Friday Favorites: 90’s Movies

I heard a conversation on the radio the other day about the best movies of the 90’s.  That got me thinking about my favorite movies from that decade.  Well, when I went looking to refresh my memory about all of the movies from the 90’s, I found it was harder than I thought to pick my top 10 favorites. There really were some good movies made back then.  If you are a guy reading this, you probably won’t agree with many of my choices as most of these are what I would consider “chick flicks.” It took me a while to narrow it down to these 10, so I had to add a few extras to the list as well.  Now, I will mention that Tom Hanks is one of my all-time favorite actors so you may see more than one of his movies on the list.  I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t help it.  I probably could have made the whole list Tom Hanks movies, but I didn’t. Maybe I will do another post one day just about that.  I was a big Julia Roberts fan back in the day as well. You may see more than one with her in it too. Without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite movies that came out in the 90’s followed by a few honorable mentions.

10. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

As I mentioned, I like Julia Roberts movies.  This one was a cute romantic comedy that I could watch a 100 times and still love it. It stars Julia Roberts, Dermont Mulroney, Rupert Everett, and Cameron Diaz.

9. The Hunt for Red October (1990)

You may be surprised by this one as it’s not nearly as popular as some of the others on my list, and it certainly isn’t a “chick flick”. I actually never watched this movie in the 90’s and probably had never heard of it until I married a submariner.  This is one of those Jack Ryan movies staring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin.  

8. Braveheart (1995)

This movie staring Mel Gibson is full of drama, romance, tragedy, historical fiction, and more. It is a long movie, but worth every second of it. 

7. A League of Their Own (1992)

This movie with an all-star cast is the first of the Tom Hanks movies on the list.  Along with him, Geena Davis, Modonna, and Rosie O’Donnell portray a heartfelt story of women stepping up to the plate when the men are off fighting in a war.  

6. Toy Story (1995)

I couldn’t leave this movie off the list with the release of the new Toy Story 4 movie recently. This is the movie that started it all and is one that many love the most, including me.  It is the only animated film that made it into my top 10.  This story staring the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen is certainly a beloved classic.  

5. Father of the Bride (1991)

This movie staring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Martin Short is one of my favorites for sure.  It makes you laugh and cry all in one story.  It is such a great movie. 

4. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

This is another one of those long movies that is worth every second.  I love this storyline and the meaning behind it all with the horrors that war brings.  It stars Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, and Vin Diesel. 

3. Pretty Woman (1990)

How could I not put this movie staring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere up near the top of my list? Most women will tell you that this is one of the best movies of all time.  

2. Titanic (1997)

The great, tragic love story staring Leodardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet is certainly at the top.  I mean, who doesn’t love this movie?

1. Forrest Gump (1994)

Not only is this my favorite Tom Hanks movie and my favorite 90’s movie, it is also my favorite movie of all time.  I love this movie so much that I have watched it a million times and can just about recite the entire movie from memory.  If you have never been to a Bubba Gump’s restaurant, you don’t want to go with me. They always throw out trivia questions from the movie and I dominate! I love, love, love this movie so much! 

Honorable Mention:

*Silence of the Lambs (1991)

*Hope Floats (1998)

*Outbreak (1995)

*Jerry Maguire (1996)

*Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

*Twister (1996)

*Step Mom (1998)

*You’ve Got Mail (1998)

*Legends of the Fall (1994)

*The Lion King (1994)

I really do love a good movie. To me, if it is one that I can watch over and over again, it is considered one of the best. I could be flipping through the channels and come across any one of these movies and stop and watch it, even it the movie is already half over. That’s what makes it a good movie. What do you think of my list? What movie from the 90’s would you add? Now I think I may go try to find Forrest Gump or any of these others and watch it this afternoon.

Anchored,

Book Club: My Sister, the Serial Killer

I missed Book Club Friday last week and this week is a bit off schedule, so I figured I would get it in today.  Our book for June was My Sister, the Serial Killer (Amazon) by Oyinkan Braithwaite.  This book came recommended by a few of my friends as well as by actress, Kimberly Williams Paisley.  This book is a quick, easy read.  I read it in a couple of hours.  It is a really short story with super short chapters.  Most chapters were only one to two pages long.  I will say that I have mixed feelings about this book, and I can’t quite say that I liked it or that I didn’t like it.  I felt like it jumped around a lot and that there wasn’t enough character or story development for me. I like stories that let you really get to know the characters.  I found myself wanting more. However, it did keep my interest for the most part. Again, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. If you are looking for a quick beach read this summer, this one would fit the bill.  

