Life By Kristen

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

Archive for the category “Random”

3 Things

Inspired by San!

3 foods I hate and never eat

Milkshakes, cooked fruit, and olives

3 foods I love and eat more than I should

Shrimp, broccoli, Reese’s peanut butter cups

3 things/chores I avoid until absolutely necessary

Dusting, ironing, cleaning the tub

3 chores I always do

Grocery shopping, cooking ( well 90% of the time), and dishes ( which I love!)

3 wardrobe staples

White tee-shirt, jeans, black cardigan

3 things I don’t spend money on

Concerts, getting my nails done ( though I do get a pedicure about twice a year), fancy beauty products

3 things I do spend money on

Shoes, fresh produce, going out to eat/takeout

3 TV shows I frequently watch in re-runs

This never really happens because Q is the big TV watcher, but we’ll watch episodes of Game of ThronesFamily Guy, and South Park frequently.

3 movies I love that might surprise you

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Jurassic World

3 book genres I generally don’t read

Horror, fantasy, science fiction

3 things I’m looking forward to this year

Hard to think of 3! Going to Utah in the spring to see family ( it was a favorite place as a teenager, so I’m very much looking forward to going back and introducing Q to it); celebrating Q’s 40th birthday; changes with work ( that’s more optimistic/hopeful as I want them to happen, but don’t know what or how those changes might be).


Tuesday Musings

Because my brain is going in about 10 different directions these days, I give you random musings and thoughts on a Tuesday morning.

Work life has been STRESSFUL. Last weekend, I took Friday off because it might be my last day off until April. We had no weekend plans and slept until 10am both days. I didn’t even leave the house Sunday. When things get crazy at work, I totally go into turtle/hibernation mode.

I’ve been commuting 27.5 miles each way to work and home for almost 10 years. That’s crazy and yet, I enjoy my time in the car to wake up/get my mind going for work and to wind down at the end of the day. Audiobooks and podcasts have probably saved my sanity. This morning as I was driving in, there were a TON of people talking on their phones while driving. Who the heck are they talking to at 730 in the morning? Also, I see a ridiculous amount of people who put stuffed animals in the back of their car so they’re looking out the back window. Why? Some of these people tend to be on the older side, so not sure if it’s some cutesy thing they’re trying to do? Seriously, if you have stuffed animals in your back window, what’s the deal with that?

On my day off I got a much needed massage because work stress made my neck so tight I could barely move it. The lovely masseuse told me she hadn’t felt a neck that tight in a while. And clearly she put a lot of muscle into it because I still feel sore.

This is probably blasphemy since I’m a lifelong New Englander, but I didn’t want the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. I’m a Red Sox fan so I know what a drought in championships feels like, so I thought it was well overdue for the Eagles to win it. Also, I think Tom Brady has become such an arrogant guy and if I hear more about his ridiculous eating regime where he thinks tomatoes are bad, I’ll probably throw something.

You know what true love and devotion to your partner looks like? Watching the movie It with Q. I HATE CLOWNS. They are creepy and weird. I don’t even like the clown emoji ( side note: can I get rid of the emojis I never use? That seems like it’d be a useful hack for someone to figure out). So on Saturday night when we were trying to find a movie to watch, Q mentioned he really wanted to watch It, but had been waiting until I night I was out. I told him to watch it, as long as he didn’t mind me sitting next to him doing something else. I actually watched a bit of it, and because Q is such a wonderful, understanding partner, he would randomly yell “clown” any time Penny Wise would show up on the screen. You can imagine this ended up being pretty funny and actually enhanced the viewing for me– well the bits I watched anyway.




Winter is My Time

It’s January. A month for hibernation. Unlike a lot of people it seems, I don’t hate winter.

I’m a homebody, so winter just gives me more time to do that which I do best- lounging with books, tea, movies, cooking & baking at home. I don’t do the cooking part well, but I like trying. Plus, mixing things together and shoving them in the oven or slow cooker is really my only area of culinary expertise, so I appreciate the opportunity to do it more in the winter since I have a no-oven rule in the summer.

If you’re not living under a rock, you’ve probably seen in magazines and around the internet the various Scandinavian ways of living/surviving/thriving through the dark months of winter (Hygge [Danish] and lagom [Swedish] ). I’m not Danish or Swedish, but I’ve been participating in hygge culture for most of my adult life. Staying at home with the fire and candles going, under a blanket, with a book and a cup of tea while wearing fuzzy socks? That’s me pretty much every season, minus the layers and warmth in the summer.

