fabulous friday #36

Happy Friday, friends! I can’t believe it’s the start of another weekend again already. Although, Saturdays are actually my heaviest load teaching-wise — four classes back-to-back-to-back-to-back! — so Fridays for me are spent prepping and gearing up for a whirlwind of energetic kiddos! My “weekends” actually fall on Mondays and Tuesdays right now {those are the only two days when I don’t have any teaching or tutoring commitments.} However, even though teaching can be exhausting, I love it and I love my students. Plus, Allyn is taking me out to dinner & a comedy show tomorrow night, so I’ll be looking forward to that all day!

How is your day going so far? Mine is flying by! I slept in a little later than I intended this morning {guess my body needed it! I’m all about following Robyn’s advice and listening to your body, which means sleeping in if you are able to when your body craves more rest} … so I downed a quick smoothie breakfast of banana + pineapple + mango + bluebs + spinach while getting ready this morning. Then I scurried off for two private tutoring sessions. The students are out of school today for a teacher workday, so I was able to schedule my tutoring sessions for the morning¬†instead of the afternoon as I usually do. Sometimes the kids get {understandably} a little tired or cranky in the afternoon when I see them after they’ve already had a long day of school, so this morning they seemed extra-energetic and ready to write! {By the way, if you’re a parent or teacher or looking for some fun writing activities to do with kids, check out this post I wrote for Parent Grapevine with some tried-and-true ideas I use frequently!}

On my way home, I popped by Safeway in an attempt to get my flu shot, but after waiting in a long line I was informed they no longer take my insurance, so I have to go to Walgreens or Rite-Aid instead. It was a little frustrating, but I also am petrified of getting shots so I will admit a part of me was relieved to put it off for a little longer ūüôā

Now I’m back home, hoping to get some productive writing done this afternoon. Before I get down to work, time for Fabulous Friday!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Honeycrisp apples! They’re baaaaack! As my cousin Makena said in amazement when we split one the other day, “These things taste like CANDY.” Yeah they do! My favorite snack of the moment is a sliced honeycrisp apple, half topped with pb and the other half topped with Justin’s maple almond butter. I could eat this allll daaaaay.

honeycrisp apples

2. On Wednesday night, I gave a reading in San Jose at the Flash Fiction Forum event. It was so much fun! Such a warm, engaged and welcoming crowd. I always get nervous before giving a reading, but my nerves melted away as soon as I looked out at the crowd and saw all the interested expressions and smiling faces. I wore what I refer to as my New Orleans dress, because I got it for my trip to visit Allyn in New Orleans this past summer.

nola dress

Another thing I love about attending public readings is meeting other writers! I was excited to get a signed copy of fellow reader Kevin Sharp‘s YA novel After¬†Dakota… I’ve only finished the first couple chapters, but I’m already hooked!

after dakota book

3.¬†When kitchen fails actually turn into something yummy. Earlier this week,¬†I was intending to make butterscotch chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies, but when the oven timer sounded I was greeted with these monstrous things… much bigger and thicker¬†than your ordinary cookie! After trying one, I¬†realized they are not cookies, they are scones! So I’ve been enjoying them for breakfast. They’re delicious plain, with nutbutter, or with jam. I’ll be sharing the recipe soon, after¬†I test it out again!

scones

4.¬†This is a stunning blog post — beautifully written, heart-rending, brought me to tears:¬†http://witandwhimsy.onsugar.com/Watching-Dad-Watch-Flames-6584225

5. When I was at the grocery store, I was not able to get my flu shot, but I WAS able to score some pumpkin baking ingredients on sale! I wanted to load my basket down with cans and cans and cans of pumpkin, but I restrained myself. Can’t wait to bake a pumpkin pie and to try out some of the fantastic pumpkin recipes on Two Peas & Their Podpumpkin snickerdoodles, perhaps?

pumpkin

And, that’s a wrap! In addition to dinner with Allyn tomorrow night, this weekend I’m also looking forward to family time, helping out with the church service on Sunday, a much-anticipated long-overdue catch-up date with Dana, and cozying up under a blanket with some tea and a good book.

Questions of the day:

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

fabulous friday #35

Aaaaaand just like that, it’s Friday again! These past few days have absolutely flown by for me.¬†I’m loving the new students I’m teaching {plus four new classes start tomorrow!}¬†but it’s always a balance at the beginning of a new semester, re-learning to juggle teaching with my tutoring and editing work AND trying my darndest to finish up the novel I’m working on! But I’m savoring the process. As Coach Wooden would say, “The journey is better than the inn.”

