The Best Kind of Shopping is… Free.

Lately, I have been doing some shopping with spending little or no money.

Except when I purchased all the stamps for the wedding stationary, put the final deposit on the Cathedral, and signed the contract with the videographer.

Wedding things aside, I have been spending very little but gaining much.
This is the best kind of shopping.
It makes you feel like you out-smarted someone.
It makes you feel like you have extra money to buy necessities, like pretty paper and sequin ribbon.

It makes you forget that you are currently living in an Arctic tundra and makes your lungs feel like icicles and your days numbered:

A co-worker snapped this while driving to work... no joke. Michigan is brutal.

A co-worker snapped this while driving to work… no joke. Michigan is brutal.

My latest shopping deals are:

1. Free bottle of lotion and free VS Valentine panties – aren’t coupons the best? This new scent is veryyyy delicious.

I hung the panties on a door knob because it would be inappropriate to wear them and take a picture.

I hung the panties on a door knob because it would be inappropriate to wear them and take a picture.

2. I won a giveaway on Megan’s blog and she mailed me a coupon for a free box of clementines. You bet your bootah I redeemed that. Yummy!

Who doesn't love clementines?

Who doesn’t love clementines?

3. You know what is one good thing about snowy-cold-winter? You get to find great steals on summer clothing that is being clearanced. Mr. Speedy, my friend J, and I went to Kohls and I found this beautiful sundress — SCORE:

I can't wait to wear it when the snow is gone!

I can’t wait to wear it when the snow is gone! $12 !!! That is like a Panera Bread meal.

4. I bought a boat load of books with Christmas gift cards….. most of these are for my book club – BUYING BOOKS WITH GIFT CARDS IS THE BEST KIND OF SHOPPING EVER.

I need to find space for these.

I need to find space for these.

5. I have come to the conclusion that…. hosting a wedding is like having a HUGE REUNION with your closest friends that are all across the country. I realize this is not shopping, but it is a good deal. I have two blogging friends driving in, two of my BFF from graduate school, my aunts from MA, Mr. Speedy’s relatives from NE and TX, the list just goes on.

What a lovely deal- get married and get to see people whom you love all together at once.

Seems like a lovely plan. I can’t wait.

The last time I was with my Grad School (aka librarian) girls.

The last time my Grad School (aka librarian) girls were all in one spot.

6. Finally, after I get married and settled into life as a wife, I might pursue this career:

New life goal.

New life goal.

No pants and free clam bra?!?! Sign me up.

I bet you mermaids get to shop for free… under the sea.

(That was SO corny, I could not help it.)

Any one else have any amazing deals they have been finding lately? Please share.

Sincerely,

Thrifty Lily

Quote this, Quote that

I love quotes.

Quotes from books. Quotes from friends. Quotes from coffee mugs. Quotes from Mr. Speedy.

I love just about any string of words that hum against my heart and find a hollow spot in my memory, staying with me.

Some are short, some are long, but all hold value.

unconditional

So without further delay, here is a collection of some of my favorite quotes.

For love

dreams

The love literally saves you, pulling you back into your dreams, hopes, and desires. How beautiful is that? Sometimes I feel rescued by Mr. Speedy and how easily he can unfold me from any distress and place me back into our life. Our dreams. Ours.

alchemist

The Alchemist is one of my favorite books- please read it if you have not. P. Coelho is a genius and writes with a rhythm and descriptive language I have never known. I love this quote because it so perfectly demonstrates how when you love another with your whole being, you wish to serve. To sacrifice. To give and take, together. To create a connection that is delicate and balanced. To give you a reason for living.

hafez

Love is not about keeping tabs and pointing fingers. Love is about being selfless. Putting your needs on hold for the other. Love can light up the sky.

DSC_0182

elephants
Oh….melt, butter, absorb, want. This is such a sensual sentence, full of a variety of senses- touch, taste, see. It makes you crave what comes next. What a simply savory way to want someone. I just love how he wants to melt into her and then walk around with her, for the rest of his days.

For yourself-

angelou

Angelou is so sound in anything she has ever breathed, written, or said. I love how life is not about money, it is about finding your passion and pursuing with such a determination that others will literally have to peel their eyes off of you and your talent. Find it and pursue it. Pursue it hard.

worthless

This is true. You are worth something that cannot be measured. You are worth. Trust in that.

pretty

Pretty women. What is pretty? What is accepted? Does it all matter? You know what matters- how you carry yourself, how you love yourself, how you love life. I’m not cute or built to a fashion model’s size…. The span of my hips, the stride in my step, the curl of my lips. 

