Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the category “5 on Friday”

5 on Friday: TGIF!

Image from here

  • I’ve never needed a weekend as badly as I need it today! This week was jampacked with meetings, random tours, and odd happenings. My work tasks feel like they’re piling up and all I see are calendar days filled with lots of things and not a lot of desk time to get things done. I’m looking forward to relatively low-key weekend with just a few things I want to get done.
  • The worst thing of this week: I lost my glasses on Wednesday. After a frantic day of searching high and low at work and in my car, Q had the super smart idea for me to check the security camera footage at the museum to see if I could pinpoint when my glasses decided to part ways with me. I had them when I walked into the building, but by the time I got to my office, they were gone! 48 hours later and they still haven’t turned up. Ordered a brand new pair, so I’m sure I’ll find the old ones as soon as I pay the ridiculous price for the new ones. In the meantime, I’m wearing my prescription sunglasses almost every where which was interesting to drive in a torrential downpour in them yesterday morning. Note to self: find a new, less expensive eyeglasses provider!
  • With work being crazy and a rough day yesterday with glasses drama and weird tech happenings with my phone, I was beyond elated to come home to find Q had already decided on dinner and procured all the fixings. It really is the little things that make me love that man more every day.
  • My new found love of the Kindle and the Overdrive lending system with my library is wonderful. Despite all my efforts and trying to time out books with long wait lists and suspending some holds, I still ended up with 3 books at the same time– will try to get at least 2 read this weekend (Exit West by Mohsin Hamed [relatively short] and It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover.) Beartown by Frederic Bachman just arrived on the Kindle this morning and I have 21 days with it, so I’m sure I’ll get it done in the next week or so, despite a busy schedule during the work week.

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Five on Friday: Hey August!

Hey it’s August! The dog days of summer have arrived (and endless humidity it seems in Southern New England).

  • Bookworm problems: Anyone who has ever spoken with me for more than 30 minutes knows my love of books and the library. A few years ago, my library supplemented their use of Overdrive ( the industry favorite for ebooks and digital audiobooks) with Hoopla, which in addition to those two mediums also had TV and movies. I liked Hoopla for a bunch of reasons, mostly because even though there wasn’t as many titles as there were on Overdrive, there were no holds or waiting periods for the titles. I spent a good chunk of time going through my humongous Goodreads to-read list   deleting books off of that list that I wanted to listen on audio and saving them as ‘favorites’ on Hoopla. Long story short, I discovered this week that my library no longer supports Hoopla and is back to strictly Overdrive. While this isn’t a complete travesty, I had to re-add all those titles from Hoopla into Goodreads, making my to-read list much too large again, meaning a big edit is going to need to happen in the near future.

 

  • The month started off perfectly on Wednesday by visiting with one of my closet college friends who I haven’t seen in far too long because, life.

 

  • Goals for this month include knocking a few things off the house to-do list. Honestly, it’s been so hot and humid the past few weekends, we haven’t done much with house projects. Lots of movie and AC indoor time recently (it’s funny how summer weekends can look like winter weekends in regards to time spent indoors!)

 

  • I’ve written before about my love for ThredUp, the online consignment site. I’m not completely breaking up with them, but they’ve recently started charging a restocking fee for returns which is likely because of the site’s popularity I’d guess. Over the past couple of years, they are one of my primary destinations for online shopping and some of my favorite items of clothing in my closet are from there, but the trying on at home and returning without fee ( if you chose store credit, not complete refund) was one of the advantages of the site for me. Since I also really need to stop online shopping as a tool to overcome boredom, I don’t see me using them as much.

 

  • Things I’m looking forward to in August: a couple of long weekends, including an extra long one for Labor Day as we’re going up to NH Seacoast for a few days to relax and explore a little.

5 on Friday: Podcasts

It’s been awhile since I shared some of the podcasts I’m listening to these days. My podcast subscriptions was once up to something like 25 (though all not in active seasons at one time), so I recently pared down quite a bit. Here are 5 new-ish finds to me that I really enjoy.

 

Annotated 

 

This podcast from Book Riot is now in its second season and I’m enjoying it as much as the first. The stories are all related to books, language, and reading but is not book recommedations or just talking about authors or titles. Favorite episode of Season 1 was about the oxford comma.

Making Obama

This comes from the same folks who did the Making Oprah podcast, which I HIGHLY recommend if you have ever wondered how Oprah became a household name and bizillionaire. These episodes are about Obama’s rise in the political world starting with his community organizing days in Chicago. While I read Obama’s memoir Dreams of My Father, I didn’t know much about the political climate he was in prior to hitting the national stage as a senator. Not too much political junk, and lots of back story I didn’t know.

