How I Spend My Me-Time (Tag, You’re IT!)

Me TimeToday I read a blog post–about a blog post–about me-time. Both posts invite readers to play along with a me-time questionnaire, so I’ve decided to give it a go myself!

What do you watch or read during me-time?
I tend to read a lot of articles online. I mean, a LOT. I also really enjoying reading blogs, crafty books and magazines, cookbooks and cooking magazines, and of course, BOOKS! As I mentioned before, right now I’m reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage.

What do you wear during me-time?
I could probably live in leggings. Or shorts over leggings. In the wintertime, fleece leggings.
IMG_1560Otherwise I love wearing running shorts and tank tops, hoodies, etc., and I’ve almost always got my red snuggie on when I’m lounging around the house. Oh yes! And I am rarely without slippers!
What are your me-time beauty products?
I actually don’t tend to go wild with beauty products during me-time. Once in a while I will use a face mask, like Garnier’s Skin Care Renew, or paint my toenails. I used to love the face masks in Japan–you could find tons of really inexpensive ones that worked really well and were really fun. I’ll keep you posted on some of my favorites when we get settled in next month!
Current favorite nail polish?
Unfortunately I’m not allowed to wear fingernail polish at work, but I loved this Sally Hansen Hot Tamale color in the summer, and I like this snowflake-like Blue Marks the Spot in the winter for my toesies.
What do you eat/drink during me-time?
It’s hard to really nail down a specific food for my me-time, but one of my favorite pastimes is exploring the worlds of chocolates, pastries and sweet breads.
If you know me at all, you must be able to guess that my beverage consumption tends to be almost on a daily routine: coffee in the morning, water throughout the day, and beer and/or tea at night. Favorite coffee at the moment? Probably Starbucks Christmas Blend. My favorite, favorite (favorite!) beer is Ranger from New Belgium Brewing Company. And my favorite tea? Tazo Refresh Mint or Henry & Sons Sencha.

Usually any moment I get to drink or eat anything counts as me-time, because eating and drinking are two of my favorite things.

This is my favorite tea cup

Current favorite candle?
I love Bath & Body Works “Party Dress” scent (currently unavailable through their site, but you can find it on amazon!). Not only does it smell really nice, but it reminds me of when one of my best friends visited me from Japan last year (I bought it when we were shopping together!).
Do you ever have outdoor me-time?
Definitely! In the summer I love riding bike around town–especially to the library, little shops and the beach. I also enjoy running and going for walks in the summer. In the winter I go for a lot of walks (I have to, as a matter of fact, because my car was totaled about a month and a half ago. Luckily I live close to work!). I really enjoy listening to podcasts when I’m running or walking. My favorites are Dinner Party Download and Radiolab.
Would you ever go see a movie alone?
I’ve considered it, but if I were to see a movie by myself I think I’d rather just watch it at home (with my kitty cats and my snuggie).
Favorite online shop?
I don’t really do too much online shopping, but if I do I suppose it’s from amazon, and I usually order books.
What else do you do during me-time?
I do a lot of baking, cooking, writing and crafting (drawing, wood burning, painting, art journaling etc.) during my me-time.
IMG_1568I made these easy Mexican Wedding cookies yesterday and they were dangerously addicting!
I almost always am listening to music, too. I really like classical guitar music for me-time, especially when the weather is rainy. I also enjoy yoga when I’m not distracted by the million other things I want to do (I like Jillian Michael’s Yoga Meltdown). Oh yeah, and going to cafes and bookstores. And art stores. Annnnnnnnd, I think I have way too many hobbies!
Okay, TAG! It’s your turn to tell me about your me-time 🙂

A Nice Distraction


Click the picture for a larger image

Spent a lot of time doing some art journaling today. Kind of in a bummer of a mood, but drawing, painting, gluing, coloring… all of those things served as a nice distraction.


The words in  the background are lyrics I pulled from a pretty song I heard the other day called “Broken” by Lauren Hoffman.

In kind of a funk today, but I know everything will be alright. See you here tomorrow.


The long year is over



When I think of the last year, I want to listen to The Long Day is Over by Norah Jones, but change the lyrics to “The Long Year is Over.” It’s such a pretty song, and I feel like the melody captures the way it feels after nearly giving up before finding some hope to go on. To be honest, 2013 was probably the hardest year of my life, for a lot of different reasons. I can look back throughout the entire year and remember so many struggles, and yet–I made it through. I know that a New Year is sort of just a symbol, but I am going to embrace it as a force for change and be positive about a much better year ahead. I’m excited to get back into blogging more regularly, and to being creative again. I’m excited for a fresh start and any new changes ahead. And I’ve had a lot of conversations with incredibly supportive people that have encouraged me and helped me believe: everything will be alright.