This is a story of two sisters. Korede is the oldest and is a hardworking, practical nurse.  She considers herself the ugly sister. Ayoola, the youngest, is a wild, carefree beauty that seems to have a knack for having men swoon over her.  The two were brought up in a wealthy family in Nigeria. However, unbeknownst to everyone around them, their family had a dark secret. Their father was a very violent man who attempted to sell his daughters to his important friends, beat his wife (and sometimes daugthers), and participated in shady business deals. Their mother resorted to sleeping pills to hide away from the horrors of their life behind closed doors. Following their father’s death (the author even makes you question the nature of his death), Ayoola’s boyfriends seem to keep ending up dead.  Although Ayoola gives excuses as to why she kills them, the true reason behind her killings never seems to be revealed.  Korede, was her protector, even from their father at a young age. She cleaned up the messes made by Ayoola every single time.  Despite her feelings about what was happening with her sister, Korede would do anything to help her, no matter the cost to her own happiness. This story seems to focus more on the strength of the family bond, specifically the bond between two siblings, than the actual murders. It demonstrates the old saying that blood is thicker than water. 

This story is surrounded by dark humor and mystery.  If you are looking for a quick read, this is the book for you.  While I am unsure of my love for this book, I can certainly see why it has become so popular. It has mystery, intrigue, family dynamics, and more. Let me know your thoughts if you read along with me.  I am interested to hear what others think about it since my feelings on it are so mixed.  

Let’s move on to my pick for July.  I hope you will come along and read with me. My pick for July is Summer of ’69 (Amazon) by Elin Hilderbrand. This #1 New York Times bestseller quickly rose to the top after its release last month. It has also made it on USA Today’s bestseller list.  I generally like historical fiction, and I hope this one doesn’t disappoint.  Here is what Apple Books has to say about this novel…

“Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel is a fun twist on the classic Nantucket beachside read she’s so well known for. A first love, an illicit affair, and Woodstock are all woven into this engrossing family drama, which follows four siblings over the tumultuous summer of 1969. While the era’s big social movements—like civil rights and gender equality—are front and center, Hilderbrand also has a lot of fun with the small period details, whether it’s serving relish trays or drinking to “settle the nerves” during pregnancy. Make sure there’s room for this nostalgic, summer pageturner in your beach bag.”

Come along and read with me!

Anchored in a Good Book,

*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items through these links, I may earn a small commission.

Friday Favorites: Bedroom Slippers

I am so glad that today is Friday.  I long for the weekends in the summer because competition season is over, we don’t have to travel anywhere, and our girls don’t have practices on the weekends in the summer.  That means we don’t have any obligations and can do whatever we want to do.  We can stay home all weekend and do absolutely nothing, work on projects that need to be done, go shopping, watch a movie, or even plan a little mini vacation.  Our weekends are so jammed full of things during the school year that we never really feel like we have days off or can get a lot of things done.  That is why summer weekends are the best! 

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite things, but it is a thing I get picked on for loving all the time. I know that it won’t be a popular thing, but I use mine every single day. I will start by saying that I do not like to walk around barefooted.  I never have.  I think that part of that comes from having hyperhidrosis where my feet sweat extremely bad.  My mom says that even when I was a baby, I would have little droplets of sweat on my feet all the time.  It is something that I have lived with my whole life.  Now, though, it is well controlled thanks to my migraine medicine.  Drying me out is one of the side effects of my medicine and the one side effect in the world that would make me happy.  Anyway, I guess I didn’t like going barefooted because my feet were always sopping wet and now it is just a habit.  That means that I either always have on a pair of socks, or I have on one of my favorite things…my bedroom slippers.  That’s right, I wear bedroom slippers all the time! If I am at home, I have them on at all times. I very rarely will walk around without them unless I have socks on, even in my own house.  As I am getting out of the bed in the mornings, I step right into them.  When I get out of the shower, I immediately step into them.  I wear them all the time. Whenever I am traveling, I pack them in my suitcase.  I certainly would never walk around in a hotel without them because that is just gross to me.  Because I wear them so much, I have to replace them frequently (about every 2 years) because they just get worn out easily.  I do wash them a lot too, especially after we have traveled, which I think speeds up the wear and tear.  Anyway, I have purchased a million different bedroom slippers over the years and have found some that I love and some that I just didn’t like.  I prefer the ones that you just step into like a slide or clog versus ones that fit like a shoe with a back to them. Those make my feet too hot and cause me to sweat even more.  The ones with memory foam soles are my favorites, but I also like the ones that just have an extra padded sole. Over the years, I have found that my favorite brand is Dearfoams. Now, these are not about style and cuteness. They are 100% about function and comfort. I admit it…I just love bedroom slippers. I know this won’t be a popular opinion, but if you do like them, here are some of my favorites.