Let’s make a deal- to love ourselves and spread it like wildfire, making any woman capable of being pretty and beautiful and real all at once. DSC00216

And just because I couldn’t leave him out….

speedy

You know when Mr. Speedy told me this? After a few weeks of dating, in a random email. The words poured into me like slow honey and stuck.

And he still thinks this way- as if we were (are) a single entity. He makes decisions based on not himself, not me, but us. He sees us as one.

On my birthday.

On my birthday. I drank that whole thing.

Other notable ones:

  • “I remember every single spot of light that ever gouged a shadow beside your bones.” -Zelda Fitzgerald
  • “You say you’re not special because the world doesn’t know about you, but that’s an insult to me. I know about you.” -John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
  • “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso
  • “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison
  • “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” -Sylvia Plath
  • “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” -Sylvia Plath
  • “I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of the throat and I’d cry for a week.” -Sylvia Plath (THIS QUOTE IS SO TRUE… unfortunately, sometimes I get a lump in my throat and tears forming at work and there is this one co-worker that ALWAYS steps in and sees the storm coming, and then awkwardly has to see me crumble. Poor fella. He probably thinks I’m a nutcase.)
  • “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” -Coco Chanel
  • “ In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” -Coco Chanel
  • “Separation
    Your absence has gone through me
    Like thread through a needle.
    Everything I do is stitched with its color.” -W.S. Merwin
  • “There is more to sex appeal than just measurements. I don’t need a bedroom to prove my womanliness. I can convey just as much sex appeal, picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain.” -Audrey Hepburn
  • “If I get married, I want to be very married.” -Audrey Hepburn
  • “Boys think girls are like books, If the cover doesn’t catch their eye they won’t bother to read what’s inside.” – Marilyn Monroe
  • “Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” – Johnathan Safran Foer

One day, maybe I’ll write something worthwhile and those words will leap off the page to some reader and they will decide to keep them close. Or just keep them. That would make me happy and feel like I’ve created something with some guts. Some substance.

One day.

Sincerely,

Lily

My Top 10 Gift ideas for HER

HER.

You know who I am talking about – that lady. Her could be your mother, girlfriend, crush, sister, best friend, teacher, or wife.

HER.

Here are my top 10 gifts for any HER in your life:

1. Burt’s Bees Lip Gloss: Or any Burt’s Bees lip product. It is all natural. It creates a smooth shine and healthy lips. All women wear chapstick, lip gloss, lip stick, or a combo of all three. We need this. It is an essential part of our daily routine. My friend Brittany mailed me this and it is always in my coat pocket.  Find it at CVS for $8.99. PERFECT STOCKING STUFFER.

This is THE BEST.

This is THE BEST.

2. Magazine Subscription: THIS IS SUCH A GOOD GIFT. You know what I love? Curling up a with a good magazine that I didn’t have to pay for. Does she like cooking? Home decor? Travel? Clothes? Sports? I look forward to finding my Self, Runner’s World, and Country Living in my mailbox every month. Get her subscription to a magazine- you can’t go wrong! It is like getting a present every month! Find a variety on Amazon for a range of prices… or just find the magazine directly and order.

YES. DROOL.

YES. DROOL.

3. Wine, this wine: This is just not any wine. This wine is made in Northern Michigan and it is hands down the BEST RIESLING I have ever had. It is sweet but not as sweet as a Moscato. It is smooth and airy and light. I love it. Buy her a bottle of this or an entire case and invite me over. Please. Find the Late Harvest Riesling at Black Star Farms, they can ship or have a list of stores that carry it (many in Detroit area). $15.00

This wine seriously taste like an explosion of all good things.

This wine seriously taste like an explosion of all good things.

This also makes a great hostess gift if you are attending a holiday party!

4. Home Decor OR Decor Surprise: This present only works if you live with the woman or are extremely close with them. Do not do this to a crush or teacher because it may freak them out. Re-arrange and re-decorate a space for them. It doesn’t have to be extreme and doesn’t have to cost much. This image of the bookshelf was one I rearranged- group colors and sizes together and add a pop of color with a new bowl, with fruit. Or buy a vase. A photograph. A few new pillows for the couch. We love and adore home decor. Seriously. These pillows from Kohls are a favorite, $64. I also love this cable knit pillow (it is like a big sweater!), for $69.  Love Nate Berkus line at Target and this starburst, $13.98. You can never go wrong with a classic Kate Spade vase, $50. I adore her Grace Avenue collection and it goes great with ANY room.

A little home decor is always a good gift.

A little home decor is always a good gift.

Mr. Speedy bought me this canvas art and I love it. What a perfect way to dress up the wall!

Mr. Speedy bought me this canvas art and I love it. What a perfect way to dress up the wall!

