My Favorite Things: Swell Water Bottle

I'm reviving an old series as I've been inspired to blog more lately.  My latest favorite thing is my new Swell water bottle.  I consider myself sort of a water bottle junkie.  When I was teaching, I always tried to keep a full water bottle full on my desk.  On a typical day, the bottle would remain untouched, forgotten, lost in the chaos and busyness of lesson plans, moving from subject to subject without intermission.  If by chance I did remember it was there, I'd guzzle as much as possible to stay on top of my hydration.  

After the glass craze, I tried the bkr, excited about my environmentally friendly purchase.  However, the first one cracked after a short fall, and the second shattered after falling out of my bag.  I figured third time's the charm?  Not in this case, the third acquired a gross mildew/mold inside the the cap which was impossible to clean, and frankly grossed me out.  Hence, I moved on.  

After that, I tried the Ello glass water bottle (dropped this one in my driveway accidentally, shattered into a hundred pieces instantly...I swear I'm not a klutzy person too). 

About this time, my family gave me a Swell water bottle on my birthday, and I'm quite happy with it, and have no fear of it breaking due to the chaos of getting in and out of the car frequently.  Plus, it stays cool for 24 hours, hot for 12.  Beat that glass bottles!


Last Great Book I Read: Better Than Before

Okay, before I begin, let me state: this is not my typical read.  I typically gravitate toward novels, memoirs, generally fiction from the New York Times bestseller list.  Better Than Before, a book based on habits research and personality tendencies was not something I normally would pick up.

However...I cannot say enough good things about this book!  It has changed the way I think about myself, family members, and friends, and helped me to understand why certain people do things a certain way - because we all have different habit tendencies!  If this sounds a bit bizarre, I suggest you start here.  I first discovered this book via an interview on The Lively Show with the author, Gretchen Rubin (you may have heard of her, author of The Happiness Project, among other titles).

She explains the four habit tendencies: questioner, obliger, upholder, and rebel.  After listening to this podcast, I was pretty sure I was a questioner, but took the 5-minute quiz to confirm.  Inspired by a new understanding of why I do things the way that I do them, I badgered my family into taking the quiz as well, and learned our habit tendencies are all over the board!  We have a bunch of upholders, a few obligers, no rebels, and I'm the lone questioner.  Still feel like I'm talking gibberish? Here's a quick blurb about the four tendencies.

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations 
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike

Okay, here's one thing little habit I read about that might help it click.  Are you one of those people who moves things closer to their destination?  For example, you found a book in the kitchen that you want to return to your bedside table.  But the bedside table is just too far to walk for whatever reason (oatmeal on the stove, baby on the play mat, too lazy, whatever).  So instead, you put that object close to the path to that destination, knowing that when you do walk upstairs, you'll bring it with you, making for less trips back and forth.  Make sense?  

For the longest time, I didn't understand why my husband wouldn't help me along with this process.  He'd see the book as he'd pass it going up the stairs, why didn't he take it to the bedside table for me?  After hearing about this being a frequent habit of many people, I thought "Why don't I ask him why he doesn't move these things," thinking it was so obvious.  To my surprise, he said, "well I just thought you liked leaving stuff around the house, it never occurred to me to move it for you."  Light bulb!  We're different habit tendencies, we think differently!  Something I thought was so obvious he was completely oblivious to.

I could go on and on.  If this sounds remotely interesting to you, I encourage you to check out the book or Gretchen Rubin's podcast Happier for more info.  Onward and upward!


Saturday Snooze

Didn't quite get my links together in time to make it for Friday fun, looks like I'm in for a Saturday snooze.  We've been enjoying a low key weekend around the house, tying up loose ends, tackling on home and landscaping projects and such.  What are you up to?  
Here's some of my favorites from around the web this week.

+ as I consider trying the Whole 30, weighing the vegan alternatives to dairy

+ anyone else wear Hard Candy in the 90's? check out the founder's new polish line

+ a whimsical print

+ this candle sounds like the perfect non-Christmasy winter scent

+ bookmarking this for dinner this week

+ a sleek, minimalist, and Scandinavian inspired nursery 

+ heard good things about this documentary on clothing costs

+ not really my style, but kind of loving this dress

+ a healthier *tamale* chicken pot pie - yum!

P.S. this little blog has an instagram account now - come follow me!