Dearfoams Quilted Terry (Amazon) These are the ones I am currently wearing.

Dearfoams Memory Foam (Amazon)

Dearfoams Chenille Clog (Amazon)

Dearfoams Chunky Knit (Amazon) I don’t really love these because they are too hot for me, but they are super comfortable.

As you can see, they aren’t the most attractive things in the world, but they are super comfortable and no one ever really sees them except my family. I am totally ok with the fact that my love for bedroom slippers is not stylish or something that most people would agree with. They are a necessity for me and I love them! We are actually a bedroom slipper loving family. Everyone in my family wears them, even my daughters. Try them out. Maybe you will become a bedroom slipper family too!

Anchored,

*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items through these links, I may earn a small commission. 

Friday Favorites: Top 5

I feel like I talk about sleep a lot on here, but I am going to do it again today.  Why? Because sleep, or lack of sleep, is constantly on my mind.  My body requires at least 10 hours of sleep and always has, but I rarely get 10 hours of sleep these days.  It is not because I stay up late doing stuff or that I get up super early.  It is because I cannot sleep.  I have a really hard time falling asleep these days.  My brain can’t shut off sometimes.  Part of it is because my day doesn’t stop until about 9:30 or 10 with the girls’ activities so there is no time for down time before I get in the bed.  There is no time for me to relax and unwind from the chaos of the day.  Therefore, my brain is still going 90 miles a minute when I lie down. That is why sleep is always on my mind. I’m longing for it all day and then when the time comes to actually sleep, I’m wide awake.  It is super frustrating.  Anyway, when I do fall asleep, I sleep hard, but there are 5 things that I must have if there is any chance of me getting a good night of sleep. They are my 5 favorite sleep aids.

1. Super Soft Sheets (Amazon)

My husband and I are both really picky about our sheets.  They have to be silky soft.  For some reason, sheets that aren’t silky soft make me hot.  I don’t know why, but the rougher the sheets are, the hotter I get. Sheets made from jersey fabric or that are flannel are definitely out of the question. I feel like I am dying of heat when sleeping on those types of fabrics. I also don’t like textured sheets because they make me feel hot too.  Our favorite brand of sheets is Boll & Branch.  They are on the high-end cost wise, but this is one area that we will splurge.  We think they are worth the cost. These sheets hold up well so they last for a long time.  They are made with pure organic cotton, are lightweight, and are super soft. I personally do not recommend the striped ones they have because they are textured and too hot for me. 

2. Sound Machine (Amazon)

When my husband and I were first married, we got an air purifying machine to help with my allergies.  I got accustomed the soft hum that it made. I liked the noise partly because it was soothing, but the main reason was that it blocked out other noises.  With my husband deployed a lot, I would have trouble sleeping when he was gone and I was home alone because every little noise I heard during the night would scare me. That machine helped drown out all those little noises.  We had that machine for years.  I don’t think that it really worked as an air purifier, but we kept it just for the noise. It got to the point that we had to buy a little sound machine to take with us when we traveled because we couldn’t sleep in the quiet.  When we moved, we decided that it was time to get rid of that big air purifier and opted to just use a sound machine instead that made white noise.  We cannot sleep without it.  My youngest daughter took over the small travel one we had and we purchased a new one for our bedroom.  It came with a variety of sounds that you could choose from like waves crashing on the shore, rain, nature sound, and more.  We prefer just the white noise to anything else. The sound machine is a MUST HAVE for a good night’s sleep in our house. 

3. Leg Pillow (Amazon)

The leg pillow is another MUST HAVE for my husband and me. We have been using them for years. We are both side sleepers, and the leg pillow fits perfectly right between your knees.  It helps to keep your spine aligned and your body in a more comfortable position. It helps with lower back and hip discomfort. These also travel with us everywhere.  The ones we have, we have had for years and are similar to the one linked above, but I am considering getting one like this, to see if the cooling pads in it help to keep me from getting so hot while I am sleeping. 

4. Sleep Innovations 2 in 1 Pillow (Amazon)

Just like I am particular about my sheets, I am also super particular about my pillow.  I cannot tell you how many pillows my husband and I have bought over the years trying to find the perfect one.  Let’s just say that the number would be obscene! Anyway a few years ago, I stumbled upon this pillow at and I was immediately hooked.  I love that it has the memory foam on one side and the microfiber on the other side.  I don’t think I will ever try another kind of pillow.  I love this one so much.  I will just keep replacing it every few years for a new one just like it. 