Hope you all are having a great morning. I’m off to one of my favorite yoga classes, then popping to Starbucks for a pumpkin chai latte & some productive work time. But before I go…

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Holly gave me this water bottle a couple years ago for my birthday, and I absolutely love it! Every time I use it, the photos of us make me smile¬†ūüôā It makes gym sessions a lot more fun when I see her beautiful friendly¬†face every time I take a water break!

holly water bottle

2. Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressings. I love how they have a creamy yet light texture and are¬†very flavorful. I’ve previously loved Bolthouse Farms yogurt ranch dressing, and this week I decided to try this cilantro-avocado flavor — it’s my new favorite! Avocado creaminess with a little kick. I can just use a small amount of this salad dressing and it goes a long way. Love it!

cilantro avocado

3. These words of wisdom from Money-Saving-Mom founder Crystal Paine in this interview:

Remember what’s going to matter in 25 years. Wrap your life and energy around those things.

4.¬†Look who’s featured in the church newsletter this week! Woot woot!

church newsletter

5. Tonight Allyn and I are going out to dinner in San Francisco¬†to celebrate his birthday! It’s gonna be a blast. I made a reservation at a rave-reviewed restaurant on Yelp, and I’m taking the opportunity to get a little “gussied up,” as my grandma would say. Last night I had fun trying on various outfits and I think I’ve settled on this one. {Please ignore my messy room in the background!}

al's bday dinner outfit

Happy Friday, everyone! Have a wonderful weekend!

Questions of the day:

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

fabulous friday #34

Happy Friday, friends! My¬†morning started off¬†with a relaxing, restorative yoga class… and it’s been a little stressful from then on. My cell phone is having battery issues and I’ve been on the phone with tech support all day trying to get the issues worked out. It’s amazing how much our lives are tied to our phones — I use mine not just to get in touch with people, but also as my GPS navigation system and to check my email when I’m out and about, etc. Really hope I get this solved soon!

But at the same time, I’m reminding myself to breathe and be grateful for this “first world problem”… so many people have much bigger issues and problems to worry about. I’m lucky to even have a cell phone in the first place!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. This “Green Goodness” juice that is on sale at Safeway this week … two bottles for $5, score! I grabbed some for a post-yoga snack this morning. The first time I got this drink, I misread the label as “Green GODDESS” and that’s always how I think of it in my head. So much good-for-you green stuff in this bottle, you’ll feel like a goddess after drinking it! ūüôā

green goodness

2. Like a complete knucklehead, I forgot my retainer at home in Ventura when I came back up north last weekend. Well, my sweet parents didn’t even tease me or make me feel bad for being so forgetful — they just wrapped it securely in bubble wrap, slid it into an envelope, and 2-day-mailed it to me. This probably sounds silly, but I was ridiculously¬†happy to be reunited with my retainer — I could feel my teeth shifting without it and it was stressing me out! I didn’t go through three years of braces — plus headgear — for nothing! Any other retainer-wearers out there?

3. This quote from Mother Teresa {which came to me thanks to the always-enlightening Heather Waxman}:

4. My grandma got this ginormous container of peanut-butter filled pretzels at Costco. This is dangerous, my friends. Dangerous.

pretzels

5. I got to see Dana for dinner last night at one of our fave spots, Chow. I got a cup of their fall vegetable minestrone soup and a spinach/apple/walnut salad. Yum! Great food and great company! I feel very¬†grateful to have such thoughtful, wonderful friends in my life who build me up and make me feel so loved. In fact, Dana just now texted me: “I wanted to tell you that I loved your shirt and your bag yesterday, but I forgot to tell you! Super cute.” Sweet texts like that completely brighten my day! Thanks, Dana! ‚̧

me and dana sideboard

Now, I’m off to tutor a couple of adorable kiddos, and then we’re having a family dinner tonight because my Uncle Frankie is visiting! Happy Friday, everyone!

Questions of the day:

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

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! ūüôā

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 #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?

year of kindness challenge: week 30

year of kindness button

Happy Monday everyone! Hope your morning is off to a great start. I did a little meditation this morning — love this guided meditation by Heather Waxman, check it out! — and ate a homemade banana muffin for breakfast alongside a warm cinnamony cup of tea. The tea is my new fave and I was introduced to it thanks to my July Foodie Pen Pal; reveal day coming on Wednesday!

In other news, I finally moved forward past the year 2008 and got my first smartphone over the weekend. I think I may have been one of the last holdouts — even my grandma has a smartphone! There was a part of me that liked not having access to my email and the Internet 24/7 right there on my phone, which was why I waited so long. I’m now excited to have the added convenience of Internet and apps on my phone, not to mention the ease of being able to take photos and post them easily on here … and, hey there, Instagram, nice to meet you! I’m expecting to be posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest more often now because it is so much easier for me with my shiny new smartphone. But I must admit, there’s a part of my techno-phobe brain that is still a little wary of having the Internet right.there.all.the.time. I’m curious: what tips do you have for balancing screen time? How do you keep yourself from compulsively checking your email every three minutes? Do you have any “technology rules” you try to follow to keep yourself grounded? Please share in the comments section below!

