Somewhere on the cusp of Tuesday night and Wednesday morning after the longest 15 hour drive of my life, including a hellacious thunderstorm bordered by tornadoes to the south of where I was driving, Edie and I rolled up to the driveway of my folks’ house in the Swedish Meatball. Three weeks into a six – seven week road trip was cut short by my sobering realization I could not maintain the focus I needed on my final round of edits of my dissertation for my committee to approve and allow me to move on to my defense.

As much as I hate having to miss my niece’s first dance recital and one on one time with my best friend, most definitely not something to enjoy, this was a hard, but right, decision to make. I’ll look forward to getting to Connecticut later in the summer, and then maybe the water will even be warm enough for a swim! Amidst some disappointments, there’s still plenty I found this week to be beautiful.

Something to Enjoy

Something I’m Listening to…. Chris Cornell – Sunshower

Thursday’s news absolutely gutted me. As were many others rocked by the revelation of Chris Cornell’s unfortunate and untimely death. I feel like all of my idols are being taken away. I listened to this song – as is a frequent repeat on my playlists. If you’re at all feeling what I am, you’ve likely been hitting the Spotify Audioslave, Soundgarden, and his solo playlists all day. Er, weekend? He’s gone, but I can tribute the heck out of his art.

Something I’m Reading…. Modern Love

My obsession with the New York Times’s Modern Love podcast grew into reading the weekly column on the website. I wait, every week, for the indicator on my podcast app to inform me of the next episode. And I wait, every week, for the NYT site to update the newest digital draft to read. Two Modern Loves in any given week. And, when I’m planning a road trip, I’ll hold off on the podcast so I can binge listen to the stories. 

Something I’m Loving…. 

Feminista Jones‘s Twitter, in particular, her cheeky call out and “to piss a man off today” challenge. I feel hopeful more women are speaking up and calling out behaviors and ideologies that need to change. 

something to enjoy

Whatever you are looking ahead to with the rest of your weekend and heading into next week, make it beautiful! As for me, I’m enjoying the empty house while my folks are exploring the northeastern sea shore and riding out four straight days of thunderstorms and tornado watches. Welcome to Spring time in Kansas! There’s no place like “home.”

XO,

Jennifer

something to enjoy something to enjoy

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Happy Thanksgiving! Something to Enjoy | Cranes in the Sky

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because the very purpose, to me, is about giving thanks and fellowship with your family, friends, and community. Around food! I may have had two – significantly sized – pieces of red velvet cake… with cream cheese frosting so stacked I am certain if I were only a centimeter tall I would need snowshoes to get across the width of that cake. This is my first post since arriving in Alabama. I’m so happy to be here, but so exhausted. But oh so happy. It’s been forever and some days since I shared my thoughts and what I found to be something to enjoy, 2,246 some miles, later.

Something I’m Listening to…. Cranes in the Sky by Solange Knowles

Holy cow, it’s been out for several weeks now but have you heard her new album? Wow, wow, wow. So much in love! The song, itself, is frigging amazing – I don’t have the words – but you must see the visuals in her video to accompany the single. The artistic direction for all of the visual accompaniment to her latest album practically blows my mind.

 According to her Instagram, Cranes in the Sky was a project eight years in the making. Seriously, stop and run this through twice. Once to watch this full beauty unfold, and then again with eyes closed to help you develop all those delicious feels.

Something I’m Reading…. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Irreverent, funny, and in my face. I picked this up, on a whim, when Edie and I were in Carmel last month. “When Edie and I…” I could consider getting a life. But I’d need to finish my dissertation to do that. Her chapters are fast reads and perfectly sized to consume in quick gulps. Yes, this is “self help,” but I promise you’ll be having too much of a great time to care. PROMISE!

Something Pretty for My Self Care…. Ok, several things this week

  1. Thanksgiving, of course! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For me, the occassion is an opportunity to come together with family, friends, and share our love, joy, fellowship, and collectively be thankful. I am particularly contemplative of my gratitude. Oh, and hello, the food! My doctor didn’t call me out for gaining (now over) 22 pounds this year for nothing! I had two – not small – slices of legit, homemade, not oily, not scary red, red velvet cake. I dared my pancreas to not send me into pre-diabetes (which I should not laugh at because several older generation family members developed Type 2 in their lifetimes – knowing family medical history can be a wet blanket at times).
  2. My road trip came to an end but I had several “firsts” that I can’t wait to share with you! Running barefoot and nearly chilled as a popsicle through the sand dunes of White Sands with Edie, Carlsbad Caverns, traversing the entirety of Texas, camping under the super moon, glamping in Marfa. Glamping! Oh, and letting Edie the Beast loose in NOLA, teeth and all. Soon, I promise. I have a long list of posts to create and share with you. But, first, I MUST finish these final pages of my draft. Codes are not my friends.

