Monday 5: Sailing & other things I’m excited about this week

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This weekend was definitely one for the books. My stepdad turned 50 and we had quite the celebration. We decked out the backyard with tent, tables, chairs, heaters and an enormous bonfire. It was a lot of work (my brother did not stop all weekend) but it was a lot of fun. It was good to see family I hadn’t seen in a while (and introduce Nicholas to them) and to meet new people as well.

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Most of Saturday was spent getting ready for the party but Sunday Nicholas and I finally got to go sailing! One of the first conversations we ever had was about Nicholas’ love of sailboats so it was exciting to bring that dream to fruition. It was a beautiful day and sailing around the Charleston harbor was so relaxing. We didn’t know any of the people we were sailing with (Nicholas had exchanged a couple of emails with the boat owner) but they were very warm and welcoming. We were only out for a few hours but we really enjoyed it. Later that afternoon we had a Christmas party with the teens from youth group and Pope Francis was in attendance! (Ok not really but yesterday was his birthday).

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Cannot believe Christmas is a week away, eek! I hope everyone has had a chance to get some shopping done and reflect on all the blessings we have! Other than that, here are some other things I’m excited about this week.

Birchbox

I’m not a makeup person. I always get so overwhelmed anytime I need to buy new mascara or BB cream that I put it off for way too long. When I do finally get around to buying some I’m often disappointed because it isn’t really what I was looking for or doesn’t do everything it says it does. That’s why I was excited when my mom got me a Birchbox subscription for my birthday. This way I get some samples every month so I’m mostly stocked and when I do find something I really like I can buy it knowing that it’s a sound purchase. Plus I get to try things I normally never would like sparkly eyeliner. It’s also so fun to have some mail to look forward to each month! I think this is a great gift idea for any girl (even if it’s just a gift from you to you ;)).

Sailing 

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I was so excited to finally go sailing and it really was a great experience. I love the clothes associated with sailing (stripes, boat shoes, lots of white and navy) and the boats themselves are so pretty. There is something about being on the water that makes it really difficult to be stressed or anxious. It was liberating and calming to be away from everything for a little bit and just enjoy our beautiful surroundings. It was a little chilly but luckily I was pretty bundled up so it wasn’t a huge problem. There is actually quite a bit to sailing; lots of terms to learn and all that goes into getting the boat to move. I learned a tiny bit yesterday but am excited to keep understanding more. I loved getting some pictures of Charleston from this standpoint, we live in such a photogenic area! I know Nicholas really enjoys sailing so I’m hopeful we’ll be able to do this somewhat regularly.

Homemade brunch

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Brunch is the ‘thing to do’ these days. We love brunch. Especially in Charleston, we’re so lucky to have so many charming, delicious options! For Nicholas’ birthday we decided to switch it up a little and do brunch at his apartment. It was a great time. He made shrimp and grits that were incredible and we really enjoyed being able to host people instead of meeting someplace else. There’s something about inviting people into a home that is very intimate and welcoming in a way that eating out just isn’t. It’s definitely something that requires more work (and $ on the part of the host), but I think doing it every once in a while is totally worth it. It was especially cool to bring people together like our young adult friends and my family…worlds colliding!

All things Christmas

This week is it! I can’t believe how fast this season has gone by. I feel like there’s still so much to do! I’m excited to go all out with gifts, Christmas music, cookies and especially taking some time to reflect on what is coming. I think now is especially a good opportunity to remember all the blessings we have, to count them one by one. Gratitude is the antidote to hopelessness and dejection. When we realize how much we truly have to be grateful for (ex: family, health, work, friends, a car…) we can have hope for what is to come knowing all that we’ve already received. I hope everyone has a truly merry Christmas!

9 months

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It feels like yesterday I was writing the post about our 6 month milestone. Time just goes by so darn fast! It really has been #miracholas. No one really tells you how truly messy relationships can be. It makes sense though, when we think about how complex the human person is. We all have hurt and fears and insecurities and difficulties that haunt us and surface when someone gets close. It is the beauty of intimacy, being known and loved deeply…despite our evident imperfection. I can see how the challenge has helped us grow and how good that is. I’m so grateful for all that we’ve gone through – the good and the difficult – and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us!

Have a wonderful last week before Christmas!

xo

Miranda

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Monday 5: 8 months & other things I’m excited about this week

What a lovely, lovely weekend. My dear friend Olivia (shout out!) got married this weekend to another friend of ours, Jackson. It was such a beautiful service and reception. They had a small, intimate wedding with so much heart! What made it even better was that Nicholas was able to get off work and come too! We didn’t think he’d be able to make it so when we found out Friday afternoon that he’d be off, I was so, so excited.

