Five for Friday #37

Happy Friday, Friends!! How has your week been? I got to see my dad this week, so mine was automatically great! He came down to Dallas to meet my brand new niece for the first time, and it was fun to see him and show him my new apartment. My mom is coming back down to Dallas in a few days, too, and I’m looking forward to seeing her again!

There are a lot of great things swirling around the internet right now – here’s what’s been on my radar.

One || Everybody knows about dry shampoo (and how it literally saves the day over and over and over) but did you know that DRY CONDITIONER was a thing?!?!? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Am I just super late to the party here? Most of the ones I’ve found online seem pretty pricey, but here is an affordable-ish one. I think it’s worth a try!

Two || This flamingo print is so bright and happy and fun and I just absolutely love it.

Three || Wonders of Wildlife is FINALLY OPEN!!!!!!! The “world’s largest wildlife attraction” is in my college town and they started constructing it while I was in college. Almost 10 years ago. I never thought it would get finished! It looks amazing and I can’t wait to go check it out eventually!

Four || These sisters started making bath bombs and turned it into a successful business! I love seeing young people putting their minds to something and turning it into something BIG! You go, girls!

Five || Carly over at The College Prepster (she is 28 now, so don’t let the blog title scare you away, she is my favorite!!!) shared how she blow dries her hair and it was really informative to actually watch. I’m so bad at drying my hair (if I do it at all) and I can never recreate the blowouts I get after a haircut, but she made it seem doable.

Ok folks, that’s all I’ve got for now! I’ve got a TON of crafting to do this weekend (nope I’m still not done with my niece’s baby blanket…. ahhh!!!) AND I’m going to take a macaron baking class tomorrow!! I’ve wanted to do this for YEARS and decided to just do it – I can’t wait! Hopefully they turn out well!!

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My Favorite Wordless Music

Great suggestion for wordless music to help you focus and concentrate!

If I’m sitting at my desk at work, you can safely bet that I’ve got my earbuds in and I’m listening to music or a podcast. 95% of the time. My office environment is very “modern” which really means that it’s completely open and you can hear every conversation, every conference call, every noise. Not to mention that we have concrete floors and unfinished ceilings, so every noise kind of echoes. At times I do try to sit and work without music or something going in my ears, but it never lasts long.

I have playlists that I listen to (like my musical Friday playlist!), I’ll listen to soundtracks from TV shows sometimes (right now I’m LOVING this playlist I found with every song from Grey’s Anatomy. It is AMAZING.), and I’ll listen to podcasts (see some of my favorites here and here), but sometimes I just REALLY need to concentrate and people talking or singing just won’t cut it. I’ve tried listening to white noise, but what I really like to do when I need to focus is listen to music without any words.

I love that there is still some variety in what I’m listening to (unlike just plain white noise) but I’m not subconsciously trying to sing along to anything or figure out what the lyrics are. I have a few favorite music/playlists that I love to listen to, and I wanted to share!

Great suggestion for wordless music to help you focus and concentrate!

So many good ones! I’m actually listening to the La La Land score right now as I type this – I recently saw the music played live at the Dallas Symphony while the movie played behind the orchestra and it was one of the most magical evenings! They just did such a good job – there were times where I was watching the movie on the screen, and my eyes would glance down at the musicians and I actually was surprised – I totally forgot that I was listening to live music! That’s how spot on they were!

So what do you do to drown out the noise at work? Just deal with it? Ear plugs? Do you have any go-to music or noise to help you focus? I’d love to hear!

Great suggestion for wordless music to help you focus and concentrate!

How to Help Houston When You Don’t Have a Boat

As I know you’ve seen on the news and the internet and Facebook, all the flooding and everything associated with it down in Houston is absolutely heartbreaking – and it’s not even finished yet. My sister and her family just moved up to Dallas from Houston a few weeks ago, thankfully, and I’m so glad they’re up here. But they are hearing from friends and people they know down there and it’s just really really sad. And I want to help all of them!

But I don’t have a boat.

Or really the skills that I feel are needed for something like this.

Or celebrity-level money to donate.

But I do want to help out in the small way that I can (because the small things can really add up). So I’ve been searching the internet for ways that I can help and I wanted to share them with you, in case you wanted to help out in a small but meaningful way, too.

  1. Buy this shirt. Magnolia is donating 100% of profits from the sale of this shirt to Harvey disaster relief.
  2. Sponsor a family in need. I saw this on the Sugar & Cloth blog and they will match you with a family and share specifically what they need.
  3. Donate money. There are so many organizations you can donate to, this is just one (set up by JJ Watt- I’m sure you’ve already seen his videos on your Facebook feed).