Planet Money

Being an NPR geek, I subscribe to a lot of NPR supported/hosted podcasts. I often heard ads promoting this one on some of my other must-listens, and was never super intrigued. What made me change? There was a promo spot on Pop Culture Happy Hour for an episode about China and money that sounded interesting, and since I knew Q and I were going to be in the car a lot for our Utah vacation, I downloaded it since I thought he’d be interested in it too. And I was right! That one episode made me download a bunch of others and subscribe. I like that it explains complex current affairs related to economy and trade in normal, non-jargon ways, as well as puts them in context with real-life people, events, and issues instead of just a bunch of talking heads/experts who make my head hurt.

Retropod

I know many people who say they can’t get into podcasts because they don’t have a place to fit them into their lives because they don’t commute or have dedicated time to listen. The episodes of Retropod are only about 3-4 minutes long, making them ideal for quick snippets of history and facts that are often related to current events, holidays, or other cultural milestones. I especially like it for the days when a podcast doesn’t entirely fill my commute and I can listen to a few of them in the last 10 minutes or so of my drive.

Sidedoor

I can’t remember quite how I happened across this podcast from the Smithsonian ( probably facebook), but it’s quickly become a favorite. It covers a wide variety of topics from the Smithsonian’s collections and interviews with experts, but in a totally fun and dynamic way that hasn’t been boring yet. The episode about the artist and process for the National Portrait Gallery’s commission of First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait was a favorite.

5 on Friday- April Updates

I’m back from the most stressful month of March I think I’ve ever had!

  • My exhibit at work opened on Wednesday night, and while my actual exhibit was done 2 weeks ago, the historic house I work in was in a state of chaos right up until midday on Wednesday. I do not like working under these types of conditions, but because of people, scheduling, and other circumstances out of my control, I had to deal. There were more than a few late evenings.
  • Now that the busiest months of my work have passed, I am so ready for vacation in 2 weeks. Pumped to go see family and spend some time in nature, but honestly just happy to not go to work for 10 days.
  • Spring has decidedly not sprung in my corner of the world. In my excitement for the turn of the season, and some prep for my vacation, I put away all my wool sweaters and heavy clothes, hoping that would tempt the weather gods to smile favorably on us, but nope. Lots of layering for the next week or so when I think the highest temperature we’ll see is about 45.
  • Since we’re still in hibernation mode, we’ve been watching a lot of TV and movies. Happy that The Americans is back on (last season!), intrigued by Homeland— though between that, The Americans, and our actual news, it’s a lot of conversations about Russia. Side note: Russia is not a country on my travel list. Highly recommend the movie I, Tonya too. Even if you have no interest in figure skating or Tonya Harding, it’s an interesting look at class/culture of domestic violence that even Q enjoyed.
  • I now own an actual Kindle! When I quit playing Farm Heroes Saga at the beginning of 2018. I was still looking for some passive entertainment that wasn’t social media that I could watch on nights when I want to relax with Q but have no interest in his show/movie. I sometimes read a physical book with the book light (I tend to shut my main reading lamp off when we’re watching TV). I do crossword puzzles on the iPad, but after a few a night, I needed something more. I downloaded the Kindle app for iOS, but felt like the iPad was getting too heavy and hot, so after polling my Twitter reader buds, I settled on the Kindle Paperwhite. Q also really wanted to get me something for my birthday related to technology because I never get stuff for myself in that category, so this was the perfect compromise. I don’t know what took me so long to jump on the bandwagon!

(not me but I hope this is me in a few weeks lounging and reading outside!)

5 on Friday: A Brief Life Update

  • My work life over the past few weeks has been TOUGH. My “work wife,” who really is one of my closest friends, left at the end of December to follow her dream of becoming a nurse and start nursing school full-time. I’m overjoyed for her, but sad for me. That, combined with the entire workplace being in transition as we await a new executive director and some other lingering issues, have made for a few stressful weeks.
  • If work stress wasn’t enough, we’re still enduring some hard stuff with personal family issues, so Q and I are really in turtle mode where we’re hibernating and hunkering down to try to maintain some sanity with ourselves.
  • How have I been handling stress and trying to find relaxation? The British Baking Show. Seriously, every night when it’s Q’s turn in the basement “gym” (a bunch of weights, a treadmill, and some yoga mats), I plop down on the couch to my new zen place- watching British people make desserts I’ve never heard of, would never eat (why is there so much cooked fruit- gross!), and could never even attempt to make. I find it mesmerizing, but most importantly, relaxing.
  • I’m reaching peak old lady- I’m supplementing my crossword puzzling, coloring, and reading with Fill-In puzzles. I think I need a hobby or some other creative pursuit.
  • Weekend plans are much of the same- some housework, some errands, lots of reading.

