goals + recipes for the week of 7/27

Happy Sunday, friends! I’m making this a quick one because it’s a busy day for me! Here are my goals for the week…

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals for this past week:
revise 25 pages of my novel-in-progress
– write 10 pages of my new play
– teach a successful weekend of Summer Writing Camp
– connect with three friends
– finish reading Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro {about 50 pages left to go}

Here are my goals for this upcoming week — keeping them simple:
– submit new play to contest
– teach a successful week of camp for Communication Academy
– finish reading Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
chocolate-chip cocoNUT bars via It’s Progression
watermelon, blackberry & mint salad via Two Peas & Their Pod
– spicy lime chicken salad via sometimes.always.never
marbled banana bread {vegan + gf} via the real-life rd
– my own mixed berry cobbler

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

fabulous friday #28

Happy Friday, friends! Hope you’re having a fabulous day!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. The gorgeous summer sunshine and the beautiful beach. I went out to dinner with my parents and it was one of those perfect evenings… warm, a slight breeze, the sun setting over the ocean. I tried to capture it with my camera, but this photo doesn’t do it justice!

pretty ocean

2. Last night, my sweet parents surprised me with tickets to see Once: The Musical at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles! The movie is one of my favorites and I think the music is stunningly beautiful. Seeing the musical was goosebumps-inducing! And we made a night of it with a lovely dinner beforehand at 33 Taps in Hollywood. My parents are two of my best friends and I love getting to spend time with them!

pantages theater

mom dad once

3. I always love coming home and getting together with friends! I saw Gricelda for a lunch date at our favorite spot, Urbane Cafe. Tania invited me to her house for a long catch-up visit {the kind where you feel like it’s been maybe forty minutes and you look at the clock and, whoops, three hours have passed!} And Erica and Kyle had me over to their adorbs new apartment for dinner.

me and erica at her place

They made a delicious healthy stir-fry with rice and I tried out a new recipe for dessert: raspberry brown-butter crumb bars. Oh man, you guys — so good! I will be sharing the recipe next week, so stay tuned.

raspberry brown butter bars

4.  I was floored by this blog post about the declining health of America’s kids — more proof that kids need active play time every day! This amazing nonprofit org, KaBoom!, is where my brother is interning this summer in Washington, D.C.

5. My first Kindle short story is now available! It’s called “Grand Slam” and for a limited time, it’s on sale at Amazon for less than a buck! Here’s a brief description: Derek is a die-hard Cincinnati Reds baseball fan. He finally works up the nerve to talk to his crush, Regina… but then he learns she is a huge New York Yankees fan. The Reds are going up against the Yankees in the World Series! Can their budding romance survive an intense sports rivalry?

grand slam cover

Read a preview and get your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M1236J2

Here’s to soaking up every last drop of this TGIF and cheers to a fun summer weekend!

Questions of the morning:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

mid-week meditation #7

Happy Wednesday, friends! Hope your week is going great. I’m enjoying my final few days at home in Ventura before heading back up to the Bay Area to teach another week-long class for Communication Academy. Summer is flying by!

Here’s a meditation for you today — I discovered the quote thanks to one of my favorite writing/creativity bloggers, Alexandra Franzen. Hope you enjoy!

three grand essentials

Questions of the morning:

  • What are your grand essentials to happiness?
  • What are you doing, loving, and hoping for?

a year of Wooden: week 26

Hi everyone! Time for this week’s year of Wooden challenge!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.

Coach Wooden said, “The two most important words in the English language are LOVE and BALANCE.” This month, we’ll be focusing on the first of those: cultivating and nurturing more love in our lives. Next month, we’ll strive to create better balance in our lives.

Last week’s challenge was to write a love letter to yourself. Surprisingly, this was actually quite a bit harder for me than it was to write a love letter to someone else. At first I felt uncomfortable. I think I am a fairly confident person, and yet it seemed silly to be spending time writing down things I love about myself. Why is that? Did any of you have a similar experience?

I think many of us are trained to focus on our flaws and weaknesses, to always try to improve ourselves, that we don’t spend nearly enough time acknowledging our strengths. By the end of my love letter to myself, I had tears in my eyes. I felt so grateful to be alive and to be ME. I wrote my letter in my journal, and now I plan to go back and read it every so often, anytime I am feeling down about myself.

This week’s challenge is to go beyond just saying, “I love you” and SHOW someone your love. This doesn’t have to be a romantic gesture; doing your roommate’s dishes, helping your little brother with his homework, bringing a coworker coffee, giving your spouse a back rub — anything kind and thoughtful shows the people in your life that you appreciate them. Aim to do seven loving gestures this week, one every day. Let me know how it goes!

Questions for the day:

  • What was you experience writing a love letter to yourself?
  • When was the last time someone made you feel really appreciated?

goals + recipes for the week of 7/20

Happy Sunday! I’m off soon to teach my second day of Summer Writing Camp! Yesterday went wonderfully. There’s something so special about about being in a room filled with young people lost in their imaginations, putting words down on paper. I love it!

