What I’m Into

My Surprising Week With Beautycounter

justoneoftheboys.com Beautycounter - My Surprising Week with the High-End Skin Care Line

 

Last week I had the incredible opportunity to try out the high-end Beautycounter skin care line. My sweet friend Jan recently became a Beautycounter consultant, and I went to her kick-off event where I learned all sorts of disturbing things about the cosmetic industry.

I learned that the European Union has much stricter laws for beauty manufacturers than we do for our products sold here in America. They have banned around 1300 ingredients from their beauty products. Here in the U.S. we’ve banned only ELEVEN ingredients. Did you know that the last time the federal government passed a law regulating cosmetics, this guy was President?

 

32_franklin_d_roosevelt

 

Yep, that’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The products (and chemicals) we apply to our face and bodies haven’t been regulated since 1938 – that’s during the Great Depression, and before my own grandmother started wearing makeup! Even though this particular info is brand new to me, I’ve been gradually researching and replacing my makeup and body care with more natural products over the last couple of years. The EWG website is a great way to look up the products you use every day and see how their ingredients score with concerns such as overall hazard, cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, and other high concerns.

 

Vintage train case turned into a makeup case! ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

I’ve had good luck with oil cleansing my face at night, and more recently I’ve switched to using Norwex facial cloths to remove my makeup at bedtime. My new routine has worked just fine, but I was thrilled when my lovely friend Jan asked me to try out a Beautycounter line of skin-care products! I’ve read wonderful things about Beautycounter from the Whoorl blog, and I was excited to try them out!

 

justoneoftheboys.com Beautycounter products

 

My ten-year-old son tried out the kids shampoo one day, and since he is especially averse to getting clean I thought he would be a good judge of the shampoo! (What is it about little boys and not wanting to shower?!)

Aiden came out of the shower with his towel-dried mop of hair, and told me what he thought. His verdict: It smelled like lemons, and it made his hair feel fluffy!

I double-checked with him, and he meant both as good things. As a growing tween boy, he doesn’t like products that smell girly – and this one passed the test.

PDP-KidsNiceDoShampoo_SELLING-SHOT_528x962

 

I had already started using the Beautycounter Countertime skin-care line on my face, and was loving it! It didn’t have a heavy fragrance, but it was more like a fruity essence – like walking past a fruit stand at a farmer’s market. Each morning and night I felt so pampered applying the different products to my face, neck, and décolletage. It was heavenly.

 

Justoneoftheboys.com Beautycounter

 

Wednesday night – Felt like I was at the spa. Lovely.

Thursday morning – My Beloved said my face smelled nice. Amazing.

Thursday night – Felt positively spoiled and noticed smaller pores. Awesome.

Friday morning – A friend said I was glowing. Incredible.

Friday night – Reduced dark circles around my eyes. Also felt a slight itching near my jawline, but it was hardly noticeable. Meh.

Saturday morning – I woke up to a burning, bright red rash all over my face – and spreading down my neck. Uh-oh.

 

Cue the disappointing womp-womp sound effect – and lots of itching. I was so bummed that my body had rejected all the pampering I had given it over the week. My Beautycounter friend Jan graciously offered to help however she could – even to help me see a dermatologist. I frantically texted my sister-in-law who happens to be an aesthetician. I knew she could help me! She instructed me to apply cold compresses – and that helped to ease the burning quite a bit. Then I took Benadryl & ibuprofen, applied hydrocortisone cream, and didn’t wear much in the way of makeup for several days.

 

My face was still pretty raw on Sunday, so I stayed home from church and only went in for a pre-Kenya trip meeting in the afternoon. I know it was vain of me, but I just didn’t want to be out and about with my face on fire.

The next day things had started to subside a little, and my face gradually calmed down over the rest of the week. I kept up the routine of icing down my face when I needed it, using hydrocortisone cream, and staying away from anything other than mascara. As I’m writing this, it has now been just over a week, and I only have a tiny bit of redness left on my cheeks. Muuuuuuch better.

 

Onto the good part – I really have loved the brand new Beautycounter mascara that I tried as well! There aren’t many good, natural, “green” mascaras out there on the market. I have been using one by Perfekt, and I didn’t have any complaints, but I was excited to compare it to Beautycounter’s version!

 

justoneoftheboys.com Beautycounter Mascara

 

Whereas Perfekt gave me thicker, fuller, plumber lashes, Beautycounter gave me a boost in length. I have short, stumpy lashes – so I loved the va-va-va-voom factor of longer lashes! No crazy, spider-like clumping. No flaking. And the only smudging was one day when my springtime allergies (ugh…Kansas!) were flaring up, I had a fit of sneezing several times in a row with my eyes watering. When I looked in the mirror, I had a slight smudging underneath my lower lashes – but that happens with pretty much any mascara that I try. One quick swipe, and the smudge was gone.

It doesn’t appear to be technically waterproof, but it stays on really well. I had some trouble removing it with just the Beautycounter products, but when I switched back to using my trusty Norwex cloths at night, the mascara came off like a dream.

 

justoneoftheboys.com glasses Beautycounter mascara

 

My gracious friend felt awful that my face had broken out, and I felt so awful that I didn’t have a better review for my friend and the Beautycounter line. Jan wanted me to go ahead with the review so anyone else who is interested in trying out Beautycounter knows to sample the line somewhere other than your face first – like the inside of your elbow or under your jawline (near your ear). If your body doesn’t react after a few days – feel free to try it on your face! So many people have glowing reviews of this very same Countertime skin-care line, and I’m sure many of you would LOVE it. I just love her willingness for transparency and an honest review of the items she let me try!

If you do ever try out a product that doesn’t agree with your skin, remember my sister-in-laws advice:

  • apply cold compresses
  • take some ibuprofen
  • and let your skin breathe while it heals

 

I plan to continue my quest to find better, more natural products for my family and myself, but next time I’ll be a little more careful about testing them out first!

If you have any Beautycounter questions for my gracious friend Jan, you can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope! Please don’t hesitate to seek her out to learn more about the chemicals in your own cosmetics, find out about the current push for more product regulation, or if you want to try any of the Beautycounter line!

How about you? Have you had a good (or bad) experience with Beautycounter or other more natural beauty products? I’d love to hear all about it!

*Hugs*

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What I’m Into ~ June 2015 Edition

What I'm Into ~ June 2015 Edition

 

Happy July, friends! Are y’all having a good summer so far? I’m wishing that these summer days would slow down a little. It feels like it is flying by much faster than I’d like – but I guess that’s just a challenge to be present and soak it all in!

 

It’s that time again – time to join the lovely Leigh Kramer in rounding up what we’ve been into in June. I love checking out all the awesome blog posts to find new ideas for books to read, movies to watch, and things to enjoy! Grab a glass of lemonade, curl up in the air condition, and check them out!

 

 Pretty Things ~

 

I could give up shopping, but I'm not a quitter! ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

I saw this sign at a local consignment boutique, and I just had to snap a picture for Instagram!