To celebrate the New Year, I made acorn squash, marinated steak, broccoli and Italian toast for dinner on New Year’s Eve!



I want to swim in that butter and brown sugar.

Then, Chad and I watched movies until it was time for the ball to drop. Just before, we shared a little cake, and then we got champagne ready for toasting.



It was a nice, much-needed relaxing night at home (as well as a fresh start!). Tonight I’ll be working on the Unravelling the Year Ahead Workbook, and then I’ll be going to bed early because I’ve got to work in the morning. How did you ring in the new year?

Friday Five

Friday Five: Songs I’ve Been Loving

Lately I’ve been listening to some songs over and over and over and…well, you get the idea. Here are 5 I’ve really been loving:

5. Ghosts – The Head and the Heart

4. Exit Music for a Film – Radiohead

3. I Hope Tomorrow Is Like Today – Guster

2. Daredevil – Fiona Apple

1. Home – ZZ Ward

What songs have you been enjoying lately?


That’s why we got here late!

The morning of our anniversary was really good–Chad got hired for a part-time job, I got most of his scrapbook present finished (even though he came home and caught me working on it unexpectedly!) and I managed to get him a toolbox full of shiny tools while he was interviewing (bringing it home on my bike, no less!). Also, Chad gave me a lovely ice tea maker, a chocolate chip cookie, and a gift certificate to a Paper Goods store! The afternoon, however, became an entire other story.

From the time we left home, everything seemed to be going wrong. As I mentioned before, we bought tickets to see Guster alongside Ben Folds Five and the Bare Naked Ladies, and the concert was in Detroit at the DTE Energy Theater. After a few minor complications running errands before leaving, we then had trouble with the directions going to the hotel. Then, we had worse trouble with directions from the hotel to the Theater! We wished in vain for working iPhones or a GPS as time ticked away and not a single gas station attendant seemed to know where to direct us!

Finally, we arrived at the concert about an hour late, finding out Guster only had about 4 or 5 songs left in their set. This obviously bummed us out, but on the bright side, we had really nice lawn seats, the sun was shining, and we were looking forward to Ben Fold Five at the very least.


As we were waiting for Ben Folds Five to come on, a younger couple approached us and asked if we’d like two extra tickets they had for seats in the 19th row. They said the guy’s dad’s company often got free tickets to shows, and that two of their friends bailed on them. We were really excited! I told them it was our anniversary, they said they were glad they chose us, and I told Chad, “That’s why we got here late!”

20130720-102710.jpgWe took this shot right before the couple approached.

As we watched Ben Folds Five, I felt so happy. The couple leaned over to tell us that the tickets were VIP and that we could get drinks without waiting in line. I thought about how the day was going to turn out after all, and about how people really are nice sometimes! To be honest, by that point I had been getting exhausted with trying to stay positive, but now I felt like it had all been worth it.

Just as Ben Folds Five finished, they leaned over and asked us, “So, are you guys going to get drinks?” Chad and I looked at each other and then back at them. Chad said, “Uh, I guess so.” The girl replied quickly, “Oh, cool, can you get us some?”

I asked, “What do you want?”

“Oh, anything,” she said.

“Well, do you want beer?”

“Yeah, beer, anything!”

“What kind of beer?”

“Any kind is fine!”

She handed us a twenty and we walked a few feet away. I looked at Chad and said, “What a bummer. They’re totally not old enough, are they.”

Chad agreed, and decided we should go back and say we were leaving and that they could have their tickets back. I was so angry! I had been sitting and thinking of their kindness, only to find out they were using us to buy alcohol. We proceeded to sit in a different area on the lawn that was wet with a terrible view, watched a few horrible Bare Naked Ladies songs, and then left, getting lost on our way back to the hotel again. When we finally did get back to the hotel–putting a cherry on top of everything–there was no running hot water! A maintenance guy came to fix it, and when he finally left, we passed out from exhaustion and a bit of disappointment.

The next day we woke up and took our time before leaving the hotel, going to Trader Joe’s, and meeting a good friend for lunch. We felt better after sleep, and got home without any issues. As we rode home, we both talked about how much better things were going, and we remembered how on our wedding night five years ago we had initially gone to the wrong hotel and had troubles, too. Hopefully that’s not a sign of how every 5 years from now will be, but at least the entire time in between will be filled with an awesome marriage. It’s true that I was discouraged by the evening events on our anniversary, but at the end of the day I still felt glad that at the very least, we went through it together! And compared to a lot of other challenges we’ve faced, that was a piece of cake.

