weekly gems





things that making me happy

Source: buzzfeed.com via Kelly on Pinterest


  • Obviously the above illustration! : )
  • Attending and loving my first pilates-yoga fusion group fitness class
  • Fun new nail polish from OPI’s Minnie Mouse collection
  • Walking the dogs at dusk
  • Discovering a new yummy protein shake recipe: vanilla whey protein powder, low-fat chocolate milk, strawberries, and cherries
  • New candles in beachy scents
  • Attending a Greek festival with one of my closest friends and her family just like old times
  • Blueberry pancakes for breakfast
  • A perfect day spent with Dan celebrating the one-year-away-from-our-wedding milestone mark : )
  • Driving around drinking Sonic slushes and listening to baseball games
  • A good night’s sleep


recent inspirations

Source: amazon.com via Kelly on Pinterest


I have been reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin for a couple months now. I highly recommend it if you are interested in political biographies and/or the American Civil War from the perspective of the North, though you might need to take a break every once in awhile (it’s really long and very detailed! I’ve paused and read a couple light novels in between).

There is a lot of inspiration to be found in Team of Rivals and the historical andecotes and political profiles it provides. Goodwin often talks about how Lincoln was very self-aware and took whatever actions he needed to in order to keep his spirits and his hope high. She references current research to explain why having hope is key in troubling times:

” ‘Having hope,’ writes Daniel Goleman in his study of emotional intelligence, ‘means that one will not give in to overwhelming anxiety, a defeatist attitude, or depression in the face of difficult challenges or setbacks.’ Hope is ‘more than the sunny view that everything will turn out all right’; it is ‘believing you have the will and the way to accomplish your goals.’ ”


You can do it! Never lose hope!



musings: each day is an investment

Hello, everyone! How was your weekend? Mine was filled with hot days guarding at pool and plenty of relaxing and trying to stay cool at home.

Today was a rough day for me, full of ups and downs. While I definitely had little beautiful moments of laughter, family, and friendship, I also was super stressed and had two anxiety attacks. In one day. That hasn’t happened to me in a long time. By the end of the day, I was just repeating to myself what’s basically become my life mantra over the past couple months: keep moving forward.

Then, tonight, while on Pinterest, I found this:


I really like this idea. It’s not saying, “You only live once! Do crazy and wild and extraordinary things every day to make it count!” It’s saying, “Assume you’re going to be around for a long time. What do you want from that long life? Is what you’re doing today going to get you there?”

I’ve seen a simple quote similar to the sentiment above before: “What you do today is important because you are exchanging your life for it – (unknown).” But for some reason, the idea of exchanging my day for something didn’t stick with me. For me, the idea of exchange seems fleeting, like, “I’ll trade you my cherry lollipop for your grape one.” But the idea of investment – what I do day is building something certain in my future – really is staying with me.

It seems like a really obvious idea: “Yes, if I work today it will put more money in my bank account. Yes, if I eat well and work out my health will improve.” I know those things, and I’ve often thought about life in that manner. I’ve read things about living life with purpose, and while it did motivate me to be more conscious of my choices, it seemed like such an all-encompassing idea, such a weighty word. So if I’m not being productive, I’m not living with purpose, right?  Am I working hard enough? Am I using my time well? But the idea of each day as investment doesn’t mean each day is necessarily productive in the idea that you are knocking things off you’re to-do list and meeting goals. It means you are determining your future, for better or worse. If you aren’t concerned with your health, you may invest your time in eating badly and sitting around. If you want to be happy, you probably invest your time in a hobby that makes you happy.

The words above say, “The clock is running. Make the most of today.” I think that’s a wonderful thought, to make every day as positive as possible, and when the day runs out, you get to start over. Every day you get more time. Invest it. Build your future. Keep moving forward.


use it: sarah pinto

Source: sarahpinto.com via Kelly on Pinterest



Hello everyone! How are you? Do you have big plans for this weekend?

I’m working all weekend, and relaxing at my house when I’m not at work. While relaxing, I  read a blog post by Carly about cute notebooks from Target. The post reminded me of my planner, which I’ve briefly mentioned my love for before and inspired me to share some more about the designer from whom I purchased it.

A few months ago I searched Etsy and found Sarah Pinto (who also has her own website). Her planners are cute, made on recycled paper and printed with eco-friendly ink, and are the perfect size to stash in a purse. They have a monthly calendar of the year at the beginning, followed by weekly spreads complete with space for notes and to-do lists.


Source: sarahpinto.com via Kelly on Pinterest



Her products are affordable and ship quickly, but that’s not the most appealing reason to buy. On top of being cute, functional, and eco- and wallet-friendly, they support a great cause. Pinto’s youngest son was born with a heart defect and has had several procedures and surgeries. A portion of Pinto’s profits are donated to Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. If you’re in school and need an academic planner for the upcoming academic year, want to send a postcard to a friend, or need a notebook to jot ideas down in, I highly recommend you check out Sarah Pinto. Cute products that serve your purpose while also paying it forward? What else could you want?!


Source: sarahpinto.com via Kelly on Pinterest

bookmark it, LOL edition: suri’s burn book


I came across this Tumblr, Suri’s Burn Book, earlier this week. Basically, it’s a satirical blog written from the perspective of Suri Cruise in which she provides commentary on celebrities’ (particularly celebrity’s children) fashion and ability to handle fame. I spent a whole evening reading through it and I could not stop laughing. I’m sure some people would say it’s not right to make fun of children’s clothes or imitiate Suri Cruise in such a manner, to which I would say to those people it’s clearly all in good fun and when you come to my house you can just ignore the book on the coffee table.