 

Purple GUESS booties ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

 

And speaking of consignment stores, I found these purple GUESS booties on clearance at one of my favorite local consignment shops for only $8! They were begging me to bring them home – and I just couldn’t resist! Now I can’t wait for cooler weather so I can wear them!

 

Vintage train case turned into a makeup case! ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

 

I’ve been looking for a better way to store my makeup. I don’t have very much in the way of cosmetics, but I was outgrowing my little antique bowl. I hated that brushes and blush would fall out of the container, and it was leaving me feeling disorganized – which is not now I want to start the day.

 

I started browsing Pinterest for ideas, but nothing seemed to fit my needs. It was then that I remembered a vintage train cases! Many of them had small mirrors and trays – perfect for a retro woman on-the-go! I found this one on eBay. It’s faux leather, and in awesome condition! Someone replaced the fabric in the bottom of the case – it’s rather groovy now – but once I set my plastic tiered organizer inside, I couldn’t see it any more. It’s been the perfect solution to my makeup organizing woes. It has plenty of room for my small-ish collection, and a little more room to grow. *Wink* And I couldn’t be more thrilled!

 

Date night decisions - boots or wedges? ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

We had a couple of date nights this month! I sent out a plea for help on Facebook and Instagram one night when I couldn’t decide which shoe to wear to our mystery date with a group of friends from church. I ended up picking the boots because I learned that our date was outside, and I didn’t want to be teetering around in heels when I didn’t know what we were going to do. We ended up going to an awesome little airport that also has a restaurant attached. We watched bi-planes take off and land as we devoured burgers and visited. What fun! Have you ever been on a mystery date?

 

What I’m Read in June~

 

Scary Close, by Donald Miller – I was excited to finally get my hands on his newest book! I’m introverted by nature, and tend to be pretty guarded – too guarded – to protect myself from the hurt of others, but this helped me to see that I am not gaining anything by keeping people from getting close to me. It was an eye-opener, for sure!

 

Still Alice ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

Still Alice, by Lisa Genova – Wow. This one really got to me. I felt as though I was getting an unveiled look into what it must be like to have Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m a stickler for reading the book before seeing the movie, so now I’m excited to finally see the film soon!

 

The Life-Chaging Magic of Tidying Up ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo – Now I know what all the fuss was about! This was a fabulous little book – so challenging and inspiring! I wasn’t even through the book yet when I purged a large portion of my closet. I have been hanging on to clothes and jewelry that I never wear. Even though my things were well organized, I didn’t realize how much the “clutter” of having more things than I need was affecting me. I love walking into my newly purged closet and seeing ONLY the clothes that I enjoy wearing. There’s also something much less stressful about knowing that whatever you pull out of your closet is going to feel good, look good, and boost your confidence.

 

Dear Mr. Knightley, by Katherine Reay – This had been sitting on my Kindle for several months, but it wasn’t until my friend Crystal from Money Saving Mom recommended this book to me that I finally started reading it. It was perfect to read by the pool when the boys began swimming lessons. It was heartwarming, thoughtful, and kept me engaged through the last page. It was just light and fluffy enough for summer, while inspiring me as a writer!

 

 

Reading in July ~

 

What I'm Reading - June 2015  justoneoftheboys.com

 

Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos – I’ve spent the last 10 nights trying to read this book before bed, but I kept falling asleep and losing my place! I picked it up this morning on our way out the door for swimming lessons, and by the time our hour was up, I thought the story was pretty promising!

 

The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty – I finished (and LOVED) Big Little Lies over Memorial weekend, and decided to dive into this one in July!

 

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – I keep hearing over and over again what a wonderful book this is – so I used our Audible credit for the audio version to listen to this month! I recently watched Chimamanda give a commencement speech online, and was so moved, that I had to move it up on my to-read list!

 

Stories I Only Tell My Friends, by Rob Lowe – I’ve had this one on my radar for a while. I enjoy celebrity memoirs, and I’ve heard this one is especially good. I remembered recently while ordering other books from the library – so I just added it to the ever-growing stack. So many books, so little time!

 

The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva – This one comes highly recommended by my friend Ashley. She loves spy books, and it sounds like this is the first one in the series. I loved the Bourne books, so I’m excited to step into this series!

 

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness – Our oldest has to do a book report over the summer and hand it in when he starts middle school in August. The book has to be over 150 pages, have literary merit, and be written between 2005 – 2015. We looked up lists of the best YA books, and this one piqued his interest. He flew through it, and was excited to get started on his book report – so I had to add it to my list to read this month!

 

Feathering My Nest ~

 

I finally tackled our middle son’s room this month. I’d only put it off for nearly *cough* four years *cough*! I had procrastinated because the former owners had put up a wallpaper border (blue flowers, btw) near the ceiling, and THEN painted the rest of the walls up to the line of the wallpaper. When I steamed and removed the flower border, it left a definite and unsightly line of demarcation.

 

That’s when I got out the spackle and filled in the area around the line, and the other areas that needed a quick layer.

 

Boy's room mid-project - rock wall, hanging ladder ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

Then I sanded the whole room – and ended up with gray hair to show for it! Thankfully it washed right now. Whew!

 

DIYers gone wild! Gray hair! ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

I put up a few paint samples around his room, and let him choose his favorite. He chose this gorgeous color from Benjamin Moore – Hudson Bay.

 

I love Benjamin Moore colors, but I’ve always been so impressed with the durability and coverage of Behr’s Ultra primer and paint in one, so I had it mixed at Home Depot. I finished it in one day, and applied a few touch-ups the next morning before moving his furniture back into place. Now he has a brand new room!

 

And look how good his Ninja Warrior equipment looks against the new wall color!

 

Navy blue boy's room! A rock wall and a hanging ladder are a great way for little boys to get out their energy! Benjamin Moore Hudson Bay ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

I’ll be sharing more about Aiden’s room makeover soon! Next up, Quinn’s room is going to get a fresh new look! I just might get started weekend!

 

What about you?

 

What have you been up to lately? Have you read any good books? Watched a fantastic movie? I can’t wait to hear about it!

 

As always, thank you so much for spending a little bit of your day with me. Your encouragement and comments mean the world to me! You can also find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Until next time,

*Hugs*

~ G

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What I’m Into ~ May 2015 Edition

What I'm Into May 2015

 

Once again it’s time to link up with the lovely Leigh Kramer and gab about what we’ve been into this month – (er, the past couple of months in my case)! Be sure to check out all of the wonderful links for the best book ideas, movie and tv reviews, and more!

 

My Birthday ~

Last month I celebrated my 34th birthday. The thirties have been hard for me, but this year wasn’t so bad. I welcomed it – and somehow 34 didn’t feel quite as daunting. Maybe that’s because I’ve been working so hard to take better care of myself, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and finding out who I really am as a woman.

 

It probably helped that I had started an exercise routine 30 days before my birthday. I was feeling squishy, tired, achy, and self-conscious about how my clothes weren’t fitting very well. I had melted into a puddle of tears more than once, but I have a wonderful Beloved who pulled me into his arms and assured me that he loved me exactly how I was. I was inspired to stop moping and actually do something about it, so I began the 30 Day Shred exercise program, then progressed into trying PIYO.