It was the most beautiful (70 degrees and sunny), fun day and I’m so happy for the newly weds! We were so fortunate to be a part of the celebration. We also had a bonfire Saturday evening which is always a good time (although  I did go to bed at 10pm because I was so exhausted!)

This week will be a short one since Thanksgiving is Thursday! My siblings and I will be headed to visit dad in NC. Aside from some time off, here are some things I’m excited about this week.

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Baby Christmas tree

For part of his 8 month gift, Nicholas gave me a little tiny Christmas tree for my room. I love it! I think plants inside the house can give such a refreshing look to any room. They are a simple, inexpensive way to decorate and bring life to your home. What I have to figure out now is how to decorate it!

Christmas lights

Speaking of Christmas….it’s almost a month away! I try to hold off from getting too excited about Christmas until after Thanksgiving (gotta take it one holiday at a time) but I came across Christmas lights for $2.99 at Wal-mart last week and without hesitating bought some and put them up as soon as I could. Christmas lights bring me so much joy. I think they are so cozy and such an easy way to enjoy the season! I plan on going back and buying some more if they still have that deal.

Family time

One of the great things about Charleston is that there is so much to do. Even when it’s chilly, there are so many places to eat/drink/shop/visit. Additionally, most of my friends live here so there’s typically always someone for me to go do something with. On the other end of the spectrum is where my dad lives, in rural NC with the closest grocery store a good 12 minutes away. It’s always hard for me to adjust to the much slower pace of life and embrace being a homebody whenever I visit my dad. However, I think it’s a good thing for all of us to do every once in a while, disconnect and appreciate the down time. Busy-ness can be addicting and taking a break from it every once in a while helps us take a step back and appreciate all that life has to offer outside of the to-do list. Spending time with family without an agenda is a necessary and important thing to do and I’m excited that this week will allow me to do so!

Pork schnitzel

So this Friday we went back to a spot called Warehouse. I was so pleased with the environment, drinks and food. Last time we only got drinks which were definitely tasty. But this time we ordered the pork roll and it was honestly one of the better meals I think I’ve had in Charleston. The fried pork came in a pretzel roll (so yum) with broccolini and a honey mustard sauce. The ambiance is local neighborhood bar with exposed brick, cement floors and ladders hanging from the walls; they also have a pool table! It’s a great spot to take friends on a Friday night!

8 months

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What a ride. It’s crazy how you can not know someone at all and then a few months later they are this huge part of your life! Nicholas and I have had our fair share of struggles because we both bring our ‘garbage’ into this relationship. Love isn’t easy but it really is beautiful. We have had so many good times intermingled with difficulty, and that has made it all the more precious to us. We know that the effort is worth it and want to grow and learn from it! Maybe our culture glorifies detachment and freedom, but what can be more freeing that choosing to love someone in spite of the challenge it can pose? We are so blessed to have these 8 months and I’m really looking forward to many more to come.

Genuine love is demanding, but it’s beauty lies precisely in the demands it makes. -Saint John Paul the Great

I hope everyone enjoys this time of thanksgiving!

xo

Miranda

Monday 5: Hygge & other things I’m excited about this week

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Weekends are just the best. Especially ones when you’re not sick and can do things! Friday night I went out with a couple of girlfriends to a spot called Gene’s Haufbrau (oldest bar in Charleston!) and then to a wine and cheese restaurant in West Ashley. We enjoyed some much needed girl time.

Saturday after getting some housework done, Nicholas and I rode bikes to our friend Sara’s house to watch part of the Clemson game. After halftime we left to ride more around Old Village. That night we enjoyed a bonfire on the beach with some friends. Sunday we went to Mass at the cathedral (such a beautiful service!) and then went to a coffee shop called Kudu to get some work done. Sunday evening we helped out with the high school youth group.

It was such a lovely weekend with an extra hour of sleep!! I hope you were able to take advantage and get some rest.

Here is this week’s five, I hope they put some pep into your Monday or at least help you think of your own five!

Gratitude jar

Of course November is a good month to recall all we are grateful for. To make this a little easier, I made a mason jar our ‘gratitude jar’ where we put in post-it notes with what we are grateful for that particular day. At the end of the month we’ll read them out loud to remind us of all that we have to be thankful for!

Hygge

Last week I got to catch up with my friend Bernadette (shout out!) who is living a couple hours away from me with her husband and new baby! One concept she introduced me to is called ‘hygge’, (pronounced huggah) it’s a danish term that means ‘cozy’ or ‘charming’. The idea is to find ways to make your home (or work place) warm and inviting. Whether it’s changing how you arrange your furniture or something as simple as lighting a candle or turning on a lamp, we can make adjustments to bring ‘hygge’ into our everyday lives. I love this concept and am so excited to implement it. I think coziness is such a lovely attribute that brings so much joy and comfort!

