Monday, October 16, 2017

Weekly Happiness #3

Happy Monday! How was everyone's week last week? The week was a busy but a good one for me. Lots of little things to make me smile even though the week flew past! 

Last weekend my boyfriend and I went on vacation. It was a much needed little break for both of us. My favorite part was showing my boyfriend, Dan, around Minnesota. He had never been and it was so fun to show him around where I grew up with my parents! We also got to see his family in Illinois on our way back home so it was the perfect little trip. We both felt that when we got back to work we were refreshed and ready to get back into the swing of things. Check out the pictures I took here

This weekend was Homecoming for my college which is always a fun time of year. On Friday evening Dan and I headed over to a bar in town to meet up with some of his fraternity brothers. It was nice to see some people who have moved out of state and to meet new people! There was such a mix of people who had been active in the fraternity just a few years ago to people who had been active back in the 80's or 90's; I loved seeing how they still come back to see each other!

This weekend I ended up seeing a few friends that I haven't seen in a while. One of my friends moved to Missouri earlier this year and I haven't had a chance to head down and see her. On Friday she was driving through town on her way back home and I got to see her on my lunch break. It was wonderful to catch up with her, even if only for an hour! I also saw a few friends who came into town for Homecoming. With our work schedules it has been harder to find the time to drive and see each other, so I hadn't seen them in at least a few months. We went out to grab a coffee and we sat chatting and catching up for a few hours. Hopefully it won't be so long until we see each other again!

I decided to read The Shining as my creepy Halloween book this year. I started it early since it was a bigger book, but I am flying through it! I'll probably be done with it well before Halloween! I saw the movie for the first time earlier this year, so I know the general plot of the book. However, I have felt that I am getting much more detail about the different events by reading the book. I can't wait to keep reading it! 

What made you happy this week?

P.S. the tea of the day is citrus green tea ^_^

Thursday, October 12, 2017

October Road Trip Photos

This past weekend my boyfriend and I took a short trip up to Minnesota to visit my parents. We decided to rent a car and drive, and even though it was rainy on Friday (which made a bit of a stressful drive) we had a lot of fun! I can't wait until we take another road trip together. Below are some of the photos we took on our trip! 

Driving through Illinois

Starbucks run!

Cute little cabbage flowers at Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls

The fall colors in Wisconsin were amazing on our way back home! I can check seeing the autumn colors off my autumn bucket list

We were only gone a few days, but it was the perfect little vacation and we got some much needed relaxation. I hope you enjoyed the photos!

P.S. the tea of the day is cinnamon hibiscus herbal tea ^_^

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Autumn Bucket List

As the fall season kicks off I definitely want to take full advantage of the fun things there are to do around this time of year. Here are some of the things on my fall bucket list this year!

I haven't been to an apple orchard in a few years, and I would love to visit one this year! Picking fresh apples and making tasty apple treats sounds like a perfect way to warm up the house as the temperatures continue to fall. 

Seeing the leaves change to the beautiful fall colors is one of my favorite things about this season. As the earth prepares for winter it puts on such a beautiful show! I would love to take a hike and see the colors up close.

I love drinking apple cider, but usually I only get it at coffee shops. I really want to try making my own this year, maybe with apples I get from an orchard!

I've never been a huge fan of scary movies, but I definitely want to try to watch a silly Halloween film this year! On the top of my list are It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and Young Frankenstein

Even though I don't like scary movies, I do enjoy a good creepy book! I would love to read at least one spooky thriller this year cuddled up on the sofa. Do you have any spooky recommendations for me?

Since becoming vegetarian, Thanksgiving has always been a fun time to try new autumn vegetarian dishes. I always like trying to make something new around Thanksgiving, and I'm already starting to think of ideas! I'm thinking maybe a casserole or some sort of stuffed pepper.

What are you looking forward to this season?

P.S. the tea of the day is citrus green tea ^_^

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Weekly Happiness #2

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone had a fantastic week and a relaxing weekend. I've had a weekend full of reading and short spurts of cleaning the house. I've been thoroughly enjoying digging into a few new books! Here are a few other things that made me smile this week. 

I started and finished Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott this week and it was just what I needed. A riveting tale of addiction and faith, it was so inspiring to hear about her struggles and how she used her faith to overcome those issues. I would love to dig into some of her other works! 

The temperatures have finally started to cool down into autumn temps! I am so grateful to finally be able to wear sweaters without sweating as soon as I walk out of work. Fall is one of my favorite seasons and I can't wait for the changing leaves and warm suppers after a long day at work.