 

I’m getting stronger, leaner, and more energized – which helped me to usher in this birthday with a smile.

 

Book Exchange Parties ~

 

I wish that I had snapped a picture from the other night! I hosted a white elephant book exchange party for the ladies of our new church – and I think everyone enjoyed themselves! My friend Kaila and I handed out invitations printed out on vintage-ish library check-out cards, and everyone brought snackies to munch on. We took turns picking out a wrapped book and finding out which books had impacted our friends.

Here are some of the AWESOME books that were shared:

The Chronicles of Narnia

For Men Only

For Women Only

The Pact

Sacred Marriage

Gods at War (I ended up with this one!)

Harriet the Spy

The Best Yes

One Thousand Gifts

Me Before You (This was my contribution to the evening’s festivities!)

 

And Speaking of Books…

 

Look at what my Beloved and our boys gave me for Mother’s Day!

 

Unfinished bookshelf

 

They really do know what speaks to my heart – a special place for my antique books!

 

Finished bookshelf

 

Future Hope ~

 

I am so excited about the work that my friend Katie is doing in Haiti with Future Hope Haiti! Her heart has been moved and she is working toward bringing hope to the people of Haiti! I love supporting them any way I can, and I won a t-shirt! One look at it, and my oldest son asked if he could have one, too. I’ll probably end up giving him mine. I love that he’s excited to spread the word of the work going on in Haiti!

 

Future Hope shirt

 

I love wearing my coconut earrings and bracelet from Future Hope! They go with absolutely everything!

 

Future Hope Jewelry

 

I love mine so much that I gave away a pair of coconut earrings on Facebook last week for my birthday! The giveaway went over so well that we just might have another one! Stay tuned!

 

Future Hope Earrings

 

 

Celebrating Being Seizure-Free!

 

Our middle son is officially finished with taking his epilepsy meds! He was declared seizure-free at his last EEG, and has been weaning off the medication. Our family celebrated this HUGE milestone with him – and we couldn’t be prouder for all of his hard work! He helped me write this post:

 

5 Things You Should Know About Absence Seizures

Crashing Into Grace ~

 

I had the unfortunate experience of backing into my Beloved’s car last month. I felt absolutely horrible about my mistake – and I managed to flog myself pretty well for not being more careful. It was my family who surrounded me with love and forgiveness that taught me the most important lesson of all:

 

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do for her family is to give herself grace. ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

The End of the School Year ~

 

Quinn hat

 

Things have been pretty crazy around here lately! We finished up our school year, and it seemed even busier than in past years. My blogging took a back seat, but as life slows down a little this summer I’ll be able to share a little more of our story with you!

 

 

Books I’ve Read in April & May ~

 

I didn’t get to read as many books as usual. With getting up so early, I’ve found myself going to bed earlier and earlier – unable to keep my eyes open to read at night, but I did manage to get through a few!

 

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett – LOVED IT! Can’t wait to finally watch the film!

 

Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan – Another great book by Kelly Corrigan. This memoir focused more on her relationship with her mom, and it made me laugh and cry.

 

Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford – I’m going through this one slowly and soaking it up… Convicting and inspiring at the same time, and it’s helping me to stop and really be in the moment with my family.

 

Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty – WOWZERS! I loved her book What Alice Forgot, but when I started her newest story, I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I had pretty much given up, but I’m so glad that my friend Jeri encouraged me to push through and keep reading. I’ve shared parts of my story with y’all, and I could relate to each of the three main characters in some ways. When I clicked past the last page on my Kindle, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even cry. I just sat and soaked it all in – there were so many memories and emotions flowing through me. It was a good thing, honest! A fascinating page-turner, it also nudged me to dig deep and face some painful corners of my past.

 

Reading in June ~

 

Do Over, by John Acuff

 

Scary Close, by Donald Miller

 

Love Walked In, by Marisa De Los Santos – and if I enjoy it, I have the sequel ready to read, too – Belong to Me.

 

Gods at War, by Francis Chan

 

The Marriage of Chani Kaufman, by Eve Harris

 

 

What About You?

 

What have you been into lately? Have you read any good books? Watched any must-see TV? Found any great bargains? I’d love to hear all about it! I’m always looking for good recommendations for books, movies, and more! You can find me here, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! I’d love to connect with you!

Wishing you an exquisite month of June, dear friends!

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ March 2015 Edition

Is it really that time again? The month of March has come to an end, and we’re back with the lovely Leigh Kramer and sharing what we’ve been into this past month! Are y’all ready for spring? As much as I love boot and leggings weather, I’m pretty happy to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and soak up the feeling of everything being new and fresh again!

 

What have you been into this month? I just love seeing what everyone is reading, watching, and up to! Call me nosey! I’m always looking for a new movie or series to watch with my Beloved, or on my own for some much-needed girl time! And I love adding to my GoodReads list with new books to devour. Are we GoodReads buddies yet? I hope so!

 

So here’s what I’ve been into this month…

 

Spending time outside ~

 

Since the weather has warmed up, everything is getting green and lovely again! I’ve been perching with a book on my bench outside while I listen to the boys play basketball in the driveway or ride their bikes. I love this time of year… until my allergies hit! Ahhhhhh…CHOO! Have you found anything to help with seasonal allergies? I’m trying Claritin this year, but I’m thinking I might have to get out the dreaded NetiPot!

 

What I'm Into

 

Taking Back My Health ~

 

In preparation for my 34th birthday coming up this month, I decided to tackle the 30 Day Shred and 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene! I shared a few of my thoughts on the first week earlier this week… Will this help me welcome the next year with a bang, or will it kill me first?!

 

Take a Little Time for You! header

 

Read in March ~

 

I’m a little in awe of how many books I read this past month. I had been feeling a little homesick for diving into good books, and I spent quite a bit of time getting back to one of my first loves – reading. I felt like I had been given an IV and felt so much more refreshed, invigorated, and like myself when I give myself time to read. Do you know what I mean, or am I just a weirdo? Anybody? Bueller? Nevermind. *wink*

 

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I have been waiting my whole life for this book! I can’t tell you how much I loved reading her original Pioneer Girl manuscript, and the added notes on each page that went into deeper detail of the history of Little House and the interaction between Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane.

 

Pioneer Girl, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win, Christine Caine – An amazing friend mailed me her copy after she read it, knowing how much this book would touch my heart. I could have underlined every word. There were so many areas that were convicting, encouraging, and inspiring – and it really lit a fire in my heart!

 

Unstoppable

 

Surprised by Motherhood, by Lisa-Jo Baker – This one had been on my radar for quite a while. I put out a plea on Facebook to see if any local friends had it to borrow, and people ended up suspecting that I was pregnant! Yikes! A dear friend sent me a copy, and I have really treasured my early morning quiet time reading this sweet book every morning. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have been recommending it to every mom I know! This would be a PERFECT Mother’s Day gift for the special ladies in your life!