Lifestyle changes

For any of you out there who struggle with anxiety, I am right there with you. It really has been tough to battle the distressing thoughts and sometimes overwhelming fears that take over. Nicholas and I have discussed extensively what to do about it and this week we’ve decided to work on making some lifestyle improvements that are supposed to also help with anxiety. Of course, it’s mainly for me but he’s willing to do it with me in order to have some accountability. Some of those changes include getting 8.5 hours of sleep a night, exercising every day (*gulp*) and reducing caffeine intake (!!!). I’m really hoping some of these changes will help and will let you know if they are effective! If anyone has some other tips out there please share!

Boundaries

On the note of anxiety, another helpful tool for me has been the idea of having boundaries with your thoughts. That may seem a little weird, to have boundaries with yourself; but the idea is that when a fear comes to mind, instead of letting it loose and it then wrecking havoc in your head, choosing to set a boundary by simply dismissing the fear altogether. Right off the bat, just saying ‘nope, not gonna go there.’ Shutting down the fear instead of exploring it can be really helpful. The trouble isn’t so much the thoughts themselves as much as what we do with them.

Forgiveness

Something I’m coming to realize more and more is the number of times we have to forgive and be forgiven. It happens so often that I have to let something go, whether I feel like it or not. Even more often is the number of times I have to sincerely apologize for saying or doing something I know I shouldn’t have. Forgiveness is really difficult sometimes, but it’s easier when we remember how many times we have messed up and relied on someone else’s willingness to let it go. This week I want to be me proactive about letting the small things go and giving people the benefit of the doubt, especially since I know the same has been done for me over and over.

xo

Miranda

Monday 5: November & other things I’m excited about this week

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After all the anticipation for Halloween weekend, I ended up getting sick and was in bed for most of it.

But, I will say it was nice to actually do nothing for an extended period of time for the first time in a while. That is an upside of getting sick, it forces you to rest – whether you want to or not.

We were able to go to a Halloween party Friday evening for a bit which was really fun. The couple who hosted had a beautiful house on Daniel Island and had converted the basement into a haunted maze! It was really fun (and spooky), we were really impressed! They even had a selfie station for us to commemorate our night with!

Thank you to everyone who gave me costume suggestions, there were some awesome ideas! We ended up going with Elliot & JD from the TV show ‘Scrubs’. Nicholas spray painted his hair black, I wore a blonde wig and we both wore scrubs and stethoscopes. We were a little apprehensive since it didn’t seem as obvious as we had hoped, but we had fun regardless.

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It is a little harder to feel excited about things when you’re sick, however these are some things that are helping me to feel a little better about this week despite being a little under the weather.

All Saints Day

I really love this feast day taking place on Wednesday that celebrates all the holy men and women that have gone before us. Learning about the saints is always so inspiring, not only because of what they accomplished, but also because of the struggles they faced. Celebrations are such an important part of life! And this is an especially good reason to do so. I’m especially excited since this year we’re having an All Saints Day party, which I’ve had a lot of fun planning. Although if anyone has any food ideas, please let me know!! So far I mainly have games and decorations figured out.

Homemade donuts

Making donuts was on my Fall to do list and we were able to do so with Nicholas’s family last week. They were so good! And so easy to make. All you need is some vegetable oil, biscuit dough and whatever you want as toppings (we used powdered sugar, cinnamon and brown sugar and a glaze). You separate the dough into the ‘biscuits’ and then using something about the size of a quarter, make holes in the center (we used the top of the cinnamon container…very orthodox). You can set aside these small pieces of dough to make donut holes. You then heat up the oil to about medium high and then when it is hot place the donuts in the oil until golden brown. After you can put the toppings desired on top. So yummy!! Good for breakfast the next day too.

November

To me, the holiday season really starts in November. It finally gets chilly here in Charleston, we know Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and Christmas shortly after that!!! I really love to take advantage of this season to make our homes beautiful, spend more time with friends and family, and of course, eat good food. I certainly don’t want to rush through this time or stress out about all there is to do, simply enjoy it! November is also a great opportunity for us to remember all that we have to be grateful for, something we should do more often…but now is as good as a time as ever ;).

Old-school movies

Saturday my brother and I watched the original, 1978 Superman (his choice, not mine). It’s crazy how much the film industry has changed since then. Especially in the area of special effects, the difference is incredible. There were certainly moments I cringed at the cheesy-ness of the movie and there were definitely aspects that were not entirely realistic (it is a superhero movie made in the 70s, after all), but what I really did appreciate about the movie was how innocent it was. There was no graphic sex scene, no crude humor, nothing that would make me embarrassed to watch it with my parents or around younger kids. Even the bad guys weren’t as bad as the villains today seem to be. I’m not sure what led to our movies being so different in that regard than those made 30-40 years ago, but it was quite refreshing to take a break from the often discouraging Hollywood scene we have today.