On Saturday I decided to take a trip over to the library to look for a book and I ended up leaving with 4! Hopefully I can get through them all before they are due! I've been really into different books on spirituality, anyone have any good recommendations?

The new season of Gotham just came back and I am so excited! Gotham is one of the few shows we watch while it is actually airing and I love the excitement and suspense of waiting for each episode to come out. Don't get me wrong, I definitely enjoy the instant gratification of binging a show, but there is something fun about gearing up for a new episode of a show each week. 

What made you smile this week?

P.S. the tea of the day is dragonfruit devotion ^_^

Thursday, September 28, 2017

September Favorites

Happy Thursday! Can you believe that it's the end of September already? I'm so excited for the cooler weather, hot drinks from Starbucks, and all the autumn decor and movies on TV! While we wait for the weather to actually cool down into fall temps, here are some things I have been loving in the month of September! 

Game of Thrones Season 6

I am finally getting caught up on Game of Thrones! In the last few weeks I have watched through season 6 of the series and I absolutely loved it! So many things happened and it feels like all the moving parts in the story are finally coming together. I can't wait to see what season 7 brings!

Kalyn Nicholson YouTube

I got sucked into Kalyn's YouTube channel this month and I just adore her and her videos. She talks about a ton of organizational and planning things and the nerd in me loves it. I find it so satisfying to watch other people clean, organize, and plan to give me new ideas and inspiration. I love watching Kalyn because she is always so authentic and silly in her videos.

Bel Canto

I finished this novel this month and holy cow, it was so good! It was the perfect mix between having action and suspense but also diving into relationships and people. I felt like I got a perfect understanding for the different characters, so when the story twisted and turned the actions of the characters made perfect sense. Book review coming soon! 

Neutrogena Face Wash

I have to be honest and say that I only bought this face wash because the one I usually use (here) was out and I had a coupon for this one. However, I love how it feels! It leaves my skin feeling tingly and clean and it's the perfect thing to wake me up in the morning. I haven't noticed a huge difference in my skin, but I don't wear any makeup and I only put moisturizer and eye cream on my face, so, I don't generally get much acne. I simply love how clean my face feels after using this! 

What types of things have you been loving lately?

P.S. the tea of the day is an Arnold Palmer ^_^

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Weekly Happiness #1

Happy Sunday! I wanted to change up my weekly inspiration posts to something that would incorporate more fun things and little tidbits here on Sundays. In this series I will share a few things that inspired me, made me smile, or that I was grateful for during the past week. I hope you enjoy! 

Afternoons off from work. Even though it means I have to work on Saturday morning I love when I get an afternoon off from work during the week! This week I ran a few errands and then relaxed while catching up on Game of Thrones. I was getting caught up on season 6 so I can start season 7 soon!

Game of Thrones. I love both the TV show and the books! I can't wait until the new books come out, but until then I will just binge out on the show! I love that now as the seasons have progressed there are more differences between the books and the show. It's so fascinating to see the slightly different directions they are going without departing at all from the overarching story line. 

Flowers outside work. On the side of the building that I work in there are all these pretty flower bushes that are still in bloom. It's such a treat to walk past them every morning going into work! 

What made you happy this week?

P.S. the tea of the day is green tea with honey and ginseng ^_^

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Autumn Knitting Wishlist

I recently finished the scarves I was working on my myself and my boyfriend and I realized I didn't have a knitting project I wanted to start after that. After browsing the internet and Pinterest for different knitting project, here are some projects that I would love to work on this autumn!

I absolutely adore this blanket! I think it looks so cozy for a cold winter night. I'm planning on making this my next project just so I can cuddle up under this blanket with a warm mug of tea and a book! 

Isn't this bag cute? The perfect bag for a knitting project or to use as a large tote! This is definitely going on my to be knit list.

The perfect autumn pattern! Wouldn't these pumpkins look adorable on a fireplace mantle? 

I've never knit a sweater before but this one seems like the perfect place to start! This looks so cozy and warm for relaxing around the house.

I follow Gabi from Maison Dene on IG and the first time I saw her post this pattern I fell in love. This sweater is definitely in my future.

I hope you enjoyed this post! What's on your to knit list?

P.S. the tea of the day is iced citrus green tea ^_^

Thursday, August 24, 2017

How to Maintain a Work Life Balance

Working a full time job and being able to enjoy the time after work can be tough. Too much focus on work can lead to stress that makes it hard to enjoy life. Here are a few tips on how to maintain a good work life balance!