 

Surprised by Motherhood - an awesome book by Lisa-Jo Baker

 

Surprised by Motherhood, by Lisa-Jo Baker

 

On Writing, by Stephen King – I read this back in 2013, but decided that it was time for a refresher. I loved this book EVEN MORE this second time through it. I am a very new King fan. I’ve never read any of his scary books. I started 11/22/63 a while back, but had to take it back to the library before I got into it, but I think I’m going to give it another try soon! His years of honing his craft, the advice for new writers, and learning more about his life was surprisingly both entertaining and inspiring!

 

On Writing

 

Fooling Houdini, by Alex Stone – I’ve always been curious about magic. I mostly flipped through this book before I had to take it back to the library. I found his explanations pretty interesting, and I’d love to know more about the way our brains see what they want to see when it comes to illusions!

 

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty – I’ve seen this pop up on many to-read lists recently, and it was finally my turn on the library hold list. She had some really crazy stories about working in cremation!

 

I’ll Drink to That, by Betty Halbreich – Shauna Niequest recommended this in a recent blog post, and I was excited to see it available at our library. This lady is the fashion guru to the NYC elite, and she has led a fascinating life.

 

Astonish Me, by Maggie Shiptstead – I always love learning more about the world of ballet. This story jumps around to different dears and lives that all intertwine. There’s a love triangle, drug use, depression, and the Nutcracker. Kinda crazy. I skimmed through the last few chapters, wanting to know how it turned out, but not wanting to read through every single line. I’ve been in the mood for more comedy lately, and this one just wasn’t cutting it.

 

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You, by Jessica N. Turner – This was another great book! I loved reading it at night and thinking about how I can better use the “fringe hours” in my own life as I fell asleep at night. I’ve already recommended it to a friend, and I’m sure that my copy will be out on loan quite a bit!

 

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart about Money, by Ron Lieber – A very different look at teaching kids about money! Loved mulling over different ideas and talking with my Beloved about them. I think this is one we should get for our collection someday. I was sad to take it back to the library!

 

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins – I listened to half of this book while I was on a road trip by myself, and then I finished it while going on walks or doing the dishes after the boys were in bed. It’s in the same family as Gone Girl, but not quite as messed up. If you’re looking for a page-turning thriller, this is a good place to start!

 

The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan – This is the first book I’ve read from Kelly Corrigan. I really enjoyed her Medium Foreword interview series, and I wanted to get to know HER a little better. I’d heard awesome things about this book before, but I had avoided it because it dealt with cancer. Because of how cancer came into our family, I hadn’t wanted to “go there” just yet, but I’m really glad I went ahead and read her story.

 

Help Me, Jesus! I Have Nothing to Wear!: The Go-To Guide for All Shapes and Sizes, by Shari Braendel – A fun look at clothes, fit, and color! This stuff fascinates me. I love the science behind why our bodies are the shape that we are, and why color does or doesn’t work on a certain skin tone. With my olive-ish complexion and a straight up and down shape (complete with a bit of a muffin top), and it can be difficult to find the exact shade or fit for my body. I loved her explanations and ideas on new colors. It is easy for me to get stuck in a rut – but she inspired me to shop my own closet and use things in new ways!

 

 

Reading in April ~

 

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett – I saw my friend Andrea reading this a few weeks ago and it piqued my interest!

 

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood – I can’t believe that I’ve never read Margaret Atwood, but I recently watched her interview with Medium Foreword, and decided that I had to remedy that in April!

 

Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

 

Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan

 

Unfamiliar Fishes, by Sarah Vowell

 

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

 

 

Screen Time ~

 

This month my Beloved and I watched House of Cards, Blacklist, and March Madness! I’m a Kansas Jayhawk fan, so I was pretty disappointed when they were knocked out by our in-state rivals Wichita State University. Humbug.

 

I finally got around to watching Capote. Philip Seymore Hoffman is beyond amazing in it.

 

I tried to watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but I fell asleep. It seemed to interesting that maybe I’ll give it another shot this month when I’m not so tired.

 

On the Blog ~

 

I shared a very personal and painful look at forgiveness

 

Forgiveness

 

 

I shared my very first VLOG with you and asked for your help

 

We talked about what THEY don’t tell you about parenting

 

What They Don't Tell You - Parenting Over the Years

 

 

I shared 7 simple ways to help when a friend is hurting

 

Dear Ginger

 

Gave you a peek into a day in the life of a #BoyMom

 

It takes a lot more than that to scare me - I have boys!

 

 

And had fun designing several #boymom photos! (Click here to see more!)

 

Yes, I do have my hands full... #boymom

 

If I step on one more LEGO, so help me... #boymom

 

Put your weapons down and eat your breakfast! #boymom

 

No, Mommy doesn't have one of those... #boymom

 

 

What About YOU?

 

I’d love to know what you’ve been up to this month! Have you read any good books? Watched a must-see movie? I’d love to hear all about it!

You can find me here, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! I’d love to connect with you!

 

Wishing you an exquisite month of April!

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ February 2015 Edition

What I'm Into February 2015 Edition

It’s that time again! Time to link up with the lovely Leigh Kramer and dish about books, movies, and so much more of what we’ve been into in February!

 

What I’ve Been Into ~

Time with friends.

A friend and I went to see Nadia Bolz-Weber speak at Bethanny College this month!

I also had coffee with a treasured friend recently, and came away with my heart so encouraged.

And I enjoyed a monthly dinner with a group of women that have become such gifts in my life. We are memorizing the first chapter of James together as a group – and check out the cute bookmarks our friend Ashley made to help us during the month!

Bible Verses

 

Copper mugs.

My Beloved gave me a beautiful set of copper mugs for Valentine’s Day. Copper. It’s my love language. And so are Girl Scout cookies.

copper mug

 

Taking better care of myself.

I came up with a list of 101 ways to take a little time for ourselves – and each week I am focusing on 5 simple and free (or nearly free) ways that I can do just that. It’s helping me in so many ways!

Click on the photo to receive YOUR free copy!

 

101 Ways

 

Counting my blessings.

I recently began writing down or taking pictures of three things I am grateful for throughout the day. I love my little Gratefulness journal from my friend in Zambia!

African journal

 

What I’ve Been Reading ~

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott – Perfection. Enough said.

Books that Stick ~ Bird by Bird

 

The Ship of Brides, by Jojo Moyes – I’ll be finishing this one up over the weekend. I didn’t know much about the war brides from Australia in WWII before reading this story. Me Before You is still my favorite book by Jojo Moyes, but I still enjoyed this one!

 

Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs – My Beloved and I have been reading this aloud to each other, and it has been so helpful to understand how each of us perceives love from one another!

 

Shoal of Time, by Gavan Daws – I’ve learned way more about Hawaiian history than I ever thought possible. The stories and the legends about these beautiful islands are captivating.

 

The Betrayal of Liliuokalani: Last Queen of Hawaii, by Helena Allen – Queen Liliuokalani has become one of my heroes. She led a fascinating life, and I wish that more people knew about this incredible lady!

 

An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, by Barbara Brown Taylor – This was my first Barbara Brown Taylor book, and I enjoyed the reverent and intentional look at faith as I read it each morning during my quiet time.

 

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, by Neil Patrick Harris – I’ve been a fan of NPH for a long time, and his “choose your own adventure” approach to writing his memoir was refreshing and so entertaining!