Not me, not my fireplace or book. Image from here.

This winter I wanted to make changes to the way I spend my time at home this winter, and it’s had a very positive effect on my hygge. I DELETED all game apps from my iPad, (with the exception of the New York Times Crossword puzzle) to stop mindlessly engaging in junk instead of being present with Q and my own brain. But I still felt a bit lost when I wanted to be on the couch with Q, but could care less about what he was watching, so I downloaded the Kindle app to give ebooks a shot. Since I’m always the last to get on board with technology, it should be no shock to anyone that I haven’t really read ebooks before, but I can now report that I get what all the fuss is about. I’m still not giving up on my love of holding a book, but I like having this other option, especially on nights when keeping the lamp on to read a book is bothersome to me. The adjustable brightness of the iPad ebook option is great. And I can read it on the treadmill!



Secret Santa Mug Swap 2017

Thanks to the organizing efforts of San, there was another successful year of the Secret Santa Mug Swap!


Here’s the mug & a few goodies I sent to my Secret Santa, Stefanie


And here is the lovely tea mug and delightful teas I received from Erin!

It’s the perfect cozy size for a cup of tea!

Summer Fun

Happy July! It’s actually been a full month already for me and we’re only 11 days in!

With the dreadful rainy spring we had, I’m taking every opportunity to enjoy summer fun while it’s still here. Knock on wood, the weather has been delightful without a lot of humidity or super hot temperatures. Some July 4ths in the past few years have been unbearably hot, but this year was quite pleasant. I took the Monday off for a much needed extra long weekend away from work.

I’ve managed to do many things on my summer fun list- we went strawberry picking, I’ve been to the beach ( though only once), enjoyed eating outside and relaxation time by the water, and eaten lunch outside at work a couple times too. I’m excited for blueberry picking, a new open air market in my town, and am anxiously awaiting local tomatoes from my favorite farm stand.

We don’t have any vacation plans quite yet, but are hoping to make it over to Martha’s Vineyard to see Q’s family at least for the day in August. I’d like to take a vacation in September, since that month has turned into more of a summer month than fall around these parts the past few years. With kids back in school and life quieted down a bit, I think traveling in September is more our speed too.

Hope your July is filled with plenty of lazy days enjoying a good book, watermelon, and sunshine!

Bristol, RI

Middle of March Mayhem

March Madness has a whole different meaning to me in my particular slice of the museum world.

March is a busy month for me– has been for the past 8 years as it’s the month before the museum I work at comes out of its winter hibernation and gets ready to open in April. Every March feels frantic, goes by in a quick flash, and leaves me tired and living for the weekends. Yesterday alone, I did 11,635 steps just walking around the museum with various tasks, meeting up with contractors/conservators/mountmakers, etc!

This pace of life makes time go by quickly, though the phrase “the days are long, but the years are short” definitely ring true for me this time of year as my level of tiredness grows with 8-hour + days, particularly in the 2 weeks right before opening. It’s become a ritual of life, though one I’m eager to break out of, either in thinking about new things for the future, or just finding a better, less frantic way of doing the same March tasks every year. But every year is different with construction projects, weather delays/cancellations, delivery issues, and so on. I’ve learned to problem solve, be creative, and go with the flow. If anything, my career working in a museum and at a public site has made me more flexible and realize I little control over each day.


Loving Lately in February

Hoopla– As a big consumer of audio books, I really enjoy the Hoopla app, available for free from my public library. There is a huge library of audiobooks to choose from, and unlike Overdrive ( also free from library), you don’t have to wait for the digital audio files to become available. There are also ebooks, music, and movies– only catch is there is a 5 checkouts per month limit. This isn’t a huge issue for me as an average audio book of anywhere between 8-10 hours usually takes me about a week to go through on my commute.

Nutpods- February was the month of Whole30 and I did not want to give up my coffee, but I really dislike coffee black. I knew I could do it without sugar, but needed something to cut the acid a bit. Regular unsweetened, unflavored almond milk was too nutty for me, and I’m not a huge fan of coconut flavor. In doing research for Whole30, I discovered Nutpods, which is a mix of unsweetened almond and coconut milk. It comes in flavors like hazelnut or French vanilla, but I’m not a flavored coffee fan either. I think Nutpods is just enough to take the bite out of the coffee that I need. I’ll continue using these instead of cream in my regular coffee even after Whole30.

Sweet potatoes ( preferably cut up and roasted).