Calendar. Use a calendar to plan your days. Giving yourself time to work, complete household chores, and relax is important. For tips on using a calendar see my post here
       Free time. Schedule in free time for relaxation – working hard for your many goals isn’t fun if you can’t enjoy some TV, a good book, or some time on the phone with a friend!
 Prioritize. Make sure to prioritize your goals. Outside of work, what are the most important things you want to get done? Complete the items of most importance right when you get home or during your lunch break. After those items, smaller tasks can fill in during the evening.
 Weekends. Enjoy the weekends! Don’t just cram your weekends full with the things you couldn’t do during the week. Remember, you work a lot during the rest of the week! Take the time to enjoy your days off. Make sure to get some quality relaxation time to recharge for the new week ahead. 

How do you maintain a good work life balance?

P.S. the tea of the day is green tea with ginseng and honey ^_^

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Weekly Inspiration: Gratitude

In my post on Thursday (see here) I spoke about the gratitude journal that I have been trying to write in every morning. I have found that even on the hard days, when I am stressed or upset about something, it is still very easy to find 10 things to be grateful for. This habit helps me keep perspective on the day. Just because something annoying happened the previous day or in the morning, it doesn't have to taint the whole day. By stopping and thinking about the good things in the midst of those negative feelings, I've found that my mood starts to improve immediately.

At the end of the day, if I notice that something has upset me or I start feeling down, I can just look back at my list and remember all the things I was grateful for that morning. In this way the journal serves 2 purposes; thinking about the things I am grateful for in the morning, and providing me a boost during the middle or end of the day if something starts to get me down. With this journal I have found myself fully appreciating each and every day.

Do you have a different way of keeping track of things you are grateful for? Tell me about it!

P.S. the tea of the day is green tea with ginseng ^_^

Thursday, August 3, 2017

July Favorites

My goodness, where has the time gone? I feel like I was just posting my June Favorites and now it's already time for July! This past month flew by, so this post is a bit shorter, but here are some July Favorites!

Gratitude Journal. Towards the end of June I started writing down 10 things I was grateful for *almost* every morning. I’ve kept it up through the month of July, and now into August. I absolutely love it! It’s so refreshing to sit down each morning and jot down a few things I am feeling grateful for. It can range from big things, like having a good job, to small things, like a warm mug of tea. Especially on mornings where I wake up feeling frazzled or I’ve had a stressful week, it’s a nice reminder not to take anything for granted and to appreciate the small things in life.

Image Source

The Handmaid’s Tale. I absolutely flew through this book! I have been wanting to read it for a long time, but it kept getting pushed to the bottom of my TBR pile. I finally decided to just request it at the library so I didn't see too many spoilers online from the TV series. Once I received it I read it in less than a week! A fantastically written and interesting ntriguing book, I would definitely read this again. Now I want to watch the TV series to see how it compares!

Image Source

Chai tea. Recently I have been adoring having a mug of chai tea, with a little milk and sugar, on weekend mornings. In an attempt to cut back on sugar I try to drink herbal teas during the week, and save this abs a treat on the weekends. This makes it so much more enjoyable! Having a simple treat to enjoy on the weekends has definitely made me appreciate the time at home more.

P.S. the tea of the day is Teavana Defense Wellness tea ^_^ Did anyone else see that they are closing all the Teavana stores? I better stock up!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bookshelf Wishlist

Recently I've been daydreaming about books I would love to add to my collection. Here are 5 books on my bookshelf wishlist!

"S. Morgenstern's timeless tale—discovered and wonderfully abridged by William Goldman—pits country against country, good against evil, love against hate. From the Cliffs of Insanity through the Fire Swamp and down into the Zoo of Death, this incredible journey and brilliant tale is peppered with strange beasties monstrous and gentle, and memorable surprises both terrible and sublime." -Barnes & Noble

This movie is one of my all time favorites. However, until recently I didn't even realize that it was based on a book! I can't wait until I get my hands on a copy and I can read it.

"Tristran Thorn promised to bring back a fallen star. So he sets out on a journey to fulfill the request of his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester—and stumbles into the enchanted realm that lies beyond the wall of his English country town. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one of master storyteller Neil Gaiman's most beloved tales, and the inspiration for the hit movie." -Barnes & Noble

This one is also a movie I love that I didn't realize was a book. I know the movie is decently cheesy, but I just can't get enough of it! It is just so cute and funny and I can only imagine how great the book must be.

"An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world." -Barnes & Noble

Science was never my favorite subject in school, but this memoir makes it all sound so fascinating. I would love to lose myself in Jahren's life as a scientist! 