 

Reading in March ~

Surprised by Motherhood, by Lisa-Jo Baker – This one has been on my radar for quite a while. I put out a plea on Facebook to see if any local friends had it to borrow, and people ended up suspecting that I was pregnant! Yikes!

 

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood – I can’t believe that I’ve never read Margaret Atwood, but I recently watched her interview with Medium Foreword, and decided that I had to remedy that in March!

 

On Writing, by Stephen King – I read this back in 2013, but decided that it was time for a refresher. I am continuing my quest to do my “homework” each month and read/learn more about writing.

 

Fooling Houdini, by Alex Stone – I’ve always been curious about magic, and this book is supposed to reveal how we see/don’t see the tricks they are doing right under our nose.

 

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett – I saw my friend Andrea reading this a few weeks ago and it piqued my interest!

 

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty – I’ve seen this pop up on many to-read lists recently, and it was finally my turn on the library hold list!

 

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett – Another story that has been on my radar for a while…

 

I’ll Drink to That, by Betty Halbreich – Shauna Niequest recommended this in a recent blog post, and I was excited to see it available at our library!

 

Screen Time ~

My Beloved and I watched the latest installment of The Hobbit (which I thought was so-so), The Imitation Game (Excellent!), and The Theory of Everything (Fantastic!).

We watched the Parks & Rec finale last night. *sniff*  I fell asleep for a few minutes and missed Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe, so I’ll be going back to watch that part!

Anybody else excited for the return of House of Cards this weekend?!

I mentioned earlier that I discovered Kelly Corrigan’s interview series Medium Foreword last week, and I quickly went through the few videos they have so far: B.J. Novak, Margaret Atwood, Jason Segel, Mary Roach, and Anne Lamott. I read somewhere that an interview with Nicholas Kristof is coming up soon. That should be good!

 

What About You? ~

What have you been into this month? Read any good books? Watched a must-see movie? Anything I should check out on Netflix once we’ve devoured all of the new House of Cards season? I’d love to hear all about it!

 

Wishing you an exquisite month of March,

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ December 2014 Edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the month! Today I am once again joining Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into link-up! Heat up a cup of cocoa, grab a fuzzy blanket, and be sure to check out the other awesome links on her blog! It’s my favorite place to discover new books, movies, and blogs!

 

Aloha!

 

Hawaii 1

 

My biggest news from December is that my Beloved and I finally went on our honeymoon! We’ve been married for over for years, but this was our time to relax, recharge, and let the stress of the last several years melt away in Hawaii!

 

DSC_0009

 

 Here on the blog ~

 

My Beloved and I worked around the clock in the days before our trip to change up some behind-the-scenes things on the blog and fix the issues that came up. I redesigned the look of our space here, and I hope you like it! A big thank you to my friend NZ Portraits by Joanne for taking new photos for me!

 

Fashion ~

 

I spent most of our time in Hawaii dressed in shorts and flip-flops before heading back to cold and damp Kansas. It was heavenly while it lasted!

While we were there, I found a few souvenirs ~

Earrings made from real Hawaiian orchid petals…

 

Orchid flower earrings

 

And another pair made from sea glass that washed up on the shores of Hilo…

 

Sea Glass earrings

 

The only perk to living in cold weather is getting to wear boots – and I spent my Christmas money on these funky numbers this week! Gotta love clearance sales!

 

New boots

 

My friend Katie started a non-profit group that focuses on helping families in Haiti – Future Hope. They are giving Haitians an opportunity to earn a fair wage while making beautiful artisan handiworks! I am excited to spread the word of what they are doing in Haiti, and I so excited about the bracelets that I bought to support the work they are doing!

Psssst… Look for a giveaway coming up soon! *wink, wink*

 

Future Hope

 

Bookworm Time ~

 

This month I actually finished all of the books on my to-read list, and then some! Long plane rides to and from Hawaii helped tremendously!

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from Around my Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg – What a lovely foodie memoir! I loved reading how food and family shaped her life!

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, by Molly Wizenberg – The scrumptious sequel to A Homemade Life! This book will leave you craving gourmet pizza and wanting to visit Seattle!

#GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso – This author is also the founder of Nasty Gal Fashions, and shares how she built her wildly successful eBay business from the very beginning.

Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder – A fun and insightful look at what it takes to write screenplays. I love learning about how movies are created, but I am also hoping to grow as a writer.

 

Save the Cat

 

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr – Wow. Probably the best fictional book I’ve read in 2014. The story of a blind French girl and a German orphan boy… it will leave you breathless. Such a beautiful story!

Unremarried Widow, by Artis Henderson – The memoir of a military wife who lost her husband (a helicopter pilot) in Iraq. This was hard for this Air Force wife read – but Artis wrote her heartbreaking story so beautifully.

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, by Lysa TerKeurst – This book couldn’t have come at a better time. I am a recovering people pleaser, and I have the hardest time saying NO. Lysa’s vulnerable look into her own struggles really helped me to look at my own life differently. I’m planning on looking over my notes and highlighted parts in the book again this week so I can better recall some important parts as I step into the new year.

 

On My Nightstand ~

 

I’m diving into these books in January…

 

January books

 

Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, by Queen Liliuokalani – I became obsessed with learning about Hawaiian history during our honeymoon, and I found this book right before we returned home. Queen Liliuokalani was the only female monarch, and the last Queen before Hawaii was annexed to the United States. She led a fascinating life, and I am devouring the story of her life that she wrote in her own words.

Liliu08

 

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, by Nadia Bolz-Weber – This one has been on my radar for about a year, and I finally remembered to request it from the library!

Plot and Structure, by James Scott Bell – It’s my goal to read one writing book as my “homework” each month. I love learning more about composing and structuring stories – and I hope that it will help my own writing here on the blog!

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen, by Charlie Lovett – I keep seeing this book pop up on must-read lists, and my library had it waiting for me this week!

There are others I want to start reading, if I get through these first – A Prayer for Owen Meany, Found, Hands Free Mama, Essentialism, Fooling Houdini, and more! So many books, so little time…

What have you been reading lately? I’d love to hear all about it!

 

Screen time ~

 

My Beloved and I did our patriotic duty and watched The Interview online recently. It had funny parts, but I felt like I needed to bleach my brain (and ears) after finishing it.

I excitedly watched the Downton Abbey Christmas special – happy sigh – and I started season three of Call the Midwife on Netflix.

The menfolk in my house sat through a Star Wars marathon over Christmas, but I either read or dozed my way through those movies. Zzzzzz.

Because I’ve always loved learning about real people, I’m making a mental list of biographical movies and books that I should experience again/for the first time. Can you help me out? Do you have a favorite biography that I should add to my list?

 

All in the Family ~

 

Right now it’s 4AM and I’m up with one of our sons who is going in for his sleep-deprivation EEG later this morning. He has epilepsy, and this is our check-up to make sure his meds are still keeping his seizures away. This is will be a tiring day – my Beloved stayed up watching superhero movies with him until his prescribed midnight bedtime, while I am taking the eeeeearly morning shift – but we’re hoping for good news at our appointment later today!