5. Gift Card to a Salon for WAXING: Or if she doesn’t get waxed, a nail salon or hair place will do. Every lady requires maintenance and let me tell you- I would be so happy to receive a gift towards getting my eyebrows waxed so I don’t have to worry about the expense of it all. A massage would work too. So many good options. Find out where she gets her business (nails, wax, hair cut, etc.) done and go grab a gift card!!!

Don't I just look like  a model?

Don’t I just look like a model?

6. Personalized Stationary: This goes along with the post on men gifts, but seriously, EVERYONE could use some high-end stationary for their personal correspondence. Or if the woman has a favorite flower, buy some with that on it. The choices are really endlessly. Include some stamps for extra bonus points. Order some from Paper Source, or these cute ones from NaomiLynn, $15.

Stationary!

Stationary!

7. A Getaway: Although pricey, this is easy peasy and means a lot. Book a weekend trip (or even just one night) somewhere to go. This is perfect for girlfriends, best friends, moms, or sisters. We love getaways. Find a picture of the person on vacation and write on the back “Merry Christmas- get ready for another trip because we are going X (name location) on X (name dates)!”. A great place in Northern Michigan where Mr. Speedy proposed but would be a fun trip for ANYONE, is the Inn at Bay Harbor. From $157. Or I took him for a night away to the Dearborn Inn (and we visited the museum across the street) which was a total blast, from $149. BE SURE TO GET BUFFET BREAKFAST.

Fate.

Fate.

8. Lavender Vanilla Pillow Mist: It is fact that the scent lavender helps relax and get into sleep mode. Pillow mist is probably one of the BEST THINGS EVER.  I use this before sleepy time, just spray a little on the pillows and climb in. Mr. Speedy doesn’t mind although it doesn’t make him sleepy…. never mind. What a great gift, find it at Bath and Body Works for only $10.

Buy this for anyone, they are sure to love it. Who doesn't like to relax and sleep???

Buy this for anyone, they are sure to love it. Who doesn’t like to relax and sleep???

9. The Pioneer Woman: A Year of Holidays (cookbook): The Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite blogs and she is an amazing cook…. and photographer. And she is hilarious. All of her cook books are stuffed full of rich and flavorful recipes, complete with easy steps and pictures. Perfect for any level of cook. She has three cook books out, but this latest one, A Year of Holidays, is geared around holiday foods. I love that- recipes for any occasion! Find it at Barnes & Noble, $20.99.

Love this cook book!

Love this cook book!

10. Solar-Powered Dancing Daisy: Mr. Speedy bought me one of these and it sits in my window at work and DANCES ALL DAY LONG and always brings a smile to my face. When the sun hits it directly, it dances to fast that the plastic pedals hit each other. It is crazy but it makes me laugh. And brightens my day. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying this thing. Find it at a Dollar Store, $1. If you really want to be funny, buy a whole bunch. (ha, get it? Bunch?)

It dances in the sun! So dang cute!

It dances in the sun! So dang cute!

Other notable mentiones: soap from CerealFly – try XOXO scent, $4.50, a book on her hobby/passion, a red nail polish that is fast-drying – we rarely have time to wait for our nails to dry and we always need a good red color.

There is my little list of gifts for women… hope you enjoyed it and good luck with the rest of Christmas shopping! One more week and it’ll be here.

I am going to go put myself in direct sunlight now and see if it gets me to dance.

Sincerely,

Lily

My Top 10 Gift ideas for HIM

Him.

You know who I am talking about- that guy. Him could be your husband, father, brother, friend, annoying co-worker, boyfriend, fiance, secret lover.

Him.

Here are my top 10 gift ideas for any HIM in your life:

1. Hand-crafted, uniquely scented soaps. This soap actually smells delicious and will make any man repel zombies but attract kissing partners, I am sure of it. Made by Cellar Door Soap Co, it is $6 a bar. Another AMAZING soap company is CerealFly (also in Michigan) and the owner is a sweet young lady. Her soaps sell a bit cheaper, at $4.50.

2. Personalized note cards. EVERYONE (and I mean everyone) will send mail at some point in their life. They must send mail. Or write a personal letter. And possessing stationary that is thick card stock with a professional looking typeface can make such a statement. I bought Mr. Speedy some and he loves them. I got these from NaomiLynn Etsy shop at $15.

Stationary! DUH!

Stationary! DUH!

3. Whiskey Barrel Kit. Mr. Speedy received one of these for being a groomsmen in his friend’s wedding and he LOVES it. He doesn’t even drink whiskey really but he loved actually making it and having this tiny barrel. Such a fun little gift. Find one at Bluegrass (includes personalized lines on barrel) for $54.99.

Pirate-approved.

Pirate-approved.

