Loving Lately

Watching
I finally finished season one of The Crown, and I’m officially hooked! This show gives a fascinating peek into the human lives behind England’s centuries-long monarch institution. When Queen Elizabeth inherits the throne at age 25, I don’t think anyone would ever quite understand what a burden this was for her. While her position as “the crown,” is meant to represent God, consult with the government and preside over the Church of England, she’s also faced with competing agendas between her husband, sister, mother and the Prime Minister (who is Winston Churchill at the time). It’s amazing that she’s still queen today at the age of 91. If you haven’t seen it already, I think you’ll find yourself just as easily captivated by this series.

Reading
I’ve been completely devouring The Glass Castle, a memoir about Jeannette Wall’s unbelievable childhood. I’m about 1/3 of the way through it, and as each chapter passes I’m astounded by all she experienced with her quirky, unstable family. They moved from town to town, her dad from job to job, while they barely ate and at one point slept in cardboard boxes. She burned herself cooking hot dogs at the age of three, was accidentally thrown out of a moving car, and faced life-threatening school bullies. Each vignette seems more shocking than the last, and I’m waiting to hear of how she finally breaks free. How did she get out on her own, and become a thriving writer with a college degree? This is my idea of a good book.

Eating
After too much indulging for most of December, and then getting the flu the first week of January, I’ve been working to eat much better this past month. I started with trying to get this green smoothie in most mornings. It’s really delicious, and you don’t get an overwhelming taste of kale. I’ve also been trying to take my lunch to work more frequently and these food prep containers have helped so much. I like to take a salad in a separate bowl, with some leftovers and the toppings in these containers. For dinner I really enjoyed these quinoa black bean stuffed peppers. So tasty and they make several servings. What have you been making lately?

Doing
Earlier this month I completed a big freelance project which was such a relief. I hope to share more about that soon. Now that it’s staying light a little later, I’m taking advantage of evening walks at the park near my work, pictured above. I’m also contemplating a bike purchase to use on the trail near my place (really digging this one). On another note, I recently went antique/vintage shopping, and wow I think I’m hooked. I snagged some incredible finds, and am thinking of sharing it all on a post here. Stay tuned!

Summer Highlights

Every time a new season begins, it seems like everyone says “where did the time go?” I would certainly say the same about this summer. I really didn’t have much planned aside from a few weekend trips and outings with friends. As I wrote about in June, these months were spent finding a good balance as I introduced a large freelance project into my schedule.

Just about every other weekend was dedicated to working on the project, so although I didn’t get out and adventure as much, it’s felt great to work toward the goal of completing the work. Aside from this new routine, here are some favorite standout memories.

Just a couple weeks ago, I turned the big #35! How did that happen?! Wasn’t I just 25? At least that’s how it feels. I had a fun weekend of celebrating with various friends and family, and hit up some of my favorite restaurants. One stop was at True Food Kitchen in San Diego during a shopping trip with my mom. Pictured on the top left is the most refreshing drink– made of coconut water, OJ, pineapple juice and honey.

This summer I benefited from my dad’s recent move to a small mountain town, about an hour away from me. He lives right next to a pretty lake and I ventured up there a few times for a small get-away (seen from top and bottom photos on the right). We’ve walked around the lake, rented a row boat, and grilled burgers on his deck. His home is surrounded by trees and silence; basically a little slice of heaven.

Another dreamy locale was the site of a friend’s wedding in Dana Point. She and her husband reserved a public park that perfectly overlooked the water as the ceremony backdrop. The park is located in a neighborhood (shown in second photo on the left, with my friend Jess) and parking was surprisingly a breeze. The reception afterward was held in her parent’s beautiful backyard where they served delicious tacos and cake.

For most of the summer we were blessed with very mild weather, so several evenings a week I would walk my surrounding neighborhood. I love being able to regroup on a walk and enjoy the longer days. Catching a sunset is always the crowning event, and I try to capture them as much as possible (third photo on the left). They always help me take pause, and enjoy the moment I’m in.

And last, I can’t recap this season without highlighting a recipe! Back in July I made this no-bake cheesecake with berries, and it’s very much a crowd pleaser. If you’re looking for one last sweet summery patriotic treat, give this a try. So easy and fun for Labor Day, and you don’t have to fire up the oven. It’s a snap to pull together, and the perfect way to sign off summer until next Memorial Day.

Current Rhythms

rhythms

I’ve found that with each new season certain tweaks are required in order to best use the time you have. As such, this past month I had the incredible opportunity to start some long-term freelance editing for my church. In order to make this happen with my work schedule, I’ve had to adjust some routines to give myself better structure and flexibility.

Adding a large project like this to my plate thankfully hasn’t been overwhelming and it’s made me better evaluate how I spend my time during the week. Here are a few of the rhythms I’m currently adopting so I can meet all my deadlines, avoid burnout and also enjoy these summer months!

First off, to keep my energy level up, I’m finding I have to walk at least every other night. The weather is beautiful in the evening and it’s still light out at 8:30 p.m. This is a hugely helpful way for me to clear my head, think of ideas and generally get refreshed after being inside all day.

On the nights I’m not walking, I try to cook, meet up with a friend, or catch up on to-dos. If I’m cooking, I’ll make something that will last the next two to three days. I’ve found making twice weekly trips to Trader Joes is a lifesaver. I’ll only purchase what I need for the next few days and not worry about planning too far ahead. Less stress and I don’t end up wasting groceries!

The beauty of freelance work is that you can do it anytime, anywhere that your schedule allows. After sitting at a desk all day (which is blessedly next to a large window), it’s pretty nice to sit on the couch or even in bed with a laptop once I’m at home. I was concerned that I would feel too tired at night to keep working, but having the option of lounging in my PJs makes it very doable.

A small, basic shift I’ve made is washing my face in the evening. It’s very simple, but helps me feel like I’m accomplishing something positive (I’m currently loving the Kale Detox from Pacifica). Taking the time to do this makes my skin amazingly fresh in the morning, not worn out and tired. I’m well overdue on this “grown up” habit, after using a make-up removing towelette since college 12+ years ago. Yikes!

Lastly, once a week on my way to work I stop at Starbucks for breakfast. Most mornings I have the same smoothie and oatmeal ritual, but it’s fun to break it up with a $10 treat. I’ll usually get a grande half-caf latte, a yogurt, and a bagel. The vegan sprouted bagel is insanely good! It’s the little things, right?

What about for you? Do you find certain rhythms and routines help your current schedule or season of life?