inside in the AC and not doing much seems like a great plan to me.  I do want to get the house cleaned up a bit more than it  currently is (it isn’t horrible, but it isn’t great).  I would also like to plan out some things for summer – I feel aimless right now and I hate that feeling.  So, perhaps I will print out a calendar and start filling it in with the things we plan to do.

This week we have to go (back) to my mom’s on Wednesday.  We were planning on going there for a trip to Discovery Kingdom with her preschool teacher and another preschool family anyways, but it turns out my mom has her CAT scan that day, so to help my sister out, we’re going to take her to that so my sister doesn’t have to drive down to take her.  We can still do plenty at Discovery Kingdom because Bean only really lasts a few hours before getting totally worn out anyways.  Bean is excited to see if she has grown enough since last summer to ride a few other rides (the Killer Whale ride pictured below is her biggest goal right now).  I’m not sure she has, but we’ll see.

killer whale ride

From there, we will head to my in-laws in Bakersfield for a few days.  We haven’t been there as a family (my DH and DD have gone down alone a couple of times while I was traveling for work) in a while, so it should be a good visit.  Although I am not looking forward to the heat.  But, it isn’t like it won’t be hot hear at home, so it isn’t really that big of a difference.

I want this summer to be one that at the end I think, “Wow, that was a great summer break!”  Last year I ended it with a great vacation, but not the feeling that the whole summer break was good.  A lot of last summer was spent dealing with my father’s illness and that made it less enjoyable.  This summer, I was hoping for a break from medical issues, but we still have to wait on finalizing that since my mom has the CAT scan that will tell us whether the radiation treatments she received worked to stall out her tumor growth. So, we shall see.

Other than that, I have swim lessons scheduled and VBS both starting June 23.  My daughter is also doing some summer day camps at her old preschool – three or four weeks of those.  I am trying to keep her busy or I’m afraid we will both drive each other crazy…and she doesn’t need to spend all day every day with the neighborhood kids.  I love that she has neighborhood kids to play with, but some of them are a bit older than her and I think they teach her some bad habits at times.  I try to think of these as learning opportunities since she is starting school next year and will have plenty of potential bad influences around that she will have to navigate, but it would get a little tiring day after day after day.

What about you?  What summer plans do you have?


Top Ten Tuesday – Books in my Bag This Summer


I am once again joining The Broke and The Bookish’ Top Ten Tuesday.  This is a fun blog meme that provides a topic for a Top Ten list every Tuesday.  It is great for pre-planning posts too because she posts the upcoming topics weeks in advance!  Today’s topic is the Top Ten Books That Should Be/Will Be in Your Beach Bag this summer.  I don’t really have a “beach bag” since we don’t get to the beach very often.  But, I do have swim lessons and afternoon siestas and late night readings during the summer.  So, these are the top (not ten – sorry, but I had to cut it short at five to be realistic) books on my list for this summer’s reading (includes affiliate links):

The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
I started reading this for a book club a while ago (the book club meeting about it is long gone, but now I’m determined to finish it).  It is a long one though.  So far, I like it, but my sister said she didn’t like the second half of the book – which is long considering it is something like 700 pages long in total!  It will be something I read off and on for the whole summer, I’m sure.

Gilead: A Novel
This is another book club book.  I have to read it in the next week to make the deadline for the meeting, so I may review it next week, but at least it isn’t 700 pages!  I am reading this for a summer book club at my church and the description sounds like something I will really enjoy.  Especially this Slate review excerpt:  “Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson’s beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows “even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order”.

The Hope Quotient: Measure It. Raise It. You’ll Never Be the Same.
Not fiction, but I definitely feel like it will be good to put some hope in my life this summer.  Our church had a series of sermons on the book this past couple of months, but I missed most of them, so I’m looking forward to reading the book.  It seems like a very positive focus and that’s always good for summer!

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection Another non-fiction book.  I love me some AJ Jacobs though.  I had almost forgot about this book.  When my daughter was in the hospital, his book, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible made me laugh out loud.  And there wasn’t much that could do that at that point in time.  I also liked The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World.  Not as much as The Year of Living Biblically, but close.  Drop Dead Healthy sounds right up my alley though!

Finally, I want to read Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet) because I really should have read it when I was younger and I’ve heard I will love it.  And there is a character whose name is Bean, just like my daughter’s nickname.  I’ve started it, but I’m only about 30 pages in.  So, I really need to finish it up and then maybe I’ll see the movie!

Those are my five books to read this summer!  I realize these are not classic “summer” reads – fluff and romance and such.  But, since I haven’t been doing nearly enough reading, I’m starting with either book club books or things I really want to read rather than seasonally appropriate texts.  What about you?  What’s your top read for the summer months?