Greatest Love Story

I think this may be the second time I put a LANCO song on my Monday 5, but this one definitely merits it! I heard this song for the first few times without finishing it and was disappointed thinking that it was another ‘has been love story’ songs that seem to be everywhere. But one day I actually finished the whole song and it had a really sweet, happy ending! It made me so happy and it’s honestly a good song too, not only because of the message. I get so excited every time it comes on! Love.

Anyway, hope you have a Happy Halloween and All Saints Day!

xo

Miranda

Monday 5: Self-compassion & other things I’m excited about

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This weekend was another action filled one with both family on my side and on Nicholas’ side in town. After a quick trip to Sullivan’s Island with the Cundiffs, my brother, my sister, her boyfriend and I all picked up my dad from the train station and had dinner together.

The next morning my brother prepared us a Venezuelan brunch (so good!) and we explored a historic site called ‘McLeod Plantation’. it was a beautiful, peaceful place and the weather was perfect. We also stopped on the pumpkin patch on our way!

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We also went to the movies to see Tom Cruise in ‘American Made’, it was a movie that was very well done with a pretty crazy story (based on real events) about a pilot and the American government’s involvement with the drug cartel. Note: it is not family friendly.

Saturday evening we had dinner at one of our family’s favorite restaurants in Mount Pleasant, The Granary. Sunday morning we all said goodbye to dad and then I went to the 11:15 service at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist with the Cundiffs and after we went to brunch at Hominy Grill!

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It was a nice weekend filled with quality time with family, one of my favorite things!

Hopefully your weekend was fun and relaxing and you have things to look forward in the week ahead! In case you need some ideas, here are some things I’m excited about this week.

Meet the fam

Thursday evening we had the Cundiffs over for dinner at my house. While Nicholas had met my family before and I his, they had never met each other. Since the Cundiffs live at least a 12 hour drive away, the chances for them to meet my family not been many (read 0) so it made sense to take advantage of this rare opportunity. There’s something scary about families meeting, you really can’t control how they are going to act or if they are going to get along or not. I think most of tend to avoid this encounter for as long as we can, but it really is important. Our families know us the best, they are an incredibly important part of who we are and including them in our intimate relationships is not only healthy, but necessary. It’s easy to isolate ourselves as we get older and keep our different ‘lives’ separate, and while I understand why that’s attractive (believe me, I really do) there is something really wholesome about inviting others, especially those you are close to, into your relationship and not closing yourself off. I think the dinner went as well as we could have hoped for, and I feel at peace knowing that my family knows Nicholas just a little bit better now.

Self-compassion

We all have our weaknesses, some which at times can get the best of us. Whether it’s a bad habit, a difficulty in a certain area, or strong fear we have, it’s easy to get down on ourselves for being/having/doing something we dislike. However, I think criticizing or begrudging those parts of ourselves that we struggle with is actually counter productive. While it’s certainly helpful to have awareness of those things we want to work on, I’m not sure that condemning them is. We want to allow room for us to be compassionate towards those parts of us that are lacking, the same way we would toward a friend or family member who is going through something. I think compassion is a much better starting place for healing or improvement than disparagement. It’s a hard habit to break, but I think working toward a understanding of our shortcomings is an outlook worth developing that will be more likely to lead us to progress.

The King’s Speech

I hadn’t seen this movie in a while but when we watched it over the weekend I was reminded of how excellent it is. Talk about weakness, to see the soon-to-be king of England absolutely grapple with his speech impediment is straight up painful. I liked too, how his speech therapist (Logan) recognizes that the physical problem is really just a symptom for a deeper, emotional and psychological trauma. He treats the wound itself and not merely it’s manifestation. I loved the King’s wife (played beautifully by Helen Bonham Carter) and what an important role she had too. Her encouragement, support, faith and gentleness kept His Royal Highness sane and grounded when he felt tempted to give up. It is a beautiful dynamic that demonstrated how we can be loved despite our worst problems. If you haven’t seen the movie, or haven’t seen it in a while, I think it is well worth your time.

Halloween costumes

How the heck did Halloween come so fast?! This Friday we are going to a couple’s house who throw an epic Halloween party party every year and I’m so excited. The problem is, I’m not good at Halloween and have no idea what to dress up as! It would be fun to do a couple’s costume too, but it has to be something that isn’t too cheesy. I love the idea of doing something clever or well thought out (without spending much money on a costume, of course). I’m really excited to look at some more ideas, but suggestions are welcome!!!