4. Towels.  HEAR ME OUT. Although boring and not… thrilling, towels are a great gift. Do you know why? BECAUSE MEN USE THEM EVERY FREAKIN DAY AND THEY GET OLD AND FLAKY AND GROSS QUICKLY. Generally, men like to leave wet towels balled up and never replace them. New towels are THE BEST. It is like rubbing a fresh, new bed sheet all over your body. Just give that gift of hygiene and buy that man some towels. These are from Kohls and only $7.99.

Seriously. So Practical but so needed.

Seriously. So Practical but so needed.

5. Tools. You really cannot go wrong with tools. Mr. Speedy told me of a few that he needed but one sounded like jigsaw puzzle and the other sounded like Obi Wan so I might have to investigate before I try buying anything. Get them at any hardware or manly store.

I don't know what these do but apparently, they are really neat.

I don’t know what these do but apparently, they are really neat.

6. Cook his favorite meal. Does your Dad have an absolute favorite meal ? Or does your guy just love scallops but never is able to eat them because you are scared of them? Muster up some courage and breakout of your cooking shell. Cook away. Find a recipe and FOLLOW IT. You can’t go wrong.

I recently made chili for the first time after Mr. Speedy told me he LOVES the stuff. It was fantastic. He was raving for a week. And farting.

I recently made chili for the first time after Mr. Speedy told me he LOVES the stuff. It was fantastic. He was raving for a week. And farting.

7. A Jewelry Box. Men have watches. Men have cufflinks. Men have tie bars. What men usually store these in are (at least in Mr. Speedy’s case) is a tiny box that used to hold one of these items. They are all mixed in together. Get that man a nice jewelry box so these items have a home. Here is one from Chasing Treasure for only $69.

watchbox8. A book about his hobby/passion. Even if he isn’t a reader, a book about something he loves will get browsed through… and you never know, he might read about something he didn’t know and suddenly become a book lover, just like you, and agree to spend lots of money on making a library in the house and buying you whatever books you want. Sigh. A girl can dream.

Running books! That last one is appropriate for men to read too! Promise!

Running books! That last one is appropriate for men to read too! Promise!

9. For that POOPER in your life….. Heavy Doody Poo Pourri. Yes, this is a real product. Yes, it works. Yes, get this. Order from the Catching Fireflies Store, only $9.95 and it will save your nostrils from toilet-smelling-deathly-encounters.

Ahhhhh! so funny.

Ahhhhh! so funny.

10. A reeeeeeally nice, durable last-for-a-lifetime robe.  This kind of is like the towels. He will use it daily. It will get its use. It is worth the investment. I got Mr. Speedy a Brooks Brothers robe (he is obsessed with this store and most of his wardrobe consists of their collared shirts and pressed pants). When he isn’t wearing this robe, I usually am wrapped up in it. It is amazingly comfortable and just feels rich agaisnt the skin. $348.

robe

Hope you enjoyed this….. Next post will be top ten gifts for women, so stay tuned! Happy shopping xoxo

Sincerely,

Lily

27 Thoughts for 27

Yesterday was my 27th birthday.

I am so old.

I am so old… and often smile at Mr. Speedy and not the camera.

I have left my mid-twenties and am now entering my late-twenties.
I am almost 30, soon to be 40 (basically).
I currently am a fiance, soon to be wife.
I have a small head that seems to not grow.

Birthdays, for me, have always been something I look forward too…. until I hit 20 and realized I was no longer a teenager, read a magazine article that claimed your skin ages and starts to sag at 20, and had no idea where I was going with my life. After that depressing moment, birthdays seemed to mark a moment that just amplified that I was an adult, had responsibilities, and had to make a successful life for myself.

Except, I had no idea what I was doing. And still, in many ways, have no idea what I am doing.

But that is okay. Each birthday that passes, each year that flies by, I learn a little more about what I want or do not want in my life. I don’t have everything figured out but my birthdays now are a happy, joyous, celebration of becoming more of the woman I want to be rather than clinging to the younger, less-responsible years.

So in celebration, here are-

27 thoughts on my 27:

1. I never thought I’d run a marathon.

I really never had this race on my radar at all until I met Mr. Speedy. Then he signed up for a marathon and urged me to join. And I did it. Wowzers.

2. I’ve grown to love wine.

Seriously. I am not a big drinker and never drank really until  I was in grad-school. Beer I am picky with and liquor makes my eyes water. Yuck. But wine…. if it is sweet, and has a pinch of fruit flavors, I love it.  It is fantastic to cook with, great with a meal, and even better to relax on the weekend with friends.