Last week’s kindness challenge was to do a favor for someone without being asked.¬†I was surprised how much FUN I had doing favors for people! I ran a bunch of errands to pick up last-minute things for my brother before his big move and helped him move down to Los Angeles and get his apartment set up. My mom and I drove across the traffic-clogged city to get copies of his new apartment key made {only to later spot a hardware store a block away from his apartment! D’oh!} I also baked some gluten-free treats for my fam and helped my Gramps with some chores around his house.

Another great thing about this past weeks’ kindness challenge is that it made me so much more aware of the favors and sweetness others extend to me on a daily basis!¬†A few examples from just this week: my mom washed my car and cleaned my bathroom as a super nice surprise. An acquaintance from college sent me a nice email about a recent blog post. I ran into a dear old high school friend at Trader Joe’s, and not only was it great to see her but she also invited me to go to a zumba class with her on Wednesday. Again and again, I am reminded that the world is full of kindness and compassion if you just take the time to open your eyes and appreciate what is around you!

The Week 30 Kindness Challenge is to go to a playground {or any place where children congregate} and scatter a handful of “lucky pennies” around for happy kids to find.¬†

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

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚Äď

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‚Äôs 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
week 29 challenge: do a favor for someone else

year of kindness challenge: week 24

year of kindness button

Hi, friends! I’m feeling under the weather, but fortunately my family is taking such good care of me. I’m a lucky girl. My brother spent the whole afternoon on the couch with me, watching a marathon of “How I Met Your Mother” and refilling my glass of Gatorade. He’s such a sweetheart!

me and gb

Last week’s kindness challenge came from my wonderful blogger friend¬†Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean,¬†and it was to call at least 3 friends and/or family members that you miss on the phone, let them know, and actually talk to them…instead of just texting or emailing!

I had a wonderful long chat with my friend Holly and an in-person coffee date with my friend Erica. I also left messages for two other close friends … hopefully we’ll get a chance to talk sometime in the next few days.

The Week 24 Kindness Challenge is do something kind for a senior citizen. This could mean calling or writing a note to a grandparent, offering to carry an elderly person’s groceries to their car, bringing in the mail for an elderly neighbor, visiting people at a nursing home … or whatever inspires you!

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

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚Äď

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

year of kindness challenge: week 23

year of kindness button

Hi, everyone! How is your week shaping up?

I had a really nice weekend with lots of friend & family time! Girls night out, a backyard pizza-making party, baking, eating, reading, wine, a long-awaited phone date with a wonderful friend, a new buddy at church, running errands with my mama … and on Sunday night my family all went out to a local winery for a concert featuring the very talented daughter of my mom’s coworker. SO much fun!¬†Cassi Vaniotis, you were terrific!!

I also tried out a few new recipes I’m looking forward to sharing with you guys soon! Stay tuned!

So, last week’s¬†kindness challenge was to do an act of patience.¬†I think the best thing about this challenge was that it changed my mindset. I tried to approach these acts of patience with an open heart and thoughts of kindness, and what once seemed like a chore — waiting in the office for my eye doctor appointment, sitting in traffic, running errands — didn’t seem so bad. I let someone go in front of me in line at the store. I waved cars ahead of me when merging on the freeway. When I was put on hold on the phone, I sat and daydreamed rather than absently surfing the Internet while I waited.

I’m someone whose natural inclination is to jam-pack every minute of my day with “productive” activity. I like to feel go-go-go, crossing off tasks on my to-do list. But I realized that I was tying my self-worth to this sense of “busyness” … and that isn’t a good thing. I was often feeling like I didn’t “accomplish enough” in a day, no matter how much multitasking I did. And I wasn’t fully savoring the rich details and spontaneous joyful moments of life!

murray patience grasshopper

So I’ve been on a mission to slow down, breathe, and focus on one thing at a time. Embrace whatever life is presenting to me in that moment. The funny thing is, now that I’m approaching my day with a more patient, slowed-down mindset, I feel like I have more time than ever!

I came across a quote this week about patience and kindness that struck me, and I wanted to share it with you: “Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in the one ahead.” -Bill McGlashen, poet & author

What would your life look like with more patience?

The Week 23 Kindness Challenge comes from my wonderful blogger friend¬†Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean,¬†and it is¬†to call at least 3 friends and/or family members that you miss on the phone, let them know, and actually talk to them…instead of just texting or emailing!

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

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚Äď

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