This quote

Life itself is a haphazard, untidy, messy affair.

-Dorothy Day

Love love love! Such a good, true, beautiful statement. I want to remind myself of this every day.

Hope you have an untidy, messy, haphazard week!

xo

Miranda

Monday 5: Obedience & other things I’m excited about this week

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This weekend included the first lazy Saturday I’ve had in a while and it was amazing. We also got drinks with friends Friday evening, I had my first bachelorette party Saturday night and yesterday we paddle boarded all the way to Shem Creek! It took us a couple of hours, between the ride there, the drink we got there and our ride back. But it was so cool paddleboarding at night under the stars! Nicholas admitted he was worried about sharks for the last bit, but we made it safely without running into any finned friends.

We also decided to try Husk Sunday evening, one of the more well known upscale restaurants in Charleston but backed out at the last minute (it was so fancy) and decided to just try the bar food instead (like the peasants that we are). We ordered a basket of 6 pieces of fried chicken (which ended up being double of what we needed) and a side of lima bean salad. It was very good and we both enjoyed the outdoor patio scene, but it wasn’t amazing. Next time we’ll have to try the real deal and see if it’s actually worth the hype.

In any case, it was a great weekend and I feel a lot more well rested than I have in a while, and that is definitely something to be excited about! In addition to that, here are five more things I’m excited about this week.

Family visiting

Nicholas’ mother, sister and brother arrive here tonight! We are so excited (Nicholas especially, obviously) to see them and to show them around Charleston. We spent a fair amount of time yesterday afternoon putting together a tentative schedule of fun things to do while they are here! Additionally, my sister comes back from school for her Fall break Wednesday, and my dad will be here this weekend! I love when family gets together, especially when you live in a place that has so many opportunities for outings. The weather is supposed to be a little cooler too, so that is exciting!!

Meditation

Anxiety can be super tricky. It creeps up on us and convinces us that are worst fears are becoming reality. It also becomes habitual, making it harder and harder to see things clearly. Our bodies become addicted to the chemicals released by the sympathetic nervous system when we feel fearful. This complicates matters further when we want to overcome anxiety because our bodies crave that rush of norepinephrine and adrenaline. There are medications out there I know are helpful for dealing with this, however I’m really trying to avoid that by relying on meditation instead. Mindfulness meditations have been shown to be successful in healing people of anxiety and increasing health and well-being. While I initially hated making time to do even just an 8 minute meditation, I’ve grown to really appreciate that time to just be and I’m hopeful that it is helping me make progress in my goal of being a calm, peaceful person. If you struggle with anxiety at all or are remotely interested in this, I highly recommend reading this book and doing the guided meditations that come with it.

This gyro recipe

Nicholas and I have been talking for a while about trying some Greek recipes, and last week we finally did! I loved this recipe for chicken gyros, it was simple and delicious. I will say gyros involve several steps, it was great doing it together but I know if I had done it alone I would have needed more time, so just a heads up. But it was so good! And a cool variation from our typical meals. I doubled the recipe for the five of us (three of which were men) and there were leftovers, which is always exciting. I plan on trying more recipes from this site soon!

Obedience

As adults, obedience may not be something we think about often. After all, we’re adults, we do what we want…isn’t that the point? We don’t have to listen to teachers, parents, or older siblings who want to tell us what to do! However, I think obedience is actually still highly relevant even as we get older, especially in relationships. This article gave some interesting perspective on obedience in marriage and how it actually helps us to love more. It’s not about being a doormat or being walked all over, but it is about sacrifice and gift of self. Mutual obedience can actually lead to a deeper, more beautiful love than if we are constantly trying to push our own agendas…who would have thought?!

This quote

A couple whose family I spent vast amounts of time with for a few years in my childhood recently celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary. I love this family, not only for inviting me into their home, but also because of the example they set for marriage and parenthood. They were very well known in our community, partly because with 6 kids they were hard to miss, but also just because of their strength as a family unit. It was awesome to see a family so involved and so fun. I think there is such stigma with ‘settling down,’ but this family showed us that family life is supposed to be just the beginning of an amazing adventure, not what you resort to when you’ve checked everything else off your bucket list. For their 23rd anniversary, the wife posted this quote which I thought was so beautiful and so true! Something to think about as we move forward this week.

“We all bring our ‘garbage’ into this union, but if we have the courage and the heart to love even the weakest parts of each other, well, what happens is nothing short of miraculous!”

xo

Miranda

Monasteries & other things I’m excited about this week

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Happy Monday! This week is finally starting to feel like Fall in Charleston and I’m so excited. I feel like I can start to actually do Fall things and wear Fall clothes without feeling silly.