As I’ve written before, no matter what challenges we’ve faced, what kind of day we’ve had or kind of mood we’re in, every day I’m grateful to be married to my best friend. I never have to worry about sounding stupid or about messing up, and I never have to worry about needing someone to talk to because I always have him. He accepts me as I am, but always inspires me to do more, try harder and be better. When we got married, I thought I knew him, yet 5 years later, I feel like I know him like he’s almost an extension of myself! I can’t wait to experience how much closer we grow over the next 5, 15, 25, 55, years and more (even if that means occasionally getting lost and missing a show!).

Happy 5th anniversary (on July 12th), to my sweetheart Chad.

Projects · Seen/Heard/Tried

Some things I’ve been enjoying lately…

1. Couscous! Especially in this Salmon over Couscous recipe–it was fabulous!


2. Trader Joe’s Graham Crackers. These are soooo yummy. My mother-in-law suggested making S’mores out of them sometime, which is a very dangerously delicious idea…

20130713-215204.jpg(Please excuse the crappy photo–it’s hard to have patience for good picture-taking when a delicious graham cracker is in your mouth.)

3. …and an idea that reminds me of something else I’ve been enjoying lately: bonfires! Last weekend we made S’mores during our bonfire get-together, too (sans Trader Joe’s Grahams, though!).

20130713-215146.jpg(Making S’mores & having bonfires were both on my Summer Fun Bucket List!)

4. I have also been obsessed with “Just Give Me a Reason” by P!nk featuring Nate Ruess. I just love watching Ruess (though the video primarily consists of P!nk rolling around on a mattress or making out with some random guy). I also love duets and guys who can sing well, which led me into looking up Ruess (like a creeper). I love this quote from an interview he did:

“I’m not one to take lessons, so I decided that the only way I was going to learn how to sing, if what they were saying was true, was to go in my car and put on any sort of music from a vocalist that might be really hard to mimic, turn it on as loud as possible and try to hit all those notes.” (source)

I think Fun would be super awesome to see in concert, and “Just Give Me a Reason” was about the only song I wanted to hear on our way to Detroit to a Guster/Ben Folds Five/Bare Naked Ladies concert.

5. Which reminds me, have you ever heard the song, “Erase Me” by Ben Folds Five? That was really fun to see in concert. We went to see them for our 5 year wedding anniversary! More on that adventure later…

6. But one thing I do want to point out about our anniversary is that I made a scrapbook for Chad of the last five years we’ve been married and all of the adventures we’ve had together (like traveling to 10 different countries including the US and Japan!). I’ve really enjoyed getting back into the craft of scrapbooking, especially since I find it can be really close to art journaling, which I also love.

20130713-215221.jpg(Chad got me a delicious chocolate cookie from the bakery and I was eating part of it while making his scrapbook–who said all work and no cookies!?)

What are some things you’ve been enjoying lately?


It’s a good excuse that I love to use…

So many people are holiday haters, and start ranting about materialism and about how holidays are arbitrary as soon as one approaches. I was on my way to the station this morning when a song by Kina Grannis came on (I mentioned her beautiful version of Sound of Silence last week). The song was called “Valentine,” and it really summed up my feeling about that holiday–and all holidays, really.

There is a line that says, “It’s a good excuse that I love to use, baby I know what to do: I will love you, I’ll love you, I’ll love you.” She also talks about not needing “those things,” and I totally agree. I don’t need an excuse to go crazy loving my husband (I always do, anyway!), and I never need an excuse to celebrate! But I love all holidays, theme parties, normal parties…any reason to get together. I embrace every moment we have to share joy, whether through a Valentine song, a dinner, or a quick conversation and a hug. It may sound cheesy, but I truly believe in the cliché of making every moment we have together count.

How do you feel about holidays? Are you looking forward to any gatherings soon?


Heard: “Real Good Hands”

Say what you will about Valentine’s Day, but I love it. I love all holidays, in fact. I get that many of them are company-driven and that many people tend to focus on the more materialistic aspects of the days, but give me a reason to have a party, celebrate, or make an ordinary day extraordinary and I’m definitely game!

On this Valentine’s Day, I’ve been stuffed up and laying around all day trying to get some rest–there is no good timing for being sick, but right now is especially bad timing! Despite it all, I am still planning a little something for my handsome husband (maybe more on that another day?).

Since it is Valentine’s Day, no matter my sniffles and coughs, I’ve been listening to some lovely music to fit the mood. Last weekend I was listening to a segment on NPR’s American Public Media in which Gregory Porter was being interviewed, and I fell in love with his song “Real Good Hands.” In the interview, Porter said how he wanted to show his true intentions to his then-girlfriend’s father, and so he wrote a song about it. I love the way he reaches out to her father by saying her father was once in Porter’s shoes, that he somehow “paid (his) dues.” Such a great song!

I’ve been listening to this song dreamily all day (perhaps that dreamy feeling is sickness-induced?). What are you listening to these days?