"This book contains the original tale by Madame de Villeneuve, first published in 1740, and although the classic elements of Beauty giving up her freedom to live with the Beast, during which time she begins to see beyond his grotesque appearance, are present, there is a wealth of rich back story to how the Prince became cursed and revelations about Beauty's parentage, which fail to appear in subsequent versions." -Barnes & Noble

I can't believe I have never read this one before! I was obsessed with Beauty and the Beast growing up, and when I saw the 1946 film I loved it so much more. I can't wait to see what the story I love so much was based off of. 

"In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic." -Barnes & Noble

This book has been on my TBR list for quite a while now. The concept of the book reminds me so much of my favorite short story, The Yellow Wallpaper. This novel sounds so fascinating and I would love to spend a weekend engrossed in it.

What is on your bookshelf wishlist?

P.S. the tea of the day is an Arnold Palmer ^_^

Thursday, June 29, 2017

June Favorites

Can you believe it's already the end of June? This month has been flying by and now it's time for another favorites post! I forgot to do this post in May, but I loved it so much in April I made sure to do it this month. 

Ear to shoulder/chin to chest neck stretches. Recently, I have been loving these stretches. They are the perfect way to stretch out your neck, shoulders, and spine after waking up in the morning or after a long day at work. I usually end up doing these in every practice, no matter what time of day, because it always feels so wonderful on my neck. 

Private Selection Cinnamon Hibiscus Herbal Tea. If you've seen my Instagram stories recently this is the tea that I am drinking almost every morning. I just can't get enough of it! The cinnamon adds a bit of spice but is balanced out well by the  the right amount of spice but it is balanced out by the hibiscus, chamomile, and orange. Even though the tea doesn't have caffeine, the blend of these flavors makes the perfect taste to wake up your brain in the morning. 

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor. I bought this lipcolor as a little splurge for myself when I was out shopping a few weeks ago. I had been wanting something that would add a small hint of color to my lips without being a full on lipstick. This was exactly what I wanted! It's still in the nude color family so it's not too dramatic, but it adds a nice pop of pinky/brown color to my lips during the day. This is perfect for work where I don't want to be too flashy.

House of Cards. I'm a little late to the party but I am finally watching House of Cards! I watched a few episodes of season 1 years ago when it first came out, but for some reason  never continued the series. My boyfriend is an avid fan, so when the newest season came out (season 5) he told me I had to watch the whole thing so we could talk about it. I am slowly making my way through the first season and I am loving it! I think this weekend I am going to have some serious House of Cards binge time. 

What have you been loving this month?

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram for little tidbits of what I am enjoying throughout the month! 

P.S. the tea of the day is citrus green tea (again) ^_^

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Weekly Inspiration: Daydreams

Image from Jenna Kutcher

I have recently been catching up on YouTube videos and blog posts from the various people that I follow. On top of being a fun way to relax I am constantly amazed at how much many of these people have achieved. From starting side businesses selling beauty products to writing multiple books, it seems like they are never finished with the things they are expanding into. 

Looking at the people I follow, it reminds me that anything we dream is possible, as long as we put in the work. Sometimes I get scared when I think about starting a new project. My daydreams will include things like writing a book, becoming an international yoga teacher, or selling the items that I knit. In the past, I have shied away from these things telling myself that I wasn't good enough or I didn't have the time to practice something to the extent needed. Watching YouTube and reading blogs the past few weeks has really changed that perspective. 

We are capable of doing anything we put our minds to. It might be hard, it might take longer than we thought, and we might not get it perfectly the first time. That's okay! We can't let ourselves get discouraged and need to keep working hard on the things that we love. In the end that is all that matters. Putting time and effort into the things we love, no matter what the outcome, is the best way to stay inspired and happy. 

People who have been inspiring me recently:

P.S. the tea of the day is chai ^_^

Thursday, June 22, 2017

5 Yoga Sequences for the Morning

Morning is my favorite time of the day to do yoga. Practicing in the morning is the best way to wake up both my body and mind for the day ahead. When I do yoga in the morning I find that as the day becomes more hectic, I am better able to handle the stress. Here are my 5 favorite morning yoga sequences. They are all online so you can practice right in your bedroom!

20 Minute Mindful Morning Yoga Practice by Sarah Beth Yoga: This is my go-to morning sequence. Sarah Beth also has a 10 and 30 minute video in this series, but I find this one perfect for my schedule. I love how this sequence stretches out every part of the body and also focuses on waking up the mind. If you need a sequence to get you going before a big day or after a late night this is perfect! 
Find Sarah Beth here!