  4. Offer a room in your home. Airbnb is waiving fees for listing a room or your entire home to evacuees. The people in need are also able to use these at no cost, which is awesome.
  5. Buy more shirts… soon. This Texas company donated 100% of its profits for a day and raised a lot of money! They said they’ll be doing another fundraiser in the near future, so I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for that.
  6. Foster an animal. Dallas is getting a lot of animals from the gulf coast that need temporary homes while they can’t be with their owners for the time being.
  7. Go out to eat. This is another one for Dallas locals, but this is a list of restaurants in the area that will be donating profits and collecting donations to take down to Houston.

It doesn’t seem like much, I know, but I’m excited to help in any way that I can. I can’t even fathom what these people are going through and what it would be like, and I know that every little bit can help.

Read This If You Love Historical Fiction!

I’m slightly embarrassed that it took me SO LONG to figure this out, but I just recently realized that I can check out e-books from my local library and have them sent to my Kindle!! I have a VERY old Kindle so I didn’t think it would work, but it sure did! I was so excited and now I won’t necessarily have to wait for a book to be transferred from a different library branch for me to read it! I do really like the feel of a tangible book in my hands, but this is also a really great option. Especially for HUGE books that I don’t want to carry around, like the biography of Alexander Hamilton that I’m working my way through. I’m very glad I’ve got the electronic version of that one!

The book that I finished most recently (on my Kindle, from the library!) was The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and it will be right up your alley if you like historical fiction! It follows the romance and relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, told from her point of view. You get to see how the two meet, go along their with them in their fast courtship, and see how their lives change when they move to Paris and Ernest’s writing career starts to finally take off.

I think what I appreciated most about this book is that the author really tried to stay as true to history as possible. Obviously it’s not possible to know every conversation that was had, which is where the fiction portion comes into play, but their story was pieced together from letters and memoirs and stories, and it absolutely broke my heart. (Spoiler alert, Hemingway had 4 wives in real life, so you go in knowing that it’s not going to work out…) I was so invested in their love story and their marriage, that when it started to unravel it legitimately made me sad.

I’ve never really read any of Hemingway’s works before, but a lot of this story encompasses him writing a few of his really well known novels (The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms), and so now I am drying to pick those up and see what they’re all about. But I need a break before I do that because like I said, this book made me genuinely sad about this couple that existed nearly a century ago.

If you like historical fiction, I suggest that you check this one out! It’s not actually that big of a bummer – it’s really well written and the story kept the pace of the book moving quickly.

What’s your favorite historical fiction book? I’m always looking for great recommendations! You can read about some of my other favorites here, here, and here.

Five for Friday #36

Wow what a week it’s been! There’s been a lot going on – I had some great workouts which I’ll talk about in a little bit, I got a flat tire which was an adventure (shout out to the nicest cab driver in Updown Dallas who changed my tire for me and wouldn’t even let me get him a bottle of water from the coffee shop even though I asked him about 18 times if I could get him something), I had a delicious dinner with a friend to celebrate life and friendship and summer and fun (we went to a super fancy steakhouse in town while they had cheaper preset menus to benefit a local charity and oh my goodness it was so tasty), and a few other exciting family things that I will share later!

Here’s what’s been on my radar this week!

One || Les Mills On Demand. I used to take Les Mills fitness classes at the gym I went to in college and I LOVED them. They were so intense and fun and filled with variety, and I felt so accomplished when I finished one. I just found out you can do them on demand aka in the comfort of my apartment and I am so excited about it! I signed up for the free trial and I forgot just how crazy these classes are – I am SO SORE!!!

Two || The trick for getting your side braid to stay in place. This was a GAME CHANGER, Y’ALL!! I do these big side dutch braids a lot, but I always had to do them with a low bun because I couldn’t seem to get the braid to stay with bobby pins alone. And it’s so simple, too!!

Three || The world’s best cookie jar. Look at it! It’s a LLAMA!!!! I have no idea where my llama obsession started but it is going STRONG and I have been exercising all of my self control by not running to World Market to buy this asap! (I already have a cookie jar that I like a lot so I don’t need this… but it’s just so adorable!)

Four ||  This watermelon sleep mask. I have way too many face masks and night masks that I need to use up first, but doesn’t this one just look like it would be a dream?!? It sounds like it would be really refreshing!

Five || The Middle. I’ve been going back and re-watching episodes of The Middle and I forgot jut how HILARIOUS it is! I am laughing out loud every night and I love it. (I even wrote a post about how one of the characters, Sue Heck, is my hero a while ago!!)

And there you have it! Have a great weekend!