mid-week meditation #12

First off: happy October, everyone! It is beginning to officially feel like autumn.

September ended on a lovely note for me: we had a wonderful time last night celebrating Allyn’s birthday! His mom cooked a delicious meal of salmon, broccoli and green beans. Plus we had a beautiful red velvet cake for dessert! {Apparently Allyn’s mom and I were on the same wavelength with the red velvet desserts!}

als bday dinner

red velvet cake

al candles

I hope Allyn had a really special birthday, because he is a very special person.

It’s been a busy morning around here. I’m trying to get a solid day of writing in before teaching two classes this afternoon. Taking a quick break right now to nosh on this salad — spinach, chard, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, celery, sunflower seeds, grilled chicken, balsamic vinaigrette — yummy, healthy and fueling!

salad

This week’s meditation is one of my favorites ever. Such important words to take in and think about. Thanks to my brother Greg for passing along this quote to me:

work lives on quote

 Questions of the morning:

  • What work do you do that focuses on others?
  • What do you want your legacy to be?

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

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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?

fabulous friday #22

Happy TGIF, friends! I have one of those jam-packed, busy weekends on the agenda … I’m excited about all the fun things on my calendar these next two days, but maybe all that looming activity explains why I’ve felt so sluggish today. I’m just having a hard time getting up and moving, which is unusual for me. I’m taking it as my body’s cue that I need a little rest. Could also be this heat wave we are having … I’ve been chugging water and Gatorade like nobody’s business, but it can still be difficult to stay adequately hydrated!

Moving right along…

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. Omg you guys, I don’t know why I’m so late to jump on the bandwagon, but I can’t get enough of this stuff. I love it on toast, on celery, on apples, on carrots, by itself on a spoon…

justin's maple almond butter

2. This inspiring and honest post by one of my favorite bloggers, Nicole @ A Life Less Bullsh*t, about fear & procrastination.

3. My new haircut! I don’t know if any of you could tell from the photos I posted earlier from Julie’s wedding, but I got a couple inches trimmed off the ends. Not a big change, but it feels so much healthier. I love the light, summertime feel of a new haircut. {Cute side note: one of my 8-year-old students even noticed and complimented me on it. So sweet! Made my day.}

haircut.jpg

4. Lee Brice’s new song “I Don’t Dance.” Makes me tear up every time it comes on the radio.

5. The sweet and thoughtful card I received from my brother, who is currently on a plane to Vietnam as part of a two-and-a-half week trip he’s taking through his MBA program. He’ll be traveling to Vietnam, Thailand, and China, and I can’t wait to see him when he returns home and hear all about this adventures! Please send your thoughts and prayers for a safe trip.

Here he is riding an elephant in Sri Lanka last year.

Here he is riding an elephant in Sri Lanka last year!

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What do you have on the agenda for the weekend?

goals + recipes for the week of 3/23

Happy Sunday, friends, and welcome to new subscribers! So happy to have you here. I’m very grateful for everyone who takes time out of their day to visit my little corner of the blogosphere. Thank you all! ❤

I had a wonderful visit with my dad and Greg … my heart is filled with love for these amazing guys! And my cheeks hurt from laughing whenever we are together. They crack me up. Here are a few of my favorite pics from their visit:

me and dad

dad and greg

me and gb

silly cousins

with my boys

They left yesterday morning, and I miss them so much! Fortunately I’m keeping busy today with good things: church this morning, then a long-overdue catch-up visit with my friend Emy {slash work-sesh at our favorite coffee shop}, then an afternoon walk with Dana, and finally dinner with my aunt Annie’s family.

But before I head off for the day, it’s time for goals!

weekly goals 
Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
– write 12 pages
submit essay to Chicken Soup for the Soul
– go to two yoga classes
finish reading through three lit journals from my AWP stash
– connect with three friends
have a wonderful visit with my dad and Greg!!