5. Carmex (Amazon)

I know you are thinking that I am crazy, but I have to have Carmex to sleep.  I have said for years that I am addicted to Carmex.  I used to have to have one with me all the time, but I have worked hard to break that habit and think I am much better. While I may not need it with me 24/7 anymore, I still HAVE to have it at night. It is the last thing I do before I lay down.  I have to put on my Carmex or I can’t stand it and won’t sleep.  

Those are my top 5 MUST HAVE favorites for a good night of sleep.  I have a hard enough time falling to sleep on a nightly basis that I will use all the tools I can to make the sleep come faster and longer.  What are your MUST HAVES for sleeping?

Anchored,

*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items through these links, I may earn a small commission. 

Book Club: Where the Crawdads Sing

It is the last Friday of the month, which means that it is Book Club Day! I am excited to share my review of this month’s book, Where the Crawdads Sing (Amazon) by Delia Owens. I really enjoyed this book a lot. It was one of those books that I didn’t want to put down, and I certainly didn’t want it to end.  If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you do.  It is a great summer read.  I found it to be an easy, quick read as well.  

This story takes place on the marshes of North Carolina. It centers around a girl named Kya.  The story chronicles her life as she navigates the unfortunate circumstances she was faced with growing up as “the marsh girl.” She did not lead an easy life, coming from a poor family that lived in a small shack in the marsh.  Her mother left without a word when Kya was just 6 years old because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Kya’s father. All of Kya’s siblings left one by one for the same reasons leaving Kya to fend for herself with her abusive, alcoholic father at such a young age.  Once her father left her too, Kya was completely alone as a child with no money, no food, no education, and only the wild around her.  Kya learned how to survive in the marsh living on the land, making friends with the wildlife, and closely studying the environment around her.  Eventually she connects with two young men. When one of those men, a young and wealthy guy, turns up dead, Kya becomes the number one suspect is his murder.  

This is a story of heartbreak, survival, pure innocence, and love.  The author takes you through a journey by flashing back from the past of Kya’s youth to the present day with the investigation of the murder of Chase Andrews.  Kya’s story of her childhood is one that is hard to imagine.  What is sad to me is to think that there are so many kids just like Kya that are abandoned and left alone to figure the world out on their own. I thought a lot about that as I was reading.  I guess some of that comes from my background as a teacher and seeing things and hearing horror stories about students.  The positive is that we see Kya’s resilience and strength shine through over and over again while we, as the readers, are rooting her on.  Delia Owens does a great job really describing the marsh and what it was like for Kya to survive there.  I could totally imagine the scenes in my head and the marsh sort of came alive for me.  When the book flashed to the present and to the murder investigation, you could see how the town was prejudiced towards Kya and were looking for ways to point towards her guilt while there were those select few who deeply cared about Kya and were doing all they could to take the spotlight off of her.  This truly was a great story and one that I really loved. Again, I highly recommend this book. You truly will feel like you are in the marsh right alongside of Kya.  

Now, let’s move on to my pick for June’s book club. For this month, I have chosen My Sister, the Serial Killer (Amazon) by Oyinkan Braithwaite.  It is her debut novel, and I hope you will join me in reading it this month. Here is what Apple Books has to say about this book.

“Set in Lagos, Nigeria, this fun and twisted novel uses a nasty case of sibling rivalry to keep us in suspense. Older sister Korede is an experienced nurse who’s a stickler at work and a fuzzy, unfulfilled shadow in her personal life. By contrast, Korede’s younger sister, Ayoola, is a shooting star: an aspiring fashion designer, a social media influencer, and a glamorous beauty who turns heads wherever she goes. But Ayoola’s shiny image hides a nasty history of fatally stabbing her boyfriends. Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel unfolds in sharp, snappy chapters that keep your wheels spinning as you try to parse out the truth of the two sister’s lives.”

 Come along and read with me!

Anchored in a Good Book, 

Friday Favorites: Sunscreen and Sunless Tanner

Summer is right around the corner. My kids have two weeks left of school and many others are already out for summer vacation.  With summer vacation comes time at the pool, the beach, and lots of other outdoor fun. Time outside means exposure to the sun and its harmful rays. If you know me, you know that I am a fanatic about sunscreen. I am a very “moley” person. I have moles everywhere and lots of them. I have had the unfortunate pleasure of having multiple moles that have had to be removed for being severely atypical. That is super close to cancer. Because of this, I am a crazy person when it comes to sun exposure.  I lather myself and everyone in my family with sunscreen multiple times when we are out in the sun.  I even wear hats when I am in the sun for prolonged periods of time. I also wear sunscreen on my face every single day whether I am going to be out in the sun or not.  Everyone needs to wear sunscreen, but the key is reapplying it.  You can’t just put it on once and expect it to work all day long. I personally reapply every hour. My philosophy is better safe than sorry!  I also would never recommend a spray sunscreen.  You can never get good coverage with a spray. I guarantee that you will miss spots and then you will have a weird tan.  