3. I never thought I’d get married under 2 years of knowing someone.

Let me re-phrase that – I knew I’d get married someday, but never this soon. Marriage was something that I always dearly wanted for myself but never found the right love. Dating was fun but never serious in the sense that I could imagine it playing out in the future, or rings being exchanged. I always figured I’d get married around 35 if I was lucky.  If you met me a few years ago and was like ‘Hey, you are going to get married when you are 27,” I would have laughed and been like NOPE. But life is funny, throws you curve-balls, and sometimes pushes you towards the right person so beautifully, you just got to thank God and His planning.

Mr. Speedy proposed under 1 year and we will be married under 2. Fancy that.

4. I am (still) a complainer.

I am trying to work on this. Really. It is probably one of my most unattractive qualities. I have a tendency to complain too much and make it quite obvious that I am not 100% happy with whatever is occurring. I need to practice patients, endure uncomfortable situations, and not let little problems cause such a dent in my emotions. I’ll get there, maybe by the time I am 30.

5. My skin IS REALLY aging.

It really is… but I have been using anti-aging cream on my face and neck (don’t forget about the neck! or else you get turkey neck), for the past 4 years and I feel like it is working. Kind of. Ask me in 5 years.

6. I am satisfied and content with my body.

loveee

BOOYAH. This was a long journey and I struggled for some time but let me repeat that – I LOVE THE WAY I LOOK. It only took me a decade but life is oh-so-much sweeter when you accept yourself, faults and all, and are completely satisfied with your body. Ignore the social demands, ignore the irrational thoughts. I sitll have ‘negative’ thoughts and feelings, but for the most part, I like to think I look like a rock star and am hyped about my body confidence.

Confidence is worn best with a smile and let me tell you – that attracts anyone’s attention and makes them think ‘Dang. That girl has got it!’

Love yourself. It is the only way to live this life.

7. My mom is one of my best friends.

My mom and I talk almost daily. She supported me and stood by my side through times when I was irrational, mean, and just plain ugly. She is a hard-worker and giving beyond giving. If I am half the lady she is then I will be happy. We are close friends and I am so happy that my mom and I have the relationship we do.  I would not trade it for the world.

8. I love LOVE love having pen pals.

I love writing letters, getting letters, and having pen pals. I have 5 or 6 at the moment and it rocks my running socks.

9. I never thought I’d have anything remotely as beautiful as this:

Please ignore me ET fingertips.

Please ignore me ET fingertips.

10. I still don’t like dogs/animals/pets.

Uh yeahhhhh…. I thought maybe at this point in my life, I would be a little less cold-hearted towards animals but I am not. It has gotten worse. I just have absolutely no bone in my body that cares about them or wants them near me. They just do not appeal to me. Just keep all animals away from me, thank you very much.

11. But one day, IN THE FAR FUTURE, MAYBE, a golden retriever will be part of our family.

I am going to be honest, if having this furry-smelly creature means Mr. Speedy would be the happiest man alive, I would allow this pet. BUT under strict guidelines: it is not allowed in the kitchen, bedroom, on furniture, or bathrooms. It would have to be HIGHLY trained, to the point that it would not come near me. And we would have to have at least 385735 acres of land for it to run around and (hopefully) get lost in and never return..

I’m kidding. I would be so sad if it did get lost….

Mr. Speedy loved this dog.

Mr. Speedy loved this dog.

12. I thought by now I would have a library. Preferably, one like Belle’s:

belles-library

13. I’m blessed with an amazing family.

No family is perfect but mine is perfect for me. Although Pirate is pirate-like and my sister and I are opposites, they are amazing. My parents are amazing and have shown me what a true marriage is all about- endurance, compromise, romance, dedication, communication, humor, and taking time to make time for each other. I am blessed to have my sister as a friend and my younger brothers in my life. I have an extended family that is pretty awesome too, many of us girl cousins get together and are best friends. Family is such a foundation for one’s life and I wouldn’t change a thing about mine.

14. I never thought I’d be an aunt.

By marrying Mr. Speedy, I acquire the title ‘Aunt’ to his 2 nieces and nephew. This is pretty exciting. My birthday card from them was addressed to ‘Aunt Lily.’ SWOON. I love it.

And, a bonus, is that one niece has the same name as me so it is almost like a great scheme of generations of Lillians… totally not planned:

"WHOA WHOA... WHAT DO YOU MEAN I ONLY GET TO HAVE 3 CUPCAKES???"

“WHOA WHOA… WHAT DO YOU MEAN I ONLY GET TO HAVE 3 CUPCAKES???”

15. I never thought my grandparents wouldn’t be around for my wedding.

Is this depressing to mention? Sorry. I always pictured my Grandpa to be present for my marriage. He was the best. But he and all my other grands are gone. But I suppose they will watch over the entire thing and be toasting up in Heaven with important ancestors and making bets on when the first great-grandchild will be born.