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write 12 pages
– send out newsletter
– go to two yoga classes
– finish reading through three lit journals from my AWP stash
– connect with three friends
– bake an amazing cake for Grandma’s birthday! {perhaps this one?}

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
slow-cooker chicken chile verde nachos via Two Peas & Their Pod
avocado chicken salad zucchini boats via Julie @PB Fingers
peanut butter avocado chocolate chip cookies via Whitney @sometimes.always.never
chocolatey freezer fudge via Robyn @the real-life rd

Questions of the morning:

  • How has your weekend been so far?
  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring

This post is linked up with Menu-Plan Monday.

fabulous friday #15

Happy Friday, friends! You know what TGIF means around here…

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. My dad and brother are in town visiting!! I love these two guys so much. They crack me up and we always have so much fun when we’re together. The only thing is I’m missing my mama — it’s weird for the three of us to be together without her — but she’ll be coming up to see me in just over a week!

boys

2. This quote that Danica shared last week on her blog — so, so true.

And it reminds me of something my dad always says: “T.G.I.M.! Because if you don’t embrace Mondays you will wind up dreading 1/7th of your life. That’s not something I’m willing to do, how about you?”

3. The new Sara Evans album, Slow Me Down. My sweet dad got it for me as a little random, surprise gift because I love Sara Evans. This latest album of hers is no exception! I’ve been listening to it on repeat and dancing in my car as I drive around. The perfect anthem to springtime! Currently, I think my favorite songs on the album are “Sweet Spot“; “If I Run“; and her cover of/duet with Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You.”

sara evans cd

4. A company I just learned about, Warby Parker — like TOMS shoes but with eyeglasses! For every pair of eyeglasses they sell, they distribute a pair to someone in need. They emailed me about their Home Try-On program, which allows you to pick out your five favorite frames for five days, with no expense {they even pay for shipping.} This gives you the opportunity to try out multiple looks before you commit to anything, and all from the comfort of your home! I think it’s a cool idea and I love the social mission of their company. I’m looking forward to exploring their sunwear collection in time for the summer!

5. I’ve been thinking and praying for the Holmstrom family, whose precious baby girl Brinley needs all our love and healing thoughts. I went to school with both Eric and Sarah, and they are such kindhearted, generous, loving people. Sarah blogs over at how is your heart? if you want to drop her a note or a prayer.

Questions of the morning:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • Any fun plans in store for the weekend?

fabulous friday #9

Happy Friday, friends!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Caramel turtle brownies. I made these a couple nights ago, improvising a little on the recipe directions by placing a Rolo caramel candy in the center of each one. {I was inspired by my peanut butter cup brownies!} They turned out delicious, though quite caramel-y… my grandparents teased me about having to drink lots of hot coffee while eating these babies in order to get the caramel off their teeth! So you have been warned.

caramel brownies

2. Artsy movie theaters. This week, I had my first experience going to a movie theater where they serve dinner and drinks during the movie. It was so neat! I felt way classy sipping on my glass of wine, reclining in my comfy movie theater seat. We saw “Nebraska” and I would highly recommend it — one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It is a brilliantly told story about flawed, relatable characters who are recognizable and human, just doing the best they can for each other. I laughed, I cried and I was sad when it was over!

3. The Plain White T’s. I was really into the Plain White T’s back in college {ahh, the “Hey There Delilah” days …} but I’d sort of forgotten about their music these past couple years. However I love their new song “The Giving Tree” and this week I’ve been listening to a bunch of their stuff, old and new, on youtube. Here’s one of my faves of the moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYg3g6LX0DE

4. Long phone chats with friends. My far-flung friends and I have gotten into the habit of scheduling “phone dates” at least once a month, and I’m so glad that we do. It helps me stay close to wonderful friends and keep up-to-date on their lives even when we don’t get to see each other in person very often. I also love that my brother makes time to talk to me on the phone, pretty much every day. We have so many inside jokes and nobody else on the planet makes me laugh like he does!

me and gb goofy

5. My beautiful cousin Arianna is turning Sweet Sixteen on Sunday! I’m so excited to celebrate with her all weekend long. Happy birthday, sweetheart!

me and arianna

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving on this fine Friday?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

goals for the week {a day late!}

Hiiiiii friends! Wow, can you believe that tomorrow is already Christmas Eve? Time is flowing by crazy-fast! This past week has I think been one of the busiest weeks of my entire life. One of those weeks where every day feels packed-to-the-brim with important, meaningful stuff.