I have tried multiple brands of sunscreen over the years.  Most sunscreens are thick, difficult to rub in, smell bad, and leave you feeling sticky.  It has taken years to find a sunscreen that I really love, but I finally found it a couple of years ago.  I promise you that I am not saying this just because I am a consultant.  It really is that good!  My favorite sunscreen is Rodan + Fields Essentials Sunscreen SPF 30.  I am not kidding you when I say that it is the best sunscreen that I have ever used.  It is thin, smells good, and doesn’t leave a sticky feeling on your skin.  I would even go as far as saying it leaves your skin feeling cool and refreshed, not sticky and gross. It applies evenly and it actually works.  I am obsessed with this sunscreen.  I will forever use it as long as I am going out in the sun. I think I probably have about 5 bottles of it in my house right now because I don’t want to run out!  I love it! R+F also has a Lip Shield that protects your lips from the sun. It smells like lemons! I am not especially attached to the lip shield, but I think it is important to remember to protect your lips with some form of SPF made for lips.

Now, you may be thinking that my crazy obsession with sunscreen leaves me pasty white all the time, and you would be correct.  I am paler than pale for the majority of the year.  I will say that I still get a golden complexion in the summer without getting burned using the R+F sunscreen. I prefer not to get even that from the sun though because I am so afraid of the sun’s rays.  Anyway, I have a solution for the pasty white skin too. I do not, and will not, ever recommend a tanning bed because I believe it is just as bad as regular sun exposure if not worse.  I also personally won’t do a spray tan.  I don’t have anything against them, but I just know that it is not for me.  I will tell you that I have tried a million sunless tanners.  I can’t stand 90% of them because of the smell.  I have mentioned before that smells trigger my migraines, and most sunless tanners have triggered them with their strong smells.  Let’s not even mention all the ones I have tried over the years that leave streaks or turn you orange.  There is another win with Rodan + Fields!  Their Essentials Foaming Sunless Tanner is the best one I have ever tried.  It does have a smell to it, but it isn’t super strong and to me smells more citrus than chemical and does not trigger migraines for me.  It is easy to apply and does not leave streaks.  It also has never turned me orange.  It works great. Whenever I have applied it, I get people commenting on my nice tan. They often ask if I have been to the beach. It gives you an even, glowing complexion, and you start to have that warm glow within an hour of application.  It does not leave a sticky feel either, and it lasts for about a week.  You can control how dark you want to be as well by applying one or two layers. It truly is the best and I use it year round.  I’m obsessed! 

In summary, avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible. Protect your skin and lips by using sunscreen whenever you are outside. Reapply often.  Find safer ways to get that sun-kissed glow without exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, and enjoy your summer without a painful sunburn!

Anchored and Protected,

Friday Favorites: Summer Capsule 2019

Many of you know that I recently joined a company called Trades of Hope, and I am super passionate about their mission.  TOH’s mission is to empower women out of sweatshops, slums, abuse, human trafficking, and extreme poverty all across the world by providing them with a sustainable business.  We employ artisans from 17 different countries including the US to create beautiful handmade, ethically sourced jewelry, bags, home décor and more.  We market and sell the gorgeous pieces that these women create so that they can in turn provide for their families.  I am so passionate about helping these women fight injustice. I truly feel like this is what God has been calling me to do.  We work to give back to these women by providing them with things like baby chicks, fruit trees, water wheels, education, and more so that they can rise up out of the dire situations they have been living in and ultimately change their lives and that of their families and communities.  TOH just released a summer capsule collection, and I wanted to share with you my three favorite pieces from that collection because they are not only gorgeous, but the stories behind them are truly touching.  Purchasing any of these products directly impacts women around the world.  

The inspiration for this summer capsule collection is the beautiful, unpretentious wildflower. Wildflowers are vibrant and gorgeous. They can survive and grow in the harshest of environments just like many of our artisans.  Our artisans have faced adversity, yet they have grown despite their challenges. This collection showcases pops of color and the vibrancy of the wildflower.  Altogether, nine new products were released, but I want to highlight my three favorite ones.