16. I’m girly.

I was tom boy for A LONG time. I used to dislike shopping, never used a hair dryer, and thought swimming in a pool was equivalent to a shower. (It is NOT, in case you were wondering.) But now, that is all changed. I love shopping! I enjoy doing my hair (or trying) and I like to put a dab on make-up here and there.

I still have no idea what concealer or foundation is nor do I think I’ll ever use it, but I do use an eyelash curler like a boss.

This birthday I recieved many lovely gifts, including K.Spade items I was lusting after – 2 sets of earrings and a watch. Totally Girly.

17. Surprises are really the best.

I have a tendency to SNOOP and PRY and RUIN ALL SUPRISES. But, being with Mr. Speedy (who is always full of surprises) has taught me that waiting and not ruining surprises is very sweet. I still semi-ruin his surprises by hinting that I have something for him… so he usually knows when it is coming, but I am no longer blurting out whatever that gift may be.

Mr. Speedy, hands down, is the best surprise-giver ever. He does it all the time. Sometimes small, sometimes big. I can’t keep up with him.

Today at work, Mr. Speedy suprised me by having Jimmy Johns delievered for the my ENTIRE staff AND then a few hours later, these were delievered:

I CAN'T WAIT EITHER. So sweet. Does it get sweeter than this? Nope.

I CAN’T WAIT EITHER. So sweet. Does it get sweeter than this? Nope.

18. 10 miles.

This amount is my ‘normal’ everyday run. I never thought that 10 miles would be normal and 4-6 is short.

19. I am very indecisive.

I am like Sally from ‘When Harry met Sally.’ I change my order at the last minute and have serious issues picking out my outfit and accessories. I over-pack and have mental breakdowns if I am rushed while trying to get dressed up for a fancy event. Never rush an indecisive person. It makes them feel foolish and like they are missing half their brain while they are searching for the right earring or perfect heel.

Mr. Speedy has learned how to deal with me when getting ready for things or when we have to order a meal. Or a drink. He understands the personality quirk of mine and thankfully, accepts me.

Just making this list has been difficult. Planning an entire wedding for a person with my inability to make direct, quick decisions has been like planning on jumping on a hopscotch square that constantly shifts and moves and tilts. Difficult and challenging, but possible.

20. I never thought Prince Charming was a) really this charming and b) this good looking and c) a perfect fit for me:

He ha the best legs and arms.... and torso, butt, and all other spots.

He ha the best legs and arms…. and torso, butt, and all other spots.

Really. Seriously. How DID this happen? How did I find Prince Charming and he find me? Fairytales do happen, people.

I had Prince Charming dreamed up in my head, and then POOF- he does exist. Only he is better than anything I could have thought up and is sweeter than the sweetest honey. Stronger than the biggest bull. Faster than the fastest cheetah. More caring than a thousand band aids. More helpful than a school of teachers. Funnier than any comedian. Patient like a monk (that one is weird…. they are patient, I think). More manly than Paul Bunyan himself. More suave that James Bond. Sexier than a shirtless man holding an infant. Tastier than a….

Ok, I’ll stop. You get the picture. Prince Charming does exist and he is Mr. Speedy. I’m going to try to stop drooling all over the keyboard now.

21. Moody moods.

With age, I have noticed that PMS does exist and I get moody once a month, for about a day. I never used to have this. But now, I have it. And thought I’d share with you.

So glad I got that off my chest.

22. I am blind.

Not really, but almost. Another thing that age has gifted me with is horrible eyesight. My prescription is -3.75 is both eyes and if I do not have my contacts or glasses on, I cannot see diddly-squat. I once had a full conversation with a tree when I had no contacts or glasses present. True story.

23. Sports make you strong.

I have always been atheltic and had a natural need to perform- whether it be through running, swimming, or playing tennis. I love the way getting my sweat on makes me feel. I absolutely would not trade my toned thighs and runner’s butt for a skinnier set of legs. I love how whenever I see another female running, I think ‘GIRL POWER.’ Sports make you sassy, give you confidence, and make you soar.

Get your sweat on, ladies.

24. I would like to start or be part of a book club.

This is my goal for year 27… simple and sweet. Hopefully, I can make it happen because I have currently been part of a book club with only one member (me) and it is kind of lame at times. I need some discussion and argumentative, thought-provoking perspectives. I also want to have people over and serve wine and fine cheese.

Basically, I want to create the Jane Austen Book Club.

THIS MOVIE IS THE BEST!!

THIS MOVIE IS THE BEST!!

25. I have never ever smoked a thing.

I have never ever smoked anything in my whole life and am proud of this. I have never tried a cigarette nor do I want too. Smoking is one of those habits that makes my toes curl and lungs cry.

My biggest pet peeve of this nasty habit are a) people that smoke while on running paths– sorry, you are doing it wrong and b) smoking… in general.