I’ve been able to meet up with a number of dear friends for coffee dates and dinner dates and hiking dates … special time to talk-talk-talk and catch up with people I love and don’t get to see nearly enough. The fam and I watched some of our favorite holiday movies: Serendipity, Love Actually, and It’s a Wonderful Life. {<– my all-time favorite movie EVER.} I was honored to teach writing workshops at three separate schools {one elementary school, one middle school, and my alma mater high school} in addition to my Winter Writing Camp on Saturday. Nothing inspires me quite like being in a room full of young writers writing!

In addition to all of this, we celebrated my brother’s birthday yesterday {happy 24 Gregburn! I love you!} and threw an absolutely lovely and fun bridal shower for my cousin Julie. Plus the typical holiday cookie-baking, card-writing, present-wrapping, etc! Here are some photos from my week:

family with gramps

The girls with Gramps before Julie’s bridal shower.

cupcakes

I made two dozen cupcakes for Julie’s shower … a dozen chocolate with peanut butter frosting, and a dozen red velvet with cream cheese frosting!

loving murray

Murray lovin’!

brothers

Brothers!

And now … on to my goals!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals for the week of 12/15:
– write 10 pages of new material {yeah, this didn’t even come close to happening this week…}
– take cookies & cards to the nursing home {doing this tomorrow!}
– exercise at least twice
– finish reading The Tea Rose {less than 100 pages left}
order holiday cards
teach a fantastic Winter Writing Camp
throw a wonderful bridal shower for my cousin Julie
connect with two friends

And here are my goals for this week:
– soak up time with my family and friends!
– journal/reflect on this past year
– set my goals for 2014, wooooohoooo!

I’ll be back tomorrow with the week 51 year of kindness challenge!

This post is linked up with Menu-Plan Monday.
MPM-Winter

fabulous friday #4

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m writing this from the beautiful new John McKay Student Athletic Center at USC … so excited to be back at my alma mater for Homecoming weekend!

Here are five things I’m happy about:

1. Getting to hang out with my brother! This guy makes me laugh like no one else on the planet. I love him so much!

dal and greg

2. The USC Homecoming football game! I’m going with my friend Ben, who I haven’t seen in far too long … can’t wait to catch up. My parents are also driving down tomorrow morning and we’re going to tailgate with them and my brother’s business school friends. Should be a ton of fun! {Apparently last time my mom went to the tailgate with my brother, everyone thought she was a Dean, haha. She’s just such a dignified lady.} 🙂

Greg USC

3. This morning I had a coffee date with Erica at our favorite local coffee shop Simone’s. Nothing like a pumpkin chai latte and two hours of laugh-filled conversation with this beautiful lady to get my weekend off to a great start!

me and Erica at Simones

Simone's chai

4. My dad took me out for a sushi lunch date before I headed down to USC. He’s such a sweetie! When I was living at home we’d try to go on lunch dates every Friday, so it was extra special to continue our tradition when I was home today.

Dad at sushi

Pops says, FIGHT ON!

5. Mr. Murdog was oh-so-excited when I came home and gave me the most exuberant, tail-wagging welcome. And I got to take him out on a walk with my mom last night after dinner, which is one of my favorite rituals. I love walking and talking with my mama!

me and Murray

Murray!

If you couldn’t tell … I’m happy to be back home for the weekend!

Questions of the day:

  • What are your weekend plans?
  • What are you happy about on this lovely Friday?

goals + meal-plan for the week of 7/28

Happy Sunday, friends! How is your weekend going so far? Fun and relaxing, I hope! Mine has been full of sunshine and battery-recharging after a busy week! We moved my wonderful brother down to Los Angeles on Thursday; he is starting business school at USC. I’m so proud of him, but I miss him so much already. The house is quiet without him — not that he’s a really noisy person, it just feels emptier when it’s just me and my parents at home. I’m definitely planning to visit him a couple times before I leave for the Bay Area in August!

Before he left, we went out for brunch at our favorite local spot, Allison’s Country Cafe, per our tradition. I love my little bro!

me and gb summer 13

Another highlight of the week was going to a local hot air balloon festival with my parents. It was a beautiful warm evening with good food, music, wine, and great company. Here’s a photo my dad snapped of me and my mama in front of one of the balloons:

me and mom balloon festival

Fun times!

