Jul 24, 2014

Read: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

It's been awhile since I've done a book review here, which is kind of funny since I've been reading books left and right lately. I've finally gotten to the point where I'm reading on my lunch breaks, after work, and before going to bed. I was afraid that reading and I had broken up for awhile there, but as it turns out I just needed a few good books to get me back in the groove. The last few books I've read have been really good! So much so that I've exceeded my goal to read one book a month and have started reading two each month. Of course, a few beach trips thrown in there certainly help.

A few weeks ago, I finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Even though I had heard many rave reviews about the book, I was a little skeptical going in. To oversimplify, it's a story about a woman hiking a really long trail. I had my doubts about how interesting the story would actually be. It got to the point, though, where I was reading this book all the time. I even got up early before work one day to read a few chapters. (That is huge, people!) It's one of those books that pulls you in and makes you read it. And, although, it is a story about a woman hiking a really long trail, there's more to it than that. I finished the book with the utmost respect for Cheryl Strayed for accomplishing something like that. I keep wondering now if I have it in me to do something like that -- leave civilization behind, pack a "monster" backpack, and hike off into the mountains. That has to take a lot of guts! Whether you're into hiking or not, give this book a shot. It's definitely worth the read.

If you've already read it, I'd love to hear what you thought!

Jul 23, 2014

Hometown Hidden Gems: A Game at The Diamond

I was contacted a few weeks ago by RelayRides, a peer-to-peer rental car service, to write a post about some hidden gems in Richmond. Immediately, my mind started swirling with all the little hole-in-the-wall restaurants, secluded parks, favorite streets, historical sites -- Richmond has it all! There was so much that I wanted to share, but before I could get any of those posts written, I came across a truly hidden gem (to me, at least!). 

A Squirrel's game at The Diamond.

I've lived in Richmond for three years and only an hour away for the twenty years before that but I had never been to a game at The Diamond until this past week. After a long, tiring day at work, I was seriously considering bowing out and spending the evening lazing on my porch but since we had already made plans to go and I really had nothing better planned, I put on my big girl panties and went anyway. 

I'm not super into sports, but come to find out it's actually kind of fun to sit in the bleachers with a crowd of excited people and cheer for some guys as they hit balls around a field. 

Plus, there's chili cheese fries involved and a free fireworks show at the end! Who knew such a fun time was under my nose all these years and I never even knew it. We're planning to attend another game before summer is over.

RelayRides is a peer-to-peer sharing car rental service that connects people who need a car with vehicle owners whose cars would otherwise be sitting idle. This post is a part of their Hometown Hidden Gems series. No compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.

Jul 22, 2014

Over the Weekend / Home

There are so many different definitions of home. I used to refer to our little one bedroom apartment as "home" and now I call our little rental house "home". Technically, home is the place where you live. But that definition is sorely lacking, because the place where I grew up is the epitome of home, even though I don't live there anymore. It's funny how no matter how many little "homes" we create in our lifetime, there's always a place that will be home home. We spent a lot of time there this past weekend, eating outside and sitting around the table while the sky faded from light to dark and the bugs grew louder and louder. Moments like this when the mosquitoes are biting and the humidity is high and the veggies are delicious, that's what I'll hold on to and dream about during the long winter months. I'm loving you, July!

Jul 21, 2014

If I were stranded on an island...

I think it's interesting how we normally down-play the drastic implications involved in that age-old question: What would you take with you if you were stranded on a desert island? It's become more of a way to compliment our favorite products, rather than promote actual survival. Like, "If I could only take one thing with me to a desert island, it would be this chapstick!" I mean, really. The helpful qualities of chapstick can only go so far when you're trying to survive in the middle of the ocean. Still, I'd like to think that if I were ever stranded on an island, the situation wouldn't be so dire as to question survival. If it were, you better believe I'd be finding someone far more experienced than me to determine the things I would need to take.

Man Crates , a company that delivers awesome gifts to men in...you guessed it...crates, contacted me recently with a question. What would I pack in my own personal survival kit if I were stranded on an island? So here goes...Let's leave logic and practicality behind for a little while and pretend that I did put together my own box of survival essentials for desert island living. First things first, there would be some sort of confirmation that I had a way off that island. This is widely important, because else the worrywart in me would completely take over. Once I know there's a plane/boat/kayak/moving object coming to my rescue, the whole being stranded part wouldn't be so bad. And, just like that, we've turned this desert island trip into a vacation. Here's a few other things I'd make sure were there:

A hanging tent / I've always wanted to try one of these. Don't they look like fun? Hopefully there are some trees on this island.

Books / I have a note in my phone that I've been adding on to for years with all of the books I want to read. Somehow, it just keeps getting longer and longer so this would be a great time to put a dent in it!

Bobby pins / They're probably the most used object in my daily life so having a few on a desert island with me couldn't hurt.

A bacon jerkygram / I bet you didn't know you could make jerky out of bacon. Apparently, it can hold its flavor and texture for months, making it the perfect snack to munch on while stranded on a desert island.

Mark / Well, duh. What's a vacation on a desert island without your main squeeze? Besides, I'd never be able to get that tent up in the trees without his help.

So, tell me, what are you going to take with you to a desert island?

This post was inspired by Man Crates, a fun company who is all about providing awesome gifts for men. If the guys in your life don't really go for pretty neckties or cologne, check out Man Crates! No compensation was provided for this post and all opinions are my own.

Jul 18, 2014

Weekend links 7.18.14

Friday and I are having a bit of a love affair this week. Here are a few good things that are happening:
1. I'm getting a manicure because I've finally (finally) quite biting my nails long enough for them to grow out. Seriously, I'm like a 6 year old who gets a prize for not biting her nails. It's a bit pathetic.
2. Mark got home this morning from a week-long work trip.
3. We're putting together our new dresser tonight! And by "we", I mean Mark because Ikea instructions and I don't get along very well.
4. We've got a whole weekend ahead of us that involves beach trips and home-cooked meals.
Thanks for being awesome, Friday! If you're the kind of person who enjoys some good old blog-reading on the weekends, here are a few links to peruse:

I loved this post by A Beautiful Mess on creating beautiful images with your iPhone. 99% of my blog images are taken with an iPhone, so I found this super helpful.
A pretty decorating tip.
How to add variety to your wardrobe without buying tons of clothes.
I love the Snail Mail My Email project to no end. Volunteers hand wrote strangers' emails and sent the letters to the intended recipients. Now it's coming out in book form!
Two blog posts that are giving me wanderlust: NYC and Key West