My Beloved has settled into our home, and we are loving not having to say goodbye every week! We have had some plans change, disappointments, and good surprises so far, and he’s only been home a month! This transition of becoming “newlyweds” is stretching me and making me grow as a wife, mother, and woman. I am so grateful that we can finally snuggle close at night, knowing that he is safe and that he’s finally home for good.

 

How about you?

I’d love to hear how your month is going! Have you read any good books lately? Watched any must-see TV? Where did you go on your honeymoon? Drop me a line in the comments – You will make my day!

Wishing you a most exquisite January!

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ November 2014 Edition

It’s here! It’s here! The November Edition of What I’m Into is finally here! I love this link-up hosted by the lovely Leigh Kramer! Fix yourself a cup of hot cocoa, curl up in front of the fireplace, and check out the other awesome link-ups this weekend. That’s what I’m doing right now!

Our Little Corner of the World

A little laundry time…

What I'm Into Nov laundry

A little hot tea in my jammies…

What I'm Into Nov pajamas

A little writing here, a little bling there, a little dark polish that’s perfect for fall…

What I'm Into Nov 1

A few science experiments… (Pop Rocks and Sprite)

science experiment

And a whole lot of snuggling…

What I'm Into Nov Snuggles

Between the Pages

What I'm Into Nov As You Wish

As You Wish, by Cary Elwes – Favorite book of the month! I listened to this book with our Audible credit – and I can’t recommend the audio edition of it enough. Cary Elwes, (aka Westley) takes us on the journey to filming the much-beloved classic movie The Princess Bride. I love this audio version – Cary Elwes does incredible accents, and most of the movie cast lent their voices to reading their own memories from this amazing movie! I laughed until I cried during stories about Andre the Giant and Miracle Max! It has pretty clean language. Fair warning – it may have contained the d-word (as my boys call it) once or twice, but my two oldest boys have enjoyed listening to it with me as we cook and clean up in the kitchen, and when we’re in the car running errands. If you loved the movie (I still haven’t read the actual Princess Bride book yet!), I’m betting that you’ll also love As You Wish!

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull – This was a fascinating look into Pixar – the history, the ups and downs, and the things that have made it great! I’m not a boss in business, but it gave me some ideas for cultivating creativity and teamwork in my own family!

Sheltering Rain, by Jojo Moyes – I’m a big Moyes fan, and my friend Jan was nice enough to lend me her copy of this book! It wasn’t my favorite book by this author – that title still goes to Me Before You – but it was still enjoyable.

Yes please

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler –  I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book for years! It was an awesome look into her early life, her work on SNL and Parks and Rec, and laugh-out-loud funny!

Food: A Love Story, by Jim Gaffigan – Looking for more laughs? Check out Jim Gaffigan’s newest book! I listened to this on a road trip, and he kept me in stitches – and made me pretty hungry!

On my Nightstand

I’m about to dive into several books this month:

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, by Molly Wizenberg

#GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso

Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder

What are you reading this month?

Screen Time

My Beloved and I went to see the new Hunger Games movie on opening night with my siblings. The six of us plus a few of their friends really enjoyed the first installment of Mockingjay, and I can’t believe we have to wait a full year before we get to see the second half! Mockingjay was my least favorite book in the trilogy, but I was pretty impressed with the movie. Go figure!

We also saw Jon Stewart’s directorial debut – Rosewater.  Wow. The true story of a journalist who was imprisoned and tortured while covering the 2009 elections in Iran. We were the only two people in the theatre, which was pretty sad considering this is still going on all over the world.

Interstellar – Whoa. Buckle your seat belts, folks. This movie is a wild ride! I can’t tell you more than that – but it left me wanting to see it again!

Top Gear and Top Gear US are huge favorites in our house full of men. Joe and our boys have been watching past episodes whenever they get the chance – and I enjoy watching it, too!

And we’re still catching up on this season of Homeland. Let me just say this – If the Taliban lays one finger on Inigo Montoya (Saul), so help me, I’m never watching it again!

On the Blog

Once upon a time

I shared how forever can finally begin!

Chapter 12 ~ My New Friend

My New Friend ~ Chapter 12 of Our Story

Chapter 13

She Began to Twirl Once More ~ Chapter 13 of Our Story

Building Your Nest Together - Williams Sonoma

What I wish I’d known all those years ago about registering for my wedding! Don’t make the same mistakes I did!

Coming Up

We’re going on our honeymoon! After being married for four years, we will finally get away together, relax, recharge, and celebrate the wild roller coaster of our life together so far! Hawaii, here we come!

How about you?

What have you been into this past month? Have you read any good books? Seen any must-watch movies? What shows are you watching these days?

I’d love to hear all about it!

Have you signed up to have my new posts delivered straight to your inbox yet? Just go to the Subscribe Now section to the right – and you won’t miss a thing! It’s as easy as that – and nothing makes me happier! Don’t forget – you can also find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, & Twitter!

Until next time,

*Hugs*

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What I’m Into ~ October 2014

What I'm Into - Trying New Things October 2014

I’m so excited to be back and linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer again this month! Her WHAT I’M INTO link-up is a highlight of my month! Pour yourself a steaming cup of apple cider, curl up with a blanket, and check out the other awesome links! I know I will!

He’s home!!!

My Beloved finally came home! Deployment is over! My friend Katie told me recently that I’ve been glowing since he returned! I went to meet him at the airpot. My eyes began to overflow with emotion as he walked toward me at the baggage claim. The instant that he put his arms around me, I felt the weight of the world being lifted off my shoulders. I cried as the realization set in – He was home safe and sound. The months of fear, stress, being alone, and trying to be tough were finally over. It was so good to be at home again in his arms…and I melted. *Happiest of happy sighs*

We came home and pretty much hibernated for the next two weeks before he had to go back to work. We did school with the boys, went on family outings, cooked, played, and watched movies together – soaking in the feeling that our family was finally complete!

Daddy Joe's Bedtime Story

Joe also began a new project – designing and building a new TV stand for our living room! We decided to go with a clean, almost mid-century look. I think it will mesh beautifully in our living room once it’s finished!

Joe's TV Stand Plans

Joe's TV Stand - Wooden cuts

He went back to work after his two weeks home with us… but the exciting news is that his time in the Air Force is coming to an end! He’ll be moving home very soon – and we will finally get to begin the new phase in our life together! *Happy Snoopy Dance!*

New ‘do ~

It was one year ago that I made a big change. My Beloved was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2014. Caring for those touched by cancer became close to my heart, so I cut off twelve inches of my hair and donated it to Children With Hair Loss. I loved my long hair – but I honestly wasn’t sad to see it go. I knew that it was going to a little girl who needed it so much more than I do, and I haven’t regretted it since!

A Year of Trying New Things

I decided to bring a little color into my life recently. I’ve never really dyed my hair, but I’ve always wanted just a little color peeking through my dark mane. I went to my hair magician last week, and I couldn’t be happier! A little chop-chopping, straightening, and color will make a girl feel like a brand new woman!