Something New…. Strangers – a podcast by Lea Thau

I’ve been about as obsessed with some podcasts for a while with a similar dependency that some women have to The Bachelor and any of the Real Housewives. But, right before I left Phoenix I discovered Strangers. I downloaded the entire series and binge-listened to Strangers episodes throughout the majority of my road trip East. GAAAAA it’s SO GOOD!

Your turn…. How about you? What is something you particularly enjoyed this week? What is something you have planned for the rest of your holiday weekend? Comment below and let us know! 

Happy thanksgiving! Something to Enjoy

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Something to Enjoy: A Weekly Round Up | Only You

This week was a rather quick whirlwind of news and activity. I have a new tentative move date, but this one brings more certainty than past ones. I fully am in the analysis phase of my research, and defense of my dissertation will be as quickly as I can write. That ball is fully in my court, and I have been waiting on this stage for far too long. I am tired. Tired like that exhaustion that hits at mile 20 in a marathon. I am close enough that there is no way I am going to do anything other than push through! As quickly as the week came by, I have something to enjoy. 🙂

Something to Enjoy: A Weekly Round Up | Only You

Something I’m Listening to…. Only You by Yazoo

I cannot get enough of this song! Anything 80’s pop synth gets me all dreamy and mushy. In fact, one of my favorite things to do with an old boyfriend of mine was to listen to his old 80’s records playing on his fantastic stereo  – Roxy Music was a big feature – drink luxurious wine from his collection, and debate each other with our contrary social and political views.

Something I’m Reading…. Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

I loved the movie. I was curious about the book. It is not flashy or quirky but is absolutely splendid and deeply touching.

“The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it’s been broken into a million pieces.”

Something Pretty for My Self Care…. Ok, several things this week

  1. Edie’s Barkday! For four years I have enjoyed – and endured – the fur and fury of my little monster. No barkday parties this year, but I’m going to give a little throwback to her last barkday party at OHSO. Before I moved out of my condo I would ride my bike along the canal the distance between my home and OHSO with Edie in her jump-proof basket. We’re actually heading there for brunch this Sunday with one of Edie’s best “aunties” for what will likely be our “goodbye” brunch if my departure date remains on schedule.

Barkday Party

2. A woman in line behind me at Paradise Bakery picked up my bill for my lunch. Just because, and asked me to pay it forward.

3. Despite my urgency to complete Chapter Four before I begin the extended road trip to move East, I went to the first general membership meeting for Junior League of Phoenix. It felt really great to see so many women who are my friends. Friendships that are meaningful and mature, and formed through coming together within JLP. As our hashtag says, #IamJLP.

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Something to Enjoy: A Weekly Round Up | Bad Girl

Something I enjoy reading on blogs I follow is the weekly roundup week end round up. My weeks don’t follow a typical M-F 9-5, anymore, after leaving my job. But, seriously, who actually only ever had to work 9-5? I (easily) logged 50 hours and more every week at job #1, and then 20-25 hours with my adjunct faculty work. Then, as much time as I could into my doctoral work, I worked, researched, and wrote, with a lot of crying in between. Many times, I forgot to remember to find something to enjoy in the process. Huh, no wonder I became so burned out I gained over 30 pounds in three years (yes, that happened, my doctor called me out) and volunteered to leave my job during a company workforce reduction. And gave away about 90% of everything I own, reducing my belongings to 12 boxes in storage.

It’s especially important for me to remember to find something to enjoy during this time of radical change and total upheaval in my life. Remaining mindful of everything around me that is good is good for me. 🙂

In the spirit of universal love for weekends, and my penchant for nearly everything vintage, I’m going along with the Friday feelzzzz. Because who doesn’t love Friday, and Friday can still be something I enjoy, right? Besides, Friday I’m in Love has been a go-to anthem to power through those Friday morning rush hour commutes for years. Since I used to turn to music to help me game up for Friday, I’ll begin by sharing what I’m listening to this week.

Something Special

Something I’m Listening to…. Bad Girl by Lee Moses

One aspect of living alone I treasure is the quietness of solitude. But, I love a good jam and private living room dance party, too. That’s another benefit of living alone, you know…. Whatever I want, and however loud I want. 🙂 This morning’s stream is deep, deep, soul – Lee Moses. You might recognize this song from Jessa’s relapse dance scene if you’re a Girls fan. Otherwise, unless you are a mega connoisseur of deep soul, you probably would not recognize him. While Lee Moses is now regarded for the artistic and musical merit of his work, his albums, at the time, were generally considered commercial failures. Back to Girls, whoever does the sound design for that show nailed this lyrical narrative.