Diffusing essential oils- lately my favorite has been a combination of lavender and peppermint.

The Department of Interior’s Instagram. I think all future vacations will always involve a new national park.

This quote:


via wearsoulsparks instagram



Life in January

I once told a friend that January is meant for sweatpants and hibernating. And while I generally still believe this, this January has been going along at at such a quick pace, there hasn’t been a lot of hibernating!

I’m fresh off a much needed 4 day weekend– even though with holidays and other happenings in life I haven’t had a full work week since before Christmas, my day job has just been frantically busy, a feeling I dislike and goes against the pace of this time of year, in my opinion. There are a lot of changes happening, including a huge one in the leadership of the organization, that have all of us worker bees in the middle just going along each day doing our work until someone tells us something different! It’s an odd feeling to know change is happening, but that nothing is happening at the same time. Supremely cautious optimism is the name of the game these days.

18 days into the new year and I feel like I’m doing well with my goal of ‘wellness.’ I walk on the treadmill most nights for at least a half hour, plus my once a week yoga class. On my extra long weekend I did a ton of cooking for lunches and dinners, plus planned out new recipes to try out.

One new habit that I’m loving– listening to podcasts while chopping, cooking, and doing housework. It’s totally transformed what was previously some of my least favorite chores into something to look forward to a bit. I’m currently loving I Feel Better, Pop Culture Happy Hour,  Stuff You Missed in History Class, Modern Love, and You Must Remember This. I’m listening to podcasts just as much as audio books on my commute now too, so I’d love any recommendations! Points if the podcast is around 40ish minutes, my usual commute time!

Another new thing I love- the Hoopla app from my local library. Unlike their Overdrive option ( which is also great), you don’t have to wait in line for a title on Hoopla for audio books, though the selection is more limited than Overdrive. They also have e books, music, and videos available for rent. You can only rent a certain amount of titles per month, but since I average about 2-3 audio books a month for the commute, it works perfectly for me.

The 4 day weekend and some solo TV time gave me some uninterrupted time to watch Bright Lights, the Carrie Fisher/Debbie Reynolds documentary that was more uplifting about family relationships than the sadness I thought it was going to be. Also caught Weiner, about NY politician Anthony Weiner, which was fascinating/disturbing/interesting all at the same time. I recommend both!

How is your January going?

Secret Santa Mug Swap


Normally, I wouldn’t be up for adding more ‘stuff’ to life, but this one was too good to pass up! San had a great idea for a holiday gift giving between bloggers with a mug swap.

I sent this lovely mug to Maegan in California.


And I received this amazing one from San! Along with some flavored coffees that we’ll be trying. I’m a fan of its size- -and so is Q, as he keeps using it for his regular cup on the weekend!


La Salette Shrine Christmas Festival

If you live in New England, you’ve likely heard ( and visited!) La Salette Shrine.

It’s a Catholic shrine, church, retreat center,and more, but at Christmas they are famous for their Christmas light displays that highlight the Christmas story and Catholic faith. It’s incredibly popular, maybe because it’s free and who doesn’t love Christmas lights!?!?


Their first night is always the evening of Thanksgiving. Growing up, La Salette was usually an annual tradition not only for my family, but frequently for my church youth group and CCD classes. It’s located only about half hour or so from where I grew up, making it an easy ride to enjoy some Christmas spirit.

This past Saturday, Q, Little Man and I joined Q’s sister, brother-in-law, and niece at La Salette. It was my first visit in probably 8 or so years, as we went as a family with my exhusband before we were married.

As many times as I have been there, I had never been there for when the lights were turned on, but since we wanted to try to beat the traffic that often piles up for miles on the one road in/out of the shrine, we went early. There is a nightly prayer and reminder of the ‘reason for the season’ and some reflection by the priest. When he flipped the switch, everyone cheered.

Maybe it was because I was feeling sentimental about now being at La Salette with my own family, or because I was already feeling emotional about my Dad, but being there on Saturday felt calming and peaceful in a way I hadn’t experienced before. Maybe it was being there for the prayer and saying the Our Father and Hail Mary with other people aloud. Whatever it was, it helped me feel at ease when I really needed it.

I’m sure a huge part of La Salette’s appeal is just the sheer amount of lights and decorations, plus it’s free, so it’s something fun to do for families, no matter the age or religion. Or maybe it’s that people feel the need to connect with their spirituality in this somewhat passive way, instead of going to a church. I can only speculate on the reasons, but for me, it was a special night that lifted my spirits and got me excited for the Christmas season.

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