Can you spot my little wild streak of color? It’s temporary – only lasting through a few washes – but I love it so much that I might take the plunge and do something a little stronger!

New Hair

Pucker up ~

My beautiful friend Heather and I went to Sephora last week! It was her first trip to that heavenly place – and we were on a mission. She was looking for lipstick and ended up with the lovely NARS shade “Charlotte”. I hadn’t planned on buying anything, but you know how it is when you walk into Sephora… it’s nearly impossible to not by something. And, boy, did I strike gold!

Do me a favor, and head to your nearest Sephora. When you get there, try Marc Jacobs Lust for Lacquer lipgloss. It’s infused with champagne grapes – and it tingles your lips with an awesomely cool feeling! Just try it and let me know what you think!

Here we are with our new kissable lips!

Heather and Ginger

Between the pages ~

While I was so busy snuggling with my Beloved that I actually didn’t get much reading accomplished this past month, but here’s what I have been reading lately:

Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change Your World, by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand  – An inspiring and challenging read for all women!

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful, by Myquillyn Smith – Filled with beautiful pictures, practical advice, and engaging stories from a favorite blogger, it encourages us to bloom where we’re planted! LOVED!

A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn – The sequel to my favorite book from last year, Half the Sky, that tells the stories of amazing people all over the world who are making a difference!

Magic Treehouse #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark, by Mary Pope Osborne – Quinn has been reading this out loud to me in the afternoons after school. His reading is improving every day! I have loved revisiting this series with each boy around this age! So fun!

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenixby J.K. Rowling – Aiden and I are reading this together at bedtime. He laughs at my Dumbledore accent, and I love experiencing this story for the first time with him!

On my nightstand ~

My lovely friend Jan, (and fellow Jojo Moyes fan), lent me her copy of Sheltering Rain. I think it’s one of the few Moyes books that I haven’t read so far, and I’m excited to get lost in another one of her stories! Her writing allows us to see many sides of the story. I may not always like the decisions her characters choose – but she always makes me think!

This week I was thrilled to see Amy Poehler’s new book, Yes Please, arrive on my doorstep! I’ve been a fan of Poehler’s since her SNL days, and I have been excited to dive in to her memoir!

If you need me over the next few days, you’ll find me curled up with my nose in one of these books!

Yes please

Screen time ~

Since he’s been home, my Beloved and I have been catching up on episodes of The Blacklist, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, New Girl, and The Big Bang Theory. I started watching the first season of The Good Wife recently. Whoa. I think I’m hooked!

I’ve also been keeping up with Downton from across the pond. Shhhhh…I don’t want to give anything away. I’ve loved this season so far, and I can’t wait to see where these stories lead!

Swing dancing ~

We also went for our very first swing dancing lesson! Joe and I tagged along with friends, and we learned the basics of the Jitterbug. SO MUCH FUN!!! I can’t wait to go back! I’ve always had two left feet, but maybe I’ll actually learn how to dance after all!

On the blog ~

I shared my struggle with finding ways to show love to my ex-husband, and I received so many kind and encouraging responses from you! I can’t tell you what that means to me!

Mommy, Do You Still Love Daddy?

I also answered more of your questions in the DEAR GINGER series:

Dear Ginger

~ 10 Ways Counseling Changed My Life…

~ Why Homeschooling?

~ My Husband is Having an Affair…

 We also had some wonderful IN HER SHOES guest posts:

(Click on the photos to read the post…)

In Her Shoes ~ Just Breathe

In Her Shoes ~ I am the Kitchen Sink

In Her Shoes ~ 7 Things I Didn't Know About Entreprenuership

What about you? ~

What have you been into this month? Seen any great movies? Found any books I should add to my GoodReads list? I’d love to hear all about it!

Wishing you a lovely November!

*Hugs*

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What I’m Into ~ June 2014 Edition

What I'm Into ~ June 2014 Edition

I’m sorry for being a little late with my What I’m Into post! I’ve been keeping busy with, well… what I’ve been into this month! As always, I’m linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer and sharing a quick review of the month of June. Be sure to check out the other links in this series – it’s always my favorite part of the blogging month!

 Deployment Project #1 – Removing Wallpaper

Much of what I’ve been into this month has revolved around deployment projects. I am trying to keep my mind and hands busy while my Beloved is away this summer. The first big project on my list was removing the gray striped wallpaper in our master bathroom! We have been wanting to tear it off the walls since the day we moved in – so this was an easy pick for my first big project.

Removing wallpaper - justoneoftheboys.com

Our steamer made easy work of removing the striped paper. Even Aiden wanted in on the action. He was a big help!

My wallpaper removing helper! - justoneoftheboys.com

In the end, I settled on Benjamin Moore’s Dark Pewter – and I L-O-V-E it! The darkest gray with a hint of blue and green…mwah! It needs a few touch ups, but this is the view that I woke up to this morning. I believe that our new bathroom and I will get along beautifully. I can’t wait to show you more – stay tuned for a full reveal!

Dark Pewter ~ justoneoftheboys.com

Time with Friends ~

This month my beautiful Kiwi friend Joanne came to visit – and even had me color her hair. Yikes! She didn’t turn out bald, and she’s still speaking to me – so I’d say it was a success! I also went out to sushi, saw a Shakespeare in the Park play, and saw The Fault in Our Stars with my sister and friends. I soaked up this girl time like a sponge!

Joanne and Ginger 2

I’ve had wonderful messages from friends and family telling me that they’re thinking of me, praying for Joe, and letting me know that I am loved – and that has meant the world to me! Thank you so much!

Deployment Project # – Get Healthy!

Exercise, staying hydrated, and clean eating have been big priorities for me this month! I get up early most mornings and attack the day by doing AKT in Motion 10 minute workouts. Streaming them on my laptop in my living room, I start off with Anna Kaiser’s fun dance cardio workout, then work on my arms, and then I finish by working on my abs. By the end of the 30 minutes, I am drenched in sweat – but it feels so good!

Week #20 b

Anna Kaiser Technique

The boys and I are keeping up with our running most days. We don’t run far, but it sure is nice to be working through the miles once more!

Running

The combination of AKT workouts, running, and clean eating is making me see changes in my body. My shoulders have more definition, my waist is slimming, and I am feeling so much stronger.

Workout softened

Currently Reading ~

Love Does, by Bob Goff ~ I am loving my morning quiet time book…

Love Does, by Bob Goff ~ justoneoftheboys.com

Top Secret Twenty-One, by Janet Evanovich ~ I look forward to each new Stephanie Plum book, and this year’s release is not disappointing! I’m not quite finished with it, but it has all of the wonderful ingredients for a thrilling ride with everyone’s favorite bounty hunter!

Top Secret Twenty-One, by Janet Evanovich ~ justoneoftheboys.com

On the Blog ~

We have had wonderful In Her Shoes guest posts! I love hearing how this series is touching lives all over the world. A big thank you to each of our guests sharing their exquisite stories with us! Be sure to check them out by clicking on the photos…

In Her Shoes ~ The Broken Shoes

 

In Her Shoes ~ The Invisible Battles

In Her Shoes ~ Finding Joy in Motherhood

In Her Shoes ~ Suffering in Silence - justoneoftheboys.com

I also shared a behind the scenes look into how & why I write, and a peek into what I’m working on…

Behind the Scenes ~ My Writing Process

That about wraps it up in my little corner of the world… I need to go do a little paint touch up before I head to bed. Thank you so much for visiting me today!