The Pie Project #10 - Key Lime Pie

I'm a little behind on pie project posts - I made a few over the holidays that were eaten faster than they could be photographed, so we're skipping pies #8 and #9 and jumping right to #10 - key lime pie.  I've always enjoyed key lime pie but rarely had the opportunity to indulge in it, except maybe our honeymoon or a random baby shower?  

So when my food guru, Deb, posted this recipe to smitten kitchen, I knew the stars had aligned and it was simply the right time to make this pie.  Which incidentally, turned out to be the most hectic of days; when nap time didn't go as planned, my attempt to melt butter in the microwave ended in a yellow explosion of goop, and a smattering of graham crackers covered my kitchen floor.  There were so many opportunities to give up, but I remember thinking, there is no way I'm throwing away 8 perfectly good limes for no good reason, this pie was going to happen

Thankfully I persevered, because it made for a lovely refreshing dessert for a family dinner - and a nap time snack for the next 4 consecutive days (which in reality, was truly the best part). 

                                  past pies * one * two * three * four * five * six * seven


Me Before You

Have you read Me Before You?  I wrote about it here a while back.  It's sooo moving, heartfelt, emotional (you will likely cry), and I highly recommend you read it if you haven't already.  But anyways, I just learned it's been made into a movie.  Here's a sneak peek. 

Friday Fun

+ would you ever do a capsule wardrobe?  I'm tempted to try...

+ love this idea of a Valentine's Day brunch for friends

+ this post really struck a cord with me about creating happiness for our kids

+ wouldn't mind this hearty bowl for lunch

+ loving these toddler shoes for spring

+ don't these ice castles look amazing?

+ UCLA gymnast's sassy floor exercise routine for the win!

+ on my way to mastering royal icing (loving these cookie tutorials)

+ marriage according to 10 couples

Have a wonderful weekend!


Dinner Last Night: Thai Sweet Potato Curry

Made this delectable Thai sweet potato curry for dinner last night (well...technically on Wednesday), and it was pretty amazing.  Hearty, healthy, and made for superb leftovers - cha ching!  We ended up adding some red pepper flakes for a little extra kick of spice, but I highly recommend (and surprisingly easy too!!).


3 Podcasts to Try

Hello there.  A while back I asked for podcast recommendations, and I'm pleased to say a few of them have definitely stuck!  Here are some podcasts I am enjoying these days.

Hosted by Jess Lively.  This podcast focuses on how to live your values and be intentional in how you approach everything in your life.  New episodes post weekly, and Jess interviews everyone from bloggers to financial advisors to entrepreneurs, who share tips, strategies, failures and successes. I love this show, and Jess herself is very engaging, warm, and has a friendly presence on the airways.  This podcast has helped me think about how I frame the things in my day to day life.

Hosted by Gretchen Rubin (of The Happiness Project) and her sister Elizabeth Craft.  There is a little bit of everything in here; focus on making and keeping good habits, try-this-at-home tips for overcoming daily obstacles, and content driven toward putting forth your best self.  Weekly posts with occasional guests.  While listening, they convey a sense of familiarity, sisters bantering as they usually would without an audience, makes you feel like you could grab coffee with them after. 

Short stories, told live on stage, about everything!  There's humor, sadness, some make you laugh out loud, others make you feel the urge to grab the kleenex.  You never quite know what you're going to get.  Typically 2 or 4-5 stories per episode.  Check it out if you're a storyteller yourself, you could be next!

Any other good ones you want to share?


Quote of the Week


To laugh often and much; 
to win respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics 
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday Fun

Hello out there, how are you?  We are looking forward to a weekend at home, perhaps we'll turn on the Superbowl - I kind of forgot it's even happening this weekend, after two years of Seahawk fever, it seems it is someone else's turn.  Have a peaceful weekend!

+ the 8 things no one tells you about having kids - so heartfelt and true!

+ I sincerely love the way Joanna explains her age to her boys

+ the best country to raise kids in

+ worth pondering - do our schools lack joy?

+ how cool is this lumberjack cake?

+ no cars allowed! pedestrian only loop coming to Portland

+ an inside look at Chip & Joanna Gaines' farmhouse

+ have you heard of this site to shop for locally sourced food?

+ best of TED talks: 6 talks for purposeful women

+ how trees have social networks too