Maya Wallet-Guatemala

Guatemala has the highest poverty rate in Latin America.  Nearly half of the children there under the age of five are chronically malnourished, which is one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. Many of the women in Guatemala are uneducated.  TOH’s partnership with the artisans there has empowered them to rise up out of poverty. These women are given the opportunity to attend school and learn basic principals that will help them move ahead in life, become self-reliant, and financially independent.  The Maya Wallet is just one of many products that TOH carries from Guatemala.  It is absolutely gorgeous. Each one is as unique as the artisan that creates it as they come in a variety of colors, patterns, and motifs.  Our artisans in Guatemala use fabric from their traditional blouses called hupil to make these wallets and then line them with beautiful denim. Each wallet is then trimmed in genuine leather. How gorgeous are these colors? I love the fact that you wait in anticipation of what yours will look like! So pretty!

Catalina Necklace-India

India holds the largest number of poor people in the world, many of which live in rural areas. Twenty-two percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Women and children in India are often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.  Many are forced to sell their bodies or work in sweatshops to support their families. While India has made great strides in reducing poverty, it is still painfully high. Through TOH’s partnership with several artisan groups in India, women are given a chance to work from home while they take care of their families. These artisan groups are now able to provide education for their children and support their families. The Catalina Necklace is one of the new pieces from the artisan group in India. It is made from sterling silver, reconstituted turquoise stone and sillimanite. It is so dainty and just beautiful.

Limitless Earrings-Haiti

Did you know that in Haiti, many women are forced to leave their children at orphanages just because they cannot feed them? This is the case for the majority of the 500,000 orphans Haiti. A young couple that traveled to Haiti to adopt learned that most of the orphans had mothers that really wanted them but that couldn’t care for them. They were so moved by this that they decided to create the “Unorphanage.” This group now employs hundreds of women and allows them to make an income and keep their children! One of these women, named Gina, is now able to give her daughter the life she never thought she could. Her daughter, Christnelle plays in the onsite daycare while Gina creates beautiful products like these earrings.  She is no longer is forced to feed her daughter cookies made from clay just to fill her belly. These Limitless Earrings are made from upcycled aluminum and are hand cut and hammered into these modern shapes by our artisans in Haiti. They are super lightweight and are a gorgeous statement piece. 

I hope that you are able to see the beauty in these pieces and the incredible stories behind them. Each of our artisans is a true inspiration of perseverance and how you can change a life with determination.  To check out the entire summer capsule, you can preview it here.  If you are interested in learning more about the mission of Trades of Hope or want to hear more stories of our artisans, you can request to join my Facebook group, Anchored Hope.

Anchored in Hope,

Book Club: Normal People

I cannot believe that April is almost over.  This year is totally flying by.  The end of the month means I’m giving you my take on this month’s book club book, Normal People(Amazon) by Sally Rooney and telling you what my next pick is for May. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with Normal People.  I wouldn’t say that the book was awful because it did hold my attention for the most part. However, I didn’t think there was enough plot development for me, and I thought it was a little choppy the way it jumped ahead months at a time.  I just felt like there were things that were left out that I as the reader wanted to know. This book came with high praise and tons of buzz about it, so I was expecting more.  It just didn’t excite me enough, I guess.  Had I not picked it as our book club book to review, I may not have finished reading it.  I don’t know why really. I just didn’t love it. I would be very interested to hear what you all think if you read along with me.  

This story was about two people that met as kids, Connell and Marianne.  Both came from very different backgrounds.  In fact, the two met because Connell’s mother (a struggling teen mom) was the housekeeper for Marianne’s family.  Connell was the popular football player while Marianne was the lonely, girl who kept to herself with secrets of a tumultuous family life. They pretended not to know each other for all of their high school years while they had a secret romance behind closed doors.  Their roles sort of reversed when they ended up at the same college.  Marianne became the boisterous, popular girl while Connell became a quiet reserved guy. They develop this weird connection to each other over the years as their relationship continued off and on throughout their lives.  There was a lot of turmoil within each of them individually that seemed to really affect their relationship as well. Even though they both dated other people, they just couldn’t seem to resist this hold they had on each other.  There relationship was very strange and, at times, unhealthy.  There was a lot of psychological things that both of them needed to work through, and I am not sure that they ever fully dealt with all of it in the end. Again, I didn’t love this book.  It is hard to put into words why I didn’t like it, but I just didn’t. Let me know what you thoughts, though!

My pick for next month’s book is one that I have heard great things about from friends who have read it, and the reviews are very good.  It is also a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and a #1 New York Times Bestseller.  My next selection is Where the Crawdads Sing (Amazon) by Delia Owens. Here is what Apple Books had to say about this book,

“Abandoned by anyone who should care, Kya lives deep in the swampy North Carolina lowlands. She understands the creatures that live there and waits for someone to understand her—but the locals in town call her Marsh Girl. Delia Owens’ enchanting mystery follows Kya’s exhilarating and terrifying first steps into the outer world, and the murderous betrayal that happens when she lets two young men get close to her. Thanks to Owens’ lyrical prose, we could hear the rustling of the cypress leaves and were pulled headfirst into her complex, emotional story.”