Energizing Morning Sequence by Yoga with Adriene: This sequence is one I practice very frequently as well. Like the first sequence this is great at stretching out the entire body. However, this sequence also includes more strengthening postures to give a more active wake up. If you want a sequence to really inject a boost of energy into your morning, this is the sequence for you! 
Find Adriene here!

Energizing Morning Yoga Routine by Sarah Beth Yoga: This sequence is great if you need something quick but thorough. A little bit shorter than the previous routines, this practice includes lots of twists to get your body moving and to get that heavy sleep feeling out. After practicing the body feels much more light and mobile for the day ahead.

Graceful Morning Flow by Ruby Lee: I found this routine on the Yoga International website when I was looking for a video that was going to make me sweat (you will have to sign up for a free Yoga International account to view this video). This practice incorporates the same flow multiple times with only minor changes. It's great for getting a full body stretch but also challenging yourself. If you want a more active workout in the morning and plan to get a little sweaty, this is perfect for you! 
Find Ruby Lee here!

15 Minute Morning Yoga to Wake Up by Yoga by Candace: This is a short but sweet video that targets the big muscle groups for a very gentle morning stretch. All the poses are done sitting or kneeling on the ground until the very end when you work into a forward fold. This is the perfect routine for anyone looking for a quick stretch before a busy day.
Find Candace here!

When do you prefer to do yoga?

P.S. the tea of the day is citrus green tea ^_^

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Weekly Inspiration: Keep Going

I absolutely love this quote! I am constantly feeling like I should be improving or learning things faster than I am. I want to go from a beginner to a master in something without any of the process or work to get there. For example, instead of practicing yoga and studying every day, I just want to be able to do advanced poses and know all about the philosophy. This often makes me feel like I am not making any progress and that I am stuck in the same place.

However, the thing I am constantly reminding myself is that the process is the exciting part! It's fun to learn a new pose or to discover new ideas through reading. Without enjoying the process of getting to the destination, how will I ever appreciate the things that I have learned? Those small aha moments or the feeling of nailing a pose I have been working on are the moments that make all the hard work worth it. 

This means that I have been trying to slow down and every moment. Instead of becoming impatient while reading a book, I am working on letting myself become fully engrossed in each part of the book. If I am going through a yoga sequence, I try to listen to my body in every single movement and pose instead of looking toward what's coming next. In this way I focus more on learning and exploring, instead of always trying to be one step ahead of myself. 

What do you do when you are getting impatient with your progress?

P.S. the tea of the day is chai tea ^_^

XOXO Taylor

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Book Review: The Bookseller

I saved The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson onto my Goodreads to-read list a while ago, and the last time I stopped into the library I decided to pick it up. I didn't know anything about it other than what was on the inside cover, so I wasn't 100% sure what to expect. However, once I got into it I really enjoyed the novel and quickly read through the whole thing. This is definitely a book I would recommend if you are looking for a book to read! 

The Bookseller starts off slowly, the characters are nice and wholesome, and the reader is  introduced to an idyllic setting in Denver. Kitty, the main character, is a single woman who runs a bookshop with her best friend Frieda. In 1960's Denver they are both considered spinsters, but they thoroughly enjoy their lives. However, as the story continues it quickly builds suspense and drama. Kitty soon begins having dreams that she is not single, but married to a man named Lars and they live with their children in a big house in the suburbs. As the dreams continue, and Kitty learns more about her dream world, the suspense grows for the reader. Why is she having these dreams, where is she when she goes to the dream world, and what happened to her family and friends in that world are all questions that become extremely important for Kitty to answer and for the reader to understand. 

As the drama of the novel unfolds, I appreciated that it kept it's idyllic setting and tone. The drama of her life, including money problems, finding out what happened to her in this dream world, and helping her dream life self navigate the complex world she has entered, fit well with the setting. The ending took an unexpected and exciting turn, but it kept true to the peaceful setting we were introduced to at the beginning of the story. 

The one issue I had with the book was the twist her relationship with her best friend Frieda took. The drama that unfolded between them due to the dreams seemed a bit cliche and boring. I felt like their relationship didn't have as solid a foundation as Swanson set up at first and ended up being very shallow. For two women who were happy with their single lives, jealousy peaked and damaged the relationship extremely quickly. 

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by a book that I picked up on a whim. I enjoyed The Bookseller a lot and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a light read. I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads. 

What have you been reading recently?

P.S. the tea of the day is citrus green tea ^_^