Moving on to goals, here’s how I did on mine from last week:
– finish YA manuscript first draft {this got delayed again … I’m SO close, yet I don’t want to rush through the final couple chapters I have left … hopefully this week!}
complete the #yearofkindness challenge
help Greg move into his new apartment
– volunteer at the Food Pantry {got de-railed this week because of helping to move Greg to Los Angeles}
– read & respond to all submissions in my queue for Sycamore Review
get in touch with 3 friends and make plans to get together

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– finish YA manuscript first draft
– complete the #yearofkindness challenge
– transfer all my jotted-down writing notes to the computer
– volunteer at the Food Pantry
– finish craft project that I’m making for Greg {& post about it on here!}
– work-out/do yoga at least three times

Here are some meals I’m looking forward to making this week:
– blueberry buckle via The Pajama Chef
– zucchini bread oatmeal via Oh She Glows
– honey avocado mango salad via Chew Out Loud
– spinach artichoke lasagna via Two Peas & Their Pod
bbq pulled pork in the crock pot

What are your goals and meal plans for the week? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

MPM-Spring
This post is linked up with Menu-Plan Monday!

year of kindness challenge: week 29

year of kindness button

Hi, friends! Hope your week is off to a great start! I’m feeling a bit sluggish after my busy writing-camp-filled weekend, but am slowly getting up to speed. I cleaned out some old papers in my room — always feels good to purge old clutter! — and went out to lunch with Greg and my Gramps. I’m trying to soak up as much time with my brother before he moves down to L.A. on Thursday to start business school. I’m so proud of him, but I’m going to miss him like crazy.

me and gb goofy

Here’s a quote I came across in one of my mom’s old issues of O Magazine that I’m taking by the library to donate this week. I really liked the sentiment of this quote, and I thought you might, too:

“I recognize that what brings me the greatest confidence is a willingness to be vulnerable. It’s knowing for sure that anything I’ve been through or felt, someone else has, too, and probably more so. It’s knowing that all our mistakes have meaning. And that being open to learning from those mistakes makes the difference between succeeding and getting stuck.” – Oprah

Now, on to the kindness! Last week’s kindness challenge was to compliment a stranger or acquaintance at least once every day, and/or give out ten compliments by the end of the week. I found that the more compliments I gave to others, the more cheerful and confident I felt myself. The world seemed like a friendlier place. It’s such a great feeling to make someone smile, especially for as simple a thing as saying a few kind words.

The Week 29 Kindness Challenge is to do a favor for someone without being asked. This might mean going out of your way to do a chore for someone else, calling a sick friend or family member to ask if you can pick up anything for them at the store, offering to babysit for someone who needs it, or maybe driving an elderly neighbor to an errand or doctor’s appointment.

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn <AT> gmail <DOT> com.

Have a wonderful week!
Dallas

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year of kindness archives:
– week 1 challenge: donate items to those in need
– week 2 challenge: leave quarters & note at laundry machine
– week 3 challenge: write & send a kind handwritten note
– week 4 challenge: give hot chocolate to someone outside in the cold
– week 5 challenge: do something kind for a neighbor
– week 6 challenge: deliver valentines to a nursing home
– week 7 challenge: donate to a food pantry
– week 8 challenge: donate toiletries to a shelter
– week 9 challenge: post a kind note in a public place
– week 10 challenge: do something kind for a child
– week 11 challenge: thank someone in a genuine & meaningful way
– week 12 challenge: deliver baked goods to a fire station
– week 13 challenge: give someone flowers
– week 14 challenge: donate books
– week 15 challenge: reach out and spend time with people
– week 16 challenge: smile at everyone you meet
– week 17 challenge: pick up litter/trash
– week 18 challenge: write a kind note to a mom figure in your life
– week 19 challenge: leave an extra-generous tip
– week 20 challenge: donate blood/join bone marrow registry
– week 21 challenge: visit a cemetery and pay respect
– week 22 challenge: practice a little patience
– week 23 challenge: call 3 loved ones on the phone
– week 24 challenge: do something kind for a senior citizen
– week 25 challenge: pay for someone’s public transportation
– week 26 challenge: volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen
– week 27 challenge: send a care package to someone in the military
week 28 challenge: give at least one compliment every day