Before I head out, here are my goals for the week…

weekly goals

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– revise 25 pages of my novel-in-progress
– write 10 pages of my new play
– teach a successful weekend of Summer Writing Camp
– connect with three friends
– finish reading Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
simple summertime bbq sides via Peanut Butter Fingers
chickpea, tomato, pesto & mozzarella salad via Two Peas & Their Pod
– cherry coconut flour pancakes via It’s Progression
spicy peanut noodles w/kale & edamame via The Pajama Chef
– my own butternut squash quinoa mock risotto

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

fabulous friday #27 {washington d.c. recap edition!}

Happy Friday, everyone! After a few whirlwind weeks of travel, I’m now back home in Ventura soaking up time with my parents, Gramps, Erica, and Mr. Mur-dog.

I’m also preparing to teach the first weekend of my Summer Writing Camp tomorrow! I’ve got a lot on the to-do list today, but before I get going I wanted to take a few minutes to recap my trip to Washington D.C. to visit my brother for a long weekend. So this week’s Fabulous Friday post is going to be a recap!

Here’s 5 things I loved about washinginton, d.c.:

1. Spending time {and taking selfies!} with my brother. I always love getting together with this crazy kid! He makes me laugh like pretty much no one else on the planet.

selfie with greg

selfie on metro

2. Strolling along the Washington Mall and seeing the Capitol and all the monuments.

me with capitol

greg and horse

3. Going to the Ford’s Theater museum. As a huge Abraham Lincoln fan, it was really sad — but also sacred — to see the place he died.

honest abe

house lincoln died

ford's theater

ford's theater box

4. The Native American Smithsonian Museum. Beautiful and thought-provoking.

smithsonian

native american banner

native american museum

native american statue

5. Going to the Sara Bareilles concert! Greg surprised me with tickets. It was a phenomenal show, and the venue was so much fun! We picnicked before on the grassy lawn. It was a wonderful night!

sara bareilles concert

20140714_154420

20140714_161307

20140714_161535

Questions of the morning:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What’s on your agenda for the weekend?
  • Have you taken any fun trips this summer?

a year of Wooden: week 25

Hi, friends! I’m writing this from the D.C. airport after a wonderful trip visiting my brother. {Recap post coming later this week!} My flight doesn’t leave for another couple hours and there are thunderstorms in the weather forecast today, so cross your fingers I get out of here safely and on time to make my connection in Kansas City!

starbucks

But right now I’m a happy camper with my little travel workstation: laptop, earbuds playing Lucius on soundcloud {they opened for Sara Bareilles at her concert last night and were aaamazing}, phone charging, and of course a big cup of green tea w/honey.

I’m happy to be coming at you with this week’s year of Wooden challenge!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.

Coach Wooden said, “The two most important words in the English language are LOVE and BALANCE.” This month, we’ll be focusing on the first of those: cultivating and nurturing more love in our lives. Next month, we’ll strive to create better balance in our lives.

Last week’s challenge was to increase the love in your life by increasing the time you spend PRESENT with your loved ones. In other words, it’s not just important to spend time with those you love — it’s important to make that QUALITY time!

One simple thing I did this week was turn off my cell phone. I used it to take pictures and occasionally to see where I was going in the city to keep from getting lost, but other than that I tried to keep my phone silenced and put away in my bag for most of the day. I was highly aware that the time I got to spend with Allyn and Greg — and with my cousin Melissa, who drove down from Baltimore to see Greg and me for dinner, and with two other friends I got to meet up with in D.C. — was limited and precious because I was leaving soon and I knew I would miss them very much. But it got me thinking — our time is limited and precious always, with everyone, even with those people we see every single day whose presence we might take for granted. I definitely felt happier and more loved this week when I was focused on savoring the in-person time I was blessed to have with the amazing people in my life! I’m going to try to live with my cell phone turned off more often.

This week’s challenge is to write a love letter to yourself. What do you love about yourself? What are your favorite qualities that you possess? How can you be kinder, gentler, and more loving to yourself?

Questions for the day:

  • What was you experience this week of trying to be present with your loved ones?
  • Have you gone on any trips this summer?

a year of Wooden: week 24

Hi, friends! How was your 4th of July weekend? Filled with fun, friends and relaxation I hope! And some good food and fireworks, too! :)

Today I’m back with this week’s year of Wooden challenge.

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.

Coach Wooden said, “The two most important words in the English language are LOVE and BALANCE.” This month, we’ll be focusing on the first of those: cultivating and nurturing more love in our lives. Next month, we’ll strive to create better balance in our lives.