26. My career is a winding, confused, undetermined path.

What the heck am I doing?

When I was in college, if you asked me where I would be at when I was 27, I would have said working in an art museum in Chicago or New York or Italy. When I was in graduate school and you asked me where I would be at 27, I would have said teaching at a community college and working at library. Now, ask me where I am at, at 27?

Answer: All over and I have no idea.

My career path has not been direct nor has it been clear. I am successful in the sense that I am working and independent. I am paying off my student loans and able to save money. I am able to splurge and buy Pantene ProV (my Suave days are over) and I indulge in Starbucks here and there.

But, I am not 100% happy with my current job. I feel alone most of the time. I am grateful to be working but I feel like I need to make some changes soon.

And what will I do? I don’t know and I don’t think I’ll ever know what I want to do…. and I am okay with that. But, I do know that I want to be happy and only I can make that happen.

27. Each day really is better than the last.

This past year, this really has held true. Every day seems to get better and better, and not just because Mr. Speedy is a part of my life. As you get older, you have more experiences and memories and life is just…. richer. Fuller. More exciting. The future is literally popping at the seams with possibilities and opportunities. I have no idea what might or might not happen, but I am excited. Sure there are going to be tought times, there always are, but I am looking forward to what the future brings.

Life gets sweeter and more precious as I get older.

The appreciation grows.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Sincerely,

27-year-old Lily

Reasons Why I love Barbara Kingsolver

I’ve been a reading mood lately. I mean more than usual, the kind you cannot ignore, the type of mood that sucks your inner being and constantly romps around in your head until you give in.

I think other people might call this a problem or obsession, but I’m stickin’ to my guns and calling it a mood.

I have been so much in a reading mood that I have skipped two runs this week so that I could shed my day clothes with lightning speedy, snuggle tightly up in my fleece robe, remove my dried-up contacts, replace my vision with my crooked-slightly-over-sized spectacles, and permanently sprawl my pale body on our comfy olive-green couch for the remainder of the evening, book in eager hand.

I even forgot to eat dinner because I was so heavily enthralled with the string of words I was absorbing. But, I feel full and satisfied. Reading can do that to you.

This all started last Friday, when I was flying home from CA, and this book jumped off the shelf of some random over-priced shop in the airport:

This book has been smugly hidden in my purse, so I can read at any and all free moments.

This book has been smugly hidden in my purse, so I can read at any and all free moments.

Immediately, I bought it. I had to have it. I ♥ B. Kingsolver.

Have you read her books?
Are you obsessed with her stories?
Do you sometimes wish you were like one of her characters?
Do you secretly want to visit her on her ranch?

She is such an earthy lookin' soul.

She is such an earthy lookin’ soul.

Other notable books by her:

  • The Posionwood Bible, Prodigal Summer (<– MY FAVORITE), Pigs in Heaven, Animal Dreams, The Bean Trees, The Lacuna, and many more.
LOOOOOOOOVE this book. I can't even explain.

LOOOOOOOOVE this book. I can’t even explain.

Here are the top 5 reasons why I love Barbara and think she is fantastic in every way possible:

1. Previously, she was a scientist with a degree in Biology. All of her books reflect this beautifully.

She knows her facts. She knows all about various environmental issues and insects and animals. Just read the opening pages of ‘Prodigal Summer’ and you can so easily imagine this long-legged rustic woman hiking around the forest alone. If you need a taste of nature, these books will give you a whole feast. Here is the opening (skip it if you don’t have time to read it….. but Brittany, I can totally see you as this character with your love for nature):

________________________________________________________________

“Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits. But solitude is only a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot; every choice is a world made new for the chosen. All secrets are witnessed.

If someone in this forest had been watching her—a man with a gun, for instance, hiding inside a copse of leafy beech trees—he would have noticed how quickly she moved up the path and how direly she scowled at the ground ahead of her feet. He would have judged her an angry woman on the trail of something hateful.

He would have been wrong. She was frustrated, it’s true, to be following tracks in the mud she couldn’t identify. She was used to being sure. But if she’d troubled to inspect her own mind on this humid, sunlit morning, she would have declared herself happy.

She loved the air after a hard rain, and the way a forest of dripping leaves fills itself with a sibilant percussion that empties your head of words. Her body was free to follow its own rules: a long-legged gait too fast for companionship, unself-conscious squats in the path where she needed to touch broken foliage, a braid of hair nearly as thick as her forearm falling over her shoulder to sweep the ground whenever she bent down. Her limbs rejoiced to be outdoors again, out of her tiny cabin whose log walls had grown furry and overbearing during the long spring rains. The frown was pure concentration, nothing more. Two years alone had given her a blind person’s indifference to the look on her own face.