You really should take a look at the Tumblr, since photos are always included and add to the commentary, oftentimes being the sole focus and not just accompaniment. Here are some stand-alone quotes that cracked me up:

  • “Either get your things monogrammed or just expect that people know who you are.”
  • “Amy Poehler’s ginger baby is not amused. He is, however, still extremely ginger.”
  • “It’s not cute, it’s not clever, and it’s not symmetrical, which are three of my highest priorities for haircuts and for life in general.”
  • “I feel like her eyes are silently asking for help. Perhaps she’s just realized that her name is Maxwell, and Jessica Simpson is responsible for her.”
  • “Even I know better than to pretentiously tweet about my bad days, even though I assure you I have them. Just yesterday, my chef tried to serve me pancakes instead of waffles, and it threw me off for the rest of the morning.”
  • “Blue Ivy Carter showed up in Paris yesterday without shoes on. Going barefoot in Paris is like showing up to the Oscars in a denim miniskirt. A frayed one.”
  • “All I would want to discuss with the President is equal pay for equal work, and the ridiculously high tariffs on French cheeses.”


history lesson: what else has happened on the fourth of july?

Source: glo.msn.com via Kelly on Pinterest


I love the Fourth of July. It’s pretty much everything that’s awesome in life: beautiful summer weather, family picnics full of laughter and good food, swimming all day long, honoring the military, celebrating with parades and fireworks, watching holiday-appropriate movies, etc. At least, that’s how I have always spent my Fourth of July. Being the history nerd I am, I also love to imagine what that day was like in 1776. It got me thinking – what other major events in U.S. history have occurred on July 4th? Do any other countries share our Independence Day? Here’s what I found:


  • 1802: U.S. Military Academy officially opens (West Point)
  • 1803: The Louisiana Purchase is made public
  • 1826: Former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die
  • 1827: Slavery is abolished in New York
  • 1831: Former President James Monroe dies; “America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)” is first sung in Boston
  • 1845: Texas Congress votes for annexation to the U.S.
  • 1861: During a special session of Congress, President Abraham Lincoln requests 400,000 troops
  • 1861: John Brown leads an attempted raid on the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia
  • 1863: Confederates withdraw from Gettysburg and surrender Vicksburg
  • 1884: The Statue of Liberty is presented to the U.S. in Paris
  • 1892: Western Samoa changes the International Date Line, causing there to be 367 days in the year 1892 for the U.S., including two Monday, July 4ths
  • 1895: Katherine Lee Bates publishes the song “America the Beautiful”
  • 1906: Ethiopia is granted independence from Great Britain, France, and Italy
  • 1913: President Woodrow Wilson speaks to American Civil War veterans (Union and Confederate) at the Great Reunion of 1913
  • 1946: The Philippines is granted independence from U.S.
  • 1950: President Harry S. Truman signs Public Law 600 (which authorizes Puerto Rico to draft its own constitution)
  • 1956: Independence National Historical Park is created in Philadelphia
  • 1959: A 49th star is added to the U.S. flag to represent the state of Alaska
  • 1960: A 50th star is added to the U.S. flag to represent the state of Hawaii
  • 1966: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act
  • 2004: The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid (NYC)
  • 2009: The Statue of the Liberty’s crown reopens to the public after being closed for eight years
I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday! : )

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

new year’s all year challenge: june reflections and july goals

In January I introduced the 2012 New Year’s All Year Challenge, in which I made broad “endpoint” goals for the year and explained that each month I will make specific small goals that are stepping stones to my endpoint aims. Each month I will also reflect on the previous month’s goals and efforts.




June goals:

  • Health: be more consistent with new eating habits and work out more
  • Finances: become more financially literate
  • Relationships: don’t judge others
  • Wedding: research wedding day photographers and make a “short list”
  • Career: apply for full-time positions as they get posted and continue reading nonfiction books and articles
  • Self-enrichment: practice gratitude

Reflections on June goals:

Health: I struggled with maintaining my new eating habits and working out this month. I began working at the pool again now that schools are out, and I had not yet adjusted to working all day at an extremely crowded pool in serious heat. Some legit stress eating was going on, and by the time I made it out of work, I would go home and crash rather than going to the gym. I did participate in two 5Ks though (The Color Run and Running With a Mission, the latter of which I will be posting about soon), which were fun and definitely inspired me to do more events in the future. Finances: I signed up for a website called LearnVest this month (Bookmark It post about the site to come soon!). I’ve been using it all the time and while I certainly have a long way to go in terms of getting a firm hold my finances, I am making some great progress. Relationships: My goal was to not judge others. Basically, I felt like, as of late, in both conversations and social media, there was a great deal of negativity and judgement going on, in which I was at times participating. It was really getting to me and I wanted to stop. I think my efforts were only about 50% successful, but hopefully I can do better in the future. Wedding: I did almost nothing for wedding planning this month (other than meeting my savings goal!). I definitely need to get on that this month since, as of the 20th, we’re a year out from the big day!!! Career: I’ve been reading nonfiction books and articles, which is great because I truly enjoy learning. I’ve also been listening to historical podcasts. In terms of the job search, I’m trying to stay positive. Which takes us to Self-Enrichment: my self-enrichment goal was directly tied to my relationship and career goals for June. I think I did decently at practicing gratitude in June, but I know I can be more consistent with my efforts and doing so would only increase my joy in life.




July goals:

  • Health: reevaluate goals/change in habits for healthy eating and try each of the nine classes at my gym at least once
  • Finances: complete the Take Control Bootcamp through LearnVest
  • Relationships: don’t judge others
  • Wedding: revisit/revise complete wedding to-do list and start knocking things off! (particularly photographer, DJ, and bridal party wear)
  • Career: apply for full-time positions as they get posted and continue reading nonfiction books and articles
  • Self-enrichment: practice gratitude