This weekend we celebrated the first cooler weather with a bonfire and s’mores, so fun! Yesterday we ventured out to a monastery called Mepkin Abbey about 45 minutes away and it was so beautiful. Both the Mass we attended and the grounds where we picnic-ed and walked around were beautiful.

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Nicholas hosted a few of us over for ‘Sipping Sunday’ to top off the weekend in what is becoming a fun tradition.

I hope your weekend was lovely and restful, hopefully you have some things you’re excited about this week…in case you need ideas here is my list!

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Monasteries

We really did have a lovely time at Mepkin. It was such a peaceful, beautiful, restful place; it felt like we were so removed from everything even though we were less than an hour outside of town. It was wonderful to have quality time without any distractions. Nicholas brought a little picnic and we ate and rested and read and then walked around and had fun taking pictures. It was cool to see the monks in Mass and walking around the grounds too! They do have retreats for the general public you can register for and I think Nicholas and I may try to do one in the Spring. In any case it’s definitely worth a visit if you live in the Charleston area! We’re hoping to make it a point to visit more monasteries in the area or if we travel to in the future.

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Be vs. Do

I’ve talked about mindfulness before and I still am working on becoming more present and learning to enjoy the moment. Mindfulness training has been shown to help significantly with anxiety, depression and just everyday stress. The idea is that our brains like to do do do. We like to plan, visualize, rationalize…we like to think. While this is very good and useful a lot of the time, there are also a lot of times when we need to just be. Instead of thinking about what we are experiencing, it’s so important to simply experience it. My busy mind can get in the way of my enjoying a beautiful paddle board ride or walk around outside because I’m worrying about what is going on next weekend instead of enjoying the moment right in front of me. I can be impatient with the three-year-old I nanny because I’m stressed about the blog post I need to write instead of being present to her in that moment. We rob ourselves of our lives if we spend our time thinking about it. We can also allow our brains to spiral dangerously into thought patterns that are distressing to us. That’s why I’m making a special effort to be present and be aware of when my mind starts to wander, bringing it back to the now. The present is all we have, it is therefore essential we nurture and cherish it.

The Heroic Minute

There is something I think (someone correct me if I’m wrong) Jose Maria Escriva talked about called the ‘heroic minute.’ The idea is that by simply not pressing the snooze button on our alarms, we can become heroic. This effort we make first thing in the morning disciplines us in a healthy way and starts us off saying ‘yes’ to everything that day has to offer (instead of saying ‘no thanks’ by staying in bed thirty more minutes). Nicholas and I decided for the next two weeks to (individually) really make an effort to avoid hitting the seductive snooze. This morning I didn’t press it but did stay in bed for 8 more minutesbaby steps, right?

Camping

I can add this to the list of #thingsineverthoughtidsay. I like being outside, I just don’t like being outside for extended periods of time. I went camping once in high school and was miserable the entire time (probably because I was sorely under prepared and therefore cold and uncomfortable). In any case, we decided to go camping with some friends this weekend and I have come around to actually being excited about it (for a while I hoped something would happen and we wouldn’t be able to go…). I think it’s really important to go an adventures. Whether it’s small things like riding bikes somewhere new or something bigger like this, experiences such as these keep us invigorated and are excellent for relationship building. I’m excited to be in nature, unplug some and spend quality time with friends (and explore Greenville, SC where we’re going on Sunday). Yay for expanding our comfort zones!

Google Photos

I recently discovered this application from Google and am really loving it. The app automatically stores all the photos in your phone and all the photos you take with it into the Google Photo drive. It’s great because then you can delete pictures on your phone without worrying about never seeing them again. You can also edit the pictures and access them from anywhere. As an avid photo taker I really appreciate having both the photos from the nice camera and from my phone in one place. I also love that I can make simple edits easily and can access them from my phone, computer or pretty much anywhere! You can also make photo books with the app which I haven’t tried yet but definitely plan to. It’s also super easy to share pictures from here with anyone!

I hope you have a great week and take advantage of all the beautiful moments life has to offer you this week.

xo

Miranda

Monday 5: Fall & other things I’m excited about this week

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Happy Monday! I hope this weekend was lovely and restful. I certainly got a lot of sleep which was wonderful! We also caught up over dinner with some friends Saturday evening and yesterday I got to go to the Fun Nun bowl fundraiser which was a great time. I also went to one of my favorite breweries in Charleston called Revelry, such a great rooftop! I’m really excited for the upcoming week/month/season for a number of reasons, hopefully you are too!