Something I’m Reading…. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I consume books like a whale shark does plankton. For years I lamented the dramatic reduction, and for a couple of years complete lack of, reading for pleasure. When you’re working upwards of 75 hours a week in emotionally and intellectually draining work then working on your PhD with a comparable full time credit load, there’s little time left for indulgences. Unfortunately, reading for pleasure (and writing) wasn’t something I got to do as often as I wanted. I’d longingly decline invitations to friends’ book clubs. Copies of Vogue, Phoenix Magazine, and Southern Living would get 2-3 issues deep before I’d read them. Occasionally, I’d take my unopened Vogues to Bookman’s to sell.

Sacrilege, I know. But a PhD is anything but holy.

I started making a list of books I would read when I graduated. My only steadfast non-research related reading would be my annual New Year’s Day opening of Pride and Prejudice. Lizzy Bennet is my girl! Now that I’m no longer working full time and focusing on my dissertation, solely, I have some more time. And this summer, my reading list got some love.

Eleanor and Park

http://gmhsmediactr.tumblr.com/post/81674460212/scholasticreadingclub-rainbowrowell

Eleanor & Park. Not a new read, and I’m not much of a YA reader, anyway… But – I devoured this book. Read it in a day!

Something Pretty for My Self Care…. Ok, several things this week

In principle, I understand, and advocate, the importance of self care. In practice, I have been… pretty terrible at it, myself. I wouldn’t have gained as much weight, been so stressed out I essentially quit my job, and fallen off the radar of so many social scenes if I were better at it. But, sometimes we all need to give ourselves a bit of slack and forgiveness. And sometimes, we just need to give ourselves credit for doing the best we can. Sometimes the win is I drank my coffee before it became cold. Hey, if that is the win of the day, that’s a win! Ummm, on that note, today I did not finish my coffee before it became cool. But I’m still drinking from the cup.

  1. My dissertation chair was in town this week. He knew I’ve been struggling. We both love spinning, and it’s become a little tradition for us to meet for a collaborative dinner and spin class when he’s in town. He knew I haven’t been going because I can’t justify the cost when I’m living on no income with plans to leave the country after I defend my dissertation. He treated me to a #PartyOnABike class. Afterwards, he took me to dinner and instead of discussing my data collection challenges and progress, which I check in with him every week about so he already knows, we talked about me. What’s going well, what’s a struggle, and how I’m coping with the massive changes I implemented in my life. It was really good to hear someone else tell me I’m doing better than I want to let myself believe. I may not be averaging 1,000, but then again, no one does. On the note of my dissertation, my extension of study request was approved by the college district that is my study site, so that is very good news. Even better news, I have formally completed my data collection and can move on to straight analysis. At this point, I will graduate as quickly as I can finish Chapter 4 and write Chapter 5. It’s almost here!!!! I’m really – truly — almost done!
  2. I started a happiness box this January, taking the cue from a post by Elizabeth Gilbert. Well, it’s been quite the crap shoot as to if I wrote down something before crashing to bed at night. The win is I get it in some days! Much like my reading, my pleasure writing slipped a bit, too. I splurged on this beautiful little day planner that I repurposed to be a highlight journal for me. Plus, it’s so pretty sitting on my bedside table, and will be more packable than a jar when I begin my little sojourn. And, there are stickers. I can attest, you are never too old for stickers!
  3. House sitting for a friend in my old central Phoenix neighborhood. Backyard evenings playing fetch with Majerle and Edie. Testing new recipes in her remodeled, gourmet kitchen with her Lebanese Cookbook from Phaidon. I’ve made eight recipes, so far, with another night ahead of me for my test  kitchen, and this is going on my Christmas wish list (Momma, if you’re reading this….).
  4. I long ago adopted the habit of buying myself flowers. While there is the camp that views flowers as wasteful, to me, they are beautiful and make me happy. I picked up a bunch of stock at Trader Joe’s Sunday and stuffed them in a used pickle jar. They still are vibrant and fragrant as they were five days ago. The lovely fragrance I smell as I type this post and the simple act of me smiling every time I see them is worth the $3.99 I spent this week.

Something pretty for self care

Something New…. Hong Kong Latte Art

Thanks to Hannah of The Sunny Side of Things, I now know where those adorable dim sum dumplings and little kitty cat latte foam sculptures can be found. Her post on Hong Kong itinerary and highlights also feeds my thirst to explore that vibrant city. I dare you to look at those latte foam kitties and dumplings and not smile.

Your turn…. How about you? What is something you particularly enjoyed this week? What is something you have planned for the holiday weekend? Comment below and let us know! 

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