Will you come along this journey with me this month? Happy reading!

Anchored in a Good Book,

Friday Favorites: Top 5

Today I am sharing my top 5 favorite things right now.  These things are things that I am loving, and I think you will love them too. Some are new and some are trusty old favorites.

1. Thirty-One Large Utility Totes

I have been a long time fan of Thirty-one bags.  I have a ton of their Large Utility Totes because they are so useful.  I use them all the time.  The reason that I am loving them right now, though, is because they came in so handy with the move.  I would fill them up, take them to the new house, unload the stuff inside to its proper location, and then head back to the rental for another load.  If you don’t have one (or more) of these, you are missing out.  They are great for the beach, for corralling things in the back of your car, traveling, grocery shopping, and so many more things.  

2. Essie Nail Polish-Play Date

I picked up this beautiful nail polish at Target a couple of weeks ago.  I thought it would be the perfect color for spring, and I was right. It is so pretty on.  I don’t have a pic to show you what it looks like on me because I had to take it off.  Thanks to all of the moving, I have destroyed my nails.  I have broken every single one of them down as far as they can go without loosing the whole nail.  Needless to say, they are certainly not picture worthy at the moment.  I cannot wait until they grow back out and I can use this color again.  I think purple may have become my new favorite color.  I am all about purple these days. 

3. Worthy Shirt by Joyfully Rooted

With Easter just a couple of days away, I am reminded that I am worthy enough for God to send his son to die for me.  Today I am wearing two things that I love that are great reminders of that for me. The first is a shirt I purchased a few months ago from Etsy that simple says “Worthy” on it with a reference to Ephesians 4:1.  I love this shirt so much. I love it not only because of the message but because it is super soft and comfy and the word is in one of my new favorite colors, rose gold. 

4. Worthy Necklace

The second thing that I am wearing today that reminds me that I am worthy and that pairs so perfectly with my shirt is my Worthy Necklace from Trades of Hope that is also rose gold.  How pretty is it? I love it so much. It is so dainty and cute! 

5. Closet America

Since we officially moved into our new house on Monday, I have been working on getting my new closet just how I want it.  I am so in love with the design and all of the elements I was able to add to get the dream closet that I have always wanted.  I am so grateful that I came across Closet America at a home show a few months ago.  I know I have said it before, but they were amazing to work with from the designer to the installers.  I am in love with my closet! 

Well, that’s a wrap on my top 5 for this week! What are you loving right now?

Anchored,

Book Club: Girl, Stop Apologizing

If you have been holding your breath to hear my thoughts on Rachel Hollis’s latest book, Girl, Stop Apologizing (Amazon), here is comes.  Just kidding! I doubt any of you noticed that I missed writing my review last week.  Anyway, this book was highly anticipated by thousands of her followers and me.  I could not wait to get my hands on this book.  Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  She had just as many amazing nuggets inside this book as Girl, Wash Your Face (Amazon) did.  If you didn’t read Girl, Stop Apologizing along with me last month, I highly recommend it.  The premise behind this book is Rachel Hollis giving you her “shame free plan for embracing and achieving your goals. “ If you are stuck in what direction you wanted for your life or are at a crossroads, this book will give you the motivation to figure out what you want your future to look like and give you practical advice on how to get there. This book is broken up into three sections. I will go through each of those three sections and tell you which chapter was the most meaningful for me.  

Excuses To Let Go Of

In this section, Rachel goes through 9 different excuses that many of us tell ourselves and that prevent us from succeeding and reaching our goals.  The excuse that I identified with the most was “I’m Not Enough to Succeed.” I have written about this several times before. I tend to think that I am not good enough all the time.  I will start this negative self-talk where I talk myself out of things. I start doubting myself.  Rachel talks about how we subconsciously think that we are going to fail at something before we even get started.  I know that I do this a lot.  I don’t even begin to try something new because I have already convinced myself that I am not good enough.   Other times I will decide that I am going full force on a goal, but then I hit roadblocks and my forward progress comes to a halt.  The self-doubt enters again.  I start thinking that all of these obstacles are signs that I am not good enough and that I should just give up. She talks about how we need to get over this self-doubt and push forward.  Instead of giving up right away, you have to realize that although you haven’t met your goal yet, it doesn’t mean that you never will.  Rachel says that it is the YET that matters. She says, “You are enough. Today. As you are.  Stop beating yourself for being on the beginning side of yet, no matter what age you are. Yet is your potential. Yetis a promise. Yet is what keeps you moving. Yet is a gift, and you are enough to get to the other side of it.” Over that past year, I have begun to believe that.  I am beginning to realize that I am enough and I am worthy of pursuing my dreams and goals for my life.  I haven’t reached them YET, but I WILL! I just have to be patient, give it time, and keep plowing through the obstacles.  

