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?

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?

fabulous friday #18

It’s Friiiiiiidaaaayyy!! Hope you’re having a great one!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. My new part-time job teaching writing and public speaking classes for middle school kids! I taught my first classes on Wednesday afternoon and had an absolute blast. I feel so lucky to be able to spend time teaching and building confidence in these amazing young people! I’m already getting excited to teach my seventh annual Write On! Summer Writing Camp this July.

writing camp

2. The informal “book club” that my mom and I have started. A couple years ago, my mom made it her New Year’s Resolution to read more, and she started reading every day at work during her lunch break. Now she reads dozens of novels a year and she always recommends the best books to me! I love reading and talking about books with her. It’s a great way to stay close and connected even though we live far away.

me before you

One of my favorites of the books she’s recommended is Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. This is a tear-jerker {you’ve been warned! grab the tissues!} It is such a beautiful, well-written story — and extremely hard to put down, especially once you get to know the characters! Mom recommended it to me and once I finished it I passed the book along to my Aunt Annie, who said she was reading it at her hair appointment and two other women came up to her and raved about how much they loved it. When Annie finished it she gave it to my grandma, who just finished it last night, so now she and I have been talking about it too. I think it’s safe to say that we would all highly recommend this book!

3. My cousin Arianna rocked her drama performance last night! I am so proud of her. She absolutely *shines* onstage! Here is a video I took of her singing “Seasons of Love” for the show’s finale.

arianna performing

4. Speaking of great singers: Sara Bareilles’ new single “I Choose You” has been bopping around on the radio {and in my head!} all week. Oh my goodness, you guys, I can’t get enough of this song! It’s so catchy. Love her.

5. Baseball season! I had such a great time at the A’s game last weekend with Allyn & his family. Sunshine + hot dog + A’s win = happiness!

a's game

Now I’m off to tackle my to-do list before the weekend! Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Questions of the morning:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for this weekend?
  • Have you read any good books lately?

fabulous friday #6

Hooray, it’s the first Friday of 2014! What fun things do you have on the agenda?

Here’s what I’m loving right now:

1. I love music and I love senior citizens, so a friend recommended I watch the documentary film Young at Heart about a senior citizens choir group that performs rock songs. I watched it with my brother and I can’t remember the last time I saw such an amazingly inspirational movie. I even cried, and movies hardly ever make me cry. Here’s a sneak peak: watch their beautiful rendition of the Coldplay classic “Fix You.”

young at heart

2. Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate. Pour in some Kahlua and you’ve really got it made!

starbucks cocoa

3. Sara Bareilles’ gorgeously bittersweet song “Manhattan.” I especially love the live version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05GZ6G2FZLM

4. Jon Stewart’s heartfelt send-off to John Oliver, who is getting his own show on HBO and so is leaving The Daily Show after 7 years. I got teary-eyed at the end, I’ll admit!

5. Board game night with my family. We played Sorry! and it was a close race … in the end, Greg stealthily snuck up from dead last place to a thrilling comeback victory! I, on the other hand, went from leading the pack to ending the game in fourth-and-last place. I blame my red checker piece! {At some point in childhood we lost one of the red pieces so the checker became a substitute.} Mr. Mur-dog wanted in on the fun and was sassy, as usual.

fam board game

close game

red checker piece

sassy murray

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for this first weekend of 2014?