 

 

 

5 on Friday- Spring Photos

After what seemed like a few endless weeks of cold, rainy, damp weather in southern New England, we have had some SPECTACULAR days this week. In an effort to appreciate the everyday little things more and bring more positive mojo into life, I made an effort this week at work to go outside for a few minutes each day. I work at one of the most picturesque places in the state and I have to remind myself to get out of the office to literally take time to smell the roses ( or pansies for this time of year)!

Here are 5 shots to brighten your mood on this Friday.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

5 on Friday: The Obamas

The country has changed dramatically in 8 years. Far more prolific writers than myself have said many things on the topic of the Obamas, but here’s 5 small tidbits from me on this day.

1  As a lover of words and books, I am captivated by how fellow book lover President Obama talks about the topic. Here’s the list of all the books he has recommended over the years. I’m happy that a few I’ve read are on there, and a lot are already on my to-read list too.

2  Some of the shots of President Obama with kids are some of my favorite images from his presidency, a bunch of which are here. My favorite is this one!

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Pete Souza

3  Michelle Obama with Ellen at CVS is way too funny, especially when she discovers the boxed wine. Watch it! 

4  Fashion history is a big interest of mine, and Michelle Obama set the bar high. Here’s an article on why the clothes she wore mattered and a slideshow of 50 of her most memorable outfits. I’d love that turquoise sheath dress she wore for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

5 The Obamas seem like incredibly interesting, down-to-earth people and both of them would make the guest list for my dream dinner party (which is very much a dream considering my kitchen abilities).

 

As our world changes today in a big way,

I’m keeping hope in my heart for the future.

5 Summer Favorites

As the start of the school season is upon us and the unofficial end of summer with Labor Day, I’m trying to savor these lazy days of summer. Here’s what I love the most about summer.

  • Fresh, local fruits and vegetables: There is nothing tastier than a tomato or blueberry from a local farm, picked within hours ( or by me!) of eating it.
  • The hours between 4-8pm: I love that time right after work when the sun is still out, the temp is a tad cooler, and it’s all about relaxation.
  • Sandals:  I love shoes, but hate socks ( I know, I’m a weirdo), so sandals are really my ideal shoes.
  • Grilling: I actually rarely grill, but I love grilled meat and veggies. Plus, it usually means that Q is cooking so I can just enjoy the meal.
  • Being outside: Whether it’s reading on the swing or walking at lunch, I enjoy being outside as much as I can ( minus the super humid, gross days).

woman-reading-in-hammock

What are your top 5 favorite things about summer?

Happy weekend!

5 on Friday: May Excitement

  1. The month of May is filled with lots of good things- Mother’s Day, the birthdays of my brother, aunt, sister-in-law, and Q, and now my brother and wife’s anniversary. Plus there’s a long weekend thrown in so it’s a great month!
  2. Other excitement of the month: A quick trip to Cleveland for a few days for a work conference. A new city ( and state!) for me so even though it’s a quick trip, I’m looking forward to exploring a new place.
  3. After house frustrations and feeling incredibly overwhelmed by some house projects, Q and I are not set up with a great landscaper to come deal with some of our outside issues. Just knowing this is happening has eased my mind tremendously.
  4. This particular Friday in May is particularly celebratory as I’ve paid off the last of my credit card debt!! I feel like there should be a badge or something for that.
  5. Plans for the weekend include celebrating my former boss tonight at a birthday party for him, then another celebration on Sunday for my brother and Mom. Lots of fun and good times happening and so much to be thankful for in my life.

Happy weekend!

5 on Friday: Life Update

  1. My noticeable absence lately is a sure sign that even though things slowed down at my day job, life has continued to flurry about. I’m behind on about 75% of things-everything from cleaning, laundry, and other adulting bits. Some of it is burnout, some of it is stress, some of it is the feeling that changes are happening/coming, and I’m turning inward to try to make sense of it all. Vague on purpose, but more to come.
  2. Instead of dealing with some of the aforementioned issues, my mode of operation is avoidance and then pushing interest ( or obsession?) to other things. So instead of figuring out what the heck is going on with life, I’m obsessing about dinner lately. Meal planning has been occupying my mind, especially as I try to eat more vegetables and cut out more meat. The problem is my carnivore of a partner with an appetite like a lumberjack, so I’m trying to find ways to make enough food for him and healthy options for me without feeling like I’m running a restaurant every night of the week.
  3. Very much looking forward to Game of Thrones this weekend. We spent the week catching up on last season. I never would have thought I would like this show. Still don’t think I’ll get around to reading the books though.
  4. Speaking of TV, are you watching The Americans? We only got into the show in the past month or so when we got Amazon Prime and watched all the previous seasons, just in time for the current one that started in March. I think it’s one of the best on TV and this week’s episode was stellar.
  5. Weekend plans include some yard work, decluttering and dropping off, and other chores I have been avoiding, as well as some family time before my mother is off to Italy ( very proud of her for taking this group tour).

Happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend!

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