Behaviors to Adopt

This is the section that really applies to my current situation in life.  I have made the decision to go for my goals and dreams, but now I am trying to figure out how to get there.  I have to have a plan.  Our behaviors are how we live our lives day to day.  The things that we do daily as part of our routine are the things that are going to keep us pushing forward.  These behaviors should become habits and things that are just natural for us. In this section Rachel gives us 7 behaviors that she believes we should adopt in order to get us to our goals.  There were actually two chapters in this section that really spoke to me.  The first was “Ask for Help.” I have always struggled with this.  I have always taken on everything myself and done it all alone.  Even when I was teaching, I had a hard time letting things go for my assistants to do or for others to help me with.  I wanted it done the right way, and I felt like only I could do that.  There have been so many times in my life when I have needed help, but I didn’t ask for it. I thought it would make me look like a failure.  Rachel says to allow yourself to admit that you are drowning.  There have been so many times in my life where I have felt that I was barely keeping my head above the water because I was trying to project my weird version of perfection.  Rachel encourages you to ask for help because it truly takes a village to get through life. She says that you will burn out if you keep trying to do it all on your own and that is exactly what happened to me with teaching.  Her advice is, “Stop pretending. Stop faking it. Stop taking it all on alone and then later feeling bitter about it. Stop wasting your time on activities you hate as penance for the time you want for yourself. “

The other skill in this section of the book that really spoke to me was “Learn to Say No.” This is one of my biggest flaws.  I cannot say no.  It kind of ties in with the behavior of asking for help.  I can’t say no. I take on more than I can handle all the time because I cannot tell people no. Then I refuse to ask for help when I am drowning.  When someone asks you to do something, Rachel recommends that you respond right away, be polite but honest, and be firm.  She says, “You have made the commitment to you and your goals, and it’s important that you stick to your guns. Learn to say no and to say no effectively.” 

Skills to Acquire

To wrap up the book, Rachel gives you 6 skills to acquire to help you reach your goals. The one that I most identified with is “Confidence.” I don’t know if you see a pattern here or not, but the whole feeling of not being good enough goes hand in hand with confidence.  I am not confident in my abilities.  I don’t trust myself enough to reach my goals. If you are always doubting yourself and feeling like you aren’t good enough, you never will succeed.  There are three things that Rachel recommends as ways to help you develop confidence in your self. The first is how you look. She says, “Confidence comes from you liking the way you look, not from you looking any certain way.” I always say that when you look good you feel good.  This is exactly why I get up and shower every single day.  I put on make up and do my hair on put on clothes that make me feel good.  The second way to gain confidence is in how you act.  You have to act like you are confident even when you don’t feel confident. She says, “You can make yourself feel anything you put your mind to as long as you back it up with action.” The third way to develop confidence is with who you hang out with.  I think this is so true.  We adapt and change who we are based on who we hang out with.  If you are around people that are always negative, then you are going to become a negative person too.  The same is true that if you hang out with people who exude confidence, you will start to feel that way too. Rachel says, “Be mindful of the people you hang out with, the words you use, and the way you present yourself to the world around you. Pay attention to the times or the circumstances that make you feel the most self-assured, and then work to cultivate more opportunities like those.” 

There really is so much more to gain from this book to help you become the best version of yourself, someone that goes for her goals with all she’s got and never gives up until she reaches them. Again, I highly recommend this book for any woman.  It really makes you think about your life and how you approach things.  It inspires me to keep pushing to become who God meant for me to be.  

Now, on to our book for April. For this month, I have chosen the book Normal People (Amazon) by Sally Rooney.  Check out what Apple Books had to say about this book.

“Irish author Sally Rooney’s second novel is a sharply observed story about growing up and learning to love. Connell is a popular kid from the wrong side of the tracks, while Marianne is a rich, slightly awkward school outcast. From their respective childhoods in rural west Ireland to their college years in Dublin, Marianne and Connell struggle to square their shared intelligence and passion with the calcified gender and class politics that define so much of their lives. Normal People is both a timeless love story and a resonant cautionary tale. Rooney’s characters feel poignantly, painfully real—we wished her book were twice as long.”

I hope you will read along with me.  Let me know your thoughts on Girl, Stop Apologizing, too! 

Anchored in a Good Book,

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