I’d love to know what you’ve been into this month! What are you reading? Have you seen any good movies lately? How are you keeping busy this summer? I’d love to hear all about it! I love to make new Facebook buddies! You can also find me on Instagram & Pinterest. Won’t you be my neighbor? 🙂

Wishing you a fabulous July…

*hugs*

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What I’m Into ~ March 2014 Edition

What I'm Into - March 2014 Edition

Is it really that time again? It’s time to look back at the month of March and link up with the lovely Leigh Kramer as we chat about what we’ve been into over the last month!

Family ~

If I sound a little loopy this month, it’s because I have a back spasm that feels like I’m going through back labor all over again. My doctor gave me a shot on Friday, and I’m taking a muscle relaxer that has me feeling pretty sleepy – but hopefully I’ll be back on my feet in no time!

Couch

We celebrated Pi Day by making a strawberry-rhubarb pie! I let the boys take over, and they did a fabulous job on the yummy treat! Quinn and I even worked on a gluten-free mini pie just for him. Happiness all around!

In other news – I’m going to a ball! My Beloved asked me last week if I’d like to attend the Air Force ball with him in April. I’m usually being dramatic when I say that I have nothing to wear, but this time it’s for real! I’ve been window shopping online, tossed around a few ideas, and finally ordered a dress. I’m hoping that it gets here soon, so I can go out and shop on my own if it doesn’t fit. *fingers crossed*

dresses

Fashion ~

Speaking of clothes, we have had all sorts of weather this month. One day it was so chilly that I broke out one of my warmest Russian shawls…

Russian Scarf

And another was so warm that I could dig out my ruby slipper TOMS…

Red Sparkly Toms and Animal Print

Last month’s books ~

I reviewed a few of these in my Twitterature post. March was a great reading month!

Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka – Raw, sweeping, and hauntingly beautiful. I can’t rave enough about this book. This story is like nothing else that I have ever read. The voice of the story is so different, and it’s opening up doors of creativity and storytelling ideas that I had never known possible. Please do yourself a favor and read this book soon!

Twitterature2

Undaunted, by Christine Caine – Wow. Christine Cain’s story is heartbreaking, yet she allowed God to use the horrible things that happened in her life to touch many others! Inspiring and convicting at the same time, it left me realizing that even though I am delivered from my past – true freedom comes when you help others to be delivered and free as well. This book once again put human trafficking on my heart. I don’t know exactly where my journey will lead, but I’m ready to take those steps.

Operating Instructions, by Anne Lamott – She is the pioneer for all mommy bloggers, telling it like it is, this messy business of parenting. In classic Anne Lamott style, she had me in tears on one page, and giggles on the next. I kept nodding and remembering as I read about those first sleep-deprived months of motherhood.

Anne Lamott quote

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion – In a nutshell, this book is adorable! I kept hearing Sheldon Cooper’s voice as I read it on my Kindle. It has some language, but the story of his “wife project” left me wanting more. I hope that the author revisits their lives at some point with a sequel!

My Sergei, by Ekaterina Gordeeva – Katya Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov were my very favorite figure skaters when I was growing up. I remember reading the news of Sergei’s death when I was a teenager. Watching the Olympics made me want to re-read this love story – and I’m so glad that I revisited it.

Twitterature

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, by Gary Vaynerchuk – This was my very first Gary V book. I thought his take on social media was pretty interesting. This newbie has so much to learn, and I found that his examples of the good, bad, and ugly of social media were helpful. Social media still intimidates me, but now that I’m starting to learn the ins and outs, maybe it won’t be such a scary place anymore.

Sun Shine Down, by Gillian Marchenko – I read this book this weekend in one sitting. Such a touching memoir of a mother finding out that her baby has Downs Syndrome while living in Kiev, Ukraine. I had first heard of Gillian Marchenko when she wrote a guest post on Addie Zierman’s blog, and I have been following her ever since. The story is the unveiled look at having a baby with special needs, but it also felt like I was sitting across from an old friend and sharing life stories over a cup of chai (Russian tea). To me, that’s the sign of a good memoir!

Sun Shine Down

 

Reading in April ~

~ To Be a Friend is Fatal, by Kirk W. Johnson – This one comes recommended by Leigh Kramer!

~ What Matters in Jane Austen, by John Mullen – I saw the title of this book either during last month’s What I’m Into or Twitterature link-ups, and I knew that I had to read it!

~ Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell – I keep hearing about this book, and after being on hold for it at the library for FOREVER, it’s finally here!

~ Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery – As I mentioned last month, I want to focus on re-reading favorite books throughout the year. This month, I’ve chosen to revisit everyone’s favorite “Anne-Girl.”

Screen Time ~

My Beloved and I kept hearing about this little show called House of Cards. Similar to Breaking Bad, we thought we’d watch “just one episode to see what all the fuss is about.” Two weeks later, we had binged watched the entire series.

I got caught up on Mad Men, so I’m ready for the season premier this month!

I’m currently using what little down time I have to watch the Veronica Mars series again. I loved it when it was on television, and I want to re-watch all of the episodes before I see the movie. I’ve heard from friends who loved the movie, and I can’t wait to see where the Neptune gang ends up at their 10 year reunion!

Blogging ~

We are continuing our Healthier, Happier You series – and I recently turned it into a link-up! I’d love to have you join us!

Last week I shared with you some of my favorite things this spring, and announced an awesome giveaway that you won’t want to miss! The drawing ends on Wednesday night (April 2nd), so click here to enter!

Giveaway! Win a SIGNED copy of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, fabulous earrings from One Little Momma, and more!

I also shared with you the story of a special celebration in our family

Dear Jesus, thank you for today.

Please help my daddy to stop drinking.

I love you, Lord. Amen.

Dear Jesus ~ A little girl's prayer for her daddy is answered.

We’ve also had more wonderful In Her Shoes guest posts during the month of March! We heard about a homeschooling mom, an American attorney living in Zambia, a missionary in Peru, and the strength of a mother’s love. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy learning about the lives of these women, their beautiful stories, and what it is like to walk in their shoes! Stay tuned for more inspiring stories in April!

That about wraps up the month of March in my little corner of the world. I’m so happy that you stopped by today! I would love to keep in touch. You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. We can also be book buddies on GoodReads.

We have more great stuff lined up this month, and you can get my posts by email – just by going to the Subscribe button on the side. It’s easy peasy!

What were you into last month? I’d love to hear all about it!

I hope that you have a lovely April!

Love,

~ G

 

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I’m Ginger ~
I'm a wife to my Beloved, mom of three boys, bookworm, survivor of a broken heart, and Kansas Girl. It is my desire to encourage you. No matter what storm you're going through right now, you are not alone. I promise.
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MY GIFT TO YOU!