Fall

Of course I have to talk about the new season. Despite the warm weather we still have and will probably continue to have for another month, there are nevertheless things to be excited about for the Fall months. I made a list of them on a board to make sure we check off the list and don’t let the time pass us without taking advantage of all the season has to offer. Bonfires, s’mores, apple picking, pumpkin everything, crisp mornings…definitely a lot to look forward to!

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Schedule change

For the past two months Nicholas has been on a very demanding schedule that has him working 6-6 most workdays and weekends. While certainly tougher on him, it also has been difficult for us to have more limited time together while also dealing with the fact that he is often worn out from the long day. However, this coming month his rotation is a lot easier and will typically be 9-5 (he may even get off earlier than that) and he gets weekends off. Needless to say we are both extremely excited and plan on taking full advantage of the extra time.

Alanna Boudreau

Nicholas introduced me to this singer/songwriter and recently I’ve been enjoying listening to her music a great deal. She has a pretty unique voice and her songs are both beautiful and meaningful. I really like her style and lyrics. Unfortunately, she isn’t on Spotify yet. However you can check out her new album CHAMPION here or listen to one of my favorites of hers on Youtube.

Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix Original

I’ve never been a huge Seinfeld fan, mostly because when I started watching TV it wasn’t on as often so I’ve never been able to really give it a chance. Now having seen his Netflix original over the weekend I think I would probably really like it! I love his dry sense of humor and keen observations on ordinary life. I thought his stand up was pretty clean and it was cool to see how he made it to be one of the most well known comedians…it takes a lot of work! Definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a good laugh and some interesting stories.

This meme

Having been a nanny for more than a year now (where does time go??) I can say that I love the two girls I nanny so much and feel so grateful to take care of them! Nicholas also loves spending time with them and loves it when I send funny videos or pictures throughout the week. This one I sent him earlier this month and he rightly said it should be made into a meme! So after much brain racking this was the result…hope it makes you laugh as much as we did!

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Monday 5: Surprise parties & other things I’m excited about this week

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I know in a lot of places today isn’t a great day…so many storms doing so much damage! Here in Charleston we are getting a tiny bit of Hurricane Irma, it’s stormy and windy and the power has already cut out once. Praying for all those areas that have been so seriously affected!

That being said, I think finding the silver lining is so incredibly important, especially on days like today. That’s why I decided to go ahead and have my Monday 5 go out today, I’m sorry I missed last week because of the holiday!

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I know writing this brought me a little hope and peace and hopefully will do the same for you, or at least remind you to make a list of things that bring you some hope and peace.

Here are some things I’m excited about on this stormy Monday.

Sway

I came across this song on Spotify and have been listening to it on repeat for the past four days. It’s so cute!!! I love the laid back, relaxed vibe that makes you want to just dance barefoot in your kitchen. A perfect pick-me-up song that you can listen to after a long day of work or hanging out on a lazy Saturday (or on a hurricane day).

Paddle boarding

Nicholas finally got a paddle board last weekend after searching the many secondhand selling sites for months. We picked it up last Saturday afternoon and took it out for our first ride Sunday morning! It was definitely precarious with the two of us on there but we managed to stay on. Nicholas paddled while I sat in the front, it was a beautiful and peaceful way to start the day. It is such a relaxing hobby and perfect for a town that is surrounded by water, it definitely doesn’t require the skill that surfing necessitates and is something you can easily go do with others or on your own. It is a good workout, though, since it requires a fair amount of strength to stay balanced (as I found out the hard way). We’ve gone twice in the morning so far and have gone on one sunset ride as well…so fun!! It’s great for us to get 45 minutes where we can talk or just enjoy each other’s company quietly while admiring all the beauty of Shem Creek.

Oyster roast season

One thing that is pretty popular here in Charleston is the oyster roast. I went to my first one a few years ago and now I get excited about them too. Typically you go someplace that has long tables and the roasted oysters come out and are thrown unceremoniously on the tables still steaming hot. From there you use shucking knives to break them open (or in my case ask someone to do it for you) and then use crackers and/or cocktail sauce if desired. It’s fun to dress in fall gear and get a group together to stand around and chat. Charleston has several oyster roasts throughout the season and I’m excited to make it to one soon!

British-themed surprise parties

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Our friend Lucia (shout out!) spent the summer in England (Cambridge, no less) working at an elite summer camp for high schoolers. We decided to welcome her back with a taste of her summer days. I made scones (from a mix), had a bowl of goldfish and potato chips (fish n’ chips), crown shaped sugar cookies (from scratch), and some ‘wine gummies’ I found in the British section of Publix (very authentic…as you can imagine). We had champagne and a slew of British decorations I had found around my house (we are all anglophiles). Nicholas put up a British flag made from streamers. It was a fun night, we had a few good friends of Lucia come and enjoyed chatting for a few hours. I of course loved planning and putting together the small event and am already scheming for the next one!