All morning the animal trail had led her uphill, ascending the mountain, skirting a rhododendron slick, and now climbing into an old-growth forest whose steepness had spared it from ever being logged. But even here, where a good oak-hickory canopy sheltered the ridge top, last night’s rain had pounded through hard enough to obscure the tracks. She knew the animal’s size from the path it had left through the glossy undergrowth of mayapples, and that was enough to speed up her heart. It could be what she’d been looking for these two years and more. This lifetime. But to know for sure she needed details, especially the faint claw mark beyond the toe pad that distinguishes canid from feline. That would be the first thing to vanish in a hard rain, so it wasn’t going to appear to her now, however hard she looked. Now it would take more than tracks, and on this sweet, damp morning at the beginning of the world, that was fine with her. She could be a patient tracker. Eventually the animal would give itself away with a mound of scat (which might have dissolved in the rain, too) or something else, some sign particular to its species. A bear will leave claw marks on trees and even bite the bark sometimes, though this was no bear. It was the size of a German shepherd, but no house pet, either. The dog that had laid this trail, if dog it was, would have to be a wild and hungry one to be out in such a rain.

She found a spot where it had circled a chestnut stump, probably for scent marking. She studied the stump: an old giant, raggedly rotting its way backward into the ground since its death by ax or blight. Toadstools dotted the humus at its base, tiny ones, brilliant orange, with delicately ridged caps like open parasols. The downpour would have obliterated such fragile things; these must have popped up in the few hours since the rain stopped – after the animal was here, then. Inspired by its ammonia. She studied the ground for a long time, unconscious of the elegant length of her nose and chin in profile, unaware of her left hand moving near her face to disperse a cloud of gnats and push stray hair out of her eyes. She squatted, steadied herself by placing her fingertips in the moss at the foot of the stump, and pressed her face to the musky old wood. Inhaled.

“Cat,” she said softly, to nobody. Not what she’d hoped for, but a good surprise to find evidence of a territorial bobcat on this ridge. The mix of forests and wetlands in these mountains could be excellent core habitat for cats, but she knew they mostly kept to the limestone river cliffs along the Virginia-Kentucky border. And yet here one was. It explained the cries she’d heard two nights ago, icy shrieks in the rain, like a woman’s screaming. She’d been sure it was a bobcat but still lost sleep over it. No human could fail to be moved by such human-sounding anguish. Remembering it now gave her a shiver as she balanced her weight on her toes and pushed herself back upright to her feet.

And there he stood, looking straight at her. He was dressed in boots and camouflage and carried a pack larger than hers. His rifle was no joke—a thirty-thirty, it looked like. Surprise must have stormed all over her face before she thought to arrange it for human inspection. It happened, that she ran into hunters up here. But she always saw them first. This one had stolen her advantage—he’d seen inside her.”

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I took this two falls ago. Pretty nature.

I took this two falls ago. Pretty nature.

2. Lead Woman with real woman thoughts.

Maybe this is because the author is a woman, but I love it when any woman is portrayed accurately, with confidence, fears, and emotions. Kingsolver’s women are a delight to read about and you hope with them, wish for them, and grow to love them. And you can picture them exactly as she describes them.

3. Sex, Romance, and Lust.

Everyone loves a little love.

The look of true loves.

The look of true loves.

Her books have just enough of this to keep you turning each page and wondering when and where things will happen. Sometimes it is outside, in the rain, where sparks fly between characters. Sometimes it is in the most wrong and mundane area, like a dried-up crop with miles of nothingness.

Rain is romantic.

Rain is romantic.

4. Katrina Kittle loves her.

K. Kittle (<– link to her website) is one of my other favorite authors. I MET her and took a WRITING workshop WITH HER. She actually read what I wrote and listened, taught, and laughed with me. Basically, it was the best thing ever. But she loves Kingsolver, so therefore, I love her too.

She also is very pretty and down-to-earth. I would start with her The Blessings of the Animals… which will make you want to buy a horse or two.

The perfect pets?

The perfect pets?

5. Her books make you think.

Whenever I read a Kingsolver book, I always have to take time each read and think about what I just read and relate it to my own experiences, relationships, and life. It is like I have to take time to digest it all. I find myself reading sentences over and over or replaying scenes in my head. Her books are the kind that hang around in your head and make you walk around in different parts of your brain, that have sat doormat for years.

Does that make sense?

It is a good kind of thinking, I promise. The kind of thinking that brings happiness to one’s daily routine and makes you crave life just a little bit more.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Man, I really need to start a book club. Seriously! I need to discuss this book, over wine and fine cheeses and bread.

Have you read any good books lately? Please share.

Sincerely,

Book-Worm Lily