Last week’s challenge was to write a love letter to someone special in your life. I’m not going to reveal who I wrote a love letter to, in case the person reads this {don’t want to spoil the surprise!} But I will say that the act of writing down the many qualities and details I admire and love about this person made me feel even more grateful to have someone so special in my life.

valentines cards

This week’s challenge is to increase the love in your life by increasing the time you spend PRESENT with your loved ones. In other words, it’s not just important to spend time with those you love — it’s important to make that QUALITY time! What’s one simple thing you can do that will make a huge difference? Turn off your cell phone during meals or coffee dates or car rides with your friends and family. Checking email or updating social media can wait until later. Focus on savoring the in-person time you have with the people around you, and I guarantee you’ll feel more loved!

In his book Wooden & Me, my dad shares an anecdote about one afternoon when he was visiting Coach Wooden at his home and their visit was interrupted by a phone call. Coach Wooden let the answering machine pick it up, and soon my dad heard the unmistakeable voice of basketball superstar {and Coach’s former player} Bill Walton.

“Don’t you need to get that?!” my dad asked incredulously.

“Oh no, no, I can call Bill back later,” Coach Wooden said. “If I answered the phone, I’d be stuck on the line talking to Bill and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my time here with you right now.”

Here’s a powerful video on this topic that I think Coach Wooden would have agreed with: Look Up!

Questions for the day:

  • How did your love-letter writing go this past week?
  • Have you ever gone on a technology break?

fabulous friday #26 {new orleans edition!}

Hi from beautiful New Orleans, and Happy Independence Day to all my U.S. readers! I hope you have some fun celebrating on the agenda today. Allyn and I are going to watch the fireworks on the Mississippi River! I’m waaaaay excited.

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Being reunited with my sweetheart! After being apart for a month {and knowing we’ll have to be apart for another month when I leave} I am savoring every moment we get to spend together.

me and Al new orleans

2. The beautiful architecture of the city! It’s so uniquely New Orleans. And I love the strands of lights that are hanging everywhere! The picture below is from a cute outdoor art fair we stumbled upon one night on Frenchman Street.

new orleans architecture new orleans architecture new orleans art walk

3. Live jazz music! We saw a terrific performance at a place on Bourbon Street, and also wandered around Frenchman Street where there was a fantastic band giving a street performance that blew my socks off. I get such a big goofy grin on my face when listening to live music.

live jazz

4. The food. Especially the beignets at Café Du Monde. I learned the hard way not to exhale while taking a bite — guess who blew powdered sugar alllll over herself? Haha.

cafe du mondebeignetal beignet

me beignet

5. These cheerful flowers Allyn surprised me with at the airport when he picked me up. There were a bunch of buds that have slowly been unfurling all week. I love them!

flowers from Al

BONUS: My friend Dana’s beautiful photography blog. She posts a new photo of hers every day and it makes my morning to check it out while I sip my tea. Talk about inspiration! She is so talented. I wish she could walk around New Orleans with me and take photographs! She has such an insightful, interesting way of viewing the world behind her lens. You can subscribe to her blog here!

Questions of the morning:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for this 4th of July weekend?
  • Have you ever been to New Orleans? Any recommendations for my final week here?

a year of Wooden: week 23

a year of wooden

Hi friends! It’s been a long time since my last year of Wooden post… Now, on the first day of July, it’s time to recap the month of June! Our theme was gratitude. This month’s challenge was to start a gratitude jar or gratitude journal, and every night before you go to bed, write down at least one good thing that happened that day, something or someone you are grateful for. {Here’s a post I wrote earlier this year about starting a gratitude jar.}

How did it go for you? I was amazed at how much there was to be grateful for … even tough/exhausting/emotionally draining days were full-to-the-brim of things to be grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal helped me recognize and be thankful for the many blessings in my life — from big things like my family, friends, health, job, food and shelter, to smaller things like the smile from a stranger I pass by on the street, the warmth of my chai tea on a chilly June morning, or the hug goodnight from my grandma. Often the days that I was most tired and least felt like writing in my gratitude journal were the days I needed it the most!

I also made a list of 27 gratitudes for my 27th birthday … embarking on the list, I was a bit worried that I would have to stretch to find 27 birthday-specific gratitudes {27 is kind of a lot!} but I ended up having to consolidate some things into one number on the list because I had so much to be grateful for! That’s the thing about gratitude: the more you find, the more and more finds you. Gratitude grows exponentially once you learn to recognize it in your life!

All in all, at the end of this month focused on gratitude, I feel not only more grateful but also more centered, calm and at peace. I’m definitely going to continue keeping my gratitude journal for the rest of the year and beyond!

Now, moving on to July…

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.

love quote

Coach Wooden said, “The two most important words in the English language are LOVE and BALANCE.” This month, we’ll be focusing on the first of those: cultivating and nurturing more love in our lives. Next month, we’ll strive to create better balance in our lives.

For this week’s challenge, write a love letter to someone special in your life. What do you admire about them? What qualities and details do you love about them? What is something special they do that makes you feel loved?

I’ll end with this photo that my friend Holly sent me — a sign posted in her gym:

wooden quote gym

Questions for the day:

  • What are you grateful for in your life?
  • What was it like keeping a gratitude journal?
  • Who makes you feel loved?