Lettering

Since third grade when I went to an all girls’s school in Venezuela, I’ve taken a lot of pride in good handwriting. I think it is such a nice, small detail that can make a big difference! Whether it’s on an invite, a letter, your personal notes or a sign, pretty handwriting can be such a game changer! Recently I’ve been working a little more on lettering, I don’t completely follow the models I find on Pinterest but I combine them with my cursive. It’s a fun, relaxing project to work on while listening to music and can come into use for gifts and decorating! I’m excited to continue to improve.

I hope everyone is safe and dry this weekend! Here’s to finding the silver lining on a very cloudy day.

xo

Miranda

 

Monday 5: Salsa dancing & other things I’m excited about this week

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Happy Monday! It’s another rainy one here in Charleston…definitely going to need some extra enthusiasm to make it through the day. This weekend we had some good times meeting up with friends, beach bumming and spending time with my family.

We made it to brunch at a spot called Butcher and Bee downtown Charleston which was quite good. The vibe was very hip and we got to sit at a bar overlooking the kitchen, which was pretty sweet. The food was delicious and we ordered way too much. We started with a chocolate ‘babka’ which was similar to a croissant and equally yummy. We also had anchovy stuffed, fried olives with pesto, whipped feta with hummus and bacon covered dates. The feta was probably my favorite. We also ordered a sandwich which came back with us because we were way too full by that point.

As always, the weekend went by way too fast. But these are some things that I’m excited about this week that hopefully will help today feel less dreary.

Checkieday.com

This website is fun, and especially useful to make the work week more exciting. It tells you all the national ‘holidays’ that we don’t really know about like ‘National Respect Canada day’ and ‘National Get out of the Doghouse day’ (which is today, incidentally). I think this is so great to celebrate the little, random things. Putting a small effort into celebrating whatever is happening on a given day is an easy way to brighten our week and break out of the routine. Whether it’s making a drink, buying a certain food or just giving someone a hug (today is also National Hug your Kid day), taking a little time and effort to celebrate weekly is important (and so fun).

Salsa dancing

A few weeks ago we went to salsa dance for the first time. The friends who were supposed to teach us weren’t able to come so we were left to our own devices on the dance floor, which was a little scary. We mainly watched other people dance and ventured out eventually to give it a shot. We didn’t really salsa dance (because we didn’t know how) but still enjoyed our less-than-impressive effort. Later that week we went salsa dancing at a different spot and actually did our research beforehand (aka watched YouTube videos). It was definitely awkward at first but we had fun and improved by the end of the night. We’re supposed to go again this week; I’m excited to develop a new skill together that we can also share with friends who come out with us. *dancer emoji*

Flower arrangements

Recently I’ve been making an effort to have flowers in the house. Taking a few minutes to stop by Trader Joes to buy a bouquet is both fun for me and brings a little joy to the rest of the fam. I really think it’s little details like that which make life so much better. This week my mom and I are attending a flower arrangement class which I’m really excited about. I don’t intend on making hugely elaborate bouquets regularly but I think it would be a fun thing to do every now and then…and hopefully I’ll at least improve the simple arrangements I’ve been doing so far.

Flannery O’Connor

In a few weeks, a couple of Nicholas’ friends I met in Ohio during my last visit are coming down to do a pilgrimage to various sites where Flannery O’Connor spent time in Savannah. For those of you who don’t know, Flannery O’Connor was a young author during the 1950’s and 60’s who wrote stories about the South. She was diagnosed with lupus in her twenties and spent much of her illness writing and attending lectures to read her essays and short stories. She’s known especially for the reflections on ethics and morality in her writing. We enjoyed reading her short story called ‘The Barber,’ and are hoping to read more before going to Savannah. It’s definitely not what you find today, but the style is a welcome challenge and definitely thought provoking.

Provoking discussions

Speaking of provoking…recently I’ve found myself in many discussions with friends and loved ones about sensitive topics in politics, morality, theology…I’m not someone who enjoys debate, mainly because I take things too personally and tend to get emotional. However, I’ve come to appreciate how important it is to have discussions like this. As a culture, we tend to shy away from anything that might be remotely controversial and do our best to keep things light; but these conversations -while difficult- are where rubber meets the road in our beliefs and values. To challenge and be challenged, to search for truth and ultimately learn from each other….this doesn’t happen if we always talk about what show we’re watching or the newest restaurant we tried out. I hope to continue to have these somewhat difficult conversations and learn to not see it as an argument, but rather a group effort to find what is true.

Here’s to conversations that matter.

xo

Miranda